Texas PD Training: KRISS Vector Vs. H&K UMP (Part 1)

First and foremost I would like to thank everyone involved in helping get this series of articles together. Without Phil (our T&E Manager and Senior Writer) helping bridge the connections between KRISS USA and myself, without the good people at the DeSoto Police Department (especially officer Tyndall), and of course with the support of our readers this would not have been possible. I know it took at least three or four months of planning, several date changes, and 250 emails on my end alone to get this together, but in the end it was one of the neatest events I have ever been a part of.

On August 30th, Phil sent me an email saying that I would be reviewing the KRISS Vector SMG for the blog. There was a miscommunication at some point because he believed I had my SOT (Class III dealer of firearms) where in reality I do not. Rather than let this get in the way of me getting my mits on a Vector, I sent an email back saying that I have a good rapport with a local police department and that they might be interested in testing the Vector. Typically here at the blog writers are not allowed to contact manufacturers directly (in order to keep us as unbiased as possible) but when it comes to an event or undertaking like this, especially involving NFA items, it becomes necessary. Phil gave me the go ahead to get in touch with KRISS USA, and from that point I got in touch with Michael Hou who was all for coming to Texas with some of his company’s products in tow for myself and the DeSoto Texas PD to test. I went a little rogue too and invited our friends from TPM Outfitters to bring out a fully automatic H&K UMP to go head to head with the Vector SMG. The officers at the PD also requested me to bring, and I quote “anything I have that is cool,” so I knew we were in for a good range day!

On December 11th I arrived at the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department range to begin setting up for the demo. I had brought along some personal firearms for the officers to compare against the Vector, including a Mac 10, Uzi, and an MP43. I arrived one hour before the demo and the guys from KRISS showed up a few minutes after with not just one, but a literal crate of KRISS submachine guns! Here are Mike and Phil with their flagship product equipped with their in house Defiance suppressor:


A few minutes later, Matt and Ken from TPM Outfitters showed up with the UMP and a few other toys for the officers to play with (including their awesome integrally suppressed .22lr pistol). They also surprised me and brought along an MP5 that they built for me that I commissioned them to build around the time I did my article on their operation! It was great to have an MP5 out there too, as it is pretty much the standard when it comes to sub guns:


So us five gun guys laid everything out for the officers to look at as they trickled in to the range classroom.

The officers varied in shape and size, which was great because it would allow for a smattering of different outlooks and opinions on the different firearms at the event:


From left to right we have officers Lorenzo Garza, Andrew Wood, Cindy Tyndall, Vanice Mitchell, and Brett Evans. Everyone was eager to get to the range and punch holes in paper, but first Mike gave a quick instructional and sales pitch showing off the Vector and Sphinx pistol.



While KRISS is famous for the Vector SMG, the Sphinx pistol is an absolutely stellar sidearm. As funny as it may sound, despite all the radical fully automatic firearms around, people still gravitated too and wanted to shoot the Sphinx (myself included).

Anyways onto the range.

We set up all the firearms on a small shooting table and set up metal targets for everyone to shoot at.


Even Mike was impressed with our spread, as evidenced by his phone photography.

To kick off everything, I asked which officers were most experienced with sub guns, and it was pretty unanimous that officers Garza and Wood were equally good marksmen with long guns. Officer Garza was given a crash course it how to operate the Vector, and then he got right to it:



It was interesting watching him run the Vector, as the cyclic rate is incredibly fast. The firearms two-round burst setting sounds almost like a single shot, and the rounds land in damn near the same hole. Officer Garza rattled off a few bursts, and then hit the selector to fun-mode and landed all of his shots on the steel silhouette. Instantly the recoil mitigation technology in the Vector is evident even to an observer, as you can barely see the operator move even while doing a mag dump. In fact the rearward recoil and muzzle rise is so minimal that it allows the user to do this:


All in all officer Garza was very impressed by the Vector. That said, it was time to put the UMP to the test to see how it compared. It is worth noting that the DeSoto PD has four MP5 submachine guns for use by their tactical team, so the group admitted that they were more familiar with the controls of the UMP (all operated by your thumb). The UMP is also laid out more traditionally whereas the Vector is unique in its form.

Here is Officer Garza running the UMP:



While most of his shots landed on the steel, you could tell that the UMP gave his shoulder a little more trouble and the slow cyclic rate caused it to jump around a little less predictably.

So now for the good part. I asked which gun he liked better and why? The answer was without a doubt the Vector. Garza said that while he is used to the controls of the UMP more (he is a seasoned AR15 shooter as well, which has controls similar to the HK series when it comes to selector and mag position), the Vector’s recoil reduction system makes it exponentially more comfortable to shoot.

Officer Wood had the exact same opinion when we performed the same experiment with him:



As stated, officer Wood had the same opinion as officer Garza. And I of course shared their opinions when I shot the guns back to back. Note also how I am an H&K guy, but it is without question that the Vector is a better submachine gun to shoot than the UMP:



Even Phil had to give the UMP a go to see how it compared against his company’s product. Of course he has a vested interest in the Vector, but after experiencing the harsh recoil of the UMP on full auto, I think his faith in his own product grew even bigger:


After this short test, it was time for a “free for all” so to speak, and we all went weapons free, shooting the Vectors, UMP, and everything else we had brought.




And of course I myself had to get in on the action with my newly built, TPM MP5!


They also threw on a Knight’s Armament can that made the gun even more fun to shoot (I will do a full traditional review on this gun in the future):


Vanice also liked the MP5 and was nailing the targets dead center with it. It is worth noting that this day was her first time ever to shoot a machine gun, and she definitely had the “machine gun smile” on her face the whole time we were out there:


Throughout the next couple of hours the officers were comparing the various firearms against the KRISS Vector. The biggest hit next to the Vector seemed to be the Uzi (ironically made by a company called Vector), which officer Garza jokingly called “the Cadillac of submachine guns” because it was nice, built well, and comfy… but also slow which gave me a good laugh. Everyone had a go on the Uzi in order to use it as a benchmark against the Vector:





The Uzi’s slow cyclic rate makes it a very easy to control sub-gun, but it is nowhere near as sophisticated as the Vector or UMP. As the Uzi fires from an open bolt, it lacks the accuracy of the MP5, UMP, or Vector and even officers Wood and Garza had a bit of difficulty hitting the small hostage plate behind the steel silhouette. While the Uzi does have less recoil than the Vector due to its 9mm caliber, it isn’t that much less especially when you consider that the Vector fires nearly twice as fast as the Uzi.

As a bonus everyone also got to shoot the Sphinx pistols, which were a hit among the officers.



The fit and finish on these is excellent, and I am seriously considering buying one for personal use.

Also as requested I had brought out some cool stuff, which included the granddaddy of the modern Assault Rifle, the MP43 Sturmgewehr:




As the testing came to an end we all had a short talk about the Vector, and all of the officers agreed that it was one awesome weapon system. I myself am a seasoned sub-gunner and have my own bullet points regarding the system:

The Good:

  • Incredibly low recoil
  • Accurate as can be due to its closed bolt firing system
  • Uses commonly available Glock magazines
  • Has burst and full auto settings
  • Very compact
  • Easy to maintain and disassemble
  • Virtually no muzzle rise

The Bad:

  • The safety and fire mode selectors are two different switches
  • The guns layout takes a bit of getting used to due to its radical design
  • As of now it is available in .45acp only (conversions are on the way)

The Ugly:

  • Due to being made after 1986 (the machine gun cutoff), the fully automatic version is only available to police and military

Even though the KRISS Vector SMG is not available to civilians, they do make carbines and factory SBRs for consumers. Even in SBR form the Super V recoil reduction system is awesome, and I would love to have one. Matter of fact, I foresee a pistol to SBR project in my future!

Again, many thanks to all involved in this test, and stay tuned for part two: Dallas SWAT and the Vector SMG!

 Continue reading Part 2 here.

Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


  • dannye

    So much for cops being civilians when they have access to FA guns that regular folks with no trust funds cannot dream of obtaining.

    • These men and women would not normally utilize these types of weapons on the job. Four different localities in that area share a small joint tactical team. It was just nice of them to help us get together a full auto test, and we all had a good time out there!

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      Don’t turn this into a political debate. With a 1/3 of my writers being cops and retired cops, and half being active duty military or veterans, this is probably not the blog for you. Additionally we are very appreciative of the PD for helping us organize this review.

  • Nicholas Westfield

    I have a KRISS Vector SMG (CA version) and I love it. The recoil is so minimal and it is so accurate, I do not see how anyone can hate it tbh. I kinda like the caliber choice for the stopping power.

  • Lyman Credborough

    Great article. I’m very interested in the Vector vs UMP section. That recoil mitigation system seems to work very well, wonder if they’ll produce MG or AR with the same system. I had to ask about the Vector’s reliability – how was it? Any problems while firing it?

    • optac

      It would be difficult to make an AR with the same design. Notice that the Vector pistol grip allows the hand to be directly behind the barrel. This is part of the physics which contributes to the “no jump recoil”. Perhaps it could be tried with one of the AR variants that does not require a buffer tube due to an alternate internal recoil arrangement such as the AR-18 style folding stock design.

      • Colin

        I did read a few years ago that KRISS was looking at doing shotgun, 556, 762 and even .50 cal projects. As nothing has been heard since, I’m guessing that they ran into difficulties.

    • There is no way to put that system into an AR. I’ve shot the Vector a good deal when I was testing it.
      I had zero malfunctions using brass cased ammo. It doesn’t like steel cased ammo.

      • tts

        Use a upper with a side charging handle, remove the grip from the normal position, use a special custom stock with a built in grip + trigger assembly linked to the one already in the lower to drop the action down so that it is in line perfectly with the wrist instead of above it.

        Would probably be hilariously unbalanced and long even with a 16″ barreled upper since you’d probably have to move everything so far forward to make it work. The trigger might end up being sloppy too and end up feeling like something out of a cheap bullpup conversion stock. But that is probably the cheapest and easiest way to pull it off.

        At least that I can think of.

    • Esh325

      It would be more worthwhile just to make a Vector in a more serious caliber like the 5.56×45 or 5.7x28mm.

      • tts

        Isn’t the Vector a sort of blow back action though?

        I don’t think you can make something like that work with standard 5.56x45mm or a larger and more powerful cartridge like M2/M33 .50. Pretty sure you’d need a locking bolt action of some sort for those cartridges.

        Blow back is fine for most non-magnum pistol cartridges though so 5.7x28mm would probably be doable with their current guns. Personally I’d prefer .22TCM. Should be cheaper and has similar performance.

        • It is blowback operated but the bolt moves rearward a tad and then straight down to reduce muzzle rise and recoil. However, and I am an armchair engineer, I believe you could delay the opening of the action to prevent premature unlocking by utilizing a simple lever-delayed blowback system (that would maintain the size and shape of the action). Roller delayed blowback could also be used of course. I do believe however that drilling the barrel and adding a gas system for a traditional rotating bolt system would result in unnecessary weight and bulk.

          • tts

            Aren’t the French replacing their FAMAS due to issues with the lever delayed blow back action driving them nuts? Its a cool idea but the whole randomly-variable-head-space-as-the-action-wears thing just rubs me the wrong way. That and its pretty sensitive to the ammo being used. Probably get tons of issues shooting the suspiciously cheap ammo. Steel case stuff probably also won’t extract to well either. It’d probably be pretty nasty to scale it up for a larger cartridge like .50bmg since it magnifies perceived recoil (though not muzzle flip). I’ve never fired a FAMAS but I’ve heard they’ve got a surprising amount of kick for a weapon chambered in 5.56x45mm.

            Roller delayed is also pretty cool but also has similar issues with being sensitive to ammo quality and casing. Supposedly it has inherent wear issues too that effect the rollers ability to delay the blowback but I have no idea how much of a problem that is.

            I suspect they’re going to have to go with either DI or a short stroke piston of some sort. Those Kel-Tec SU16’s have shown you can make a damn light short stroke piston rifle so its not such a crazy idea. They just need to design and build it right so it isn’t flimsy like Kel-Tec’s guns.

          • tts

            A tilting bolt instead of a rotating bolt would probably be practical for a rifle chambered in 5.56x45mm. Not sure about something chambered in .50bmg…

          • They have said they are, but nothing has come of it. Lever delayed blowback has been implemented successfully several times, but the FAMAS must use steel cased ammo to prevent brass cases from being ripped in half (d’oh). It is strange that France, a county responsible for so much military innovation has not rectified the issue.
            As for roller delayed blowback being sensitive to the type of ammo used, I cannot confirm this and have a lot of first hand experience. I have a pair of HK 93s, a 91, an MP5, and an MP5k and have run them all to death with all sorts of ammo and have never experienced a failure. It is true that you have to swap rollers as the trunnion wears, but we are talking thousands of rounds (my 93 has several thousand rounds through it and all I have swapped in is a set of +2 rollers). Generally the barrel life is exceeded before the trunnion is done, so many people replace both at the same time.
            Either way it will be interesting to see what KRISS comes up with!

          • tts

            Yes it certainly will.

            Thanks for sharing your experience with roller delayed blow back firearms too.

          • In my test and review of the Vector I had problems with steel cased ammunition. The steel cases didn’t eject well. I don’t use steel cased ammo anyway when I’m using a gun for protection.

    • Thank you! The guys have said that there are designs in the works to adapt the Super V system to larger calibers and applications… including .50bmg (Which would be awesome). As for reliability, we put maybe 700-800 rounds through the guns and I did not see a malfunction or hiccup from either the UMP of Vector. To read more about the recoil mitigation, look for part three where I actually put it to the test. We got some great data!

  • st4

    “Da Uzi nine milla-meetuh…”

  • ThatGuy

    I wish I had the privilege of shooting a full automatic gun with my friends without jumping through loopholes 🙁

    • Guest


    • It took a good amount of time to put this together believe me! That and some loopholes as well:-)

      • claymore

        Sure did!!

      • Thanks Phil, this was a really fun test and all the work we did culminated in a great series of articles that really showcase a stellar product. Also, That Guy, if you are ever in North Texas give me a shout and we can go swiss-cheese some paper! Maybe a TFB Reader Appreciation Range Day is in order, haha.

    • pigs

      Sign up to kill for the government, then you can have all the FA fun you’d ever want.

      • Yea well when you say garbage like that from the cover of a made up name you’re not only insulting me but about a third of the staff. Like myself our staff has plenty of active and retired officers as well as military members active and retired.
        God forbid we do have to use our weapons—- there’s nothing fun about it. These types of guns are to protect ourselves as well as the public (you).
        As far as I’m concerned on a personal level you’re full of S—!

        • pigs

          The vast majority of SWAT deployments are for drug raids against unarmed civilians. Those FA guns aren’t protecting the public, they are enforcing the will of depraved politicians.

          • Having actually served on our SRU team I can say first hand that’s a fantasy comment.
            Unarmed drug dealers—right.

          • pigs

            Hah. Thugs like you prey on users for arrest numbers. In the delusional fantasy of “officer safety” absolutism, anyone suspected of using drugs is considered armed and warrants an unconstitutional no-knock raid allowed by a robed politician.

            Here’s an idea, stop terrorizing the citizenry because of the drug war and you might not need to use your guns to murder civilians.

  • eric

    would be even better if they decided to arm a swat team with sturmgewehrs, classiest swat team ever

    • BillC

      Those would be called “Nazis”.

    • DW

      Swat-stika team

  • hkryan

    Anyone else only getting some of the photos?

    • They take some time to load since there are so many. Just give it some time and they’ll load.

      • claymore

        This article caused my Firefox browser to crash twice while waiting for the photos to load never had a crash with FF before.

        BUT it was worth the crashes and wait.

  • Giolli Joker

    Great article!
    But the KRISS needs red nail polish…

  • nester7929

    The Vector’s gizmos make me curious, but I think I’d still rather have the good ‘ol MP5 due to familiarity. Maybe shooting a Vector in full-auto would change my mind, but I never had any problem controlling the HK. Of course, the MP5 was just a 9mm. Haven’t had the opportunity to try a UMP.

    • Having shot the MP5 a good deal as an issued weapon plus testing the Vector I would go with the Vector hands down. I like the MP5 don’t get me wrong but the Vector is so far ahead it’s really no contest. The UMP tends to want to dance all over so it’s out.

    • The MP5 is a great shooting and proven gun without a doubt and most sub gunners are familiar with the controls of it, and I must say I thought the radical design of the Vector would fail to sway me (as a huge HK fan), but it most definitely did. The two round burst feature is nothing short of amazing when it stacks two rounds on the same hole. I would have absolute confidence in either firearm if I needed to choose one.

  • A poor, poor man

    Sounds like you guys had some real fun times! 🙂

  • wetcorps

    Cool article.

  • ddearborn

    Great article. It does make me pause for moment. These guns are banned for civilians. I was just curious where it was in the Constitution that certain government employees are granted special gun rights the rest of us are denied? What kind of revolution would America of had if the King had passed a law denying the right to own a musket without excessive paperwork and taxes? Or had just banned their ownership by “civilians” all together. And instead of muskets, we faced the Red coats with bows and arrows?
    It is great to see that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in America. Proof once again that it doesn’t always take a huge corporation with unlimited R&D money to come up with truly great design.

    • tts

      The modern reading, and multiple Supreme Courts have up held this interpretation going back at least to the Great Depression years, is that the 2nd Amendment doesn’t deny the states or federal govt. the ability to limit or ban certain firearms.

      There are some Originialists who disagree with this however they’re also the sort who also like to pretend all the post Civil War amendments don’t exist either so they’re not taken seriously by anyone.

      Also it would appear that England did try to ban and even seize guns and gun powder in 1774 (http://www.davekopel.org/2A/LawRev/american-revolution-against-british-gun-control.html) prior to the start of the Revolutionary War. It did play a major role in precipitating wide spread support for the Patriots.

      The problem with the entrepreneurial spirit in the US right now isn’t that it doesn’t exist or is somehow under attack. Its that plenty of good ideas get sabotaged or held ransom by patent trolls and big business looking to make an easy quick buck via lawyers and the courtroom instead of trying to produce a useful widget or good which requires expensive production lines and personnel. Congress did, amazingly, manage to pass some laws that help reduce the power of patent trolls recently. However the laws are, at best, still a half measure. The entire patent system needs a overhaul. Some things, like software for instance, either shouldn’t even be patented at all or only have a very short patent (like a year or 2).

    • These government employees do not have rights we are denied. They have to adhere to the same laws we do when it comes to purchasing a firearm (they have to fill out a 4473, and if going the NFA route they have to do form 4s and wait like everyone else). Hell, I bought my Uzi from an ATF agent who just happened to be a gun guy and he couldn’t do anything about the wait, haha. Only a PD can purchase a post-86 machine gun, and they have to provide a department letterhead and it can only be used for official police business (individual officers don’t get to just have them). These officers are not allowed to use fully automatic firearms on the job either. Officer Garza told me that they are allowed to have a semi auto AR15 in their car, but only if they pay for it through a payroll deduction program!
      The DeSoto PD has a tactical room that is locked all the time, and its equipment is for use by a small combined tactical team that pulls from the 4 surrounding localities. As stated, they have four aging MP5s in there and these officers do not get to play with them. It was a rare treat for these good people to get to play with select fire weapons, and for some it was their first time!
      That said, I am with you 100% that the 1986 ban on MGs is a travesty. I would love nothing more than for it to be repealed so we could all have affordable autos for sub gun matches, fun, etc but unfortunately we have to adhere to the law. This may sound silly but the best way of getting it repealed is exposing more people to it to show them that in the hands of a moral person, a selective fire gun is no more dangerous than a semi automatic gun. Thank you for reading and commenting too, I really appreciate you guy’s support!

  • Pewpew

    Need video comparison, stills don’t do comparisons justice

    • I do have a video on my youtube channel that will be posted on article three. I can tell you that the UMP really does knock you around good as it is a 5 pound gun with a small stock that spits out big 230 grain projectiles. Shooting the vector feels like you are getting a nice little shoulder massage, haha.

  • Y-man

    Great article. I have fired the Kriss Vector before, semi-auto only though. Alex C. is right about the layout being “strange” – it almost feels like something perfect for “spraying”, like a hose, when held in Pistol configuration.

    I also noticed (When I shot it.) it seemed to shoot low. I guess with practice, one would learn to compensate.

    Recoil was negligible, and no muzzle rise at all (For Semi-Auto fire…)

    Looking forward to the other two instalments of Alex C.’s wonderful articles.

    About the Sphinx Pistol, the trigger guard front seems too sharp, and could be an issue with holsters (When holstering) don’t you think?

  • DieHard-Hans

    I wonder if they could utilize the system and chamber it in 300BLK. Short cartridge with low pressure. Can’t wait to see more from this company.

  • John Sjöström

    Nonthing about its reliability. What happens when you barry it in mud, sand or water. What happens when you submerge with it. More articles with thing like this =)

  • Justin_GA

    The UMP beats the KRISS hands down. I have both and my KRISS Vector is so dang hard to charge that it makes it an absolute NO GO for any defense situation. I have sent it back to Kriss and they say they “fixed it”. Still hard as hell to charge. When I am out shooting with friends i’m the only one who can charge it. And if a female police officer was given one there is no way they could charge it. Probably equivalent to a 80lb bow draw. On the other hand HK’s UMP, G36c, MP5, FNH F2000, FNH P90, IWI Tavor, IWI Uzi, etc are extremely easy to charge. I love the way the KRISS looks and operates, but I could never sell one to a police department in good conscience. I think my last comment was removed. I’m just telling the truth because the KRISS vector’s really do have issues with the charging handle. I’ve heard that KRISS sends out SMG’s that are perfect to demo’s with. If you want the truth though go to your local gun shop and try charging it.

  • Mazryonh

    I wonder how well this KRISS system might hold up to higher-pressure cartridges like the .460 Rowland. Could be interesting for fans of magnum pistol cartridges to see if they could get a carbine that could easily mitigate the recoil. A pity that the KRISS system necessitates a very short barrel length (5.5 inches, less than many handguns) in the “military-grade” model.

  • bernardg

    Cool article! But i can’t keep thinking. Where is HK-MP7? It should be put there to the test for comparison chart. Since UZI (it’s forefather) was there.

  • Flyingchipmunk

    I got to shoot a sphinx the other day and it is one slick shooting gun. It is definitely worth the price as it shoots better than many guns that cost far more. They are really hard to find but they are worth the hunt. Hopefully with KRISS importing them now they will become more common.