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Vektor CR-21 Assault Rifle

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

 Updated: 7/23/2014; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

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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Vektor CR-21 Technical Specifications

Service Year: 1997
Type: Assault Rifle
National Origin: South Africa
Manufacturer(s): Denel (Vektor Division) - South Africa

Design (Internal, Dimensions and Weights)

Firing Action: Gas-Operated; Rotating Bolt
Available Caliber(s): 5.56x45mm NATO
Ammunition Count / Feed: 35-Round Detachable Box Magazine
Overall Length: 760 mm (29.92 inches)
Barrel Length: 460 mm (18.11 inches)
Weight (Empty): 8.20 lb (3.72 kg)
Sighting Assist: Optional


Muzzle Velocity: 3,215 feet/sec (980 m/sec)
Rate-of-Fire (RoF): 700 rounds-per-minute (rpm)

Global Operators / Customers


Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

CR-21 - Base Assault Rifle
CR-21 (carbine) - Shortened Barrel Form