Look it’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a RAY GUN?!?
No, no, it’s not a ray gun, but with sleek (some will say ugly) and streamlined ergonomically friendly design the KRISS USA Vector Carbine looks like something imagined or featured in a sci fi novel. In fact if my buddy Owen of ALLAK47.com spots guns correctly (and he always does) I believe we’ve spotted the KRISS SBR Auto in the new Total Recall 2012. Even with a barrel/shrouded barrel that’s upwards of 2 inches thick and a rear stock that looks something like a side folding Krinkov and an Ace Socom stock had a baby, it’s hard to draw similarities from the KRISS to any other gun on the market today.
Well, that’s primarily because when KRISS sought to design the Vector with it’s V-Drive system (video explains it well), they were working to address an age old problem in the submachine gun world more than they were trying to create a gun similar to something you’ve seen on Battlestar Galactica. Rather than re-hash the same typical design in which the receiver welcomed the bolt and carrier as it drove directly back into the rear end of the receiver before charging forward and chambering round after round in repetition, the genius minds at KRISS decided there must be an easier way to get the whopping .45 ACP 230 grain round (of which we fed over 1000 rounds in our testing with ZERO fails) from the magazine to the chamber reliably but with faster recovery time while keeping the muzzle down instead of consistently rising while the trigger is held down.
The KRISS Vector Carbine we received for review had a 16 inch barrel (hence the word “carbine”) with a lightweight hollow barrel shroud giving it the appearance of either a very heavy target barrel or a super long suppressor. While I wish it was the latter, this is the super civilian friendly model. That means it’s semi-automatic only, no select fire, and it’s an unthreaded barrel long and legal. The barrel shroud helps give the same effect as that of a heavy bull/target barrel by both dissipating heat and creating stable harmonic vibration to aid in accuracy. The KRISS (how we’ve come to affectionately call it in our home) shipped with a plastic hard case, a full users manual, a vertical foregrip to attach to the underside picatinny rail, flip up adjustable sights front and rear and even an OTIS cleaning kit specifically for your KRISS. Also included is a single Glock 21 13 round magazine. That’s right, a Glock 21 mag, just like you use in your full sized Glock 21 .45 ACP pistol.
Function of the rifle was flawless in just over 1000 rounds. In those 1000 rounds I learned to watch my thumb on the weak side thanks to the charging handle being located forward on the left side of the upper frame assembly. Taking the location of the charging handle into consideration this appears to be a decidedly right handed weapon, though KRISS thought ahead enough to add an ambidextrous thumb safety located just north of the Magpul MOE grip (yep, there’s a storage compartment). Because of its interesting looks one might wonder how comfortable the KRISS carbine is, but with the ergo friendly Magpul MOE grip, the fully adjustable for length of pull skeleton style side folding rear butt stock and the vertical foregrip or even the grip friendly forward area of the mag well, a nice tight weld to this weapon is easy to attain quickly and comfortably.
Because of the fully auto background of this gun, the trigger demonstrates it completely as it’s heavy and a bit cumbersome, though our model did loosen up a bit with our extended testing. Even with the stiff trigger, this gun is a pleasure to shoot. Recoil is very minimal and rapid firing is fast, fast, fast and a breeze to keep on target. Accuracy was as good as I was out to 50 yards, and with the KRISS chambered for the .45 ACP I wouldn’t have much desire to engage targets beyond that distance. We chose to mount a Sightmark Ultra Shot Pro Spec QD NV (full review following asap!) reflex style optic to the full length top rail and it cowitnessed perfectly with the flip up sights. The Sightmark in fact fit so well I was able to “bore sight” the optic based on the zero of the flip up open sights. This made it even easier to run close range with both eyes open and with tremendous speed engaging bowling pins (some of my favorite targets) over and over at 20 yards, which if interested you can see in the video.
Finally, wielding the KRISS carbine is a pleasure. The rifle balances perfectly with most of its weight coming at center mass and I especially loved the location of the mag release right where my off hand thumb rests on the left side of the front receiver mag well directly south of the bolt release. Once depressed, the magazine falls smooth without the need to remove by hand allowing your off hand to grab another mag and reload quickly. Because of the location of the magazine in this gun, it’s too far away to have the mag release button where your trigger finger could reach it for faster two-handed reloads. This means that all primary controls for the weapon rest on the left side of the receiver. Again, strong case for right-handed only gun despite the ambidextrous safety.
If reliability, practicality, ease of use and accuracy are key elements of this firearm, then I’d say the folks at KRISS USA have something super innovative they can be proud of. While I tested the civilian over the counter legal version of the KRISS with the auto designed for military and law enforcement close quarters type use, it’s easy to see that they have a sweet civy version on their hands ready for Average Joe Shooters like me to pick up and take out to shoot for fun, defend my home with, or if need be get ready to start making head shots on zombies stumbling down the street. It would be fan-tactical with the reflex site for popping off zombie head shots. OH, and the fact that it’s compatible with Glock magazines sure is a plus too. Takedown occurs just by pushing out a couple of set pins and the gun literally separates into two halves. Get it apart like I did and you’ll be amazed at how incredibly simple the design is. So simple in fact, you’ll feel stupid for not thinking of it first!