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Vektor CR-21 Assault Rifle (1997)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 7/23/2014

The CR-21 remains a promising prototype assault rifle design - with no customers on the horizon.

The Vektor CR-21 is an indigenously-designed South African assault rifle meant to compete with the current standard R4 in South African Army service. While the CR-21 has been marketed as a lightweight, reliable, compact and accurate system, the gun has found little interest in the vast global firearms market on any level despite these inherent advantages. The weapon was unveiled by Vektor in 1997 but the series still exists only in prototype form as of this writing.

The Vektor is characterized by its highly-contoured look featuring smooth curved lines and a futuristic overall shape. The weapon is arranged in a "bullpup" configuration, meaning that the magazine feed is situated behind the pistol grip and trigger group (associated more commonly to the Austrian STEYR AUG universal automatic rifle). The grip and trigger unit are protected by a handguard running from the base of the pistol grip to just forward of the trigger. The body aft of the magazine feed is large and becomes the integrated buttstock, housing the weapon's cleaning kit. The body forward of the handguard becomes the integrated foregrip. The foregrip can be removed to accept underslung weapons such as a single-shot grenade launcher. Optics (1X magnification with illuminated reticle is standard) are mounted atop the weapon receiver while the cocking handle is situated just below this mounting. The barrel of the weapon protrudes some distance away from the forward body and sports a flash suppressor. Construction is of high-impact polymer.

The Vektor CR-21 is chambered to fire the universal 5.5x45mm NATO standard cartridge. The weapon is fed from a 35-round Vektor R4-type magazine. The firing action is gas-operated with a rotating bolt. Rate-of-fire is listed at 700 rounds per minute when in full automatic fire. Muzzle velocity is a reported 980 meters per second. The Vektor CR-21 weighs in at just 8.2lbs when fully-loaded. Overall length is 760mm with the barrel making up 460mm of this length.

The CR-21 has also been developed into a shortened carbine form.

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Specifications for the
Vektor CR-21
Assault Rifle

Country of Origin: South Africa
Manufacturer: Denel (Vektor Division) - South Africa
Initial Year of Service: 1997

Overall Length: 760 mm (29.92 in)
Barrel Length: 460.00 mm (18.11 in)
Weight (Empty): 8.20 lb (3.72 kg)

Caliber*: 5.56x45mm NATO
Action: Gas-Operated; Rotating Bolt
Feed: 35-Round Detachable Box Magazine
Muzzle Velocity: 3,215 ft/sec (980 m/sec)
Rate-of-Fire: 700 rounds per minute
Sights: Optional

* Listed caliber(s) for firearms may be model dependent if more than one model type/chambering was produced. Always consult official manufacturer's information or a licensed dealer.

CR-21 - Base Assault Rifle

CR-21 (carbine) - Shortened Barrel Form