KRISS Vector SDP Semi-Automatic 45 ACP Pistol

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

February 11th, 2012





Click pictures for a larger version.



KRISS Vector SDP semi-automatic 45 ACP pistol.



Ambidextrous safety levers.



Magazine release.



Disassembly is quick, easy, and requires no tools.



Hammer is contained in upper receiver.



Bolt, slider, and mainspring assembly.



Bolt latch (top), bolt release (bottom).











I have been fortunate enough over the past few years to get to play a bit with the KRISS Super V semi-auto carbine as well as the select-fire submachine gun version of that same innovative weapon. The KRISS is like nothing I have ever seen before, with a unique delayed blowback design that greatly attenuates the felt recoil and almost eliminates the muzzle rise of the weapon. Compared to other compact 45 ACP sub-guns with which I have experience, the Super V system is a radical leap forward in innovation, ergonomics, and effectiveness.

The KRISS is manufactured by KRISS Arms Group in Biel, Switzerland. The US importer and subsidiary is KRISS USA, Virginia Beach, VA. The design represents something truly different in weapons system design, yet the concept and execution is very simple and practical. The heart of the system is the relationship of the bolt and the slider assembly, which includes the mainspring and buffer. Upon firing, the rear lugs of the bolt engage a cam track which forces the slider downward against spring pressure. This operation is similar to the straight rearward movement of a bolt and carrier in other weapons, but by forcing the slider downward instead of straight back, the recoil forces are used to keep the muzzle rise to a minimum, and the whole thing works quite well. In the carbines and submachine guns which I have previously fired, muzzle rise is negligible, as is the recoil impulse on the shooter’s shoulder. Both of those weapons had folding buttstocks. The version of the KRISS shown here has no buttstock, and is sold as a pistol. Adding a buttstock to this short-barreled version would effectively and legally make it a short-barreled rifle (SBR) in the US, and would require federal registration, along with the accompanying paperwork and government extortion fee. KRISS does sell an SBR version, for those who want the buttstock and are willing to go through the process, but for many who want such a weapon, this pistol version greatly simplifies ownership of a KRISS Super V weapon. Owning the KRISS that is capable of automatic fire is pretty much not going to happen for civilians in the US, with the exception of law enforcement agency purchases. However, buying the SDP shown here is as simple as buying any other semi-automatic pistol for most of us in the United States.

While I had fired the KRISS Super V semi-auto carbine and select-fire sub-guns, I had never disassembled one, and was a bit apprehensive to do so. I take guns apart almost everyday, but with this being a departure from conventional weapons design, I did not know what I would find inside, nor what parts might go flying out into the woods. However, the design is very simple, and there are no small parts nor springs to easily lose when the weapon is disassembled for cleaning. The KRISS takes down easily with the removal of four large pins, and no tools are needed to do so. The weapon goes back together just as easily, and maintenance is about as simple and uneventful as anyone would want. The KRISS pistol is also shipped with an excellent Otis cleaning kit, along with lubricant.

The KRISS is chambered for the wonderful 45 ACP cartridge, and uses readily available and inexpensive Glock 21 magazines. The G21 mags are available with either ten-shot or thirteen-shot capacities, and a thirty-round version is available as well. The KRISS pistol is equipped with thirteen inches of Picatinny rail on top, and another three and one-quarter inches under the barrel. Above the barrel is a receptacle made to hold a Surefire flashlight. The SDP came equipped with an excellent set of adjustable folding sights. The barrel has a threaded muzzle for attachment of a sound suppressor, muzzle brake, or flash suppressor, but it has left-hand threads, so keep that in mind if ordering an accessory for that. The lower receiver is made of steel and aluminum with a reinforced polymer outer shell. The upper is aluminum, finished in a matte black anodized to match the lower. The fire control parts are contained in the upper receiver, and the hammer swings forward and downward to strike the firing pin, keeping the bore at a lower axis. The charging handle is a folding design, placed on the left side, and does not reciprocate with the bolt. By lifting the charging handle, but not pulling rearward, the operator can easily do a visual check of the chamber to determine whether or not it is loaded. On the left side, above the magazine well is the bolt lock and bolt release, and both are easy to operate. The trigger pull is very smooth on this SDP sample gun.

Critical specifications are listed in the chart below. Weight is listed in pounds and ounces. Linear measurements are listed in inches. Trigger pull is listed as pounds of resistance. Height includes sights (folded) and magazine base. Maximum width is measured across the ambidextrous safety levers. Barrel length is measured from muzzle to bolt face.

Chambering 45 ACP
Weight with Empty Magazine 5 lbs., 15 oz.
Trigger Pull 4.7 lbs.
Barrel Length 5.61"
Barrel Diameter 0.67"
Overall Height 7.62"
Overall Length 16.75"
Maximum Width 2.26"
Receiver Width 1.43"
Grip Thickness 1.1"
Trigger Reach 2.54"
Magazine Capacity 10/13/30
Magazines Supplied 1

I tested for velocity with my chronograph set at twelve feet from the muzzle, and an air temperature of thirty-eight degrees Fahrenheit, with a relative humidity of seventy-three percent. Velocity readings were taken at an elevation of approximately 541 feet above sea level. Velocities are listed in the chart below, and are listed in feet-per-second (fps). FMJ is a full metal jacket bullet. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint. DPX is an homogenous copper hollowpoint bullet. Glaser is a specialty pre-fragmented bullet inside a copper alloy jacket. PB is Pow’RBall. LWSC is a cast lead semi-wadcutter bullet. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet weights are listed in grains.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Cor-Bon JHP 200 1111
Cor-Bon JHP 165 1215
Cor-Bon JHP 230 931
Cor-Bon DPB 185 1023
Cor-Bon PB 165 1198
Cor-Bon Glaser 145 1224
Stryker FMJ 230 755
Buffalo Bore JHP 230 936
Buffalo Bore FMJ 230 960
Handload LWSC 200 1013
WCC 1911 Ball FMJ 230 797
Remington FMJ 230 728

The velocities registered by the five and one-half inch barrel were pretty much as expected, offering good performance with easy portability. Accuracy was superb. Every load tested for accuracy would group five shots into less than two inches at twenty-five yards, shooting from a Target Shooting, Inc. Model 500 rifle rest. The sights are very easy to use, and fold out of the way for use of an optic such as a Trijicon Reflex dot sight. The safety levers push forward to fire the weapon, and are within easy reach of the shooter’s thumb. The single-point sling attachment at the rear of the SDP makes carrying under a coat practical, and also makes the pistol more fun to shoot, for me at least.

Functioning of the KRISS SDP was perfect, with every brand and type of ammo tested feeding, firing, and ejecting perfectly, even the lead semi-wadcutter handloads.

As a concealed carry 45 for everyday use, the KRISS is a bit large for most of us, but that is not the weapon’s intended role. This is a semi-auto version of the superb KRISS submachine gun. It has all the handling attributes of that weapon, minus the folding buttstock and automatic fire capability. Still, this SDP will fire off a magazine full of 45 ACP firepower as quickly as the trigger can be manipulated, and it does so with negligible recoil and muzzle rise. The KRISS SDP is as close as most of us will ever get to owning one of the best sub-guns ever built.

Check out the line of KRISS firearms and accessories online at

To order quality 45 ACP ammunition, go to,, and

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.



Vector uses Glock 21 magazines of 10, 13, or 30 round capacity.





Excellent adjustable fold-down sights.





Kriss vector pistol proved to be very accurate from the bench.



Vector comes with excellent Otis cleaning kit.