KelTec Sub 2000 Gen II Rifle Review: Is It Worth the Money?

by Travis Pike

July 29, 2020

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One company that was ahead of the pistol caliber carbine craze was KelTec with its famed KelTec Sub 2000 rifle. Today we got our hands on the 2nd Generation of the Sub 2000, specifically the Glock 17 model, and we can consider this a long term review since my ownership spans years.

KelTec Sub 2000 Specs

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Overall Length 30.5″
  • Length Folded 16.25″
  • Length (barrel) 16.25’’
  • Weight 4.25 lbs

KelTec Sub 2000 Background

I owned the original KelTec Sub 2000, and it is a gun I still regret selling to this day.

2012 was a crazy time in the gun world, and someone offered me a ridiculous sum of money for it.

When the Gen 2 came to be, I know I needed to have one.

I’ve owned this gun for years, and it’s seen a ton of lead downrange.

The KelTec Sub 2000 is a one in a million style carbine designed to be light and handy and impossibly compact.

It’s always reminded me of a modernized Sten gun. The SUB 2000 has a tubular steel stock design that contains a round bolt with a return spring. It’s brutally simple.

Simple is good, simple is reliable, and simple is also affordable.

The SUB 2000 is a cheap gun with an everyday retail price of around $350. Low initial investment, coupled with low ammo costs, makes it one of the most accessible rifles.

The SUB 2000 also reduces the cost of ownership by utilizing standard pistol magazines of various types. The SUB 2000 comes in various magazine configurations including Glock, Smith and Wesson M&P, Beretta 92/96, and SIG P226 magazines. This kind of arrangement allows you to share magazines and ammo with your primary handgun and sharing ammo been an en vogue feature since revolvers and lever guns.

The design of the KelTec SUB 2000 allows it to be a home defense weapon, a handy truck gun, or even folded into a pack as a good woods gun. It’s versatile and convenient due to its size and its ability to fold in half.

KelTec Sub 2000 Features

1 Folding Design

The folding design makes this more portable than ever.

2 Threaded Barrel

9mm version has 1/2 x 28 threads and .40 S&W version has 9/16 x 24 threads.

3 3 Position Adjustable Stock

Customizable to your comfort level.

4 M-LOK and Picatinny Rail Hanguard

Ready to accept almost every accessory you can think of.

5 Multiple Rear Sling Points

You can set up your most comfortable carry.

KelTec SUB 2000 Variants

KelTec SUB 2000 9mm

Magazines Accepted

Glock 17

Glock 19

Sig P226

S&W M&P

Beretta 92

KelTec SUB 2000 40 S&W

Magazines Accepted

Glock 22

Glock 23

Sig P226

S&W M&P

Beretta 96

KelTec SUB 2000 – Our Take

I’ve owned this gun for four years now and have put a ridiculous amount of rounds downrange with it. For a long time, it was my only PCC, and therefore it spent a lot of time blasting away at my home range in the hands of many different shooters. With this all being said, I’ve yet to experience a malfunction not related to the magazine I was using.

The magazine that gave me issues was the KCI 50 round Glock drum and the problem is resolved by downloading the drum by two rounds. Other than that, the simple blowback operation makes the gun quite reliable. You don’t expect a cheap weapon to be this reliable, but the KelTec defies the expectations in a good way.

Ergonomics are a tough bag. It’s a bit of a goofy mix, and there are some real sacrifices made to make it a compact and a folding weapon. The first is the placement of the charging handle beneath your face. It’s just odd and weird, and holy crap, you get a workout every time you rack the weapon. The back news with blowback weapons is either you need a massive bolt or a heavy spring, and the SUB 2000 went with a heavy spring.

The safety is okay and natural to deactivate. The magazine release is a bit of a reach, and its a strain to both reach it and press it inwards. It works, but just barely, and I have large hands. The stock length of pull is excellent for me, but you can move the stock to three positions.

Moving the stock isn’t as easy as a AR-15, and you are required to remove a bolt and then realign and slide it back in when finished. Cheek weld is okay, and it feels like the sights could be a hair higher, but they work fine enough. The grip houses the magazine, and with a flush-fitting magazine, the gun can be quite small.

Accuracy is impressive enough. Out to 100 yards, I can ring my 10-inch steel gong without much issue. 9mm rounds, in general, are not that accurate outside of typical handgun range. It’s not a gun you’d measure groups with at 100 yards unless you wanna feel humbled. Heavier rounds tend to be more accurate, and you can get about 4 MOA on a good day. That’s not that bad for a 9mm carbine.

Accuracy might be better with a better trigger because the 9.5-pound clunker in the SUB 2000 is far from impressive. It has a bit of pre-travel, and then it hits a wall without a distinct peak. If you pull the trigger slowly, you might find yourself wondering when the gun is going to fire. Eventually, it will, but it’s not crisp. The reset is not exactly noticeable via tactile feeling.

With all that said, I do love this gun. It goes bang when I pull the trigger and goes ding when it hits steel. The recoil is about the same as a 5.56 AR-15, which seems silly for a pistol round, but that’s another issue with blowback guns. It’s still very mild, and the muzzle rise is near nothing. I reduced my muzzle rise to nothing with a muzzle device. As far as unsuppressed guns go, it’s rather quiet and unassuming.

I often let new shooters who’ve graduated from a 10/22 handle the SUB 2000, and they also seem to enjoy it. The simple nature of the gun and its unique appearance seems to make it less intimidating.

The KelTec SUB 2000 is an incredibly affordable gun most of the time. Sometimes the value surges based on the fact KelTec doesn’t produce a ton of guns. When they become scant, a predictable price rise follows. For 350 bucks, the gun is a helluva value. The folding design is neat, and this makes the weapon very small and easy to carry and store. It’s capable of being a home defense weapon, a fun gun, and a hiking piece. Add in the low cost of ownership due to caliber and common magazine platforms, and the price is low, and the value is quite high.

KelTec SUB 2000 Pros and Cons

  • Affordable design
  • Uses common magazine platforms
  • Folding design makes storage easy
  • Modular handguard for easy accessorizing
  • Heavy trigger
  • Stiff recoil spring
  • Odd ergonomics

Report Card

Reliability

This little guy is not ammo picky and will eat it all. Form a high-class Atlanta Arms Match Grade ammo to steel case stuff of dubious origin.

A+
Accuracy

It’s on par for most 9mm carbines, but not on par for most rifles, so I split the grade to a C. If this were an AR, it’d have an F, but as a 9mm carbine, I give it wiggle room. It’s hit the chest of a bad guy at 100 yards.

C
Shootability

The gun has some stiff recoil for a 9mm, can be hard to cock, and lacks a last round bolt hold open. However, the low muzzle rise and (relatively) quiet concussion make it pleasant.

C
Ergonomics

It’s a mixed bag, and while none of the ergonomics are horrible, none are spectacular either. The gun makes some sacrifices due to its operating system and folding design, and they are evident. I do love how light and handy it is.

B
Value

The SUB 2000 is a very affordable option with a low cost of ownership. Using Glock magazines is an excellent feature that opens up a vast and often affordable source of magazines.

A+

Our Grade

B

Reviewed by Travis Pike

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KelTec SUB 2000 Starter Pack

So, you’re planning on picking up a SUB 2000 Gen II, right? If so, you’re going to need more than just the gun to make it safely go bang. You’re going to need proper protections, extra mags, and something to clean it with at the end of a long day at the range. Here are our recommendations:

After you’ve picked up these essentials, we’ve got some extra accessories down below to really set off your KelTec and ammo suggestions for both working and at the range.

KelTec Sub 2000 Deals

As of writing this, the KelTec SUB 2000 Gen 2 is pretty tough to find. But we did find a solid deal over at Palmetto State Armory. But you gotta hurry…These things are getting snatched up quick.

Upgrades and Accessories for Your KelTec Sub 2000 Gen 2

As gun owners, we can’t help but Barbie up our guns and gear. And why’s that?

Because this is America! Need anymore reason?

That, and it’s really easy to accessorize the KelTec SUB 2000. Here’s a few essential accessories that we think would help to complete your SUB 2000.

KelTec SUB 2000 Accessories
AccessoryDetailsCheck Latest Price
Streamlight TLR RM2
  • 1000 Lumens
  • 10,000 Candela
  • IPX7 Rated Waterproof Design
Check Price
Burris Fastfire III
  • Mini Red Dot
  • Affordable
  • Rugged and Robust
Check Price
Magpul MLOK Aluminum Picatinny Rail
  • Allows for use of a Picatinny Side Rail
  • Magpul reliability
  • All needed equipment included
Check Price
Blue Force Gear 2 pt Vickers Sling
  • 2-Point adaptive design
  • Easy to tighten and loosen
  • Provides maximum mobility
Check Price
The Regulator Muzzle Attachment
The Regulator Compensator
  • Adjustable ports
  • Reduces recoil
  • Closed ports can hide muzzle flash at night
Check Price

Best Ammo for Your KelTec SUB 2000

Just because this gun can eat just about everything 9 mm doesn’t mean it should all the time. When at the range, you’ll want to choose something cheaper to blow through while practicing and having fun. However, be sure to pick up something with a bit more oomph if using this for home defense or as a truck gun.

Range Rounds

MagTech-9mm-Ammo

MagTech 9mm 115 GR FMJ Ammo

Working Ammunition

Barnes 9mm 115 GR Ammo

How to Care for Your KelTec SUB 2000 Gen II

This versatile folding carbine can take care of you in all situations–but only if you’re good to it as well. However, this isn’t the easiest weapon to field strip. Fortunately, James over at TFB TV put together a great informative feature on how to do just that.

Important Links and Manuals for the KelTec SUB 2000 Gen II

Looking for more info on the KelTec SUB 2000? Or did you lose your manual? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered. Check out our links below:

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About Travis Pike

Travis is a former United States Marine Corps Infantryman and currently a firearms writer, instructor, and works in Emergency Management.

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1 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve got a PMR30 and the gun shoots like a dream so I’ve been kicking myself for not having scored the sub2k back when they were easy and cheap to find.

    The reason was that my first PCC was the infamous Hi-Point “Columbine special” which was a total and utter POC and turned me off to PCCs.

    Sigh – live and learn.

    Kel Tec is releasing a new version of the sub2k this fall which features an integral suppressor and rotating barrel, meaning that you can now mount optics on it and not have to remove them when folding it up so I might just hold out for that version instead.

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