by Caleb Giddings - Wednesday, November 2, 2011
I'm a big believer in practicality. Most of the guns I own are for serious purposes—competition or self-defense. They all have a niche and they work very well within that niche. But every now and then, a gun comes along that defies categorization and forces me to analyze the reasons why I own some guns.
Enter the KRISS Vector SDP, the civilian-legal pistol version of the KRISS Vector submachine gun. In the eyes of the ATF, this gun is no different than a Glock 21 or Colt 1911 in .45 ACP. It's just that neither of those guns make me giggle like I'm 12 years old when I shoot them. But this is a gun review, so let's get down to the serious business of the KRISS SDP.
First off, let's talk about accuracy, because everyone cares about that, right? I didn't shoot the Vector SDP for groups at 25 yards. Sure, I shot it at 25 yards, and I was quite able to keep all my shots in an 8-inch circle. So, it's just as accurate as a Glock and more accurate than an M&P45.
Allright, got that out of the way. Next thing on the gunwriter's checklist is function—the Vector SDP worked just fine. Next? Trigger pull...hmm, yep it's got one of those too. Sights? Got 'em. Magazines? It feeds from standard Glock 21 mags. Okay, that should cover the standard gun review stuff, so now I'm going to say something important: the KRISS Vector SDP is the most fun that's come across my desk since I got this job.
I can't stress how important it is to have fun with firearms. In our current climate, so much of the material written about the shooting sports is dedicated to serious training, self-defense or competition. I'm even guilty of it, to the point where I get so wrapped up in training, I forget that I'm supposed to be having fun. The Vector SDP makes all of that impossible, simply through its sheer awesome insanity.
You see, the KRISS Vector as a pistol makes no sense. In a tactical, law enforcement setting, the Vector as a submachine gun makes sense for teams that want .45 ACP entry guns; for civilians the carbine version is a fun, reliable plinker. But the pistol version—lacking a stock and with a short barrel—is just bonkers.
And I love it for that. It took me all of 20 minutes to figure out how to rig up a sling for the Vector SDP so I could shoot it pressed out against the sling, SAS-style. The next 20 minutes were filled me with slicing the pie all over my house, dry firing and generally making silly machine-gun noises. There's something about the KRISS Vector SDP that makes my inner child smile in the same way a loud muscle car does. We know it's not practical, we know it's not really tactical and we just don't care because it's so much fun.
Every time I take the Vector SDP to the range, I get this silly grin on my face while shooting it. When you loan it to friends, they don't want to give it back. Take it to a range, and it'll be picked up and shot more than any traditional-looking firearm there. I take it with me to the range even if I'm not planning to shoot it, and sure enough, it ends up getting a couple of boxes of ammo put through it.
Let's get serious here for a second. Say for a moment that "because I can" or "because it's fun" isn't enough of a reason to justify the $1,600 price tag of the KRISS Vector SDP. Is there a practical use for this pistol? Absolutely. It actually is quite easy to shoot well, and I think it could quite readily be used as a home-defense gun. In fact, when used with a sling, it becomes an excellent choice for home defense, especially if paired with a tactical light. Now, before you e-mail me and call me a mall ninja, let's work through the benefits.
The Vector SDP offers plenty of firepower with a 30-round magazine full of .45 ACP, the proprietary recoil system makes it easier to shoot than a standard .45 ACP handgun and having it on a sling means that at a moment's notice you can have two hands free to do important things like call 911. Because the Vector SDP can be suppressed (where legal) you can have a gun for home defense that won't cause permanent hearing damage in the event you're forced to use it indoors without hearing protection.
But all of that information is just a justification, because the bottom line on the KRISS Vector SDP is it's just plain, old-fashioned fun. It's like a Pagani Zonda—an insane, fast car that's fast and insane for the sake of being fast and insane. The Vector SDP takes the unique mechanical design of the KRISS Vector submachine gun, plugs it into a pistol format, says "ta-da!" and presents the shooter with an experience unlike firing any other gun.
If you can get your hands on a KRISS Vector SDP, I recommend you do. Take it to the range, shoot it and see if you don't have a big silly smile on your face when you've put a couple of magazines through it. Do crazy mag dumps with it, pretend you're a special operations forces operator or a character in "Modern Warfare," but I dare you to try and not have fun while shooting the pistol.
With so much time and ink spent on reviewing the latest tactical gizmos, with guns and gear running the gamut from old-school to practical, it's nice to live in a world where we have things like the KRISS Vector SDP. It's big, it's silly, it's fun—and it's everything we loved as kids watching sci-fi and action movies.
Is a regular old Glock 21 a better choice for concealed carry? Yes. Is a shotgun or carbine a better choice for home defense? Probably, yes. But then again, a Volkswagen Beetle gets better gas mileage than my Dodge Charger, but I wouldn't trade my Charger for 100 VW Beetles. Because of this, the KRISS Vector SDP uniquely embraces the American way—it exists not for any tactical or serious purpose, but simply because someone thought "Hey, this would be totally sweet." It's awesome just for the sake of being awesome.
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