The Vektor CP1 Pistol

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By J.B. Wood

In its brief description of the CP1, the Blue Book of Gun Values notes the pistol’s “unique aesthetics.” This refers to the arty, sweeping lines recessed into the steel slide and polymer frame. The slide hold-open is internal, and the manual safety is a sliding piece inside the front of the trigger-guard. The magazine release is recessed. Nothing protrudes on the sides at all.

This gives a width figure of exactly 1″. The other numbers: 7″, long, 51/2″ in height and a 4″ barrel. Weight is 25.5 ounces and the barrel has polygonal (non-grooved) rifling. The ergonomics of the grip are excellent, enhanced by a generous extension on the bottom of the magazine.

As originally designed in South Africa, magazines had a capacity of 15 rounds in 9mm. Alas, over here, we were in the Dark Ages — 1999-2000. In the limited number imported at the time, magazines were altered to hold only 10 rounds. Not only that, but the lower ends were slitted at front and rear, so even an adept gunsmith could not change them.


The Vektor CP1, field-stripped. Note the gas piston,
attached to the front of the slide.


Svelte and sexy, the Vektor still didn’t win the hearts
of shooters and was recalled. They’re rare today.

One of the most notable features of the CP1 was its use of a gas-brake system, like the Heckler & Koch P7. Gas is vented just forward of the chamber into a cylinder below, where it acts on a ribbed piston attached to the front of the slide. The beauty of this system is it will adjust, automatically, to cartridges of different power levels.

The firing mechanism is single-action, with a pivoting internal hammer. An additional safety is set into the face of the trigger. It’s not a “flipper” though, as used by Glock and others. A small orange pad at center is depressed to cam the blocking cross-pin to clear. I feel it’s less annoying than the other type.

Internally, an automatic device blocks the firing pin until the trigger is pulled and the hammer falls. Unlike all the rest of these, it’s not trigger-controlled. Inside the top of the slide, there’s a lightweight U-shaped blade spring compressed upward by the top of the falling hammer. Not the strongest arrangement and I suspect problems with it were the reason the pistols were recalled by Vektor USA, then located in Norfolk, Va.

I have no figures on how many were originally sold, or how many were returned during the recall. I do know it’s rarely seen in shops or at gun shows. For the collector who specializes in varied auto pistol designs, the Vektor CP1 is definitely worth looking for.

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