Kriss Vector SDP SB Enhanced 10mm, CMMG Banshee 300 10mm
Photo by Todd Burgreen
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Braced or large-format pistols are becoming more and more prevalent, especially among those who would prefer a compact platform without having to go through the paperwork and hassle of registering a short-barreled rifle (SBR) with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE). These pistols are viable alternatives for personal and home defense, providing more firepower over traditional handguns with better handling capabilities than shotguns and rifles.

The 10mm Kriss Vector vs. CMMG’s Banshee

Of course, if you choose a pistol-caliber option, you’ll save money by being able to load the same ammo in your handguns, and 9mm rounds are still quite affordable. But what if you wanted to up the ante in terms of power without resorting to a rifle-caliber weapon? Both CMMG and KRISS USA have solutions built around the 10mm Auto.

CMMG Banshee 300 Details

CMMG Banshee 300 10mm Test
Photo by Todd Burgreen

CMMG offers several different pistol-caliber Banshee ARs, with the 300 series being the top of the line. For this review, I got my hands on the 10mm Banshee 300, which isn’t merely a modified 9mm AR and using a typical blowback operating system. Instead, with all of its Banshees, CMMG has incorporated a patent-pending “radial-delayed” blowback operating system. The result is a lighter 10mm AR pistol that also offers lighter recoil. This is because a heavier bolt is no longer needed to control the stout 10mm operating pressures, as would be required with a more traditional blowback system.

Here the bolt rotates and unlocks like an AR-15’s before cycling to the rear versus just moving rearward upon firing, thus slowing the bolt carrier group enough for pressures to drop for safe functioning. This translates into less recoil and more controllability in rapid fire since the nearly 2 pounds of metal mass is no longer recoiling rearward and slamming forward again. CMMG did its research with the Banshee models and even offers optional action-tuning kits that allow you to adjust the pistol for lighter ammo, hotter ammo or suppressor use via a simple method of adding weight to the bolt carrier.

My test Banshee came with billet 7075-T6 aluminum upper and lower receivers as well as an 8-inch, 4140 stainless steel barrel with a 1-in-16-inch twist rate and an SV muzzle brake. CMMG also included a RipBrace installed on an enhanced, six-position buffer tube; an ambidextrous sling-attachment plate at the rear of the receiver; an ambidextrous charging handle and safety; and an oversized magazine release. The M-LOK handguard matches up nicely with the railed upper. Finally, the receivers are finished in Cerakote. Several different color options are available at no extra cost; I tested a graphite black model.

KRISS Vector SDP-SB Enhanced Details

Kriss Vector SDP SB Enhanced 10mm Test
Photo by Todd Burgreen

KRISS USA has steadfastly updated the Vector platform by tweaking the design with new furniture and caliber offerings. For this matchup, KRISS sent me a 10mm Vector SDP-SB Enhanced, which comes with an SB Tactical arm brace that folds to the right side of the receiver. Except for that hinge and a few other components, the pistol is mostly Flat Dark Earth.

Like previous Vectors, the heart of this beast is the Super V operating system, where the recoil energy is directed downward instead of straight back into the shoulder upon firing. The bolt only travels a slight distance past what a loaded round measures, and it weighs 80 percent less than a typical 1911 slide. All of this translates to less felt recoil and muzzle rise so you can stay on target more easily between shots.

The 10mm KRISS Vector SDP-SB Enhanced weighs in at 7.28 pounds unloaded and features a threaded 6.5-inch barrel, which is certainly long enough for a pistol caliber. The gun is 25.6 inches long with the brace extended and 18.5 inches folded. There was no means for adding a sling to my test model, but KRISS offers mounts on its website.

Mags and More

Thankfully, both the CMMG and KRISS leadslingers utilize Glock-style magazines—not proprietary feeding devices—and there are plenty of aftermarket options available. The CMMG comes with a 30-round SGM magazine while the KRISS sports a flush-fitting, 15-round, G20-style magazine. Both guns are also designed so that their bolts will lock back after firing the last round.

Finally, I decided to outfit the CMMG and KRISS with red-dot sights and magnifiers The idea was to maintain their CQB capabilities while extending their effective range to take full advantage of the 10mm ballistics. So, I installed a Trijicon SRS and Bushnell 3X magnifier on the CMMG and a Leupold LCO and Sig Sauer 4X JULIET4 magnifier on the KRISS. The wide fields of view associated with the Trijicon SRS and Leupold LCO are ideal for fast, close-up shots, and the magnifiers offer up potential downrange.

Ammo Loads

Not all 10mm loads are created equal in terms of power, so I decided to run a wide range through the Banshee and Vectory, including full-power JHPs and FMJs from Buffalo Bore, Federal, Hornady and SIG Sauer. And it’s worth noting that the guns ran flawlessly, even with the JHPs, which is an important factor. Law enforcement agencies and security-conscience civilians use expanding ammunition for increased terminal effectiveness and to limit overpenetration in CQB situations.

Buffalo Bore is a prime source of true 10mm ammunition. The company offers several bullet types, including hard-cast and FMJ options. Buffalo Bore’s hard-cast loads are an excellent option for anyone needing deep penetration, especially through barriers.

Federal’s 180-grain Trophy Bonded ammo really shows the 10mm’s potential compared to the 9mm or .45 ACP. In fact, this load uses a projectile based on a rifle version of the same name. The load drives a 180-grain bullet to 1,275 fps for 650 foot-pounds of energy (fpe), putting it roughly between the .357 and .41 Magnum for comparison purposes. This kind of power offers great flexibility, as it can be used for hunting and personal defense.

Hopefully you’ve run SIG Sauer’s V-Crown JHP ammo before. These rounds use V-shaped jackets with cannelured shanks for controlled, uniform expansion, low-flash propellants and nickel cases for enhanced lubricity, superior corrosion resistance, and reliable feeding and extraction. Then there were the two 10mm loads I tested from Hornady. the 155-grain XTPs and 175-grain Critical Duty rounds are rated for 1,150 and 1,250 fps, respectively.

Range Dual

After measuring the guns’ accuracy at 50 yards—and achieving excellent results—it was time for some drills at the Echo Valley Training Center. I fired each gun from behind cover and around vehicles, reloaded on the move and engaged multiple targets from up close out to 150 yards. While I definitely knew I wasn’t firing a 9mm, the recoil wasn’t prohibitive or unmanageable in either the Banshee or Vector. The Banshee’s recoil impulse was smooth and familiar thanks to its AR ergonomics and radial bolt operating system. Numerous others at the range were struck by how easy it was to shoot the Vector while moving. This is surely a result of the Super V system.

The Banshee has excellent ergonomics and handled well at the range. After all, it’s a 5.56-pound AR. What more could you want? The controls are also intuitive thanks to that AR heritage. On the other hand, the Vector benefits from a folding brace since it doesn’t depend on an AR-style buffer for operation. However, each gun can use high-capacity magazines, which is a huge plus.

With both of these guns, shooters will find it easier to manage the 10mm’s recoil and muzzle blast, which translates into better accuracy downrange. Will a rifle round hit with more authority than a 10mm? Of course! But at least with the Banshee and Vector, you’re getting one of the best semi-auto pistol chamberings in terms of effectiveness. And the ability to share the same ammunition and magazines with traditional handguns should not be underestimated, either. For more information, visit cmmginc.com and kriss-usa.com.

CMMG BANSHEE 300 Specs

  • Caliber: 10mm Auto
  • Barrel: 8 inches
  • Overall Length: 24.3 inches
  • Weight: 5.56 pounds (empty)
  • Brace: CMMG RipBrace
  • Sights: None
  • Action: Blowback-operated semi-auto
  • Finish: Cerakote
  • Capacity: 30+1
  • MSRP: $1,650

CMMG BANSHEE 300 Performance

LoadVelocityAccuracy
Buffalo Bore 220 Hard-Cast1,2891.25
Federal 180 Trophy Bonded JSP1,3101.50
Hornady 155 XTP1,4851.33
Hornady 175 Critical Duty1,1680.75
SIG Sauer 180 V-Crown JHP1,2951.00

Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in fps by chronograph and accuracy in inches for best five-shot groups at 50 yards.

KRISS Vector 10mm SDP-SB Enhanced Specs

  • Caliber: 10mm Auto
  • Barrel: 6.5 inches
  • Overall Length: 18.5-25.6 inches
  • Weight: 6.7 pounds (empty)
  • Brace: SB Tactical SBX-K
  • Sights: None
  • Action: Blowback-operated semi-auto
  • Finish: Black, Flat Dark Earth
  • Capacity: 15+1
  • MSRP: $1,779

KRISS Vector 10mm SDP-SB Enhanced Performance

LoadVelocityAccuracy
Buffalo Bore 220 Hard-Cast1,2492.25
Federal 180 Trophy Bonded JSP1,2702.00
Hornady 155 XTP1,4451.75
Hornady 175 Critical Duty1,1281.00
SIG Sauer 180 V-Crown JHP1,2152.00

Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in fps by chronograph and accuracy in inches for best five-shot groups at 50 yards.

This article is from the April/May 2020 issue of Ballistic Magazine. Grab print of digital subscriptions at OutdoorGroupStore.com.

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