Guns We Love: The Kriss Vector Review

by Vern Evans
Kriss Vector

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The original Kriss Vector hit the market around 2009, giving a tantalizing vision of what the future held. A unique bold travel design promised to drain all the recoil from the subgun, giving controllable full auto in a small package. I’ve had this specific model for a couple years now, long enough that subsequent court issues surrounding pistol braces have scared off many manufacturers from offering braced variants. So, consider as you read, that while my version is braced, that’s the only real difference between this and the other versions still produced.

We’ll cover my many range experiences with the Kriss Vector SDP-SB (Special Duty Pistol, SB Tactical brace) shortly.  First though, let’s look at the gun itself.

If you’re into foreign subguns/battle rifles, some features on the Kriss Vector will be familiar. The forward mounted folding charging handle is reminiscent of HK guns like the Mp5 and G3, as well as the FN FAL. It’s a great location, and it’s as smart to use it on the Vector as with the other guns. When you’ve opened up the bolt, your left hand is in position to hit the bolt lock, albeit a little awkwardly.

Kriss Vector
There’s your “control center,” with the bolt stop/release, mag release and charging handle all within inches of each other.

The mag release sits on the left side of the magwell, just below where it meets the receiver. If you wrap your hand around the Vector’s magwell, you’re in easy position to catch the mag as it drops free. The magazine release button is a little shy, I’d like it to poke out a tiny bit more so there’s more tactile difference with the surrounding area, especially with gloves on.

Finally, the humble safety. Ambidextrously applied on the Vector, the safety is perfect for me. Easy to hit with my thumb to get it on “fire,” and my trigger finger removed from the trigger well is in perfect position to flick back to “safe,” with its short 45-degree throw.

Kriss VectorKriss Vector
The safety is ambidextrously applied on the Vector making it perfect to hit it with your thumb and get it on fire.

While the SDP-SB (Vector from now on) came with flip-up iron sights that are perfectly serviceable, I’ve been running various red-dot optic’s (RDO) for most of the time I’ve owned this. Currently, a Bushnell TRS-26 is what I use.

The barrel is threaded for muzzle device/suppressor use, but Kriss chose the M16x1 LH thread pattern for the .45 ACP version, and I haven’t come across a good deal on an adaptor for my AAC TiRant .45 suppressor. This is one of the few design ideas I feel like Kriss really dropped on the Vector, when there’s so many American suppressor manufacturers making 5/8×24 mounted cans as their standard for this caliber.

That’s about it for accessories to the Vector. A forward (6-o’clock) mounted picatinny rail section is there for vertical grips and the like, but using the front of the magwell as a gripping surface is (for once) a sensical choice.

The recoil assembly of the Vector has the bolt traveling vertically, slamming downwards and opposing the muzzle rise you’d expect. View the photo below to see the vertical recoil element. When combined with a low bore axis, the Vector provides an interesting engineering experiment on how much recoil can be reduced mechanically.

Kriss VectorKriss Vector
Disassembly is easy, with only four toolless push pins to remove. Reassembly is weird, but only the first time.

When I shoot pistol caliber carbines (PCC’s), I get a rough zero at 10 yards, then a solid zero at 25 yards. The rest of the gun’s life is shooting steel between 5 and 100 yards.  Much like my original review of the Vector, I’m using HSM 230-gr. remanufactured FMJ’s, a large stash left over from when I closed out my gun shop. It’s good ammo for the price, reliable and accurate. Besides my initial range day years ago, the only time I shoot groups with this is when I zero a new optic.

Kriss VectorKriss Vector
When I shoot pistol caliber carbines, I get a rough zero at 10 yards, then a solid zero at 25. The rest of my shooting is at steel between 5 and 100 yards.

Most people who haven’t shot a Vector have seen it on a TV show like Future Weapons or a video game like Call of Duty. While the show did a good job showing off the unique recoil system, video games are designed to exaggerate systems to highlight their differences (and balance gameplay irrespective of reality). So, what’s shooting the Kriss Vector like?

Easy. This is a fun gun. The questions about ergonomics disappear once you start working the gun, which is exactly what you want. This is the case as long as you don’t have to lock the bolt back manually. It’s a little bit awkward, but the Vector has been reliable and has locked back on an empty mag every time.

Kriss VectorKriss Vector
Recoil is mild. My 12-year-old loves this gun.

Recoil is really mild, with the muzzle dropping nearly on the same spot it was pre-shot. There’s a small bit of “torque” during recoil, with the Vector twisting slightly, but again it returns to form on the forward stroke of the bolt. This is a minor curiosity, not a critique.

Kriss Vector SDP-SBKriss Vector SDP-SB
Kriss Vector SDP-SB

The trigger is better than I expected. I’m more used to Mp5 PCC’s/subguns than AR-type guns. An average trigger is to be expected on a gun like this, but a good trigger is what we get.  Less creep and a lighter pull by far than the average Mp5 trigger, this goes a long way towards the Vector’s accuracy.

Kriss VectorKriss Vector
My original Vector zero target. Groups just fine with budget ammo.

Dropping steel at 25 yards is a rhythmic joy. At 50 yards it is easy enough. At 100 yards though, the .45 ACP is doing its usual nosedive routine, so it’s time to holdover. A lot.

Muzzle blast is greater in the Vector than you’d think, but maybe that’s just a side effect of having the recoil/muzzle blast divorced from each other so significantly. All bark, no bite. My 12-year-old absolutely loves shooting this gun.

Reliable? Yes. In the years I’ve owned this, not one jam, misfeed or malfunction of any sort.

Bottom line, the Kriss Vector is an innovative design, built into a gun well made to take advantage of its technological advances. It shoots, it scores!

 

Features

  • Model:  Vector SDP-SB
  • Caliber:  .45 ACP (9mm, .40 SW, 10mm available)
  • Magazines:  Uses Glock 21 mags
  • Barrel Length:  5.5″
  • Overall length:  24.25″
  • Operating System:  Closed Bolt, Delayed Blowback
  • Action Type:  Semi-Auto
  • Color:  Black
  • Weight:  6.7 lbs
  • Barrel Material:  4140 Chrome Moly Steel
  • Barrel Finish:  Black Nitride QPC
  • Twist Rate:  1:10″ RH
  • Barrel Thread Pitch:  M16x1 LH
  • Trigger Type:  Pivoting, Single Stage
  • MSRP: $1349.99 for the Vector SDP, non-braced pistol
  • Street Price: $1269

Ratings (out of Five Stars)

Accuracy * * * * *

As far as .45 ACP can accurately shoot, the Vector can shoot accurately.

Ergonomics * * * *
Locking the bolt to the rear is a little weird, but everything else is smooth as butter.

Reliability * * * * *
Shoots. And shoots. And shoots. And shoots. Hundreds, hundreds and hundreds of rounds, never one issue.

Overall * * * *
The Kriss Vector is a cool gun to look at, no doubt. Call me surprised then to have just as much fun shooting it. The Vector does a couple things well enough, and everything else it does really well. I’d like to see the price and/or the weight creeping down after this long on the market, but if you’re in the market for an accurate, reliable little .45 ACP semi-subgun, the Kriss Vector is well worth your time.

 

 

Read more articles and reviews by Jens “Rex Nanorum” Hammer or follow him on Instagram @Rexnanorum .

 

 

 

 

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