The Vector Carbine

By Home Defense Gun Staffer Bob

The Vector Carbine800px-Kriss_Vector_SMG_Realistic

The pistol caliber carbine is always a good choice when it comes to home defense. Carbines pack enough punch to be useful while still being low in recoil and oftentimes offering increased accuracy over their handgun counterparts. This year at the SHOT Show I had the opportunity to shoot quite a few pistol caliber carbines, but only one really caught my eye in terms of innovation. KRISS markets their Vector carbine as the first real firearms innovation in over a century and, while it’s always hard to say where one operating concept stops and a new one starts, one thing is for certain: the Vector is different from anything else currently on the market.

Easy Maintenance

KRISS had an offsite exhibition this year at Machine Guns Vegas and the strange look of the Vector made for too good of an opportunity for a gun crank like me to pass on. When I showed up at MGV there was a fairly long line of people queued up ahead of me (there’s a line for everything that involves actual shooting at the SHOT Show), so I killed some time with one of KRISS’s marketing assistants, Mytchel Luoug. For a marketing guy Mytchel had a surprisingly good handle on the Vector and its operation and he even took the time to break down one of the display models for me, an impressive accomplishment because it’s not easy to take apart a gun when it’s attached to a table by a metal cable. Fortunately, the Vector must have been designed with an eye towards easy maintenance, as it breaks down without tools by removing pins – similar to the process of breaking down an AR. Once the gun is apart all the main components are easily accessible for cleaning and would probably only require a can of Gun Scrubber and a rag to keep in good working order.

The Vector action utilizes a kind of modified toggle bolt system. The rear of the carbine’s bolt is attached to what KRISS calls a slider mass. This is essentially a weight that moves up and down perpendicular to the bore of the gun during firing. Recoil pushes the weight down, counteracting muzzle rise, and a spring forces the weight back up to close the action and ready the carbine for the next shot. The slider mass, rod and return spring occupy the space between the gun’s magazine well and the front of the trigger guard. This gives the Vector its strange look, but also allows for a much smaller overall size. In addition to saving space the weight traveling down during recoil reduces muzzle rise. A few machine guns from the turn of the century used a system slightly similar to this, but modern materials like polymer plastics, reduced size and Swiss attention to detail during production make the Vector a tool very far removed from those early, clunky specimens.

Excellent Operation

Firing the Vector for the first time is kind of surprising. I guess I would compare it to firing an A-5 Browning for the first time. You know you touched off a round but it seems like more should have happened. KRISS claims that their system reduces recoil by 60% and muzzle rise by 95%. My shoulder isn’t calibrated enough to give that kind of quantitative assessment, but I’m inclined to believe them. It is very, very easy to accurately rattle off a thirteen round clip from the Vector — kind of fun too. The functioning is smooth and the shooter doesn’t notice recoil or feel the weight moving back up. I was more than a little impressed with how well the particular Vector I was firing functioned because it was far from a freshly cleaned specimen. KRISS had a limited number of Vectors down in Vegas and it seemed like just about every gun writer on earth wanted to try them out. This didn’t leave much time for cleaning during the course of the ten hours a day the guns were available. I shot at about 8 PM, which meant a whole lot of people had put a whole lot of rounds through the gun (not that I didn’t soak up all the free ammo they would give me, as well). Even in its rough condition the Vector ran flawlessly. I got my hands pretty filthy from touching it, but other than that there were no problems.

Vector CRB – A Good Choice

KRISS makes the Vector in a few different models they are mostly marketing to law enforcement. The models with short barrels or full auto capability will, of course, require federal tax stamps and a lot of paperwork. KRISS also makes the Vector CRB, which is available in semi-auto and avoids the ATF hassle. The CRB is chambered in 45 Auto, has a sixteen-inch barrel and a choice of two different stock designs: folding or collapsible. A Picatinny rail on the top of the receiver allows for pretty much any sight system you are in the mood for and all of the Vectors take Glock 21 magazines so you don’t have to go to Switzerland for replacements. With a price tag of $1895 the Vector CRB probably isn’t for everybody, but then again if you carry a Glock 21 or 41 and want a reliable carbine (not conversion kit) that will accept the same magazines as your sidearm – or simply want a reliable, versatile .45 ACP carbine – your options are pretty limited. If nothing else you can always tear it down and let your friends marvel at the unconventional action.

What do you think of the KRISS Vector? Let us know in the comments.


Photo Credit – Gasteiz

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