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KEL TEC SUB 2000 Review

by Chris Nelson on August 14, 2017

The KEL TEC SUB 2000 is a Pistol Caliber Carbine that will fold in half to allow the shooter the ability to conceal the rifle in a back pack or lap top case. Yes a lap top case, it’s that small; 16.25 inches to be exact when folded. It will fit in a variety of concealed carry bags and has tons of applications. The KEL TEC SUB 2000 is becoming more and more commonly used as a “Truck Gun.” In that it’s inexpensive, rugged, compact and versatile. The KEL TEC SUB-2000 is no “safe queen!” It can take plenty of abuse and is suited for a wide range of applications. The KEL TEC SUB 2000 and corresponding handgun to interchange mags with, is the perfect truck gun(s) to me.

Folded KEL-TEC SUB-2000

The KEL TEC SUB 2000 has been difficult for a lot of shooters to get their hands on. KEL TEC is a small innovative firearm manufacturer and with that being said they tend to make their firearms in small batches. They are certainly catching up with demand but in the beginning it was very rare to see a SUB-2000 sitting on the shelf in your local gun shop. Needless to say, the SUB-2000 is here to stay and the demand is through the roof. KEL TEC has created a tight little following of SUB-2000 owners that appreciate the utility and versatility of this pistol caliber carbine that is chambered in either 9mm or 40cal and will accept a variety of factory pistol magazines from Glock, Smith & Wesson, Beretta and SIG.

One of the greatest advantages is that potentially your primary and secondary firearms are chambered in the same pistol caliber and use the exact same magazines. So you only have to carry one type of ammunition and can get away with fewer magazines. I said you “can” get away with fewer magazines but wouldn’t say that’s the idea. A common nickname you will hear people throw around when talking about their SUB-2000 is SUB2K for short. Overall this is a fun, versatile, utilitarian pistol caliber carbine that is great for plinking, competing or portable compact protection that is inexpensive to buy and upgrade. Now let’s compare the KEL TEC SUB 2000 Gen 1 vs Gen 2.

KEL TEC SUB 2000 Gen 2 vs Gen 1

KEL-TEC first introduced the SUB-2000 Generation 1 back in 2008 then KEL-TEC revealed the Generation 2 SUB-2000 at the 2015 SHOT Show in Las Vegas.

With the Gen 2 the stock can be adjusted between 3 different positions that add or subtract 5/8” between each setting with a total adjustment of 1.25 inches. It also has a threaded barrel for flash hider or suppressor with 1/2” -28 threads (9mm) or 9/16”-24threads (40cal). A lot of SUB 2000 shooters are big fans of the extended pistol mags; such as the Glock 33 round magazines. It’s actually not to far of a stretch to say that a lot of Glock fans tend to be SUB-2000 fans as well!


The Gen 1 SUB-2000 really was lacking in the stock forward rail/handguard that consisted a big clunky polymer rail with bizarre checkering for grip that is way less impressive than the new and improved Gen 2 forward rail/handguard. The Gen 2 handguard has two integrated picatinny rails and five mounting M-LOK slots per side and has KEL TEC’s improved gator grip throughout. If you’re not familiar with M-LOK yet you will be as it tends to be a more universal and secure mounting technology for accessories. Speaking of Accessories let’s talk about what we can do to make this “Truck Gun” just a little bit better!


KEL TEC SUB 2000 Accessories

One thing both the Gen 1 and Gen 2 have in common are the plastic toy gun triggers and their 9-10lb trigger pull that make it an extremely difficult rifle to enjoy shooting. There is nothing worse than a heavy trigger pull and a plastic ribbed trigger that flexes to make the length of pull feel even longer. Fortunately, MCARBO has the solution for both problems making it a completely more accurate, reliable and enjoyable firearm. The SUB-2000 Trigger Spring Kit by MCARBO will reduce your trigger pull from 9-10lbs to a clean and crisp 5.25lb pull. On top of that the SUB-2000 Target Trigger is machined from 6061 aircraft grade aluminum and has a smooth blade trigger to provide you the shooter the ultimate trigger upgrade package for your SUB-2000. Safety is one thing, but heavy trigger pulls make shooters lazy and irresponsible. Trigger finger discipline is a must and should be a well respected part of being a gun owner. No need to punish the masses with lawyer proof triggers. That’s all I have to say about that.

Another thing the Gen 1 and Gen 2 have in common is the small and thin charging handle which really lacks grip and density. MCARBO has you covered here too. The SUB-2000 Charging Handle Cover is a must and very inexpensive upgrade. It will give you way more positive control of the charging handle, making the operation much more deliberate and smooth. No more slipping around the charging handle on a cold day.

I will say that the curve in the Gen 1 buttstock is much more comfortable than the Gen 2 straight buttstock but fortunately there are pads available for it but make sure you find one that won’t impede the folding function of the rifle. The other major improvement we’ve come up with is a Single Point Sling Mount. It’s a must have and won’t affect the folding operation of the SUB2K. Really is a common sense advantage to have a sling option for this excellent pistol caliber carbine.

The front sight on the Gen 1 is made out of cheap plastic and is adjusted through a couple clear plastic screws. Not a very solid or sturdy front sight post but I will say at least it doesn’t move around or fall off like the Gen 2 front sight post which has been known to happen more than it should; but fortunately there a plenty of affordable accessories and upgrades still available for the SUB-2000.

Currently MCARBO is in the process of developing a new Front and Rear sight what will allow for a more natural cheek to stock weld with a newly engineered higher line of sight between the front and rear sights. The new front sight will not move or self adjust period. It will allow the shooter to flip up and down both the front and rear sights so that optics can be used more efficiently in identifying secondary threats or targets. The new sights will also allow the user to co-witness these iron sights with their red dot sight, just in case the red dot fails. Another useful benefit with having co-witnessed iron sights on your SUB-2000 in particular is when you remove your optic to fold your SUB2K you can quickly re-zero it with your co-witnessed iron sights once you put the optic back on. MCARBO will also offer a fiber optic version of the front sight to more easily acquire the sights and engage targets. Lots of improvements over the stock iron sights are in the making and are on the way!

Going Forward with the SUB-2000

There are plenty of KEL TEC SUB 2000 Gen 2 Reviews out there but the Gen 1 SUB2K’s are certainly not forgotten and are still preferred over the Gen 2 by many. Either way if you own a SUB-2000 you’re holding one of my personal favorite pistol caliber carbines. As most gun parts companies focus on KEL TEC SUB 2000 Gen 2 Accessories we will do our best to make sure we make KEL TEC SUB 2000 Gen 1 Accessories as well. For improving the SUB 2000 there are plenty of KEL TEC SUB 2000 Accessories on the market and many more to come if MCARBO has anything to do with it. Happy Shooting!

Kel-Tec Sub2000 Gen 2 Specifications

Operating System: Blowback

Caliber: 9mm Luger or .40 S&W

Capacity: Varies by magazine.

Magazines: For the 9mm SUB-2000 | Glock G17, G19 | S&W 59 | Beretta 92 | Sig 226. For the 40 Cal SUB-2000 | Glock G22, G23 | Beretta 96 | S&W 4006 | Sig 226.

Barrel Length: 16.25 in.

Barrel Twist Rate: 9mm: 1:10; 40 S&W: 1:16

Trigger Pull: 9-10 lbs.

Accessory Mount: Picatinny Rail, M-LOK

Folded Length: 16.25 in.

Unfolded Length: Stock collapsed, 29.25 in.; stock extended, 30.5 in.

Length of Pull: Stock collapsed, 13.25 in.; stock extended, 14.5 in.

Grip Width: 1.25 in.

Maximum Height: 7 in.

Weight: 4.25 lbs.

MSRP: $500

Number of questions: 3
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Are there any SUB-2000 models that come with a non-threaded barrel? In my "wonderful" state, It would be the only option I could get.
vhantatuc December 28, 2021 5:41 PM
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This article mentions that MCARBO is in the process of developing a new sight set for the Sub 2000. When can we expect to see more info on these badly needed new sights? Thanks, Joe M
Joe M September 24, 2017 10:41 AM
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Are you still working on the front and rear sights for the gen 2?
April 17, 2017 10:05 AM
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Puress July 30, 2023 12:45 AM
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Puress July 30, 2023 12:44 AM
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Puress July 30, 2023 12:44 AM