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Boxerabc Mini Uzi m-36 airsoft unboxing

Kel-Tec's sensational SUB-2000 an ultra-compact folding 9x19mm carbine for your Bug-Out Bag: you don't have to be a doomsday prepper to like this neat little package of handy firepower.

If given the option, I will take a rifle over a handgun for
personal protection. A rifle has greater range, terminal performance and
is easier to shoot accurately.

Unfortunately it's simply not practical for most of us to tote
a rifle as we go about our day. A compact, easily concealed handgun
makes much more sense. A pistol tucks neatly away out of view, while
remaining readily accessible if required.


For the vast majority of realistic personal protection scenarios, a
large-caliber pistol will serve well. However there are other times when
a long gun would be a better option. The problem is finding one capable
of being carried discreetly. I know many readers have been mulling over
 A problem with no satisfactory solution; a dilemma
 as well. So I'd like to put forward one possible
solution, Kel-Tec's SUB-2000 folding


George Kellgren and Kel-Tec

Kel-Tec is an interesting company that marches to its own drum. The
product line is made up of forward-thinking designs geared mostly
towards personal protection. Time and Lime again they have been an
industry leader.

Competing companies have introduced designs that "look just
like a Kel-Tec." Not only that, but with a couple notable
exceptions, the offerings are geared towards the blue-collar worker,
with an affordable price tag. Innovative designs, combined with their
reasonable pricing have given Kel-Tec a
cult following

. This means
certain Kel-Tec models, like the SUB-2000, do not stay long on dealer

The full-name of the company is Kel-Tec

 Industries, Inc. It was
originally founded in
Cocoa, Florida

 in 1991 by George Kellgren as a CNC
machine shop. Kellgren was born in Sweden on May 23, 1943 and has led an
interesting life. Before moving to the USA in 1979, he designed firearms
for Husqvarna, as well as Interdynamics AB of Stockholm.

His work in Sweden included designing the compact MP-9

. Here in the USA he designed a number of handguns, including the
Grendel .380

pocket pistol

, before founding Kel-Tec.

In 1995 Kel-Tec began producing firearms. Kellgren's desire
was to produce innovative handguns for concealed carry for both lawfully
armed citizens and law enforcement personnel. While he started with
pistols, Kellgren soon turned to designing unique rifles and recently
added a shotgun to Kel-Tec's line.

Since 1995, demand led to the company expanding and growing. Today
they have a 26,000 square-foot modern machine shop plus 6200 square feet
dedicated to assembly and another 8920 square feet for final assembly
and customer service. This facility also incorporates a 100-yard indoor
test range. Demand though has led to the construction of a new 12,500
square-foot building to house materials.


How successful has Kellgren and his team of workers been? Today
Kel-Tec is among the top five largest hand-gun manufacturers in the USA.
That is an incredible feat in such a short time. It says much about
Kellgren both as a designer and businessman, as well as his team of

The SUB-2000

The SUB-2000 is one of Kellgren's more interesting designs.
Why? Simply because it's a handy little pistol-caliber carbine that
folds into a package measuring just 16x7 inches. This allows it to be
easily carried in a small, low profile bag most wouldn't expect to
be able to conceal a carbine. The ability to fold into such a compact
package along with its use of standard pistol magazines is what makes
the SUB-2000 so desirable.

Since it entered production in 2001 it has achieved a cult
following among a certain segment of shooters. To find out if the
reputation was deserved, I contacted Kel-Tec about purchasing two for
review. My research indicated the SUB-2000 could be a useful tool for
the wife and me to have on hand. So this article is actually an
extension of testing undertaken for my own purposes.


Each carbine arrived nicely packed in a
cardboard box


 card n
the SUB-2000 locked in its folded position, one 10-round magazine,
special key, front sight tool and a well written and nicely illustrated

This model is available chambered for either 9x19mm or .40 S&W.
9x19min models are available using the following types of magazines:
Glock 17, Glock 19, S&W 59,
 or ber·ret·ta  
Variants of biretta.
 92 and SIG P226. .40 S&W
models are available using the following types of magazines: Glock 22,
Glock 23, S&W 4006, Beretta 96 and SIG P226. So you can match a
SUB-2000 to feed from the same magazines as your favorite carry pistol.
As this was for my personal use I chose 9x19min models feeding from
Glock 17 magazines My intention was to use them with standard 17-round
and the extended 33-round magazines.

Pulling one of the SUB-2000s from its box revealed it to be
straightforward in operation. The design utilizes the well proven
blowback method of operation and fires from the closed-bolt position.
The heart of the carbine is an impact modified glass-reinforced Zytel
receiver which is pistol shaped.

Attached to the rear of this is a tubular steel receiver extension
that doubles as a stock. This extension houses the two-piece bolt
assembly, captive
 /re·coil/ () a quick pulling back.

elastic recoil  the ability of a stretched object or organ, such as the bladder, to return to its resting position.
 spring, buffer and charging handle. By placing
the polymer buttplate at the very rear of the receiver extension,
Kellgren was able to reduce the overall length of his carbine.


The magazine well is located in the receiver's
pistol grip

a. The grip of a pistol, shaped to fit the hand.

b. A similar grip sometimes used on a submachine gun or other firearm.

While this is similar to an Uzi, the SUB-2000 does not utilize a

telescoping bolt

. Housed inside the receiver is a single-action trigger
mechanism with a positive disconnector.

The simple crossbolt safety interlocks the sear and hammer while
disengaging the trigger bar. This is well placed to allow easy
manipulation, yet is also nicely shrouded to prevent accidental

 /dis·en·gage·ment/ () emergence of the fetus from the vaginal canal.

. The magazine release is conventionally placed the same as
for a pistol and slightly extended to allow sure operation.

The 16.1-inch 4130 ordnance steel barrel is held securely by a
hinge-block at the front of the receiver. The non-adjustable aperture
rear sight is also mounted to this block and it automatically rotates
into position when the barrel is locked into place. The hinge block is
securely locked or released by the swiveling
trigger guard


Surrounding the barrel is a pair of vertically split polymer
fore-end halves. Twelve Philips head screws hold these in place. Mounted
to the end of the barrel is a polymer front sight block. This houses a
fully adjustable front sight. The high visibility blade front sight is
manufactured from a semi-translucent synthetic material.

Overall length of the carbine in firing position is just 29.5
inches. This is reduced to just 16 inches when folded. Weight is a very
light and handy four pounds. A slot for a sling is incorporated in the
butt and while the bolt does not lock to the rear on the last shot it
can be manually locked open. Finish on the metal parts is a simple but
attractive bluing.


Initial Impressions

Pulling Kel-Tec's SUB-2000 from the box, I immediately noted
it's not what you'd call a pretty puppy. If your tastes run
towards handsome walnut and beautiful machining, the SUB-2000's
appearance will raise an eyebrow. It looks akin to something you would
expect a futuristic Fallschirmjager to be carrying in some cheap science
fiction short story about Nazis in space.


The plethora of Philips head screws, polymer construction and ugly
front sight housing do nothing to enhance its appearance to those with
traditional tastes. I don't have traditional tastes, though, so
none of this bothered me. What I didn't like was how the front of
the pistol grip has nothing holding the two halves together.

While there is a screw in the rear, there is nothing in the front.
Due to this the two halves can split slightly apart showing a gap when
inserting a long 33-round magazine at a slight angle. A friend who
examined the SUB-2000s commented on this as well.

So understand up front that the SUB-2000 was designed to be
inexpensive to manufacture using modern methods to provide an economical
piece to shooters. Also be aware that this piece was not designed for
brutal military conditions. It is not built like a Kalashnikov, but
rather intended for the LE and commercial market.


Running the SUB-2000 is very straightforward. Place the piece on
safe by pushing the crossbolt safety in towards the left. Insert a
loaded magazine until it locks securely into place. If the bolt is
locked to the rear, rotate the operating handle slightly to the left,
allowing the bolt to run home.

If the bolt is not locked to the rear,

 the operating handle
and release it, allowing the bolt to run home. The sights come from the
factory with a rough 100-yard zero. Aim at your target, push the
crossbolt safety fully to the right and you are ready to fire.

The sights, while simple, provide a very usable sight picture and
the trigger is quite acceptable for this carbine's intended
function. Recoil and report are mild. The design, with its long bolt
travel, allows for reliable operation using loads varying greatly in

Keep in mind the bolt does not lock on the last shot. To lock the
bolt back, retract the operating handle all the way to the rear and
rotate it slightly to the right. Original

 Glock magazines ejected
cleanly but aftermarket Korean 33-round magazines needed to be pulled

Folding the SUB-2000

What makes Kellgren's SUB-2000 stand out from the 9x19mm
carbine crowd is its unusual ability to fold neatly in half. How is this
voodoo ritual performed? It's actually simple and quick.

After ensuring the chamber is clear, press down on the trigger
guard and then rotate the barrel up. The barrel assembly will now neatly
rotate up and around to lie flat along the top of the receiver.

As the barrel rotates, the rear sight will also
flip out

 of the
way. A spring-loaded detent at the rear of the butt-plate will engage a

1. Something cut out or intended to be cut out from something else.

2. Electricity A device that interrupts, bypasses, or disconnects a circuit or circuit element.

 in the front sight block, securing the barrel in this position.

The barrel can be folded with the bolt either forward or locked
back and with a magazine, inserted or removed. With the barrel folded,
the SUB-2000 becomes a compact 16x7 inch package. This allows it to be
easily stowed in a very small space.


If the owner so chooses, the design incorporates a locking
mechanism which will secure the SUB-2000 in the folded position. A
special key is provided to engage the lock located on top of the
butt-plate. This allows the owner to fold the carbine so that it is

 /in·op·er·a·ble/ () not susceptible to treatment by surgery.

Unsuitable for a surgical procedure.
 and to lock it in this position. That's a handy feature
to have for certain situations. A quick twist of the key, though,
quickly unlocks the mechanism allowing it to be rapidly put back into


To unfold the barrel, you slightly retract a small spring-loaded
knob (located on each side of the stock for
 /am·bi·dex·trous/ () able to use either hand with equal dexterity.

Able to use both hands with equal facility.
 operation) and
unfold the barrel. As you do so, the rear sight automatically pops back
into place.

Keep in mind that the trigger guard kicks open slightly as the
barrel locks in place. This can pinch a finger if it gets in the way.
The most important thing to understand is that the SUB-2000 can be
folded in just seconds. It's very easy to do with no effort
required. Better yet it can be unfolded and put into action just as


Why do I find it valuable to be able to carry a long arm
discreetly? A rifle, carbine or shotgun is preferred over a handgun. But
in many scenarios walking around openly brandishing a rifle, especially
a scary black one, will lead to unwanted attention. While there are
times when a show of force is appropriate there are times when it is


In an emergency or natural/man-made disaster, you may wish to have
a long arm with you. Properly concealed, no one, especially LE officers
who might otherwise

 it, will know it's there. Having a
firearm is important. Keeping the firearm, rather than having it
confiscated or stolen, is equally important.


It does you no good to have a firearm if some LE officer
confiscates it simply because he feels like it, even though it's
lawful for you to possess. Keep in mind that just because you know you
are a good upstanding citizen who is lawfully armed doesn't mean
some LE officer who sees you will think the same way.

Many are uncomfortable around armed citizens. This is especially
true if said officers are already highly stressed and have been deprived
of sleep for a day or two. Don't take anything for granted when it
comes to your safety and your family's. Be smart and stay low

Shooting Impressions

As soon as I arrived home from my

FFL Fantasy Football League
FFL French Foreign Legion
FFL Federal Firearms Licensees
FFL Finished Floor Level
, I just had to trundle a
SUB-2000 out to the range. I picked one, loaded up two aftermarket
33-round magazines and had some fun. Running it on a dueling tree
revealed it to function well but the zero was off. So I selected a
variety of loads ranging in bullet weight from 60 to 135 grains, and got
to work.

Using the supplied sight tool, I made a rough windage and elevation
adjustment and quickly got it shooting where I wanted at 50 yards. Next,
I measured velocity while shooting four 5-shot groups with each load
from a rest at 50 yards.

Loads consisted of American Eagle's 124-grain

, Black
Hills' 115-grain TAC-XP +P and 124-grain

JHP Journal of Humanistic Psychology
JHP Journal of Health Psychology
JHP Jewish Heritage Program
 +P, Hornady's
135-grain Critical Duty +P, MagSafe's 60-grain Defender,
Magtech's 92.6-grain Solid Copper HP and Wolf Performance
Ammunition's 115-grain FM! The fastest load was no surprise,
MagSafe's 60 grain Defender blasted across the screens like a

hopped up
 Drug slang A popular phrase for being influenced by drugs
 Hemi at 2343 fps. That's pretty zippy for a 9x19mm. A
good ways behind it was Magtech's 92.6-grain

SCHP Solid Copper Hollow Point
SCHP Clerics Regular of the Pious Schools, Piarist Fathers
 at 1548 fps. One
thing to keep in mind is that the 16-inch carbine barrel will boost
velocity over most pistols. How much of a boost, of course, depends upon
the individual load. I was a little surprised that Hornady's
135-grain Critical Duty +P didn't gain more than it did from the
long barrel.

Firing with the factory iron sights, accuracy ranged from quite
good to not so hot, depending upon the load. With loads it liked, the
SUB-2000 shot quite well, averaging 2-3 inches at 50 yards and 4-5
inches at 100 yards. But the copper monolithic HPs were simply not to
this carbine's liking.

Both Magtech's 92.6-grain SCHP and Black Hills' 115-grain
TAC-XP +P posted ho-hum groups at 50 yards. Conventional loads, on the
other hand, shot quite well. American Eagle's 115-grain FMJ, Black
Hills 124-grain JHP +P and Wolf's 115-grain FMJ all posted nice
groups. Stretching these three loads to 100 yards revealed very
acceptable performance. At 100 yards the SUB-2000 will
tr.v. out·shot , out·shoot·ing, out·shoots
To shoot better than (another):
7.62x39mm Kalashnikovs. That's pretty good for an iron-sighted
pistol caliber carbine.


Moving from the bench, I next ran it through a variety of drills
from 3 to 100 yards. This was done using a variety of targets, including
Action Target dueling trees, a plate rack and B-27 silhouettes.
Practical accuracy proved very good and the 4-pound carbine was very
fast-handling. It's quick to the shoulder and swings rapidly onto
target. Recoil is easy to control and the trigger, while certainly not
match grade, is quite acceptable.

The controls proved easy to operate and the carbine digested a
variety of brass and steel-case loads, ranging in velocity from 1184 fps
to 2343 fps, without issue. Cartridges fed smoothly, extracted and
ejected to 3 o'clock. The ejection pattern was consistent and no
problems were encountered using either OEM Glock magazines or the
aftermarket Korean 33-rounders.

OEM Glock magazines ejected cleanly with the push of a button.
I've purchased quite a few of the Korean 33-round magazines from


 and found them to work well, except they will not drop free from my
Glocks. So I was not surprised to see they also failed to drop free from
the SUB-2000. All in all the SUB-2000 is very fun to shoot and would
make an entertaining recreational blaster as well.

Running the SUB-2000 is a bit like shooting a stocked pistol, due
to its very light weight. I have quite a bit of time behind a stocked
C-96 and always liked the concept. You just have to understand the
system's strengths, weaknesses and limitations.

The SUB-2000 isn't a stocked pistol. The fore-end provides,
plenty to hold onto and the length of pull is a familiar 13.2 inches.
And the sight radius and picture are a noticeable step up from a stocked
pistol. Exterior ballistics and terminal performance, though, are very


Yes, the SUB-2000 does get a velocity boost from its 16-inch barrel
with some ammo types. So ammunition selection is very important. Just as
you would with a 9x19nun pistol, you should spend a bit of time
researching the best loads for your particular needs.

In addition to conventional loads such as ball or JHPs, you may
wish to consider having a small quantity of specialty loads in case of
an emergency. These could include tracers for signaling and shot-shells
for taking small game/birds at very close range.

There are certain accessories I personally think a carbine intended
for self-protection should wear. Top of the list is a sling. The
SUB-2000 sports a sling slot in its butt which allows easy attachment of
a single-point sling. However it doesn't come with a front sling
mounting point.

Fortunately, Kel-Tec does offer a sling kit that includes both a
basic two-point sling and sling mount. The mount attaches easily to the
receiver next to the rear sight. This makes the sling useful whether the
carbine is fixed or folded. Price of the kit is $10.60.

If you wanted to, you could rig a swivel to the fore-end. Another
important accessory is a white light. Bad things often happen at night
or in dark places. This means a good high-output
tactical light

 can be
an invaluable tool. One easy way to add a light to a stock SUB-2000 is
to use Kel-Tec's accessory rail.

This consists of a special short

 1913 rail section that
mounts to the fore-end at 6 o'clock. Price of this piece is $21.20.
If you would prefer the light mounted in a different location, you could
always fabricate your own mount using a short section of rail screwed to
the handguard.

Not required, but highly desirable, would be a compact
red dot

. A sight like an Aimpoint Micro T-1 or something similar would
make a valuable addition, especially in low-light conditions. The
problem is mounting it while still allowing the carbine to fold.

Kel-Tec offers an aluminum fore-end for $97.53. This accepts rail
sections at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock and would allow an optic to be
mounted. However it would have to be in a QD mount if you wanted to fold
the carbine.

From the aftermarket,
Red Lion

 Precision also offers an aluminum
fore-end that accepts rail sections. What is interesting, though, about
Red Lion Precision's offering is that it is designed to rotate 900
and back without losing zero. This allows you to have an optic mounted,
then rotate the fore-end 900 and fold the carbine.

When you unfold the carbine, simply rotate the fore-end back into
position, where it locks back into place. Red Lion Precision's unit
retails for $147 without rail sections. I am still working on a solution
for this problem that best meets my needs.

While I don't recommend strapping gadgets all over a SUB-2000,
a couple (like the ones mentioned) make sense. Kel-Tec does offer a few
more, including a compact fore-end, spare magazines, stock extension,
spare magazine carrier for the butt and a soft case.

Red Lion Precision also offers a replacement front sight assembly

 devices. Tacticool Products also offers three accessories for
the SUB-2000: a buffer, receiver extension/stock tube cover to increase
comfort and an operating handle cover.

Final Thoughts

Kel-Tec's SUB-2000 is an interesting 9x19mm carbine. It's
very light and when folded allows very discreet carry. Its ability to
feed from popular pistol magazines is a valuable plus. This allows you
to buy one type of magazine and feed both your handgun and carbine with
it. Only having to carry one type of magazine/caliber can be an
advantage. Plus 9x19mm ammunition is readily available in a wide variety
of high quality conventional and specialty loads.

Practical accuracy of the piece is very good. It's also
relatively easy to make rapid multiple hits on a man-sized target out to
100 yards. The design is also simple to operate and maintain. At just
four pounds, it's very easy to carry and is fast as lightning to
shoulder and swing.

Negatives? A 9x19mm carbine is a poor substitute for a real rifle.
It lacks the range, penetration and terminal performance of
rifle-caliber cartridges. Mounting an optic, such as a red dot sight,
can be a bit of a challenge out of the box. Nevertheless it can be done.
The basic design is not as robust as a true military grade piece. Plus
build quality in some areas could be improved upon.

Namely I'm not a big fan of the front sight assembly. However
be aware that aftermarket parts are available for the SUB-2000. With a
suggested retail price of just $409, the SUB-2000 is blue-collar
affordable. Just understand that their popularity means they can be
difficult to find.

If you are looking for a carbine that can be carried very
discreetly, I recommend considering the Kel-Tec SUB-2000. While not
perfect, it fills its intended niche very well. I liked it enough that I
bought one for my wife and another for myself.


Load                   Bullet Weight (grs.)  Velocity  50 yards
                                                (fps)    (ins.)

American Eagle FMJ                      124      1181       2.2

Black Hills TAC-XP                      115      1357         5

Black Hills JHP +P                      124      1368       2.5

Hornady Critical Duty                   135      1235       3.5

MagSafe Defender                         60      2343       3.5

MagTech SCHP                           92.6      1641         5

Wolf FMJ                                115      1341       2.5

Groups are an average of four 5-sbot groups fired from a rest at 50
yards. Velocity measured 12 feet from muzzle with an Oehler 35P
chronograph at an ambient temperature of 90[degrees] F1,030 feet
above sea level.


Caliber:        9x19mm or .40 S&W

Operation:      Blowback from closed bolt

Barrel:         16.1 inches

Overall Length  29.5 inches

Overall Length  16 inches

Weight:         4 pounds

Feed:           Beretta, Glock, SIG or S&W pistol magazines

Sights:         Fixed rear aperture, fully adjustable front

Finish          Blue

SRP             $409


Kel-Tec CNC Industries, Inc.


Red Lion Precision


Tacticool Products


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