By Travis Pike – SOFREP
Most weapons slowly advance and improve over time. We didn’t get assault rifles overnight, after all. One genre of gun that defies this general rule of thumb is the submachine gun (SMG). The SMG advances in giant leaps, or not at all. Maybe because it’s a niche category, or because pistol-caliber weapons are limited. Regardless, one of the latest giant leaps in the submachine gun is the Kriss Vector.
By latest, I mean circa 2007 when the Kriss Vector came to be. Yep, at the time of this writing, one of the most advanced SMGs is 14 years old. The Kriss Vector began development in 2007 by a company known as Transformational Defense Industries. The name Kriss comes from a dagger from Southeast Asia.
A dagger seems like a worthy weapon to name a submachine gun after. The Kriss Vector would be an ultra-modern design that solved the problems associated with submachine guns. Submachine guns outperform pistols for many reasons, one being their full-auto capability. In super close range, a burst of two or three rounds stops the fight fast, and inside of SMG range, you want the fight over fast.
The downside to automatic fire is controllability. Controlling a full-auto weapon, even a pistol-caliber weapon, can be difficult. Uncontrolled automatic fire presents a risk to the user as well as potential allies and innocent people. The Kriss Vector promised increased control and reduced recoil and muzzle rise.
The Kriss Vector Difference
Most SMGs utilize some form of blowback operation to function. Blowback actions provide a very reliable option for pistol-caliber long guns. Straight blowback guns deliver excessive recoil, and as we’ve established, that’s not great for full-auto weapons. The most advanced weapons in the SMG world utilize a delayed-blowback system, and so does the Vector.
The Kriss Vector system uses the Kriss Super V system to reduce recoil and ensure reliable function. What happens is the bolt and inertia block move downwards into a recess behind the magazine well. Typically a bolt moves rearward creating additional recoil due to the moving mass of the bolt creates additional recoil due to the moving mass. However, a bolt moving downward prevents that.
Additionally, the barrel’s axis is in line with both the shoulder and hand of the shooter. This lowers the bore’s axis and helps reduce muzzle rise. If you look at the Kriss Vector, you can see how low the barrel sits compared to the rest of the gun. The end result is an extremely controllable weaponThe Kriss Vector has an extremely fast firing rate of 1,200 rounds per minute. This allows for short pulls of the trigger to deliver a fast burst of pistol-caliber rounds on target at a moment’s notice. Even though the weapon has an extremely fast firing rate, the weapon remains easy to control.
Transformational Defense Industries initially released the firearm in 45 ACP, and the weapon utilized Glock magazines. The company also manufactured magazine extensions to give the Kriss a substantial boost in capacity. Over time the Kriss was chambered in 9mm and the best round, 10mm. Yet, the gun didn’t take off the way many thought it would.
Why Didn’t It Succeed?
The Kriss Vector saw very limited adoption with overseas forces and didn’t take off. The problem was that around the time the Kriss Vector came to be, SMGs were dropping off in popularity. Short carbines were becoming the new hotness, with the Mk 18 and the M4 becoming the standard over short SMGs.
Rifles offered more power, range, and versatility than any SMG. Sadly the Kriss Vector was a little too late to be successful. At least in the world of police and military sales. The Kriss Vector was also released as a pistol, rifle, and short-barreled rifle in semi-auto configuration for civilians.
It was in the civilian market that the Vector seemed to do well in a wide variety of calibers. The various models came in different colors and configurations for the civilian user to gobble up.
The weapon certainly has found its niche and continued to succeed. Even up to 2020’s SHOT Show, the Kriss Vector was coming out in new calibers and new models.
As it sits, the Kriss Vector offers one of the best submachine guns on the market. It’s somewhat unconventional, but it works. The fast firing rate combined with the low recoil design makes the vector perfect for close quarter’s combat. Sadly, it came a bit too late to be fully appreciated.
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.