Assault Rifle of the Week: Vektor CR21

In the ’90s the VEKTOR division of Denel began development of an indigenous South African bullpup rifle: The Vektor CR21.

With the success of bull-pup designs such as the French FAMAS and Austrian AUG, in the early 90s, the VEKTOR division of Denel began development of an indigenous South African bullpup rifle.

RELATED: Best of the Bullpups: Top 10 Compact Rifles and Shotguns

The R4 rifle, an adaptation of the Galil which was in turn an adaptation of the Kalashnikov, had proved reliable in South African service and as such was a logical springboard design from which to work in developing a new bullpup.


Although the operating mechanism may be a tried-and-true 60-year old Kalashnikov design as adapted for modern application, the scion Vektor CR21 (Compact Rifle 21st Century) presents an interesting esthetic, ergonomic controls and some unique design features.

It essentially comprises an R4 barreled action in a new synthetic bullpup stock. R4 parts have been modified as required to make the new configuration work, including the cocking handle, trigger, selector and sights. In fact, there are no iron sights on the CR21, just an optical sight base mounting a 1X reflex sight, which can be swapped out for a section of Mil Std M1913 rail on which myriad sighting devices can be mounted.

The CR21 features a full-hand trigger guard, an ambidextrous fire-control lever, moveable sling swivels, and downward-deflected ejection to accommodate left-handed shooters. The non-reciprocating cocking handle mounts on the left side. The magazine release is also ambi, and the magazine, resembling an R4 magazine, comes in 20 and 35-rounds.


In 5.56×45 NATO, the CR21 can fire rifle grenades, and can also mount a 40mm grenade launcher. A barrel-mounted adapter will accommodate a bayonet, laser target designator, lights and other accessories. It is expected to serve the South African military well into the 21st Century, and is being offered for export s well.

(Adapted with permission from The World’s Assault Rifles [Johnston/Nelson, 1200 pages, © 2010 Ironside International Publishers], available at:

Load Comments
  • Stridermccleod

    Fuuuuugly rifle. I mean the designer should be shot with it.

  • L Cavendish

    Would love to have one or two to go with my Vektor pistols…even if it is ugly as hell.

  • Yuck Fahoo

    Its an AK47 in a bullpup

  • Joker

    Lol, when was the last time a bayonet was purpose-built on a firearm?

  • Simun Rakar

    that is a really ugly gun

    • yumen

      I think so too

  • Charles

    Yep it looks like something that got left in the oven too long. Then again most cars these days look like a egg split lengthwise, so guess it’s all going the same direction.

  • Delray Silverback

    Someone left their Tavor in the car on a hot day.

    • yumen

      I also think so

    • L Cavendish

      More like a melted AUG…LOL

  • Eldensword

    Melted artwork from the 80’s more – Pretty ridiculous looking IMO

  • Henry

    Cool rifle, but that UBGL looks way to bulky. There’s so much distance between the grenade launcher and the axis of the rifle barrel. I wonder if they have improved upon the UBGL design to make it more streamline? There’s very little information regarding this gun on the internet – just the same little bit of info repeated over and over again on different web sites.

    • The CR21 never went anywhere, so there wasn’t much demand to rework the grenade launcher arrangement. I’m still surprised that no one has licensed the stock design for sales in the US.

  • phrawg

    i wish they could sell them in the US.

  • Jarret

    Can anyone say sci-fi? It is both amazing and amuzing that we are seeing such odd
    and yet(apparently) ergonomic rifles and carbines being developed and feilded in
    this day and age. Maybe I am a traditionalist but I feel that operator comfort only
    needs to be taken so far. This may be(in my opinion) a step beyond what is required.
    Plus it’s kinda ugly. Give me a basic M4 with rails any day over that thing.