It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of pistol caliber carbines, they are small, light weight and fun to shoot. I already own several pistol caliber carbines including an MP5, but that didn’t stop me from looking at others. It was browsing the internet after doing a basic search in google for “affordable pistol caliber carbines” that today’s selection popped onto my screen. The Kel-Tec Sub 2000 has been around for a few years now, long enough that a generation II has been released after some feedback from Sub 2000 loyalists. The newer Generation II rifles feature a few major upgrades that enhanced the fun factor in a rifle that was already well thought out.
Who Why & What
Those are three questions many people ask themselves when they set out to buy a new gun, so we figured we should answer why we chose to give you a preview of the Kel-Tec Sub 2000. The WHO, is Kel-Tec CNC, a Cocoa, Florida company that originally was just a part manufacturer for Grendel Inc.and then more than 20 years ago in 1995 released their first manufactured pistol the P-11. The P-11 was the first polymer pistol specifically designed for conceal carry use, and when word got out of the price and how handy it was, the company grew by leaps and bounds.
The WHY, part of the equation is simple, we were looking for a rifle that was highly portable, lightweight, inexpensive and would also be inexpensive to shoot. The fact that September is also National Preparedness Month, we thought something like this would also be a great self-defense gun for several reasons. The first being that the Sub 2000 is available in several different configurations that all have one thing in common. All of the varieties of the Sub 2000 shoot a pistol round and the different sub models of the rifle cover all of the same magazine types as some of the most popular pistols on the market. The rifle is available in models that use Glock 17/19/22& 23, Smith & Wesson M&P, Sig Sauer P226, and Beretta Model 92 & 96 magazines. Also of note is that those are also some of the most popular models used by law enforcement agencies. One of the last reasons we chose the rifle is the Kel-Tec lifetime warranty, its hard to argue with a company that offers that to buyers.
The WHAT is the final part of the question and could be answered by some rambling list of words and sentences, but it’s much easier to cut right to the meat of the subject and list the specifications for the rifle. The below specifications don’t change much between the different sub models on the market. Maybe a fraction of an ounce or so, but the barrel length, thread pattern etc don’t change between models, only the twist rate changes a bit.
Name: Sub 2000 Rifle
Place of Manufacture: Cocoa Florida
Barrel Length: 16.25″
Twist Rate: 1:10 or 1:16
Weight Unloaded: 4.25 lbs
Overall Length: 30.5″
Folded Length: 16.25″
Trigger Pull: 9.5 lbs
Price: MSRP $500 (Can be found online $349.00)
My first impressions of the Kel-Tec Sub 2000 is that it’s no Heckler & Koch MP5 but it’s also far better than a Hi Point Carbine. The gun is ridiculously light weight and handles well for what it is, a folding rifle who’s operating handle is located behind the pistol grip. It’s not the most natural position for a charging handle but if you practice you can easily get use to it. The polymer appears to be well made and the fore end features M-Lok compatible slots at both the 3 O’Clock and 9 O’Clock positions yet has picitinny rails at the 12 and 6 O’Clock positions. This allows users to add pistols grips to help shooters but doesn’t impede the rifle folding in half. Adding any sort of red dot style optic to the rifle could be problematic without the proper mount such as the ones made by Midwest Industries.
The trigger is a long double action style trigger with a pull of just over 9 lbs, which some people will absolutely loose their minds over. If a user wants a lighter trigger pull M-Carbo makes a drop in kit that will usually cut the trigger pull by more than half. In testing I can say honestly the trigger is long, but after a few magazines the fun factor kicks in and I didn’t notice it. The Sub 2000 rifle isn’t a 500 yard tack driver, its a plinker and sub 100 yard gun. You can’t expect the same trigger pull from the Sub 2000 that you would expect out of an AR-15. Despite the longish trigger pull the gun is just flat out fun to take to the range.
Notes and Details:
The Kel-Tec Sub 2000 does have some details about it that are great and a few that I wish would be upgraded sooner rather than later. The rear sight could use some work, but most people I know shooting the Kel-Tec just accept it for what it is. The trigger we have already mentioned can be remedied rather quickly. One detail that can’t be fixed is the amount of effort it takes to cycle the rifle with the charging handle. Cycling the rifle by hand seems a lot harder than it should be, but part of this is by design. The list of good details and features far outweighs the few semi negative ones for sure. Breaking down the rifle can be done by hand with zero tools needed and folding the rifle in half for storage or transport is as easy as pulling a simple lever. The lever is actually the trigger guard and with a simple firm downward motion it slides and releases the upper from the lower, allowing it to rock in its axis
Our test model is one that is set up to accept Glock 19 magazines, we chose this partially because of its smaller grip, but more to the point that it will accept most Glock 9mm magazines. If we had chosen the model that accepts the longer Glock 17 magazines we would eliminate ourselves from using the shorter Clock 19 magazine. The rifle comes standard with one high-capacity MagPul magazine but we have secured a delicious selection of other magazines including a few clear 31 round Elite Tactical Systems magazines like the ones Travis Pike previously reviewed. Putting the ETS mags against a factory Glock 33 round magazine will also be a fun part of the test, I can’t lie about that.
Range Session & Closing Thoughts:
To date I’ve only had a chance to fire a few magazines out of the rifle, but the initial impressions are very good. The Kel-Tec Sub 2000 might be seen as a gimmick to some in the firearms industry, but as fast as they are selling it’s hard to call them a fad. Many stores sell out of these handy rifles as soon as they hit the store-room and with the recent hurricanes to Florida the delays might be longer than they are now. In our opinion the Sub 2000 is a great gun for your “Get Home” bag or for use with your ATV or pick up truck. It easy stows in a gym bag or a back pack like any of the Vertx series we have been featuring making it a great force multiplier if you pair it with a pistol of the same type. With a real street price of $350-$400 its fairly cheap for either rifle or a pistol. It’s priced at the point that if you get one and absolutely hate it, you can easily sell it and make your money back. That’s not a promise but a pretty good bet, I mean it’s really a gun you won’t can’t loose with. Check back in a few weeks while we spend some time at the range with this handy little rifle making our CTS Targets & Defense Targets steel ring. A full review is coming soon, what are your thoughts on pistol caliber carbines or the Kel-Tec Sub 2000 in general ? Would you take the risk on it ?