Sunday, August 11, 2013

KelTec SUB-2000

  Unfortunately the Kel-Tec SUB-2000 pictured above doesn't belong to me. This .40cal carbine belongs to a friend, that was nice enough to let me borrow it for the past week. It's worth remembering that this wouldn't have been allowed under the new gun laws that were proposed a few months ago.

  Let me first state that I only put 50 rnds through this weapon. I'm not going to do a detailed review. I don't have enough experience with this gun for that. I'll be the first to admit it. Consider this my initial impression of this little carbine.

  I like this gun. What's not to like? It's reasonably affordable, takes common magazines, is easy to shoot, seems reliable, and folds in half. Only Dianne Feinstein could find something to hate in this little package.

  It's time to talk about reliability... except that I can't. No one that has only ran 50 rounds through a weapon should discuss it's reliability with a straight face. The owner claims that the SUB-2000 is 100% reliable, and it worked perfectly for me. That's all that I can give you.

  What about accuracy? I only used it on the 25 yard line this week. Most of my shooting was offhand, and about 1 round per second (or so) was fired into the target pictured below.
  I originally wanted to try a magazine or two from the bench, but this is a uncomfortable gun for bench rest shooting. While there's very little recoil when shooting from the offhand position, the bolt tube beats the hell out of your cheek when trying to shoot from the bench. Perhaps it's better with the 9mm version.
  The target to the left isn't that impressive, but I was just playing with this gun. Excuse alert: This was a quick test at the end of a long day of shooting handguns. I believe that it's capable of a lot better grouping than I got out of it. Then there's my cheek weld... but I'll discuss that below.

  The sights are OK on this weapon. The fluorescent front sight can be adjusted for windage, and elevation. There is an aperture rear sight.
The orange insert on the front is easy to see, and shows up very well against most targets. The exception is the orange target that I used for this evaluation. That could have been planned a bit better.
The rear sight opens and closes on it's own when folding or unfolding the rifle.  Both sights are plastic. I'd love to see some form of red dot scope that would work on this weapon while still allowing it to fold.

  The cheek weld that I needed in order to align the sights just felt unnatural. Two other people at the range shot this weapon, and felt that you needed to hold your head "At a weird angle." It's hard to explain.
  I think that it would be easy to get used to this firearm with more practice. I'm calling it more of a training issue, than a real problem with ergonomics. Some guns have their own little quirks. Unfortunately I had neither the time or ammunition to get used to this weapon.

  You'll note that most of the controls are easy to fiqure out. The magazine release is just where we Americans expect to find it. There's no problems with it's placement. You shouldn't have an issue with accidently depressing it, yet it's still easy to reach.  BTW, magazines drop free easily.
  The crossbolt safety will be familiar to anyone that's ever handled a Remington 870, or Ruger 10/22 (which should cover just about everyone). The tension of the safety is perfect. It has a very positive feel without being overly stiff, or loose and sloppy.
  The weapon is folded by pulling down on the hinged trigger guard while pushing up on the handguard. This is one of the few controls that isn't instinctive.
  You'll note that the bolt's operating handle resides on the bottom of the bolt tube. To lock the bolt open, pull the handle to the rear and align it with the notch in the tube.
  The bolt does not lock open on an empty magazine.
  The trigger was OK. I wouldn't rave about it, but I've shot a lot worse (The P-11 comes to mind). There's about 1/4" of takeup, and then the remainder of the pull is consistant. I'd guess that it's about 6-7lbs. No one would ever call it M1911 like, but then again it's not really mushy either. Bear in mind that I'm working from memory right now. It really reminds me a lot of a Glock trigger.
  As I said, it's OK and I have no complaints about the trigger pull.

  I like that Kel-Tec designed this weapon to take some of the most popular magazines on the market. The 9mm version will use the Glock 17, Glock 19, SIG 226, S&W 59, and Beretta 92 mags. Naturally, the 32 rnd magazines for the Glocks and Berettas will also work.
  The .40cal model uses Glock 22, Glock 23, Beretta 96, S&W 4006, and SIG 226 magazines.
  There are markings on the pistol grip to show which manufacturer's magazines the weapon takes. Unfortunately the markings aren't something sensible like G17, or 92FS. You'll have to look up the odd shapes on the right side of the pistol grip to determine which mags your firearm uses (of course if you bought it new then it should be on the package).

  The SUB-2000 seemed well made, but there were some sharp edges on the trigger and magazine well. I constantly felt them while shooting the gun. It was annoying, and I'd smooth them out if this was my rifle.


     This is a very lightweight carbine. It comes in at 4lbs unloaded. The biggest thing that everyone immediately notices is the fact that it folds to 16"x7". You'll note the picture of the SUB-2000 in a laptop case at the top of the page. This is how the owner usually carries it. It is his "Truck gun."

  I don't need a folding rifle, but IF I did need something small then what might I consider as an alternative to the SUB-2000?
  I'd think about Ruger's 10/22 Takedown model. Another way to go would be to use an AR or AK pistol with a sling (5min mark on this video). It's interesting to note that the SUB-2000 is still slightly shorter than the alternatives that I listed.
  Of course you could always buy or make a SBR, but that requires a bit more paperwork than many want to deal with. These are the only suggestions that I have of firearms with a similar length, and capability.

  Let's get down to the nitty gritty of why you might really decide to buy this gun. Most people that discuss this weapon are eventually going to talk about SHTF. Some will mention keeping it in a BOB (Bugout bag), backpack, or laptop case.
  That may sound kind of childish, or even paranoid to many.  I would bet that someone finding themselves driving into a LA Riot type situation would love to have a weapon like this. The same could be said for those trapped in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Not every SHTF scenario is about a Road Warrior fantasy. There are occasions when something more than a handgun may be needed, and this weapon can fill that role while still allowing you to keep a low profile.

  I've seen some comment on the usefulness of this carbine as a backpacking gun. I'd prefer something more handy if given a choice. If I really needed a trail gun, I would probably have a handgun on my person (where allowed). Now that I'm middle aged, and lazy, I no longer hike. During my 20's, I did a lot of backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. A M1911 was my usual pistol of choice, and I never felt like I was lacking in protection. A folded carbine buried in my pack would not inspire as much confidence as a handgun on my hip.

  There's one place that I think this Kel-Tec would really shine. It would be a fine home defense gun for a recoil sensitive person. There are those that have a hard time shooting anything larger than a .22lr. Most shotguns would be out of the question for these people.
  The SUB-2000 would be easy for a recoil shy individual to handle, yet would still have very good firepower. It would also be more intimidating than a handgun. The overall length of the rifle is short enough that it wouldn't be unwieldy indoors.
  You might say that an AK or AR would do the same thing.  If you're looking for something more exotic, you could also mention the bullpups. You'd be right, but they're all longer, heavier, and more expensive.
 There are other options such as the Hi Point Carbine, but the magazine capacity is lacking. Beretta's CX4 Storm is in the running, but the price is prohibitive for most. Neither weapon would store as well as the Kel-Tec. Taurus has their new CT9 carbine shipping soon, but it's rumored to combine what I consider the worst of the Hi Point carbine and the CX4 Storm. It has limited magazine capacity, and will cost and arm and a leg.
  The SUB-2000 is largely in a class all by itself.  I cannot think of anything else that would fit in a dresser drawer, and still deliver the same firepower as this carbine (for the price).

  There's one final reason to buy this rifle.  It may sound a somewhat silly, but it's simply a cool little gun. Uniqueness goes a long way. I owned a Browning Hi Power for over a decade simply because I liked the gun, and everyone else was shooting Glocks and M1911s. I wanted something different from what the herd was using. We gun owners like what we like, and will sometimes pay a premium price for the cool factor (or fun factor).

  That's about all that I have on this topic. I like the Kel-Tec SUB-2000, but cannot see myself buying one anytime soon. I would prefer the Ruger 10/22 Takedown over the Kel-Tec if I needed a storable SHTF rifle. I'd sacrifice the stopping power of the SUB-2000 for the range and ammo weight of the 10/22.
  Everyone in my house can handle handguns, and ARs. We don't really require a compromise rifle in the inventory at this time. What do I mean by compromise rifle? This pistol caliber carbine doesn't have the range or accuracy of a standard rifle caliber. It conceals easily, but isn't as quick to access as a concealed handgun. The SUB-2000 does a lot of things OK, but nothing really outstanding... except for being able to hide in unexpected places.
  The odds of me needing a backpacking carbine at this time in my life are probably greater than my chances of winning the lottery.
  So... we're back to the cool factor. It's a cool little rifle, but there's a lot of other stuff in the $450 range that I'd buy first.
  I really can't say anything bad about the Kel-Tec, but it's just not for me. I'm sure that it would be a great gun for some, and I'd recommend it for those that are looking for a niche gun that stores easily.

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