Kriss USA is well known for their Kriss Vector. A few years ago they started another sister company called Defiance. This company designs and develops accessories for their Vectors as well as starting a line of .22lr rimfire rifles called the DMK22. We got a chance to review their DMK22 LVOA as well as their standard regular DMK22.
The DMK22 is not just an AR-15 with a .22LR conversion bolt. It has some interesting unique features that you do not find in other .22LR firearms. The barrel is actually a 10/22 style barrel and uses a special barrel adapter to make it fit in an AR upper.
The barrel adapter is what indexes the 10/22 barrel into the upper receiver. Also, you can see that Kriss uses an upper receiver that is dedicated for .22LR. It is the same shape and dimensions as a mil-spec upper but it does not have the hole for a regular gas tube.
There is a small metal shim that indexes into the cut of the 10/22 style barrel. This fits into a notch in the barrel adapter.
The barrel is held in with two set screws in the adapter.
The barrel has indentations for the set screws to screw into.
If you want to change out to a different 10/22 barrel, then you need to have a gunsmith or machinist mill those indentations into the barrel tenon.
Aside from the ability to take modified 10/22 style barrels, the DMK22 has a functioning last round bolt hold. It is based on a special bolt catch and magazine.
Now this bolt catch only works with their magazines.
The DMK22 lower is also close to mil-spec lowers except for this obvious difference. There is no hole for the buffer. Since it is a .22LR you do not need a functioning buffer.
The DKM22 buffer tube is strangely not a normal buffer tube. You can see it next to a standard buffer tube.
While the lower receiver does not have a through hole, it does have threads to screw in the buffer tube. But rather than run a vestigial buffer tube, I purchased a KNS Precision rail adapter to run an MPX/MCX style stock. This allows me to have a folding stock on the DMK22.
The DMK22 handguard leaves much to be desired. Luckily it is attached to a mil-spec style upper so you can easily change it out for your preferred handguard. I did not like the handguard because it requires proprietary rails to attach accessories and the gun did not come with any. You can buy them online at the KRISS USA web store for $19.95 a rail segment. You can see in the photo below the handguard has threaded holes to install the rail segments. I would have preferred an MLOK or even Keymod style handguard than to have to be forced to buy proprietary rail segments.
Edit: According to Tim at KRISS USA, you can use Keymod rails if you remove the “boot” from the bottom of the rail and direct thread the Keymod rail to the handguard.
With the factory handguard, the complete upper weighs 4 lbs and 7 ounces.
I swapped out the handguard for a light weight rail by Midwest Industries.
Another interesting feature of the DMK22 is the fact it can use three different magazines to feed ammo into it. As an alternative to the DMK22 magazines, you can also use Black Dog Machine magazines and Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 magazines. However, using these alternate magazines means you lose the last round bolt hold feature.
Kriss also sent their DMK22 LVOA Alpine with the standard DMK22. I was interested in the DMK22 LVOA since KRISS USA licensed the design from WarSport. However, I was a little disappointed that the DMK22 LVOA does not have the LVOA markings like their Krytac licensed Airsoft LVOA rifle. This is due to the licensing agreement and I am sure something to do with the ATF and markings on firearms. I was hoping for a .22LR LVOA clone but this is as close as they come without making it yourself with airsoft replica handguards and an 80% lower.
The DMK22 and LVOA version both come with the same muzzle device. It is more for aesthetics rather than functionality. There is not much gas from .22LR rifles to make muzzle devices work. So I swapped it out for a WarSport Top Hat just to make the DMK22 LVOA more like an LVOA.
Above the LVOA rail sits the Defiance front BUIS.
I pulled the handguard off the LVOA and unfortunately, you cannot use it for a center fire AR-15. The path for the gas tube is blocked off at the rear of the handguard.
Other than the LVOA style handguard, the DMK22 LVAO is still the same gun underneath.
The LVOA handguard is similar to the standard DMK22 rail but it weighs more.
It does use similar rail segments as the DMK22 which you have to buy on KRISS USA’s webstore.
Shooting The DMK22
The one nice thing about the DMK22 is the fact that they are based on an AR15 platform so you can swap them onto any standard lower. Why would you want to do this? So you can try out different triggers. You do lose the last round bolt hold but that is a small sacrifice.
I was surprised to see the rate of fire using a Franklin Armory Binary Trigger. The rate of fire is rather high.
At 50 yards it was easy to hit steel targets off hand.
Is The KRISS Defiance DMK22 LVOA A Must Buy?
The standard DMK22 has an MSRP of $699 while the DMK22 LVOA is a $100 more at $799. That is a little bit high for a .22LR AR. You can get an M&P 15-22 for less but those use proprietary magazines and have polymer receivers. While the M&P 15-22 is a lot of fun, the DMK22 is an AR-15 at heart. It is modular. You can attach any AR-15 compatible handguard to the DMK22 upper, use any mil-spec compatible trigger and have the option to use Picatinny compatible stocks like the MPX stocks if you use the KNS Precision adapter.
At the recent TriggerCon 2019, KRISS USA was there with a Defiance pistol on display. This would be a lot of fun to have instead of the DMK22 rifle. With a KNS Precision adapter, you can add an FSB1913 brace and have a very compact pistol.
According to KRISS USA website, the DMK22 pistol retails for $629 without a brace. With a brace, it is the same price as the rifles at $699.
The price of the DMK22 is a bit higher than I would like but they are cool enough that I could see it being worth purchasing them. Especially the DMK22 LVOA version if you are a fan of the LVOA design. I would like to see KRISS USA sell the DMK22 as a parts kit: barrel, barrel adapter, and BCG. That way you could build you own .22LR rifle using any AR-15 receivers you want.
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