Special Forces

Kriss USA Vector Gen II CRB

A prime example of form following function, the Kriss USA Vector is a pistol-caliber carbine built around its unorthodox, but innovative, operating system.

Devised in Europe but built in Chesapeake, Va., the Vector platform’s Super V recoil-mitigation system was designed from the outset with the goal of shooting rapidly with repeatable accuracy while on the move.

The Vector was first introduced to the market in 2008, in both full-automatic and semi-automatic variants, and since that time its selective-fire models have been adopted by military, law enforcement and security forces the world over.

Originally manufactured only for the .45 ACP cartridge, in 2014 Kriss USA released a second generation that not only made numerous aesthetic and ergonomic refinements to the Vector platform, but also introduced several additional chamberings.

Today, the Vector Gen II is available configured as a carbine (CRB), a pistol (SDB), an NFA-applicable short-barreled rifle (SBR) and a select-fire submachine gun (SMG) reserved for military/law enforcement use, and is chambered for five cartridges (9 mm Luger, .357 SIG, .40 S&W, 10 mm Auto and .45 ACP). A CRB chambered in 9 mm Luger is the subject of this review.

The heart of the CRB is the Super V, a delayed-blowback system that harnesses the energy exerted by expanding propellant gases on the cartridge case and redirects it to where it can be used to the shooter’s advantage. 

While in battery, the bolt sits inside the receiver in line with the bore, just as with any other autoloader. However, following ignition of the cartridge, rather than being driven directly rearward into the shooter as in a traditional blowback, the bolt and a slider assembly attached to its rear draw the carrier downward, revectoring the energy to help counteract the muzzle’s natural inclination to rise during recoil.

During this downstroke, a bolt-mounted extractor pulls the spent case from the chamber and an ejector on the left wall of the receiver expels it through the right-side ejection port.

When the slider assembly reaches the bottom of its track, a mainspring returns the bolt up and forward again, stripping a fresh cartridge from the magazine before locking back into the chamber.

The result is a firearm that is remarkably soft-shooting and easy to keep on target, even during rapid strings of fire.

Nonetheless, as a consequence of the Super V’s unconventional footprint, the CRB’s overall shape is distinctly different, and its manual of arms may therefore be unfamiliar to many shooters.

A serialized lower receiver houses the operating system, magazine well and barrel, while the upper receiver incorporates both the trigger assembly and buttstock extension, and these two receivers can be separated quickly without tools by simply pushing out three pins.

 

This modular construction allows lowers of differing chamberings to be used interchangeably with the CRB’s upper, greatly increasing the versatility of the platform, and Kriss USA does offer complete lower receivers for this purpose—however, as the serialized part, each lower will require its own paperwork.

The Gen II CRB’s steel receivers are nitride-treated for increased corrosion resistance and durability, and are covered almost completely by a polymer housing that is available from the company Cerakoted in Black, Flat Dark Earth (shown), Olive Drab Green, Combat Grey and Alpine White.

Also black nitrided for extended service life, the carbine’s 16″ steel barrel comes installed with what Kriss calls its Enhanced Barrel Shroud. However, while the other three configurations of the Vector all feature a threaded barrel, the CRB does not.

The Kriss CRB is built around the Super V, a delayed-blowback operating system designed to counteract the muzzle’s natural inclination to rise during recoil.

Although the previous generation of Vector incorporated a folding buttstock into its design, this feature has been replaced on the Gen II with a mil-spec M4-type stock adaptor and a six-position adjustable buttstock. According to Kriss USA, the change was made in order to allow shooters, as in typical AR-platform fashion, to customize the CRB with the stock of their choosing.

The carbine comes from Kriss with flip-up, polymer Magpul MBUS sights, and a 13″ segment of Picatinny rail tops the rifle for the installation of an optic. Three inches of rail are also positioned on the lower receiver, just forward of the magazine well at the six o’clock position, for the mounting of an accessory, and the sides of the receiver are drilled and tapped for the installation of optional rails.

The gun feeds from standard, double-stack Glock handgun magazines of the corresponding cartridge, which are inserted into the carbine via a magazine well just forward of the Super V system.

A non-reciprocating charging handle is positioned on the left side of the gun in the seam between the two receivers, and it folds flush with the side of the carbine when the bolt is in battery. The CRB’s bolt will automatically lock back on an empty magazine, and a bolt lock/release is located just below the charging handle.

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