Featured KRISS 9mm CRB – Victor Vector Steven Kuo December 16, 2017 0 COMMENT Photos by Weapon Outfitters and Steven Kuo [Originally this article appeared in RECOIL Issue 22] The Reports of the Death of Pistol-Caliber Carbines Have Been Greatly Exaggerated There’s been a bit of a renaissance of sorts lately for pistol-caliber carbines, with a number of really interesting new options in 9mm on the market. We’ve reported on them in previous issues, and now we’re bringing you the latest just hitting stores as we speak. If you’re a luddite who doesn’t play video games or watch TV or movies, or if you’ve been hiding in a cavern, you might not have heard of the KRISS Vector submachine gun. Featuring space-age looks and a unique operating system designed to mitigate felt recoil, the Vector was launched in .45 ACP. Ever since then, folks have clamored for a 9mm version — and KRISS has finally delivered. Re-vector Revolution The heart of the Vector is the KRISS Super V System (KSVS), designed to manage muzzle climb and reduce felt recoil. The delayed blowback Vector fires from a closed bolt. When a shot is fired, the bolt begins to travel to the rear. The Vector’s bolt has rear lugs that ride in sloped channels in a slider. They initially offer increased resistance, providing the delay in the delayed blowback action. But rather than traveling straight back, the slider moves diagonally downward, against an action spring behind the magazine, with the bolt also tilting downward off-axis from the bore. This downward motion (“re-vectoring” according to KRISS, hence the gun’s moniker) is intended to keep the gun shooting flat and to mitigate recoil. However, the laws of physics still apply, so there’s a secondary recoil impulse when the slider springs back up and the bolt goes back into battery. Many shooters boast how controllable the Vector is, while some complain about it being jumpy, no doubt from the re-vectored operating components. But the unique bolt and slider are just one part of the overall system. The barrel, pressed in a trunion, is positioned low in the chassis, directly in front of the trigger, the web of your hand, and your shoulder. This contributes greatly to the gun’s controllability as well. By simply removing four pins, the upper separates from the lower and releases the bolt group. The upper contains the trigger and hammer mechanism, safety selector, and (if you’re fortunate) the firing mode selector. The lower is serialized, and houses the barrel, charging handle, bolt group, magwell, and bolt release. The upper is common across calibers, so you could use the same upper on multiple lowers if you so desired. As part of the Gen II changes available on both calibers, the new ambidextrous short throw safety selector now boasts just 45 degrees of travel between positions, rather than 120 degrees, and the trigger has been revised to a pivoting design. The original folding stock has been replaced with an M4 stock adapter with a collapsible Defiance buttstock, but the old one is still available as an accessory. The guns come with a full-length top Picatinny rail, a lower rail, sling point attachments, and Magpul MBUS front and rear sights. For those working out their noise-reduction plans, the barrel is threaded ½x28 RH. The big news for those who have been coveting a Vector is that KRISS is lowering prices for 2016, with the SDP to retail at $1,249 and the CRB and SBR at $1,399. An upgraded CRB Enhanced variant retails at $1,599 and comes with the enhanced barrel shroud shown here, a hand stop, side Picatinny rail, Magpul RVG, and combat gray Cerakote. A Cerakote upgrade in flat dark earth, OD green, and alpine white for any of the models costs an additional $100. When asked, KRISS told us there were no plans for a .40 S&W version. 9MM FTW The .45 ACP Vector has always been a cool subgun, but in 9mm the KRISS Vector really shines. We greatly enjoyed running it through its paces. While the 9mm lower looks the same as the .45 ACP lower, the parts are redesigned for the smaller cartridge. Like the original, the 9mm Vector uses ubiquitous Glock magazines, accepting Glock 17 mags and the wide variety of extended base pads available on the market. KRISS advised that in their testing, Glock OEM magazines run perfectly, and Magpul’s original Glock PMAGs were fine, but they hadn’t gotten the revised ones to test. One-hundred-round BETA MAGS work well, but Korean knockoffs were not reliable. The new pivoting trigger broke at 4.25 pounds on our Lyman trigger pull gauge. It’s no 1911, but the trigger was better than we expected — it was pretty smooth and clean, and you could feel the reset. We didn’t get a chance to really put the Vector’s precision to the test, but at 25 yards with an EOTech off a bench, we achieved five-shot groups of 4.6 MOA with 115-grain FMJ in the CRB. At first, the Vector feels a bit odd in hand. But you get used to it. Your firing hand feels quite high, relative to the bore, and your support hand has less purchase on the tall front housing to drive the gun as you might like, especially for those who have become accustomed to yanking their AR handguards around like a teenage boy on the Internet. Settling behind the gun is quite comfortable, and the Vector points intuitively and transitions between targets effortlessly. The ambidextrous short throw safety falls naturally under your thumb, while the firing mode selector is isolated like Cuba in the middle of the upper, out of reach of either hand (though this won’t be a consideration for civilian shooters). The downside of using Glock mags is the location of the magazine release on the front of the magwell, which takes some practice to work out efficient magazine changes on the clock — we used the support hand thumb. The charging handle works great for right-handed shooters, and much less than great for wrong-handed shooters. Same for the bolt release, located on the left side of the gun. Locking the bolt back also seemed to be an exercise well suited for mutant humanoids who have the benefit of a third hand. All that being said, pressing the trigger on the Vector makes everything good in the world. Especially the fullauto SMG version. The combination of the 9mm round, the KSVS system which spreads the recoil impulse out over time, and the low bore axis made for an unbelievably soft-shooting gun that was easily controlled in rapid (or full-auto) fire. It was an absolute joy to shoot and got passed around to a bunch of giddy shooters at the range like a bong at Burning Man. The SMG has three firing modes: semi-automatic, two-shot burst, and fully automatic. There’s an auto sear that always engages as well as semi-auto and burst disconnectors that engage depending on the position of the selector. With a cyclic rate of 1,100 to 1,200 rounds per minute, the Vector burns through a magazine awful quick. But with careful application of the trigger finger, you can output controlled bursts quite well. With such a high cyclic rate and controllable recoil impulse, we were ringing steel at 25 yards in two-shot burst mode with boring regularity. You do have to be mindful of the hefty height over bore of the sights on close targets We expended cases of ammo over several days, running drills with shooters of varying levels of experience. The reaction was universally positive. Experienced shooters were able to keep rounds on paper at 10 yards in full auto. One petite female shooter found the .45 ACP too harsh for her taste, but loved the 9mm Vector. The CRB carbine ran like a sewing machine the whole time. The SMG prototype started experiencing double feeds — upon closer inspection we discovered a loose ejector. The KRISS engineers on hand identified it as an earlier prototype part that hadn’t been replaced with the latest, as on the CRB. So with typical at the-range ingenuity, they banged and clawed at it for a while until it was no longer loose so we could resume depleting their ammo. And that we did. A lot. As shooters, we now have an embarrassment of riches, with more great choices of 9mm carbines and subguns than ever. The new incarnation of the KRISS Vector should definitely be on your short list to check out. It offers a package of unique features — at a new, lower price. Just try shooting one…and see if you can resist pulling out your wallet.