KRISS XSMG from Transformational Defense Industries

At SHOT Show I saw a new design in submachine guns that struck me as evolutionary. I've mentioned it before: the Kriss XSMG from Transformational Defense Industries, Inc. (TDII). What makes the weapon so new and different isn't the 5.5-inch barrel--been there, done that; it isn't the fact that the gun uses standard Glock .45ACP magazines--other weapons use common magazines too; but this subgun takes the energy from the bolt blowing back and redirects it in a downward path in front of the trigger area. When I first saw it I thought, "broomhandled Mauser mixed with Star Wars." When I got a chance to learn more about it and shoot it at the range, I came to appreciate the newly developed recoil design. It was a cold day at the range with precipitation that ranged from fat snow flakes to mixed sleet and was definitely a cold weather test day and we put an ugly mix of ammo through the weapon. Read how well it performed below.

As I mentioned, the range day was less than sunny and pleasant. As you can see from the photo right (yours truly behind the XSMG), the snow, rain and sleet was falling freely. Temperatures were running in the low to mid-thirties. We found out from the good folks at TDII that this was to be the coldest day of firing for the prototype weapons. It's important to understand that the two weapons we had available that day were both prototypes. Both showed signs of use and abuse but functioned without any flaw.

On hand at the range were three representatives from TDII and a collection of us cops. Also on hand was an ammo can full of an ugly assortment of ammo that ran the gamut from gun show-bought 230g FMJ reloads to Federal Hydra-Shok 185g JHP. When we discussed the ammunition, it was learned that testing to that point had all been done with 230g FMJ (ball) ammo and that the weapon had performed best with ammo from Federal and Remington. We were going to put the gun to much uglier testing than that. To its credit, the Kriss XSMG fed and fired all of the ammo we put into it. Some of what we had was truncated cone FMJ ammo and it had no issues with that, either. On the last round of each magazine of JHP ammo we fired, we experienced a feeding malfunction as the jacket edge at the mouth of the bullet cavity caught on the feed ramp, where it mated with the wall of the mag well. While this malfunction was easily identified, explained, and will prove easy to fix, it also did not and would not prevent reloading. The reloading process cleared the hung up round, which followed the magazine out the bottom of the magazine well. A fresh magazine was loaded and we kept shooting.

After happily burning through as much ammo as we could--tolerating as much of the cold precipitation as we could--we went back inside and talked about design, production, etc. Here are a few items about the Kriss XSMG that I learned, and some of them I was quite surprised with:

  • Both of the prototypes had been proof tested with a round loaded to 150%. All production weapons will receive the same proof test.
  • The weapon's recoil system is capable of supporting a cyclic rate of up to 1,100 rounds per minute. However, due to market demand, the current planned cyclic rate for production weapons is between 600-700 rounds per minute.
  • The prototypes weigh about 4.8 pounds. Final production weight goal is 4.2 pounds or less. (Competition is the H&K UMP and the MP5, both of which weigh about 4.5 pounds)
  • Overall length is 15 inches with the stock collapsed; 25-26 inches with the stock extended.
  • The weapon was designed from the ground up to be modular, so that it can be ordered in various configurations to meet the customer's need(s).
  • Prototype weapons have a 1-in-16 rifling rate. No issues have been found with this, but final rifling specs haven't yet been determined.
  • The weapon was designed without sights. There is a full-length Picatinny system on the top rail. TDII recommends pop-up front and rear sights with an electro-optical sight in between.
  • The system frame was specifically designed to accept a tactical light above the barrel, but below the sighting system. A pre-routed path for wiring the light to a remote pressure switch was designed in.
  • As the weapons available were prototypes and final production cost hasn't yet been determined, no specific target price was available. However, as the guys from TDII said, the price has to be as comparable as the weapon to fit in the market.

So, what really makes the Kriss XSMG radically different from the competition? The recoil system. If you take a look at the photo shown right (the XSMG, field stripped), you can clearly see the bolt and recoil system in the bottom center portion of the photo. That "V" looking block is the key. The bolt moves back into milled grooves and forces that V-shaped block DOWN instead of back. The recoil spring and rod absorb the recoil as it moves DOWN and then forces the V-shaped block back up which forces the bolt to move forward. Now think about this...

Recoil for most small weapons move backward and up in an arc. How tight that arc of movement is depends on the length of the recoil system and where the pivot point is on the gun. Using the M16 as an example, the recoil system goes from immediately behind the bolt all the way back to the end of the shoulder stock. In a handgun, such as the Glock Model 21, the recoil system is the slide being moved back and forth by the forces at work internally, including the recoil assembly. The pivot point of the M16 is where the stock is locked into the shooter's shoulder. With a handgun, the pivot point is the shooter's hand/wrist, depending on technique used. Thanks to the recoil system of the Kriss XSMG, the recoil is redirected DOWN in FRONT of the pivot point, so that the muzzle climb--the arc of the recoil--is minimized by the force of the recoil pushing the weapon down. I like it.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of this recoil system, one of the TDII reps (a former Marine and all around nice guy) fired a magazine of ammo one handed on burst. He had no issues keeping all rounds on target.

The stated production goal of TDII is Spring of 2008, with weapons available in .45ACP, 9mm and .40S&W. I think they are on to something and I'm looking forward to doing further testing with one of the early production models. Keep your eye on this new subgun. I think it's going to rock the industry in all the fun ways.