I had a Kriss Carbine come into the shop for a Cerakote and Slipstream treatment. In the process I’ve come very well acquainted with it and have some conclusions I’d like to share. I should start off by saying that during the process I’d like to start out by saying I’ve had every pin and spring out of the main components. I did not take the fake suppressor off because…lets face it, what’s the point. So I can say with authority that I know the system well.
Let’s start out with it’s basic structure. It has a blued steel chassis. Everything else is bolted on to this, the bulk of which is polymer. So yes we have a fairly light weight platform for a .45 ACP carbine. I haven’t had the chance to shoot it so I won’t comment on barrel quality or accuracy. No big deal there. If you want accuracy and testing then I’ll point you to by Brother in Arms over at Mad Ogre but you come here for the gunsmiths opinions on quality of manufacture anyway.
I have some concerns with this thing. We have metal parts like the bolt stop bolting onto polymer parts. Sure some go through to the steel chassis but come on, we’re still talking about only having a few threads into anything solid with plastic in between taking up the bulk of the screw threads. Now, sure…polymer is tough stuff and I have no problem admitting it.
Personally I still don’t like this and think it’s a flaw in the design. Yes, Kriss will disagree and that’s to be expected. They designed something they think is spectacular and want to make a living producing it. I’ll never fault them for that because it’s how I make a living myself.
Let’s take a look at the trigger mechanism. I found out about it the hard way. I really didn’t want to take the trigger mech out if I didn’t have to. Call me lazy but I wanted to save myself the nightmare of taking this thing apart. I ended up having to just to get all the media blast grit out of one of the polymer sections. This section is the grip, trigger mech housing, brass deflector, safety, and butt stock connection point all in chunk of polymer. The only metal in it is a housing that keeps all the trigger parts together. Yes this housing does come out as one piece but not easily enough for the laymen to tackle on his own. I have to say that it was kind of a pain in the butt. You see, the screws holding the trigger housing in the polymer shell are under the top rail. The top rail that is reverse dove tailed onto the polymer shell and held in place by one roll pin and a small diameter set screw. Granted it has a tight enough fit that it needs little help to say in place. However, I would have liked to see one at the other end as well.
The trigger mech itself…wow. Once I played with it trying to reassemble it did I understand it. It’s a fairly simple design with far too many parts trying to do it. There’s one block in the front that could have been made as one piece. My guess is that it was more easily machined in two halves. Maybe I missed a need for them to pivot independently but I didn’t see one. We’d have to ask Kriss.
Once again, in the trigger mech, we see the incessant use of plastic. The hammer has to have a plastic washer/spacer on either side or it has no alignment. The trigger itself also has a plastic guide/spacer on either side. Throw all this together and you have one of the worst trigger pulls I have ever witnessed. Sure the plastic is more smooth than metal on metal. With proper polishing the need for the plastic parts are irrelevant. My educated guess is that this is and ease of manufacture issue. Plastic is more easily molded than metal machined. It’s also much less expensive. With a MSRP of $2779.00 I’d think we could have fewer short cuts with the plastic parts.
The action…give me a moment to finish bashing my head against the wall. Let’s talk about energy and their directions. When you have and explosion inside a steel chamber all that energy has to go somewhere. Sir Newton taught us that we will have an equal and OPPOSITE reaction. That means that when the 45 cal bullet leaves the casing and ultimately the barrel (longer barrel of the carbine, my guesstament is, that we could see muzzle velocities between 900-1000fps depending on round the load and bullet weight) we have a decent force coming to the rear. This is a short explanation of recoil, something none of you need an explanation of (don’t take offense at the over
simplification here. No insult to your intelligence is intended but purpose is coming). So if we take some of that rearward energy and use it to work the action of any weapon we have a really novel idea, right? Well we actually have something John Browning came up with when he invented the Browning A5 shotgun that evolved into every semi and full auto action used today. Nothing new, right. Now using that energy we can force a spring loaded bolt rearward. Normally that recoil energy is directed straight back into your shoulder. The more straight that energy is translated from the breach of the barrel through the stock and into our shoulder the less muzzle flip we have.
We learned that moving from the old muzzle loaders with a long butt stock drop to our modern bolt action with an almost straight stock. So it sounds like something intelligent to continue, right?
Well we take a look at the Kriss and just shake our heads. We have the bolt and buffer system actually coming slightly rearward and then dipping down into that big box next to the grip. So we’re taking all that recoil energy and directing it far enough to unlock and then down in front of our grip hand. Since I haven’t shot this I can only tell you what my experience as a traditional/tactical gunsmith has taught me. This has the potential to give you added muzzle flip (anyone who has one or has shot one is free to correct me on this. In fact I welcome it because I’d really like to be wrong.) or at least having the weapon wanting to force downward that close
to your grip hand and effecting accuracy. There’s another difficult point about this system. Just try to work the charging handle. I dare you. I thought I was going to break the mechanism before the bolt unlocked.
So what is my final conclusion on this weapon. I’m not going to say one way or the other on this. I’d much rather you took what you read, go shoot it and make your own judgement. That being said I will say that I can see where they were going with this. To make anything new in the firearms industry these days you really have to get drastic. I think I would have gone a little different direction, though. Something not so overly complicated.