The Vektor CR-21 is a modern South African assault rifle chambered for 5.56mm NATO ammunition. It has been designed by the Vektor division of Denel as a possible replacement for the South African Army's current R4 assault rifle.
First unveiled in 1997, the rifle utilises the bullpup layout like the Israeli Tavor TAR-21 and the British SA80. This enables the rifle to be as short as a typical carbine, whilst still retaining the accuracy of longer assault rifles.
Internally, the CR-21 uses a slightly modified version of the action found in the R4 assault rifle, which is known for its reliability and relatively low weight. The rifle also makes significant use of high-impact polymer, with the only exposed metal part on the rifle being the front of the barrel with its integral flash suppressor. Both of these result in the rifle having a low loaded weight, of 3.72 kg (8.2 lbs). The CR-21 comes standard with a 1X magnification optical sight with an illuminated reticle that does not require batteries. This sight is mounted on a sight rail, allowing easy removal and attachment, as well as the use of a range of different sight options. The forward handgrip has been specially designed to be easily removed and replaced with a grenade launcher similar to the M203. Finally, the stock has a built-in compartment which stores a cleaning kit for the rifle, removing the usual need for the soldier to carry this separately.
As of 2005, the weapon has found no customers, and its future is in doubt following the corporate restructuring of its manufacturer. This is despite its receiving positive reviews, summed up by the words of one tester as "compact, light, easy to control and accurate".
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