The story of this carbine goes back to 1997, when Kel-Tec introduced the Sub-9 carbine. In general, it was a conventional blow-back gun with the magazine inserted through the hand grip. Designed during the high-capacity-magazine-ban years, it used popular and available pistol magazines, but the Sub-9’s claim to fame was its unusual folding form.
When folding or collapsible stocks were not legal, the Sub-9 worked around that concept by creating a carbine that folded in half at the chamber, halving its overall length for storage and transport.
The folding is initiated by pulling down on the back of the trigger guard, which allows the front of the gun to swing up and back eventually locking the front sight into a recess on the butt-stock.
In 2001, the machined aluminum receiver was replaced with a plastic clamshell, resulting in a lighter and less expensive Sub-2000 model, and since it was made to fit several makes of pistol magazines, in 9mm Luger and .40S&W, this carbine became extremely popular.
Kel-Tec Sub-2000Mk2 (Mark 2). An upgraded version of the Sub-2000 but very similar mechanically and incorporates many improvements that were requested by users but often supplied by after-market accessory makers.
Features and Upgrades
It is 29.1 inches long when deployed and folds down to 16.1 inches.
It has a higher standard of fit and finish, which shows immediately in the smoothness of cycling and accuracy.
The plastic front-sight tower, with its ring-post protector, has been replaced by a machined, non-glare metal tower with protective ears around an AR15-compatible post.
Windage and elevation adjustments are now repeatable, and the red-dot sight-picture is clearer than before.
The muzzle now extends past the sight tower and provides threading for a suppressor or flash hider.
The butt stock is now adjustable for length-of-pull with three positions, and the buttpad is smoother and almost twice as wide as the original; this has considerably reduced the recoil effects.
There are now loops for two types of slings, and the forend is more rigid, slightly less bulky and endowed with Picatinny rails on the top and bottom.
Cooling vents on the sides double as an M-Lock accessory slot, and the pistol grip has been reshaped for better ergonomics.
The unloaded weight with a magazine is only 4.4 pounds.
Performance has improved. Racking the bolt is easier, although the two-finger extended charging handle from Twisted Industries would still be a useful addition. The barrel appears to have improved as well. The old Sub-2000 ranged from 5 to 6 minute of angle while the new one shoots 2.6 to 4 MOA with the same red-dot sight. The top rail even allows the use of magnified optics, since the carbine itself is accurate enough to justify them. Cantilevered AR-15 scope mounts should be used because the top rail only covers the front two-thirds of the forend.
DEAD FOOT ARMS
The gun ran reliably with all types of ammunition, except 50- to 60-grain hyper velocity loads. Point of impact changed considerably from load to load and as much as 3 inches diagonally at 25 yards. For serious use, it’s best to find one load that shoots well and stick to it.
Overall, the gun favors lighter-weight ammunition. The absolute winner in the accuracy department is the all-copper 100-grain OATH Halo with a consistent 2.6 MOA. A mild load with 1,250 feet-per-second velocity also produces minimal recoil and expands reliably.
One hundred and fifteen-grain Corbon JHP and, surprisingly, Winchester’s “white box” FMJ are almost as good with 3 MOA. Remington Golden Saber 124-grain is less accurate with 4 MOA, but works well up close with 1,350 fps velocity. Winchester 147-grain JHP lagged at 4.5 MOA, but would be accurate enough for its intended short-range use with sound suppressors.
Although 60-grain Liberty ammunition did not cycle, it did reach 2,550 fps and could be used for varmints out to nearly 100 yards.
The trigger pull is about 6.5 pounds and not very smooth, with a gritty second stage and some over-travel. Fortunately, the wide trigger guard allows for a safe addition of a trigger shoe designed for a P11 pistol. This wide shoe improves the feel of the trigger and gives it better control. This carbine uses an internal hammer with a sufficiently energetic pin-strike which makes misfires unlikely. In fact, I’ve had no malfunctions of any kind, even with over 300 rounds of mixed-type ammunition.
The bolt does not stay back on the last shot, but the difference in the feel is sufficient to tell when the gun is empty, and the charging handle can be locked back to show a clear chamber. This carbine fits 17- or 33-round Glock magazines and works well with 50- and 100-round drums; all drop freely when released. Smith & Wesson M&P magazines are the next in line for production after the Glock-compatible model.
In practical terms, it’s a competent companion to a center-fire pistol. Its main advantage over the pistol is improved practical accuracy and some increase in muzzle velocity. Folded, it can safely fit into a laptop case with a loaded magazine in the grip. While ballistically weaker than a true rifle, the Sub2000Mk2 is also lighter and quieter. For firing indoors, the reduction in concussion is very helpful, not to mention many ranges do not permit 5.56mm and other rifle calibers. –AmSJ
Note: Some of the photos for this article show a pre-production version of the Sub2000mk2 carbine without the threaded muzzle. All production guns will have a threaded muzzle.
In this TFB TV video, James gets to review the Kel Tec Sub 2000 sub-rifle. This model is the 2015-new “Gen2” variant which has several upgrades over its very popular predecessor, which James discusses fully in this video.
The SUB2000 folds completely in half and uses popular pistol magazines such as Glock 17 magazines. Because the Generation 2 SUB2000 has a threaded barrel, James gets to try it out with his Advanced Armament Evolution-9 silencer. How does the generation Gen2 stack up to the first generation model?
Hey guys it’s james, TFB TV, and I’ve got something really exciting for you today: This backpack. Naw, I’m just kiddin’. I’ve got the Kel-Tec SUB2000 Glock mags Gen2. That’s right, brand new one. We’re gonna take it for a spin on this episode of TFB TV. Took it out to the louisianna swamp, sweat my ass off trying this thing out for you guys, you’ll see that right away. Before I get started though, I wanted to say thank you to our newest sponsor Grizzley Targets, the toughest steel targets on the market; and thank you as usual to Ventura Ammunitions. I hope you guys enjoy the review, check it out, leave a comment, and subscribe. Thank you.
Hey guys, James again for TFB TV. Today I’ve got the brand-spanking-new Gentec Sub2000 Carbine. Many of you are probably familiar with the Generation 1, that’s right, the pistol caliber carbine that folds in half, except this version accepts Glock17 mags. But my initial impressions:
Very lightweight. This thing is, as you would expect from Kel-Tec, a lot of polymer, so it’s really lightweight, but it seems to be well-constructed. It doesn’t feel cheap, it feels pretty well-made. You can see it’s got the folding mechanism, there’s a notch right here that retains– it grips on, you can see, to the front portion right behind the sight, and keeps it locked, keeps it locked tight. Once you remove that, it snaps into place, and then if you want to fold it again, just lift the trigger guard slightly, and then it folds right back, snaps into place again. Really neat, it folds down to– god that is a loud osprey. Really neat, folds into a very compact package; and for you Glock owners out there, you’ve already got the magazines for it. You can use your 17-rounders, you can use your 33-round stick mags.
Sights are pretty good, you can see there’s a rear peep sight, similar to a maytec. It feels like– this is polymer, then you’ve got like a half-hooded front sightpost right here, so the sights are pretty decent on this thing.
We’ve got cross-bolt safety, it’s a little bit out of the way but you can still manipulate it with your firing hand, so that’s not so bad. Charging handle is right here in the back. I’m not sure how I feel about it, it takes quite a bit of tension, so it’s a little bit awkward to have it under here and so close to the back of the stock. But, you know, it works. You’ve got a right-handed magazine release, not ambidextrous and it doesn’t look interchangeable, either. One slight drawback, no bolt hold-open. You’ve got to manually charge it every time you go dry. In the Gen2, Kel-tec added picatinny rail above and below, you can definitely mount an aimpoint or an eotec or something on this thing, but you’ve got to think about the fact that if you did that, you’re not gonna be able to fold it in half anymore. So, that seems like a nice feature, but I’m not sure that everybody’s gonna exploit it. But it is nice to have the rail underneath, so if you wanted to add like an AFG or a flashlight or both, you’ve got quite a bit of real-estate here, so that’s real estate.
And you get to see me shoot this suppressed, because there are 1/2 by 28 threads underneath this thread protector on the muzzle. Pretty cool.
Stock and the stock-retention nut are metal, so is the charging handle, the bolt, of course, and the barrel. Pretty much looks like the front sight block is– might be metal, too. Yeah, the front sight block is aluminum. But most of the body is polymer, so again, very lightweight and it’s gonna be exciting to shoot this thing. Let’s try it out.
The Sub-2000 redesign was actually pretty ingenius. They made several substantial changes. First of all, they made the stock adjustable to three different positions. It has an updated angle with a wider footprint and short-tooth gripping. It’s got also the single-point sling attachment and a webbing-sling loop.And it’s actually got- I didn’t even notice this at first- a little bit of picatinny rail on the bottom of the stock.
Second, the bolt tube. They did a salt-bath nitride finish to the bolt tube that they say adds lubricity and scratch-resistant properties for the bolt-tube. Third, the grip: They integrated a larger ejection port to assist with ejection, and they also added GatorGrip to this area.
The forend was one of the most substantial improvements that they made. It includes top and bottom integral picatinny rails, standard; five standard m-lock slots per side, which is pretty smart, and gator-grip all over that too.
Fifth, the sight is now constructed of aluminum; easier, more consistent controls for elevation and windage, and it can be removed to expose more threaded area if needed. Plus, the redesign just looks cool as hell.
Kel-Tec said they did the redesign for three reasons: first of all, they wanted to modernize it, which makes sense, and they made some great improvements to it. Second, they said that this is one of their more popular rifles, so they wanted to take some steps to be able to increase production volume of the rifle, and finally they said that they integrated a lot of consumer feedback, which is always really cool for a company to do.
The MSRP in the Sub-2000 is five-hundred bucks.
Alright, let’s shoot this thing. So, you pull this little– hmm. What would you call that. This tab. You pull this tab back -I like that, tab- you pull this tab back, you deploy the front of the gun, Like I said the charging handle is under here, it’s a little awkward, but it’s a nice charging handle, and you know, it’s a good place to put it. Keeps the whole package compact from the top down. So not bad. Let’s see how it shoots.
That’s pretty nice. As I mentioned at the beginning, there’s no bolt hold-open, which is kind of a downer, and you have to manually charge it every time, but this thing shoots really well. The trigger’s about what you would expect from Kel-Tec, you know, it’s nothing special. It’s not bad, it’s not that great either, but it’s definitely a serviceable trigger.
The recoil, recoil impulse is a little bit more than, say, you know, like your MP5 or your Uzi, but those are substantially heavier guns. One of the huge advantages to this Kel-Tex is how light it is. That’s what’s nice about it. So, I’m not gonna hold that against the Kel-Tec.
As far as the shooting experience goes, you can’t lose sight of the fact that this really is a utilitarian gun. This is a good truck gun. This is a gun that folds in half. So you can’t expect too much out of it in terms of shooting experience. However, there’s nothing really wrong with it, either. The trigger’s okay, it feels fine in terms of recoil, it’s really not that bad, it’s just fun. You get your glock magazines, you’re shooting 9mm which is cheap, and it’s still powerful to get the job done. It’s a good home-defense weapon.
So here’s something I really love, from the factory with the Gen2 P2000, you get half-by-28 threads. So if you own a suppressor, this is big news for you. I mean you would have had to at least spend money to get the factory barrel threaded, so the fact that Kel-Tec has already done that work for you could save you a couple-hundred bucks, and it’s a nice feature to have. I love it, I think it’s a great idea.
So I’m gonna treat you guys to a little symphony by AAC.
Shoots fine with a suppressor, it actually is a little bit on the loud side out of my right eat, with the action being right here. Not as quiet as a pistol where you’re holding it out in front of your face. Hey and it still folds up into a pretty compact package.
Yeah this thing’s really been a blast today. It’s been great to shoot. But you’ve gotta remember, you’re not shooting the Cadillac of 9mm carbines here. I guess the better analogy would be to say you’re shooting the Jeep of 9mm Carbines. This thing is very functional. It seemed rugged. We’ve put hundreds of rounds through it today, throughout the day, and it’s been 100% reliable. It’s fun as hell, not to mention, and it’s got some really well-thought-out features.
The operation to take down and re-deploy this gun works really well, and it locks positively in both positions, both deployed and not. So you don’t have to worry about this Kel-Tec being folded up and then accidentally deploying. And hey, best part: if you’ve got a Glock 17, you’ve got the mags you need already.
Also if you remember my magpull, the new GL-9 magazine test, those are available to you now, and they’re gonna be $15 a pop.
So my final thoughts on the Sub-2000:
First of all, those of you who are already familiar with the Sub-2000, you know what this is, you know what you’re getting into, and chances are you probably love it. Kel-Tec has a winner here, I know they’re gonna sell these things like crazy. This is probably the perfect truck gun. The compatability with Glock17 magazines is genius. The improvements offered by the Gen2 over the gen1 are also a nice touch, and it just looks cool.
You really shut it down whenever you fold this thing in half, you show this to somebody, you know I brought it to the range today and deployed it, and you know it makes everybody go nuts, they think it’s the coolest thing ever, and it really is.
The shooting experience isn’t anything special, and for a 9mm because it’s so lightweight, it’s got a little bit of kick to it, but again it doesn’t shoot poorly. It isn’t like it has a bad trigger, it isn’t like it’s got killer recoil, it’s a nice-shooting gun. If you have to sum up this gun: it just works. It’s reliable, it’s practical, it’s got a great utilitarian aspect in that it folds up, I know you guys are going nuts about this, it’s probably one of the most exciting guns that I’ve reviewed for TFB TV at this point. Good for Kel-Tec, they’ve got a real winner here, and guys at Kel-Tec: Thank you for letting me try it out, I really do appreciate the T-‘n-E gun, hope you let me keep it. And I really want to thank our sponsors again; Mike at Ventura Munitions, thank you, and Grizzley Targets, thank you for sponsoring TFB TV. And to all you viewers out there, thank you for watching, and I hope you keep subscribing and I hope you keep watching. Thanks again, take care.