August 2011

45 ACP Carbine Showdown: Is Kriss Vector a Hit, or a Miss?

We pit the Swiss-designed favorite of TV gun shows against the plebian Hi-Point and the highly regarded Heckler & Koch rifle. Our testers liked the Super Vector, but they cringe at the price.

The operational concept of carrying a carbine that shoots the same round as your handgun makes a lot of sense. It streamlines ammo choices and reduces complexity in the middle of a fight, which is always a positive. The downside, however, is that handgun ammo shot from a rifle is still handgun ammo, and though the longer rifle barrel generally produces more fps at the muzzle for a given round, the operator still gives up rifle-cartridge velocities.

For example, in this test of the Kriss Super V Vector CRB/SO Civilian Carbine 45 ACP, HKís USC 45, and the Hi-Point 4595TSFG, we looked back a couple of issues to see what 45 ACP pistols developed in terms of muzzle velocity and energy. In July, we tested three short-barrel 45s, the Glock Model 36, Colt Defender, and Springfield Micro. Shooting the Black Hills 230-grain FMJ, a round similar to our test ammos in this test, we saw average velocities run 780 fps, 756 fps, and 769 fps for the Glock, Colt, and Springfield, respectively. That corresponded to muzzle energy calculations of 310 ft.-lbs. for the Glock, 291 ft.-lbs. for the Colt, and 301 ft.-lbs. for the Micro.

In three full-size guns tested in February 2011, we shot Cor-Bon Performance Match 230-grain ammo through a Colt Gold Cup, Kimber Eclipse, and Springfield Loaded Target. In the same order, those guns produced average velocities of 820 fps, 829 fps, and 811 fps and muzzle energies of 344 ft.-lbs., 350 ft.-lbs., and 335 ft.-lbs.

To ensure we got head-to-head readings, we looked back to the February 2010 issue and found another test of full-size 45s using Monarch 230-grain MC ammo. In that test, an STI Sentinel Premierís readings were 785 fps/315 ft.-lbs., with a Springfield TRP at 780 fps/311 ft.-lbs., and a Smith & Wesson MSW1911 getting an average velocity of 779 fps and muzzle energy of 310 ft.-lbs. The slowest ammo in this carbine test was the Monarch 230-grain fodder, with readings in the Hi-Point of 787 fps/316 ft.-lbs.; the HK 846 fps/365 ft.-lbs., and 888 fps/403 ft.-lbs. for the Kriss. Averaged across the three rifles, the Monarchís velocity would be 840 fps, or 59 fps (7%) higher than in the 5-inch pistols.

That doesnít seem like a lot, and in reality itís probably not. But rifles add the ability to carry lights and lasers, compliance items such as toothy flash suppressors, and a lot more. But which of our test guns should be the one you want to sling up and get mobile with? Hereís what we found:

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