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:
- 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 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)
- 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!