Kriss Cuts Recoil and Rise

Kriss has developed something completely different with its Vector lineup.

Kriss Cuts Recoil and Rise

Unique sells. The Kriss Vector is something truly unique that will bring customers through your doors.  

The Kriss Vector full-auto LEO/military pistol-caliber carbine originally gained popularity as a very fast and flat shooting PDW with a cycle rate that could burp through a magazine in a heartbeat. Although civilians loved the semi-automatic pistol and rifle versions, it was the entertainment market that spread awareness of the brand. 

Just as TV and movies influenced and drove civilian sales of HK MP5s, Walther PPKs and Desert Eagles, it was a myriad of video games that drove initial Kriss Vector sales. The Vector has become a heavily featured gaming firearm option that collectors and gun owners want to enjoy offline as well. And there’s extra appeal for Glock shooters, since the Vector is a magazine-compatible PCC companion to their full-size pistols.

Evolving Platform

The Vector SDP is the semi-auto pistol version of the well renowned full-auto LEO and military version. The unique look of the design is to accommodate the Super-V pivoting bolt carrier which continues downward and cancels any perceived recoil. Really … no recoil or muzzle rise. It is one of those brilliant designs which is in essence a multi-directional straight blowback bolt carrier group. 

According to Kriss USA marketing team member Alexander Ching, “The Kriss Vector format is an evolving firearm platform that has taken a unique design approach to recoil mitigation that is reliable, easy to maintain, and flat shooting. The unique Super V Recoil Mitigation System in combination with the low bore axis delivers a unique experience unlike any other firearm on the market. All KRISS Vectors are Glock magazine compatible ensuring a seamless integration with Glock-format EDC or duty firearms.”

This year was another step forward for Kriss with the introduction of the Gen 3 at SHOT show. Ching further noted, “In 2024, we are releasing the next Gen 3 evolution of the platform featuring redesigned upper and lower receivers with enhanced features such as integrated rear picatinny rail, slimmer profile and ambi-magazine release.”

The design is also unique in that the barrel bore was designed to be parallel to the wrist which increases pointing speed, reduces felt recoil, and improves ergonomics. The result is the ability to shoot both very fast and accurately without your sights bouncing around from the typical snappy PCC recoil, even with +P .45 ACP or hot 10mm rounds. The Vector is highly regarded for its accuracy and reliability, and is considered by many to be in the highest tier of PCCs on the market.

Notably, Kriss is the only manufacturer to offer a wide range of PCC calibers in literally an identical format, size, weight and feel including .22LR, 9mm, .45 ACP and 10mm versions. This makes transition and training between calibers perfectly seamless. The identical feel is a very good reason to push the .22LR versions to interested customers. Regardless of whether the SDP formats are in hand, customers will not be able to feel the difference between any of the SDP models.

The Kriss Vector has evolved through generations 1.0, 2.0 and 2.1, with the most significant tweaks between Gen 1.0 and 2.0. In addition to some tweaks that made the firearm extremely reliable, some ergonomic complaints were addressed with mil-spec buffer tube compatibility, selector design changes, and adding some additional shielding around the large magazine release button to lessen inadvertent magazine releases. The current 2.1 versions reviewed here all feel extremely well sorted out and refined.

While we haven’t yet tested the Gen 3 Kriss models, the new Gen 2.1 versions include an SDP and SDP Enhanced model with a factory-installed extended lower accessory rail. Kriss offers full part replacements including the optional rails. A CRB rifle version with a 16-inch barrel is available as well. All new 2.1 variants now feature AR15-spec buffer tube compatible mounting. 

For the SDP, most customers will want a pistol that can be easily adapted to accept most SB tactical stabilizing braces or Midwest Industries beams. Easy accessory sales are a KNS Buffer tube to Picatinny rail adapter and an appropriate brace option. Factory SDP pistols are supplied with a Buffer tube to QD swivel mount which is easily removed. All SDP pistol models feature threaded barrels for suppressor use and only the .22LR CRB is offered with barrel threading. Kriss has made extraordinary efforts to comply with complex state laws including offering compliant versions of the Vector CRB in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Canada.

Kriss has added some fun into the line by offering a broad variety of colors and limited edition camo patterns on select models. According to Kriss, they have seen many repeat customers purchasing multiple color and camo models. For a dealer it is important to showcase the breadth of eight colors ranging from alpine white to OD green and desert camo versions. 

Great Partners

As a self-professed skeptic of the Kriss Vector, like many customers, I was converted with just their humble .22LR version. The Gen 2.0 and 2.1 updates refocused my attention on the brand and in late 2023, I purchased a used Kriss Vector SDP 22LR. It is my most reliable .22LR firearm with reliability equal to my Ruger 10/22s with shockingly great ½-inch 50-yard accuracy. I liked the SDP 22 so much I bought another as a truck gun and it too was just as reliable and accurate. What shocked me most was that the .22LR version was still every bit a Kriss Vector without any cost-cutting. With an MSRP of $850 it’s a pricey rimfire, but considering it literally is identical to the centerfire models but with just a less expensive straight blowback operation, the price is reasonable. The Super-V cavity is hollow on the .22LR model, but could offer some fun storage options.

The centerfire models start at $1,350 with enforced MAP pricing. The centerfire models are available in a wider array of colors and camo options, however the weight, feel and size are all identical and so is the chassis. I suspect the .22LR version will draw in a lot of customers like it did me when I purchased the SDP 9mm version and a used .45 ACP version. Again I was equally impressed with both. The 9mm format was fantastic, tremendous with a suppressor, and a great partner to any Glock double stack 9mm pistol. The .45 ACP was just as accurate as the 9mm version, with what seemed like the same “vibration” all with a harder hitting round. Kriss provided the 10mm FDE and Desert Camo 9mm versions for the article.

Vibration vs Recoil

Shooting a Kriss vector really fast is an odd but extremely enjoyable experience. As a long-time shooter, your brain tells you there will be recoil and muzzle movement, but there isn’t. Once adjusted, the shooting pace drastically increases. Thanks to the absolutely outstanding trigger and fast reset, accuracy is excellent and split times between shots are very tight.

With all that noted, the expected recoil is gone but the energy is felt in a vibration effect that you can feel through the gun. Many have called this a buzz rather than vibration, and though a bit odd at first, it’s certainly preferable to managing recoil and muzzle rise.

Fit & Function

One of the noted Kriss Vector comments is the impeccable fit and finish on par with the highest quality firearms in the market. Kriss is a premier-tier firearm and the quality on every component is noticeable.

Functionally, magazines go in the bottom with the charging handle and bolt release on the left, and ambidextrous selector situated on each side in a similar position to an AR15. Operation is a straight rearward pull on the left hand non-reciprocating charging handle to cycle the bolt. Glock-spec full-size magazines feed the gun, which makes them easy to swap back and forth with compatible handguns. Aftermarket and Kriss extended magazines are both reliable and even my somewhat sketchy South Korean extended .45ACP magazines fed perfectly. The bolt also locks open on the last round. Although the horizontal bolt hold-open/release lever is a slight change, the position seems familiar enough that it doesn’t feel strange. 

Take-down is via four tool-free non-captured pins that split the upper and lower receivers to provide access to the Super-V bolt carrier and cavity for cleaning. Cleaning takes about as long as cleaning a Glock once you get the hang of how everything comes apart. Overall, the Kriss Vectors have engineered simplicity with relatively low maintenance requirements and high PCC reliability. 

I have well regarded my Sig MPX as the king of PCC reliability, but the Kriss models have easily matched that reliability and in many cases eclipsed the MPX’s accuracy. The ability to purchase .45ACP, 10mm and .22LR models beyond just 9mm is appealing as well. The .45ACP model was pushed hard with over 800 rounds of Federal HST and ball ammo without a single hiccup. Though the 9mm and 10mm versions have not been tested to that degree, the 500-plus rounds through each have delivered perfect reliability even with some somewhat questionable handloads. The .22LR version has several thousand rounds through it — unsuppressed and suppressed — and has functioned beautifully. The only challenges experienced were with some very low-quality imported ammo that my MPX struggled with as well.

Many writers have inaccurately noted that Kriss designed the Vector to be caliber convertible. According to Kriss, caliber conversion was not the intent. Though technically possible with the centerfire model upper and lower receivers fitting together, the 10mm/.45ACP ejection ports are different from the 9mm and so is the Super-V tuning and design for each caliber. The .22LR version cannot be run on any centerfire models. Though I tested a 10mm upper on a 9mm lower without issue, the cost of the caliber conversion parts is so close to a complete gun it makes little sense.

Impress Customers

The quality and reliability of the Gen 2.1 is exceptional on the Kriss firearms and the accuracy matches the expectations. This is a premier-tier firearm with reliability, ergonomics and design that will impress customers. Though various TV, movie and gaming options depict the Kriss Vector well, there is nothing like shooting the real thing.


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