Thursday, November 3, 2011

Kel-Tec Sub 2000: A Pistol Caliber Carbine For Multiple Applications

Kel-Tec has always been known as a company with an unique and innovative approach to firearms and their production. Kel-Tec's founder George Kellgren has a passion for firearms that is rivaled by few, and his designs have been the subject of much discussion of the last few years.Based out of Cocoa Beach Florida, Kel-Tec is the third largest handgun manufacturer in the US, and they have been providing the American public with low cost, dependable quality pistols for self defense since 1995. But their pistols are not what I want to talk about today. Today is all about the Kel-Tec Sub 2000.
The earliest incarnation of the Sub2K can be traced back to the late 90's in the form of the Sub 9, which was extremely similar to the current Sub2K, with the exception of some function issues as well as some differences in materials. Kel-Tec had some complaints about the issues, and in 2001, they released a semi-redesigned version of the Sub9, which is the Sub2K that we know today.
The frame is made of glass reinforced Zytel, with a 4130 Ordnance steel barrel wrapped in a polymer handguard. The stock tube is steel, and the bolt and spring of the action operate within this tube. The charging handle is situated on the bottom of the tube, and I can understand why some people would have difficulty operating the handle in that position. I would say that it is simply a learning curve.
The sights are absolutely rudimentary, the front sight being a polymer unit, and is fully adjustable, while the rear sight is part of the central hinge that allows the rifle to fold in half (more on that in a few) so there is no way to adjust it. I have not found this to be an issue, as mine has been acceptably accurate since it's purchase.
The carbine can be folded in half, at the base of the barrel, allowing the owner to store the carbine within a smaller area, such as the back of a truck, or in a backpack for camping.
This is a major selling point of this carbine, since it can fill the position of a utility gun in this fashion.Folding is accomplished by pulling down on the trigger guard and swinging the barrel assembly back over the top of the rifle. A latch in the buttstock secures to the front sight housing, and the gun can be locked with a key in the folded position for added safety, if you are concerned about that. Also,the gun cannot be fired when folded. In it's folded form, this baby comes in at 16 inches in length. Some shooters might find the length of pull a little short, but Kel-Tec does offer a stock extension that adds about an inch to it, and I have done so. It does seem to help.
As far as weight is concerned, it's very light. 4lbs.....another selling point. For a pack gun, lighter is better.
You can find the Sub2K in a variety of magazine configurations, Glock, Beretta, or S&W magazines, as well as either 9mm or .40S&W. From what I understand, the Beretta and the S&W versions can easily be changed to except either mags, but the Glocks stay Glock. No modifying that one.
I have been eyeballing the 9mm Glock version for quite sometime, and when the opportunity arose to purchase one, I jumped right on it. The great thing about the Glock model is that they will accept the 33 round hi capacity magazines, and with a few of those, and a Glock 17 pistol as a companion piece, you've got a formidable package for a camper's bag, or in a SHTF situation a decent "fight your way to a bigger gun" package. At a distance closer than 50 yards, a 9mm bullet approaches the muzzle velocity of a .357 Magnum. That is nothing to sneeze at in a defensive situation.
The Kel-Tec Sub2K with 33 round Glock magazine, notice it's little brother the Glock 17 above it.

I was thoroughly surprised at the accuracy of this little carbine. At about 50 yards, I had decent groups, all center of mass, all within 4 inches of each other. It functioned well with all the ammo I fed it, with the exception of the CCI Blazer aluminum cased ammo. It did not like that one bit. The manufacturer will tell you right up front not to shoot aluminum or steel cased ammo, but a boy has to try. In a situation where ammo is scarce, all you might be able to find is steel or aluminum cased ammo, so it might not be an option.
The appeal of this carbine reaches over various demographics. Police and other LEO have become fond of the Sub2K because it utilizes the same magazine as their service pistols, and this will simplify logistics.
As I stated before, I think this carbine would be phenomenal in the civilian market as a utility gun; toss it behind the truck seat, whether you're on a farm, in a rough neighborhood, or stow it in your backpack when you go on a camping trip, for varmits such as coyotes or even the critters of the 2 legged variety. This carbine has somewhat taken up the mantle of the now-discontinued Marlin Camp Carbines and the Ruger PC series of pistol caliber carbines as a go to for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a light, handy carbine for basic work.
In a SHTF case, while it wouldn't be my first choice, it would definitely hold it's own until you get to a larger center-fire rifle.
Overall, I am a sold believer in this carbine. It's light, it's compact, it's versatile in multiple ways, and it's compatible with my primary handgun.
But there are a few downsides. One is the location of the charging handle.Although I have adapted to it, some people, may find this cumbersome, but due to the design KT really didn't have much of a choice of location for it. One glaring downside, is the general lack of availability on these units. Kel-Tec is so far on back orders, it's not even funny. So if you find one...BUY IT. NOW.
I hope to get some more range time in with this Sub2K within the next few weeks, and I will give you a more in depth review of it's capabilities. Maybe even a video or 2.
If you would like more information on the Kel-Tec Sub 2000, go to Kel-Tec's home page HERE:


  1. Great review, man. The Sub2K is a great little gun. It definitely ain't gonna be what I grab up when the shit hits the fan, but as an all around
    carbine, it fits the bill.
    Although, I gotta say I sure miss the old Ruger PC9. That was a great little gun. I used to have it paired up with my P95DC, and took it all over the place camping and hiking.

  2. Awesome review! I am a huge fan of the Sub2K and try to take it with me everywhere. Your write up was very detailed and well written. I've had mine for well over a year now and even I learned some things from your post.

  3. Thanks so much Roswell. The last few trips out of town that I have taken, the Sub2K has gone with me, in my backpack with 4 of the 33rounders and my G17. I looked like an average joe, and no one was the wiser. That is the way to be nowadays. Do not draw attention to yourself.
    I appreciate your comments, I hope you'll enjoy the blog. I'm just an average guy writing about what I like, but hopefully someone will find all this useful. BTW, I love your blog as well. The apple butter recipe is going to good use. :)