Sunday, January 9, 2011

Review Kel-Tec Sub2000 9mm Glock Format - A 9mm Carbine for Everyone...or at least a Carbine Everyone should have.

Review Kel-Tec Sub2000 9mm Glock Format
A 9mm Carbine for Everyone...or at least a Carbine Everyone should have.

(Above is the stock condition of the KelTec Sub2000 without all my special modifications)

Over the last couple months, I am having a great time shooting, modifying, playing around with the versatility of the Keltec Sub2000.  Admittedly, my more aggressive modifications have gone far beyond what 99.9% of owners of the Sub2000 would, but many modifications were so simple that any shooter could do.

Even in stock state the Sub2000 is great fun approach-able gun that I think ever willing, capable and able person should have in the home for home defense, hunting, and a who lot of fun at the range.

First off at right around 4lbs it doesn't weigh 8-12 lbs like a typical loaded assault rifle so it's easy to hold up and handle.  It's a light weight rifle that any lass or kid would feel comfortable with.   If you have a waif like 200+lbs stature like me, the Keltec feel like a feather comparing in weight to a Ruger 10/22.  The gun is also more approach-able.  For some reason, most non-gun folks feel a lot more comfortable starting off shooting with a rifle vs a handgun.

As far are recoil goes, pistol caliber carbines have very light recoil about the same as a .22 magnum so even the most recoil sensitive folks will find the 9mm Keltec Sub2000 easy to shoot... and once they send a couple rounds down range with the Keltec I can almost guarantee they will be hooked.  When the time comes familiarity of the Sub2000 to a pistol's magazine, charging, and shooting provides a great transition for novice shooters from rifle to pistol.

When it comes to accuracy, a rifle/carbine will out-shoot a pistol in most situations and certainly for those shooters who are less practiced.  The Kel-Tec Sub2000 offers simple AR/Military style peep and post sights which only require the user to center the top of the front sight blade inside the rear hole/peep sight picture on target and shoot. When the sights are finally adjusted they work just fine, however with a non-adjustable rear sight, the front sight has to handle both windage and elevation adjustment which it can do, but is a total pain in the ass to adjust.  If I had only one thing I could change about the Sub2000 it would be a real adjustable sight set.

The Sub2000 is not a target rifle but I would not consider it inaccurate either.  Off hand 100 yards groups inside of a pie plate are common and some do much better.  Mine does 1.5" groups pretty regularly at 25 yards and about 3" at 50 yards.  At this point I have not tested it at the 100 yards mark due to the current winter weather.  I term this level of accuracy as Ranch Rifle Accuracy which is similar to Ruger Mini-14 or AKs that will do its job of delivering good accuracy and rounds quickly on targets under 150 yards with more ease than with your pistol.


For sending pounds of lead down range, as a high capacity ranch rifle, or providing home defense, the Keltec is unique in that it can accept your stock high capacity and 30+ round stick magazines from your Sub2000 compatible pistol.  The Sub2000 is available pistol compatible Glock 17, Glock 19, Smith & Wesson, Beretta A92, and Sig 226 magazine formats as well as some .40 caliber Sub2000 variants.  My Sub2000 is the Glock 19 format which accepts all variants of Glock 17 (17 round) or Glock 19 (15 Round) magazines + Glock high capacity 33 round magazines.  With 15 to 30 rounds on tap, you are definitely equipped for lots of range plinking and more than enough on board ammo for any realistic home defense/invasion situation.

Despite the light recoil the 9mm round carries more power when coming out of a 16" barrel than out of a pistol and is plenty powerful matching the flight path and power of a .357 magnum all the way past 100 yards.  Many people actually hunt deer sized game successfully with the 9mm and shooting non-hollowpoints at small game won't tear up the meat.

Finally there is the size.  The Sub2000 is tiny folded at only 16" long.  A compact stowable, packable, and trunkable rifle that will even fit in a briefcase or nightstand should the need be required.  It's easily folded, unfolded, and is even lockable in the folded state to prevent un-intentional use... very neat.

The folding capability, assuming it is not locked, does not hinder deployment at all and can be left with a loaded magazine in the gun. If you hear a spooky noise downstairs, you simply pull the latch on the butt stock to unfold, extend and unfold the gun out straight, and rack a round into the chamber.  Starting with a magazine in, is quick. According to my stopwatch this is a sub-three second drill to go from folded to loaded.

The good points aside, there are some complaints.  This is a bare bones rifle which at $399 street retail which lacks some luxuries and unfortunately some polish.  The sights function once adjusted work fine, however they leave MUCH to be desired. The Sub2000 does not have a last shot hold open, but that would necessitate a release and a whole bunch of gadgetry and this gun is about being bare bones with the primary design features being compact and fold-able.  This is a gun that needs to be broken in before it will start working without failure. Stovepipes and jams are expected before the first 1000 rounds have been run though the gun, but after that the break in settles everything out for a very reliable gun.

I do have to mention that I had a FTF (Failure to Feed) issue which it turned out to be a burr on the firing pin retention pin which created a number of issues.  Basically when I cleared the weapon including the final step of dry firing, the firing pin would stick in the forward state which would knock the round out of chamber when cycling the first round. Technically I should have sent it back to Keltec for a repair, but I do so much gun-smithing that it was an easy fix for me.  Keltec does have exception service as I have been told by a number of people.  The above little issue leads me to a couple overall complaints about the quality and finish of the gun.  Quality wise it's a great quality gun with good materials for the price, however the fit and finish is pretty cheap.  Lots of companies have made inexpensive guns with cheap parts with great fit and finish, the Sub2000 would be the opposite with very high quality parts, that the manufacture didn't pay attention to the final fit and finish on.  There really was no reason for that gun to have left the factory with a sticking firing pin.

Some may like the looks, but my final complaint is style and ergonomics..  The Sub2000 could have been so much cooler looking in a Massod style with a number of great integrated features like, better sights, picatinny rails...etc, but it instead sports typical Keltec's 100% function, 0% form design.  Hopefully in future revs, it is updated to something a little cooler. ergonomic, and user friendly.

Front a reliability perspective it gets better every time I shoot it like any gun after it breaks in.  During the last range session I put over 300 rounds through it without a problem, hitch or hiccup.  The Keltec is like that car you wanted which took a little patience... in the case of the Keltec Sub2000 after a few months and a little tweaking the gun has become one of my favorite reliable fun guns which even serves sentry defense duty in my home.



mikej said...

Good review, but you don't say anything about the optical sight in the third photo from the top. How'd you mount it? Wouldn't you need to remove it to fold the carbine? How do you get around re-zeroing it every time?

Major Pandemic said...

For the most part the scope would stay zero-ed after each removal and re-attach to the custom made picatinny rail, but on occasion it would need to be re-zero'ed. If you search and read my other numerous Kel-Tec updates you will see I more or less abandoned attaching a scope and completely re-created the sighting system. Currently I just use open sights and am quite happy with the performance.

mikej said...

Thanks. The reason I haven't bought a Kel-Tec Sub 2000 is that I wanted something with an optical sight. I guess I'll just drag out my old Universal M-1 carbine and put a mount on it.

Unknown said...

How do you keep the extra mag from falling out?

Unknown said...

Finally got my hands on new sub 2000 S&W 59 9mm. Unboxed cleaned and lubed with beretta oil then shot 130 round Federal 115gr FMJ to break in. Had 1-2 malfunctions per mag FFF and FFE (most commonly). Took home and cleaned again and extra CLP oil to extractor and bolt assembly. Left it for 2 night with bolt locked open. Felt this might compress recoil spring a little bit. Took to the range again 3 days later and shot 20 Federal Hydrashock 124gr and 50 Remington 115gr FMJ without one malfunction. Hope it's broken in. Didn't need to do a fluff and buff to bolt like some sites suggested. Very accurate at 25 yards from factory with no sight adjustments. 2 inch group on 12 yards with Federal Hydrashock 124 grain freehand. 115 gr opened up to 4 inches

Redryder1 said...

I have the FTF problem with my Sub. 2000 Gen2 40 cal.I have only fired about 450 rounds through it thus far. How can I fix firing pin issue you mentioned earlier ? Also, FTFs are happening using my glock 17 round mag.I also use the 10 round,and a 13 round mag. FTFS don't occur while I'm using them.Is there an adjustment or mod. To the 17 round glock that might fix this ?

Major Pandemic said...

Redryder1 said...

That many issues I would send it back to KelTec instead of monkeying with it. They did have great customer service and I hear that has not changed.