Sunday, November 19, 2023

KRISS Vector SDP 22 - .22LR More fun than Imaged

 KRISS Vector SDP 22 - .22LR More fun than Imaged

Like many gun owners, the looks, design and format of the Kriss Vector falls into the same realm as a Desert Eagle, UZI, or Bond Arms derringer. The format looks cool and is super fun. That uniqueness also leaves a lot of buyers wondering if the features actually deliver something beyond a range toy. I was in that category when presented with a deal on a new KRISS Vector SDP chambered in .22LR.

The deal was too good to pass up, but even as I was heading home from my FFL, I started to wonder whether the $749 MSRP Kriss Vector SDP .22LR was worth the ”seller needed money right now” price I paid. After the first magazine emptied I was hooked.

Who would have ever thought that a 5.9-lbs and a 16.75-inch .22LR pistol would be a hoot to shoot and shockingly accurate. I literally have factory Ruger 10/22 rifles which are not as accurate as this 6.5-inch barreled Vector 22. Though great match grade 40gr ammo over 950-ft/sec offers the best accuracy, my KRISS Vector 22 delivered a rather amazing 10-round 50-yard CCI Mini-Mag group with just a red dot and 3x magnifier. KRISS delivered a perfect design which is literally identical in design, weight, function, and length compared to the centerfire models. That design also happened to really help the accuracy of the .22LR round. 

Instead of a 5.5-inch centerfire barrel and the Super-V (recoil canceling bolt/carrier) they beefed up and extended the barrel to 6.5-inches on the .22LR to offset the lack of weight from the omitted Super-V action. This did a few things. The barrel is free floating and now has a very stiff mid-weight barrel profile.

The barrel coupled with the excellent KRISS Vector trigger, recessed match muzzle crown, and heavy hammer pressure delivers amazing accuracy and reliability far beyond what anyone would expect from this format. KRISS is using what looks very similar to an upside down Ruger 10/22 bolt which clearly adds to the reliability and accuracy.

I was really expecting baseline plinking level accuracy from the Vector 22 similar to a S&W 1522, and not 10-rounds in one ragged hole at 50-yards with CCI Mini-Mags. The other very surprising attribute was the exceptionally high reliability. KRISS did a fantastic job with their magazine design and their reliability.

I do think KRISS could have improved capacity beyond 10-rounds of .22LR in a Glock 45 full sized magazine, however it works and is reliable. In addition the extremely heavy hammer strike delivers excellent ignition even with bulk pack inexpensive rounds. The result is that what would otherwise be just a fun gun, is both accurate enough for hunting, and reliable enough to rely on when needed. 

The only downside to the format is adjusting for the 4-inch barrel to optic offset. The Vector design increases the bore offset by about 1.5-2 inches depending on your optic mount height. Technically most owners zero to 40/70-yard which provides a nice zero at both points. Mentally this can be a bit flustering though when standing in front of a 6-foot rattler that you want the head to blow off of and you are working through the 3.8-inch zero to bore offset at 10-feet. Though very capable at longer ranges, my SDP 22 is now zero’ed at 25-yards like every other 22 pistol I own.

The reality of the KRISS SDP 22 Vector is far better than I had expected. At this point I have shot over 2000 rounds through the KRISS Vector SDP 22 and only had one ammo related failure. This reliability makes it my most dependable and reliable .22LR I own. The pistol is a joy to shoot. For KRISS centerfire owners, I would buy one of these just to have an inexpensive trainer. For those that have always wanted a KRISS, the Vector 22 is an outstanding gun that will likely get shot far more than its centerfire siblings, but will ultimately drive shooters to also owning a 9mm , 45 or 10mm centerfire version as well.

Model Vector 22 SDP

Caliber .22LR

Capacity 10 / 30

Barrel Length 6.5″

Overall Length 16.75 in / 425 mm

Operating System Direct Blowback

Action Type Semi-Automatic

Color Options - Black, FDE or White

Weight 5.9 lb / 2.7 kg

Barrel Material 4140 Chrome Moly

Barrel Finish Black Nitride (QPQ)

Twist Rate 1:16″ RH

Thread Pitch 1/2x28

Trigger Type Pivoting, Single Stage

CZ 600 Trail & Why I cannot get enough of this Unique Rifle

 CZ 600 Trail & Why I cannot get enough of this Unique Rifle

Always on the lookout for something unique in the market, I picked up a CZ 600 Trail just because it was very different from anything I currently own. To push that uniqueness further, I chose the 7.62x39 chambering which is unusual in a bolt gun format. I like bolt guns but as a semi-auto rifle person, I often find myself feeling bolt guns can be slow and usually heavy compared to a semi-automatic AR. In many cases this usually seems like a step backward especially in cases where accuracy is very similar. The CZ 600 Trail is none of those ideally problematic things and can be shot very fast, has all the modularity of an AR, accuracy that far surpasses its comparable AK semi-auto platform and is crazy light and packable. The CZ 600 Trail is an addictive little light gun which is tough to slip into a category.

The gears start to turn the moment you pull the CZ 600 Trail from the box. You think, “This thing is an insanely light 6.1lb rifle with the pop of 7.62x39… and the option for Hornady’s new subsonic rounds.” Then you realize with the 27.2-inch collapsed length, it can slip into a myriads of SBR/PDW covert packs and cases. It is literally a can-go anywhere rifle with the power to also do most things. After all, who doesn't need a slim light compact rifle?

Admittedly the rifle is unique, but not in the "that's freaking weird" way, but more in a "huh, why do we not see more rifles like this." The answer to why the rifle is so unique is pretty simple. After the CZ Colt Group rollup, CZ now has access to a lot of non-typical engineering, design and manufacturing capabilities. Some of those capabilities include very advanced design, machining, molding, and industrial 3D printing expertise which greatly speed R&D on new ideas. They also have a refreshing drive from the executive team that lacks fear of pushing the envelope of what CZ could be. The CZ 600 Trail is a representation of that forward thinking which is based on another forward thinking CZ 600 action that is pretty unique within the industry. I have to say, this rifle changed my mind a lot about CZ to now wanting to see what else they offer.

The action is an extremely short throw “mini-action” with the ability to quick swap bolt faces and barrels which opens it up to caliber swaps. Technically CZ offered this caliber swap feature as an option on another CZ 600 action model, however customers would inadvertently configure incompatible bolt barrel combos so they have, at least temporarily, discontinued that option. Personally, I think color coding a barrel and bolt face with Cerakote would make it rather clear, but people do stupid stuff, so it seems reasonable CZ took the precaution. I like the way CZ’s design team is thinking though and hope they reintroduce the barrel swap options idea.

With the lower power AR spec rounds, the receiver does not need to be 1-lb of steel and is instead lightweight billet aluminum which drives down the overall weight. CZ carried forward their standard hammer forged barrel profile but in a 16-inch threaded muzzle. CZ tipped the muzzle with a recessed match crown which must have contributed to the extremely impressive accuracy. Carried forward is the truly impressive adjustable trigger which can be user tuned from 3-6 pounds right from the trigger guard and the controlled feeding which makes even very fast shooting extremely reliable. If you want to do that combat bolt action speed shooting maneuver where the thumb and index finger run the bolt and the middle finger trips the trigger, the 10-round Bren magazine empties fast, but I am not sure most buyers will do those antics.

The CZ 600 mini-action is an impressive and proven foundation, however the innovative chassis is what makes the Trail unique. It is an extremely lightweight and compact chassis delivering BREN magazine, MLOK mounting, and a very unique SBR’esk collapsible stock. CZ also integrated BREN style ambi-selector and magazine releases. Owners can also swap out the AR spec grip if they like as well. The ergonomics feel fast and familiar to hands familiar with an AR. For those that want a big magazine beyond the included 10-rounder, CZ also offers a 30-round magazine option. The 10-rounder is a great compromise, however a 20-round magazine option would be perfect if CZ offered one. The only real gripe is the expandable stock could be a bit tighter and the cheek rest a bit wider, but it works and certainly delivers a solid enough platform for some surprising precision from the 7.62x39 round. 

The fantastic trigger is adjustable
from the trigger guard

Frankly, accuracy was shockingly good. Even with some rather inexpensive bulk-packed Russian 7.62x39 rounds, sub-1-inch 50-yard groups were typical and match grade rounds like SST tipped Hornady Black delivered nice little clover leafed ¼-inch groups. At 100-yards it was very interesting to see most quality FMJ rounds like Sellier Belliot printed sub-1 MOA and with the Hornady SST tipped rounds I actually printed more than a few ½-inch groups. Skeptically, I reshot these groups again and repeated the ½-inch groups. Is the CZ 600 Trail a 1/2-MOA guaranteed gun all day long? No, but it is certainly capable if you are not on your 9th cup of coffee, doing your part and are not fighting 30-MPH crosswinds. From an accuracy perspective, the super light 6.1-lb weight is more challenging than nestling behind a 18-lb precision rig and letting gravity deliver a steady shooting platform, but that is the price for a 6.1-lb rifle that you would gladly go hiking with.

Many will ask, why not wait for the new latest 2023 300 Blackout model, but I really would prefer the 7.62x39 round and can still shoot subsonic ammo. The new very heavy hitting 255gr Hornady subsonic rounds deliver about 20% more thump than Hornady’s own 300 Blackout Subsonic rounds. Though the 7.62x39 may not be many people’s first choice, the cartridge usually delivers more power on the hot rounds than the 300 Blackout and with the Hornady Subsonic option, it is a clear power factor winner across the board. 

From my personal experience with over a dozen 300 Blackout guns, 300 Blackout is a picky round from an accuracy perspective whereas the old 7.62x39 round is far less finicky. The 7.62x39 also has the option to shoot the cheap stuff which makes it super fun to just plink. Though the round is definitely a sub-300 yard round, it was very fun to figure out the artillery trajectory using my ballistics app for consistent 600-yard hits on the steel gongs. For those that would never buy this rifle in anything but 300 Blackout, you will be glad to hear CZ plans to offer a CZ 600 Trail 300 Blackout model by the end of 2023. 

Honestly, I was not expecting the CZ 600 Trail to need more than a 1-6 low power variable optic, however the gun was clearly more capable than the limits of the magnification and upgraded to a Athlon 1-10 Helos scope. The Athlon 1-10 delivered both a better reticle system for the ranges intended and more magnification to take advantage of the accuracy. The Helos 1-10 is about all I could ask for to support a 7.62x39 round and the expanded reticle tree comes in handy with shots beyond 300 yards and with Hornady Subsonic rounds. 


The CZ 600 Trail has a lot of flexibility to be what you want it to be and what you need it to be. It can handle a bunch of mounted accessories like a light or laser which can be a huge challenge for your average hunting rifle chassis. It feels familiar like a lighter weight partner to my AR in a caliber that I could go deer or hog hunting with. The CZ 600 Trail offers the option for very quiet shots with subsonic rounds. The weight really is truly amazing considering the internally matrixed chassis is fiber reinforced polymer vs not just a flexible hollow injection molded legacy style stock. The chassis actually has AR controls, a grip, SBR style collapsible stock and aluminum MLK forend, which is a lot considering the weight overall. I find myself thinking that this was the bolt action rifle I never knew I needed that can go from hunt, hike, ATV, to truck and still be cheap to shoot, powerful and precision enough to get the job done. This is a fun and handy little gun that fits in many categories. Great Job CZ!

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Primary Arms SLx Gen II MicroPrism Scope - the Astigmatism Red Dot

Primary Arms SLx Gen II MicroPrism Scope - the Astigmatism Red Dot

There may be just one reason that I am selling all my Trijicon, Eotech, Vortex, and other red dots and prismatic optics and replacing them with PA SLx Gen II MicroPrism scopes, however likely there are many. It may be that I am sick and tired of picking up a gun and having a dead battery and literally useless clear tube or glass reflector where a red dot should appear. 

With almost all AA or AAA powered prismatic optics I have the same short battery life issue. Even many “long running” 2032 powered red dots from a few years ago can only run for 2000-3000 hours. It might be that I am tired of a fuzzy red dot or circle dot that no matter how good it might be or expensive the optic is, it is still just a fuzzy aiming point usually with poor see-through light transmission. It may be that I see no advantage to a red dot with limited FOV, expensive and low runtime CR123 batteries, and weight that is 6-10 ounces heavier than the PA SLx prism optic. It also might be that my prepper mindset is screaming that if an EMP goes off, buzz… fizzle, the optic is fried and I just have a clear tube to look through on my rifle with any other red dot optic.

Or it could be that the bombproof Primary Arms SLx Gen II MicroPrism Scope delivers a tiny format, comparatively huge crystal clear FOV, insane 25K-50K hour (3-6 year) runtime on a cheap and compact 2032 battery, fast as hell and super crisp etched reticle with useful 50/200/300/400 yard aiming points, an etched black reticle that is still visible even with the battery removed, an adjustable focal eyepiece to get a perfectly focused and crisp reticle, bikini lens cover, and an included configurable mount with extra heavy duty torq screws. It also includes mounting spaces to accommodate just about any co-witness height. Oh and it does this for a $269-$399 price depending on which 1x, 3x or 5x model you choose. So basically for the price of a single “premium” red dot with less features, I could likely buy two or more of the PA MicroPrism scopes.

For those with any minor eye focus correction prism scopes like the new Primary Arms SLx Gen II MicroPrism scopes, are without question the best option when it comes to something that resembles a red dot. The technology progression of optics has been impressive in the last decade. The clarity and precision coating technology of many of today’s mid-grade optics rivals that of premier tier optics from twenty years ago and obviously today’s top tier optics offer spectacular clarity all thanks to improved glass grinding, finishing and especially high-tech lens coating technologies. The 1x and 3x SLx PA MicroPrism optics I started testing really blew me away. Here I was using “state of the art” $500-$1500 red dots that were just five or so years old and these significantly less expensive PA MicroPrism optics were just blowing these old premium red dots away. They are that much better, lighter, run longer, clearer, and in some cases faster than just a dot. Primary Arms has also embedded their auto-live illumination sleep mode that turns the power off until motion is detected - a feature that likely adds to the overall impressive 25K-50K hour runtime.

Primary Arms has really impressed me over the years. As a jaded writer that has been writing in the industry for about twenty years, eye-roll inducing “me-too manufacturing” patterns occur all too often, however in this case I have been increasingly impressed. Over a decade ago I purchased a couple optics from Primary Arms that were old enough to have the old scroll style logo on them. One purchase was a red dot and another an extraordinarily beefy 4-16 FFP MilDot… and I still have them and have been wildly impressed with the quality despite surviving an absolute beat down in the last decade. The 4-16 is my standard QD mounted optic to drop onto nearly every review. I have purchased more than a few Red Dots from PA and they have all increased in quality over the years. Over the years, Primary Arms has continued to innovate and actually brought to the US market some of the first 50K hour runtime red dots, the very innovative ACSS and Cyclops Reticle, the first screw-on Autolive upgrade cap in 2023 and a host of premium quality optics such as the extremely innovative 1X and 3X SLx Gen II MicroPrism scopes reviewed here.

Prior to eye surgery on my dominant eye, which corrected my astigmatism and pulled my vision back to spectacular 20/10, I fought constantly with red dot and holographic optics. What I saw as my astigmatism increased was initially a very splashy red dot, a large direction dot smear, and later a dot so splashy that it was unusable for anything except CQB applications. Generally, I switched completely to LPV (Low Power Variable Optics) or Prism 1X scopes which allowed focus adjustment and delivered a blur free reticle. I am here to tell you that if you have any minor eye correction or any astigmatism, you should 100% focus on prism based optics if you want something resembling a red dot, plus they have many other benefits that red dots and holographic sights do not.

Primary Arms SLx  Gen II MicroPrism has some really distinct features and advantages including size, clarity, field of view, etched and illuminated reticle, the ACSS or Cyclops reticle, Autolive and a very extended runtime all in a size that is roughly the same as your standard red dot. PA has done years of work refining the ACSS reticle and they did a great job with these microprism optics. Looking through the crystal clear optic you are met with a semi-circle and upside down V aiming point offering a very sharp precise aiming point at the tip for 50/200 yards, 300 yards on the inside of the V and 400-yards at the bottom of the V. Under the reticle is a ranging chart which allows for easy and simple target ranging to 400-yards.

When prismatic scopes broadly hit the civilian market thanks to Trijicon and later Burris, they were extremely heavy, but offered a shorter overall size and large optical clarity advantage over standard red dots. About ten years ago, the format shrank substantially to about half the size and weight with the Vortex Spitfire and Burris ARx prism optics, but now Primary Arms Gen II MicroPrism are the newest prism technology with an absolutely tiny overall size.

Primary Arms offers three models in 1x, 3x and 5x magnification and offers some models in black and FDE. Having owned a number of Trijicon ACOGs, I like the PA SLx microprism optics better. Sure, the PA optic is IP67 dust and 1M waterproof rated for 30-minutes, so if you plan to go swimming to depths of 500-meters, the ACOG might be a better option, however considering I can buy five PA SLx 1x Microprisms for the price of one ACOG, it might be a good bet on going swimming with the Primary Arms MicroPrism optics. If this was a review on Snapbook or Twittergram it would get a solid 5 stars.

Battery Life 25,001 - 50,000 Hours
Battery Type CR2032 3V Lithium Coin
Brand Primary Arms

Click Value 1 MOA
Color Black
Field View 10076.50 ft

Focal Plane Prism Scope

Illuminated Partial Illumination

Magnification 1X, 3X or 5X

Manufacturer. Primary Arms

Optic Series SLx


Reticle Color Red

Total Elevation Adjustment 120 MOA

Total Windage Adjustment 120 MOA

Turret Features External

Saturday, November 11, 2023

800-Miles with a Tacticon Battle Belt V1

800-Miles with a Tacticon Battle Belt V1

To say I have been around the industry a while is an understatement. One thing I have learned is that cheap does not necessarily mean junk and expensive doesn't necessarily mean quality either. This goes for everything from firearms, to optics, to soft goods, gear and even ammo. I have an insanely cheap bag that has been around the world with me internationally more than a few times, been beaten to living hell and still looks lightly used. 

On the other side I have had the bottom of a $300 backpack fall out. I have had a $400 Anderson AR 15 shoot ½-MOA, a Primary Arms 1x prism optic blow away optically a $1000 mil-spec contract optic. I had a $200 battle belt fail not once, but twice after the manufacturer replaced the first one. You never really know until you try it and hope like hell that whatever you paid for it was worth the money. In this case I have logged over 800-miles with my $49.95 Tacticon Battle belt and not only recommend it, but now own five.

Yeah freaking Tacticon, the brand that a lot of people scoff at but apparently holds up. For the price, I can buy four for the same price as a “Premium” battle belt, so even if it does wear out who freaking cares. This stuff works.

What the hell kind of battle belt is that?

The pictured battle belt is not your usual battle belt however I would guarantee that it has had more abuse thrown at it than anything usual as a battle belt. You see, the use involves my dogs. With a couple Dobermans, you either get the evil energy out, or they tear your house down, so every day they get a 2-3-mile walk so I do not have to replaster and repaint once a week. Over the years of owning these fantastic majestic animals, you need stuff when on walks, I want a gun, a spare mag, treats, small bottle of water, usually a light, an israeli bandage (yep used it once), and generally something to accommodate picking up the mail plus, keys, cell, and phone.

It starts to become a lot of crap to juggle especially during the summer when you do not have a jacket to stuff all the crap into. If you happen to have “a puller” pup who drags you relentlessly around the 2-3 mile loop regardless of any amount of training, holding a leash can be exhausting, infuriating, and taxing.  As 2-3 miles a day becomes 56-84 miles a week and then becomes well over 800 logged miles a year, getting something to work that is comfortable is critical.

The Concept

The idea morphed from using a rigger’s belt to attach one of our hard pulling dobermans with a carabiner. The idea worked, free'd up my hands, greatly reducing back, arm and shoulder strain. Working around my CCW kit was challenging and I started to wonder why not a battle belt with everything already mounted, but mount the pistol and spare magazine holsters in a way that the entire belt was still extremely concealable with just a t-shirt. After a lot of trial and error, I found I would be able to IWB 12-0’clock by mounting the pistol and magazine holster inside the belt by moving the buckle to the 11-o'clock position. This buckle position allowed unhindered mounting of the “noon” mounted CCW gear, allowing quick belt attachment and removal for walks. Fold-up dump pouches were placed at 8 and 4 o-clock. This configuration provided a shockingly concealable rig even with dual fold-up dump pouches that no one took a second look at even when stopping to talk with neighbors. The padded Tacticon Battlebelt delivers amazing comfort during the walks. A simple webbing loop was added on the front of the belt to mount the carabiner that attaches to the dog leash. 

The Abuse is Real

In this case, the abuse is real. I have a doberman pulling like they are dragging a 200-lb apple cart and I happen to be the apple cart and we are attached to the Tacticon Battle belt. So for something like 4-million leash yanks by the math as the dobe takes one step after another and the Tacticon belt is holding up just fine.

Though the padding makes walks a joy compared to holding a leash on a hard pulling dog for 3-miles, I engineered a 500-lb shock cord leash that provides a cushioned shock reducing connection between me and my dobe. So if they lunge or jerk, there is a buffer and I do not end up on the ground because I was admiring the beautiful sunset. 

What I Learned

Tacticon products are high quality at a very reasonable price. I present the latest version and the lessons I learned  on how to set up a battle belt which drastically changed how I set up my actual battle and run and gun battle belts. 

  1. I will never use a Noon buckle position on a battle belt again.

    1. Moving the position to either 11 or 1 o’clock position frees up the front of the belt for CCW mounting

    2. The buckle does not dig into your gut… if you have one.

    3. Prevents having to move equipment off the belt to put the belt on and take it off

  2. Fold up dump pouches are the #1 accessory on any battle belt

    1. Tiny when folded

    2. Can hold anything from water to dog treats, to mail, to magazines, …to whatever.

    3. Noon IWB pistol and magazine position mount rules

    4. Disappears under just a t-shirt.

    5. Very fast access

    6. Superior position during vigorous activities

  3. Always carry an Israeli bandage

    1. Shit happens - Not if but when

    2. Preferably carry an IFAK

  4. The format rules

    1. Having different rigs for different tasks makes sense

      1. Dog walking

      2. Run and gun

      3. Shotgunning

      4. PCC Firearms

      5. CCW grab and go