Pakse Sapper review Author: The Scorpion (ig: @theofficial_scorpion_actual).
The Scorpion originally hails from Alaska, but has moved to the “lesser 48” in order to attend law school full time. He also serves in his local Army National Guard. When not neck deep in book work he enjoys shooting and spending time with his family. His anonymity comes from a desire to not be known by his chain of command, and to pass the eventual character and fitness test that come with taking the Bar Exam.
Disclosure: this product was provided to me to test and review. I provided all my own ammunition for the tests.
The CZ Scorpion, a phenomenal modern weapon. The CZ is reliable, accurate, backed by a reputable manufacturer, and best of all, not terribly expensive for the amazing quality you’re getting. The weapon comes in around 850-900 for the average consumer, and significantly less if you are Military (including National Guard) or Police. What could be better than that? Well, as it turns out a lot. This is the first of many posts I will be writing about the Scorpion, and Scorpion accessories. More will come, and maybe one day I will do write ups for other weapons. However, that is a rabbit hole. One of my good friends once said the Scorpion is like a Glock. It is reliable, accurate, and a very good weapon straight out of the box, and he would have no hesitation trusting his life to it. But, like a Glock, once you break in the trigger, and swap a few parts on the weapon, it transforms. The Scorpion goes from a very good weapon, to an absolutely amazing weapon. Continuing with this line of thought, I want to introduce the first product I have got to do a full write up for: The Pakse Development Sapper Handguard. Right after pulling it out of the package it came in, I knew I was going to love it. Boy, was I right. Aside from the trigger upgrades I have done to my Scorpion, I think that adding the Sapper to the Scorpion was one of the biggest game changers to the system as a whole. That being said, it is also the largest part I swapped from OEM. Overall, I am very pleased with the Pakse Development Sapper. It is a great product that changes a lot with the weapon, and brings a lot to the table in terms of accessories, ergonomics, and reliability. If you were to only read this far, I with full confidence can say, this is the Handguard you are looking for, it is worth the 50 dollars.
To begin the discussion of the Sapper, we need to start at the basics. This is a handguard designed from the ground up to be different from the OEM handguard, while still using as many OEM pieces as possible. This is shown by the fact that all the original mounting hardware from the OEM handguard is used to install and mount the Sapper. Additionally, the Sapper uses a fiber reinforced polymer for its construction. I do not know what materials CZ use, and even if I did it would not mean much to me, as I am not a material engineer (If you don’t follow my Instagram page, I am a lawyer. For these reasons I will not get into anything other than surface level material discussion). This material feels very different than the CZ polymers used in the construction of the Scorpion. This is something I really enjoy, as for some reason, brand new CZ brand Polymer feels weird in my hand, and I really don’t like it. I first learned this on a P10C, then again on my Scorpion OEM vertical grip and handguard. While this is a very personal problem to myself, and my odd nervous system that tells me certain materials are uncomfortable to touch (certain glassware literally hurts my hands to hold…) the Sapper eliminates that problem for me. It is very comfortable in the hand, and the polymer feels similar to that which Glocks are made from. The Sapper also has some very impressive craftsmanship. The first example is Pakse color match. I have an FDE Scorpion, and my Sapper is an almost perfect match to the receiver of the weapon.
Additionally, the top 1913 rails match up perfectly to the receiver. The only way to know where one rail ends and the other begins is the slight change in color between the handguard and the receiver. The spacing is perfect, something I feel AR manufacturers need to learn, though I acknowledge there is sometimes a purpose to the lopsided AR rail transitions. The first gripe I have with the Sapper also comes from the design. The handguard has a very odd “nub” on the barrel end of the handguard at the 6 o’clock position. It acts as a hand stop. I am not a huge fan of this aspect. However, in using the handguard, I have not noticed the presence of the nub on the end. While stalking through the Pakse Development Facebook page I learned that many of their initial testers removed the numb using a Dremel, and steel wool to smooth it out. However, as I stated above, the nub does not affect the use of the handguard or the weapon as a whole. The second gripe I have is a more minimalistic complaint. The Pakse Sapper is not suppressor compatible. What I mean is that it is not able to mount around the outside of a recessed suppressor. When using the original 7.8 inch barrel, you are able to mount a suppressor without any issues. However, this handguard, which I really love, cannot be used on a shorter barrel, or as a suppressor shroud. However, it is not meant for this purpose. The purpose it fills is that of an affordable, and phenomenal replacement to the OEM option.
The original Scorpion handguard has a distinct slope on the front end. It makes the weapon very unique, and recognizable.
This handguard gets rid of that Scorpion “slope.” The Sapper gives the Scorpion an almost “H&K UMP” look to it (interesting considering they use the same operating system).
Another big aspect to the Scorpion form factor, is that with the original handguard, I found myself confused with how to hold it. The weapon, in my opinion was designed to have a vertical foregrip attached to it. Being a citizen of the United States, we are subject to arbitrary laws about what we can and cannot place for accessories on our “pistols.” This means, that unless I wanted to pay a 200-dollar tax, or risk prison, the vertical grip was out of the question. Without the addition of the vertical grip, I personally found the use of the weapon a little awkward. Mainly, I never really knew where to place my support hand on the weapon. This was because of the slope at the front of the weapon, and the placement of the charging handle, which together created an awkward dynamic when the weapon lacked a pistol grip. Enter the Sapper. The first huge change I noticed with the Sapper was that I did not feel confused about where to put my hand. I know that reading this many will probably think to themselves “that is a dumb problem to have.” While I agree it is odd, it was an issue I had. The Sapper fixed that issue by extending the top rail section all the way to the end of the weapon. It allows for significantly easier hand placement on the weapon, by giving a large section of handguard to grab onto forward of the charging handle. This extension alone sold me on this product. I will be purchasing more of these for future Scorpions.
The next aspect about the rail to discuss is accessory interface. The Sapper has three MLOK rail sections. One on the left, and the right side, and the final one on the bottom. The top has 1913 rail all the way to the end of the weapon. The fact that the Sapper uses MLOK on the 3,6, and 9 o’clock positions also helps in gripping the weapon. Mainly in that it reduces the overall circumference of the handguard. In addition to the fact that Pakse built the Sapper’s main body to be slimmer than the OEM guard. The Sapper provides a nice grip as well as a lot of rail slots to be able to mount accessories to your heart’s content. However, my last gripe also comes from accessory interface. The MLOK rail section on the handguard I received did not fit MLOK accessories. It took a significant amount of pressure, and some shaving with a knife to be able to get anything onto the bottom section of MLOK. Meanwhile, everything else could accept accessories just fine. This could be an issue with the individual handguard I received, but it is still a problem I had with the system. I also feel that for all the work and craftsmanship that went into the Sapper, they could have at least made sure the bottom MLOK was in spec.
To sum up what I have said, the Pakse Sapper is a fantastic upgrade to most Scorpions. If you are looking for a single part that will change the feel of your weapon, while adding better ergonomics to the front of the weapon, this is the piece for you. It is well built and looks amazing. It has some minor issues, which could also be the symptoms of a smaller manufacturer. It is also limited to being a specific purpose driven part, though, in my mind, that is not a drawback. In fact it allows for the part to be so cheap. Which is another point, this is 49.99 on Shooter’s Element. The next most affordable option I can find is over 100 dollars. In conclusion, if you are running a stock 7.8 inch CZ Scorpion, and want an upgrade to the handguard, the Pakse Sapper is for you.