Gun Review: KRISS Vector

    The KRISS Vector is one of the most interesting and innovative weapons I’ve used in a very long time. I have been very impressed with the design, ergonomics as well as the lack of noticeable recoil. This is an impressive design to say the least.

    This weapon system has been several years in the making. Since the first prototype the company has tweaked the design several times until they had it completed to the companies satisfaction. The Vector is primarily aimed at the military and police market. The carbine version has also become popular with civilians since it’s release to that market.

    There are several models available. I obtained the standard carbine semi-auto for this review. Other types are the SBR with a 5.5 inch barrel in semi-auto or in the (Special Operations) SMG configuration also with a 5.5 inch barrel. All models with the 5.5-barrel can be fitted with the KRISS suppressor. Of course a federal tax stamp and background check are needed for the 5.5-inch barrel and/or suppressor.

    My test carbine has a 16.5-inch barrel with a folding/removable stock. The barrel comes standard with a full barrel shroud, which gives it a pretty intimidating look. If you didn’t know better you would think it was a suppressor☺ The stock is adjustable in length to accommodate the individual shooter. Using a set of included hex wrenches two inches can be added or removed from the stock length. A push button just to the rear of the ambidextrous safety allows the stock to fold and lock to the right side of the carbine.

    There are two versions of the semi-auto carbine. The plain model comes with BUIS sights mounted on the upper Picatinny rail. A vertical grip is also fitted on the lower rail. This grip is hollow allowing the owner to store batteries etc. Each side has a removable portion for mounting a tape switch for a laser or flashlight. Just above the barrel a plug is inserted which can be removed allowing the mounting of the Surefire Executive series flashlights among others. Positioning the light here allows the flashlight to aid in aiming since it rides directly over the centerline of the barrel.

    The Vector is chambered in .45ACP. The magazines are Glock model 21’s with a standard 14 round capacity. An adapter is available increasing the capacity to 30 rounds.

    The deluxe model comes with an EoTech 511 with a mounted Surefire E1B 80 lumen light. A sling and mount is also included as is the GripPod for greater stability in the prone position. MSRP for the standard carbine is $1889.00 with the Tac Pac the price is $2779.00.

    The reviewed carbine is the heaviest configuration weighing in at only 5.8 pounds! Overall length with an open stock is 34.8 inches. When folded it comes in at 26.5 inches. That makes this a very fast handling weapon in tight spaces. Even more impressive is the SBR/SO (sub machine gun special operations) with a length of 16.25 inches with the stock folded. Refer to the specifications below for the SBR/SO. These stats are on the far right side of the table.

    In the photo above you can see the primary operating controls. On the top left is the charging handle which folds out from the frame. Just under the charging handle to the right is the bolt release. Just under this is the magazine release located on the upper front of the receiver.

    The illustration below shows how this innovative action operates to mitigate what minor felt recoil there is. The bolt is depicted in blue as it begins to move to the rear out of battery. The assembly, which holds the bolt and recoil spring, is depicted in green and shows the three stages of operation. The green assembly rides on dual rails milled into the sides of the receiver guiding the bolt as well. From complete compression the mechanism moves up under spring pressure canting the bolt 90 degrees and back into battery to fire the next round. As you can see the recoil forces are directed down rather than to the rear as most common carbines operate.

    Takedown is very simple and can be completed in short order by removing four pins. The first two pins are at the base of the receiver allowing the operator to remove the bolt, recoil guide and spring. The two pins in the upper allows removal of the top half of the receiver. That’s really all there is to it. This is all that is required for easy access to all areas for cleaning. Reassembly takes replacement of these four pins and can be completed in less than a minute.

    Range Time

    After watching the demo of the KRISS compared to the HK UMP 45 I was a bit skeptical concerning the difference in recoil between these two fine weapons. The video comparison showed the H&K to have greater than 8 degrees of muzzle climb on semi auto compared to less than 2 degrees with the Vector. I was about to find out they are correct about the Vectors recoil.

    I made two trips to the range firing a total of 300 rounds of ball and 60 rounds of hollowpoint ammo. I used CCI Blazer, Federal and Winchester white box in 230 grain ball as well as 60 rounds of Magtech hollowpoints.

    I used two different sights. The first was my EoTech 516 with the second a Vortex red dot. Of course both sights worked well and co-witnessed with the iron sights without a problem.

    The only problem I experienced was shooting some Wolf ammo I had on hand. The company does not advise using Wolf ammo with good reason. The rounds just don’t have the punch to cycle the action causing a few failures to eject. If you’ve ever shot this brand of ammunition you probably noticed it’s pretty slow compared to say Federal 230 grain ball. After firing a few rounds I saved the rest for another day and another gun☺ There were no malfunctions of any kind with the other brands of ammunition. I used the 14 round magazine provided with the gun.

    The Vector has a large ejection port allowing the shooter to quickly clear any malfunctions.

    I fired a couple of mags to get used to the feel of the trigger after which I moved back to 25 yards then 50 yards. The target below shows the results of one magazine of 14 rounds fired from a rest at 25 yards. The group below that was fired from 50 yards from a rest. The 50 yard group was a total of 3 magazines fired. The first round fired from 50 yards I pushed which was totally my fault. As you can tell from this target this carbine is accurate.

    Unlike the first target I fired the target below from 20 yards firing as fast as I could reacquire a flash sight picture. Not to bad for burning through two magazines that fast.

    Overall through both range sessions I was very pleased with the results. What impressed me the most besides the practical accuracy at speed was the lack of recoil and muzzle rise. I would never be able to shoot groups like this at the speed I was firing with an AR or an HK UMP.


    There are several advantages this weapon has over others of it’s size and caliber not the least of which is the light weight, ease of maneuver and the ability to make repeat shots quickly and accurately. This is a real plus for those engaged in clearing buildings or operating in built up areas where repeated hits on target are very likely compared to other weapon systems.

    The 45 ACP is a proven round with excellent stopping power. The only downside for the military user is more and more of the bad guys are wearing body armor. This is why some special ops units are training to shoot across the pelvic girdle then across the shoulders just above where body armor protection ends.

    Even police officers are encountering suspects wearing body armor. It’s rare but it has happened. This is why my old unit dropped the HK MP5 in favor of the FN P-90.

    On the other hand this carbine is a weapon primarily made for the civilian shooter. For the average shooter this carbine would work well for home defense or just about any other need outside of long distance shooting.

    This is just one enjoyable gun to shoot. The innovative design certainly makes it a 21st century weapon. With all the available configurations there should be one of these that would serve you well.

    With the comments concerning the safety I thought I would add two pictures so those with older models can see the improvement in the safety position and length of throw.

    Phil White

    Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m retired as associate editor since December 14th 2017. My replacement is my friend Pete M email: [email protected] you can reach Pete for product reviews etc.