Deconstructing the KRISS Vector submachine gun

     The KRISS Vector is to weapons what the M16 was to lever-action rifles. Lever-action rifles were a far cry more efficient than, say, muskets. Am I exaggerating? If so, it's not by much. The KRISS Vector really is the next step in weapon design...

  • It is a .45 ACP caliber weapon. While 9mm has long been the standard, many units are moving back to the long-proven fight-ending punch of the .45 ACP. Keeping multiple rounds on target out of a submachine gun has proven a challenge. With the unique recoil system of the Vector, it's much easier to put multiple rounds on your target.
  • It uses standard Glock 21 magazines. Available in standard 13-round capacity, the magazines fit flush into the bottom of the mag well. However, since it's an SMG, KRISS-TDI has contracted a well-known company to manufacture 17-round extensions that are easy to put on the 13-round Glock magazines. The end result, if you do the math, is a 30-round magazine for your subgun.

     How fast you burn through those rounds is a different matter. The Vector gives you several choices. A selector lever lets you go from safe to semi to two-round burst to full auto. Why two-round? This was some feedback we received from professionals. Most agencies today train to engage lethal threats with a controlled-pair — formerly referred to as a double-tap, or two rounds fired quickly at the target.

     Given the typical muzzle-climb with an .45 ACP subgun, if it was a three-round burst, we'd have a hard time keeping the third round on the target. At a distance of about 7 yards, the spread on a two-round burst is only between 4 and 6 inches. However, at 15 yards that opens up to about 10 or 12 inches. If your initial point of aim is the low abdomen, your second hit will be in the chest.

     When you look at the overall Vector design you find that it was well thought-out in that it is designed to work with today's most common accessories. Above the barrel, in the receiver housing, is an integral flashlight mount with holes allowing for direction of a remote pressure switch on either side. This is imperative, as the weapon is designed to be 100 percent ambidextrous anyway.

     The top of the receiver has a length of Picatinny rail for mounting optics, and there's a shorter rail under the barrel to mount a vertical handle if you want one. Without such a handle, the front of the magazine well — which flows into the housing for the recoil block — serves as a front grip area. In lieu of optics for the top rail, the Vector has detachable sights that collapse out of the way if you are using optics, or easily pop up if you need them.

     The Vector's cyclic rate of fire is much higher than what I've dealt with in the past, being in excess of 800 rounds per minute. The early prototypes I fired had a cyclic rate of about 1,100 rpm, but they've slowed that down some. From what the engineers tell me, they can reduce that down as low as 600 to 700 rpm if an agency really requires it. But to date, no one has expressed displeasure with the 800 rpm they're using now.

     KRISS-TDI is working with several suppressor manufacturers to come up with a sound suppressor that works efficiently with their system. Obviously, several suppressors currently on the market would work here. But they want something that will work at maximum efficiency with their system, not something that works "just fine."

     For those of you who don't want a subgun, but really like the idea of the recoil system, KRISS-TDI is now marketing the Vector CRB/SO semi-auto-only variant with a 16-inch barrel and fixed stock.

     So if the idea of being able to put accurate .45 ACP rounds on a target 100 yards away sounds like something you might (unfortunately) have to do, you should check out this weapon. Reduced felt recoil combined with increased accuracy is never a bad thing in the world of firearms.

     Frank Borelli is the editor-in-chief of, the official Web site of the Cygnus Law Enforcement Group.

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