December 12, 2011

Kel-Tec Sub Rifle 2000 9mm Carbine

Gun Tests magazine tested the Kel-Tec Sub Rifle 2000 9mm Carbine, ($383). Like the similar Hi-Point 995 and Ruger’s PC9 , the Kel-Tec was fed from pistol magazines. However, the Sub Rifle 2000 is a convertible. The Sub Rifle 2000 breaks down along a hinge and lock that divides the gun in half for storage. They wondered if the gun would keep its integrity after repeated openings and closings. Would it prove to be handy, or just a handful of hard luck?

A gun that breaks in half? Well, this shouldn’t really be much of a manufacturing problem. After all, shotguns have been hinged for years with precision. What about the polymer and steel construction, and the orange plastic front sight blade? The skepticism that polymer once rang up should be well faded by now and besides, the Sub Rifle 2000 feeds from Glock magazines, synonymous with reliability.

The Kel-Tec Sub Rifle 2000 arrived in a flat rectangular “cake box” wherein it was stored folded. In this condition the rifle measured 16.1 by 7.3 inches. At the front edge was the trigger guard, with the mouth of the chamber exposed above it. In this condition care must be taken to shield the exposed bore and firing pin hole from dirt. At the rear was the muzzle and front sight assembly overlapping the butt-pad area. The folded position was latched by a spring-loaded sliding bolt that is located atop the buttstock. The folded position can be locked by a special key, which is provided.

The recommended way to unfold the Sub Rifle is to hold the barrel or fore end, which is on top when folded and then reach around the front sight with the thumb and forefinger to slide the latch forward. The butt will fall away as the barrel moves forward 180 degrees to snap into place. They found it hard to pick out the latch visually at first but it was easily indexed without actually needing to see it.


It shot all types of ammunition with surprising accuracy and shooter comfort. Kel-Tec's mission of supplying inexpensive but very usable weapons is perhaps at its zenith with the Sub Rifle 2000.

You’ll know when the rifle is fully closed and ready to activate when the bottom of the trigger guard is tightly in place against the grip. The release to return this rifle to its folded state is the trigger guard itself. Small tabs are molded into the rear of the trigger guard to help you index as you push down and forward to release the barrel and allow it to fold. They folded and unfolded the Kel-Tec countless times to see if they could upset the alignment. They could detect no shaving at the chamber or other symptom of defect throughout the test.

Construction is of polymer and steel. The barrel and stock are steel. The stock contains the bolt, recoil spring and operating handle. The operating handle (some might call it a charge bar) faces straight down so it is out of the way. To lock the gun back, the operating handle is pulled all the way back and slid to the right into a locking groove. The firing mechanism is fed by a standard Glock 9mm magazine with 10-round capacity. With many pre-ban magazines that feed up to 30 rounds still available, they thought choosing to go outside Kel-Tec for mags is a bonus for the consumer. The trigger also has the feel of a Glock. It has a long pull that requires its own technique. But common mistakes, such as dipping the muzzle, are minimized by the extra support of shouldering the weapon.


We folded and unfolded the Kel-Tec countless times to see if we could upset the alignment. We could detect no shaving at the chamber.

For anyone who shoots double action regularly, this characteristic will not be a problem. The trigger safety is a crossbolt design, and it is found above the web of the hand below the rear edge of the ejection port. Pushed through to the right, the weapon is ready to fire. They had difficulty working the safety with the strong hand (the firing hand). They felt that a more effective technique might be to reach across the top of the weapon without releasing the pistol grip, allowing the weak hand to operate the safety with the thumb and forefinger.

The sights are adjustable for windage and elevation, but this is done at the front rather than rear assembly. The rear peep is static, but the orange front blade can be moved left and right via reciprocating screws (loosen one, tighten the other). A dime will work just as well as a screwdriver. According to the owner’s manual, a 1/8th-turn equals 1 inch at 100 yards (1 M.O.A). Before tightening the windage adjustment, the blade can also be moved up and down to alter elevation. However, they left sight adjustment as it arrived from the factory.

The owner’s manual also included test results that charge the Sub Rifle 2000 as working best with “premium U.S. manufacture hollowpoints of medium weight.” Their best results included 10-shot groups of 2.5 M.O.A. Our best five-shot groups at 50 yards came from shooting the Winchester USA (white box) 147-grain TCMC (truncated cone, metal case) ammunition. Not only did this produce the best single group of the test (1.2 inches), but an average of 1.5 inches. This is better accuracy than they experienced with the carbines in their February 2002 test. The remaining test cartridges, Winchester’s USA 115-grain hollowpoints and Federal’s 124-grain expanding metal jackets, each shot groups averaging 2.5 inches. With a high of 1315 fps and muzzle energy of 442 foot-pounds, they thought they’d opt for the power of the 115s. At 50 yards, 2.5-inch groups are plenty good for a weapon of this type. Certainly, there is a variety of 9mm ammunition available, so matching power and accuracy should be easy for the Kel-Tec Sub Rifle 2000. This handy little folding rifle was a most pleasant surprise.


The sights are adjustable for windage and elevation, but this is done at the front rather than rear assembly.

Gun Tests Recommends: Buy It. Though they had their doubts, they couldn’t break it. Also, it shot all types of ammunition with surprising accuracy. Kel-Tec’s mission of supplying inexpensive but very usable weapons is perhaps at its zenith with the Sub Rifle 2000.

Comments (39)

Yeah, folks, today's the day! Merry Christmas! My 48-year old son is joining my wife and I for Christmas dinner. It's a bit on the cloudy, dreary side, but in our home and in our hearts we are celebrating. Pretty soon it'll be 2012, and we'll be well into presidential primary season, so Happy New Year, and stay politically active so we can get our beloved United States of America back on track.

Posted by: canovack | December 25, 2011 10:05 AM    Report this comment

And the same wishes to you and the Mrs., bear1. As well as to all of you guys. Merry Christmas - or whatever your holiday might be. Christmas is mine.

Posted by: david b | December 25, 2011 7:23 AM    Report this comment

Sweet little Mrs Bear and I would like to wish all at Gun Reports and Our friends here on that post here a Very Merry Christmas and May God Bless You and Yours. God Bless America and Our Troops Past Present and Future. Keeping to My Oath Locked Loaded and Keeping My Powder Dry. Get the US Out of the Un and the UN Out of the US

Posted by: bear1 | December 24, 2011 8:26 PM    Report this comment

It would really be cool if Kel-Tec would produce it in .45 ACP and/or .357 SIG.

Posted by: canovack | December 23, 2011 2:23 PM    Report this comment

I've had a 9mm SUB 2000 for many years now and have shot about 1000 rounds with it. I've never had any malfunctions and the weapon is holding up very well. It's a lot of fun to shoot and will eat any kind of ammo without fuss. When folded, it fits just about anywhere including a backpack. It's worth mentioning that it also comes in .40 caliber.

Posted by: PEDRO O | December 23, 2011 2:11 PM    Report this comment

Good old memories.....as we move into a new year. We got our first TV in 1948. It was a Motorola, with a picture tube as you described, but ours was more on the order of a desert plate. It was in a huge wooden cabinet that was loaded with vacuum tubes that put out as much light as the picture tube and as much heat as one of today's indoor electric space heaters. It also took about five minutes for the picture to light up, after turning the thing on. I remember that when I got home from school, I always tuned in "Frontier Play House" to watch old westerns from the 1930s. I also watched "Buck Rogers" and "Tom Corbett, Space Cadet". Interestingly the sci fi stuff back then was all set in the year 2000.

Posted by: canovack | December 21, 2011 11:11 AM    Report this comment

Wow, I didn't know about the Pepsi thing. (See, I learned something today!) We got our first TV in about '52 or so. I remember it had a screen about the size of a dinner plate, and tubes the size of salt shakers and a few the size of whisky bottles. My first Arthur Godfrey memory is of those dancing cigarette packs - at least I think those were Chesterfields. Good smokes too. I was smoking by '56 when I was 8 - but stealing whatever Dad smoked. Of course, I was also smoking Camels and Lucky Strikes too. I was paying a quarter for cigarettes without filters around '60 - all of them 'stubbies', which ate up some of my paper route money but not much. However, I was smoking about a pack a week - which nobody but my parents seemed to care about....

Posted by: david b | December 20, 2011 8:24 PM    Report this comment

Speaking of unorthodox uses for things, I am reminded of a bit of a bind that Arthur Godfrey got into back in the 1940s. Pepsi Cola was a sponsor of his radio show, and Godfrey talked about how good Pepsi was. Then he overstepped his boundaries when he told the radio audience that Pepsi was a good solvent for removing road tar and oil from the finish of automobile bodies. My dad immediately went out and tried it on his 1943 Pontiac, and voila.....it worked! Pepsi, however, got pissed at Godfrey and dropped sponsorship of his program. Chesterfield cigarettes then took up sponsorship, and when Godfrey got lung cancer and had one of his lungs removed, he blamed the cigarettes, and Chesterfield dropped him too. I think Lipton foods then sponsored him, and they had a great relationship on into the 1950s on TV.

Posted by: canovack | December 20, 2011 7:58 PM    Report this comment

I'm pleased to hear about the successes of WD40. It's always best to treat an affliction the cheapest way possible. I wonder if you'd have success with Tetra Gun with PFTE. Might be worth a shot for only a nominal difference in price. ;)

Posted by: rjdavin | December 20, 2011 12:42 PM    Report this comment

Yeah, david b, when I first heard that WD-40 could be used as a topical treatment for arthritis, I was a bit skeptical. My affliction isn't that bad, but I figured I'd give a few sprays to my knees, and rub it in. It did relieve the pain and stiffness. It supposedly works along the same line as capsaicin. I haven't used the WD-40 in a while, since I got onto a daily triple dose of glucosamine sulfate. This glucosamine sulfate works just as well as the much more expensive glucosamine chondroitin, but it is about a quarter to a third the cost of the glucosamine chondroitin. It also keeps me from smelling like a well lubricated machine after I apply WD-40 to my knees.

Posted by: canovack | December 19, 2011 7:38 PM    Report this comment

WD-40 does that? I didn't know. I've been using DMSO, which I buy at the feed store. It's a cheap as WD-40, works like a charm. Only downside is it can make your breath smell like you've been eating raw garlic. But that just keeps folks from getting too close....

Posted by: david b | December 19, 2011 5:02 PM    Report this comment

Thanks. Thanks. Thanks. Thanks. Thanks. Thanks, rgdavin! I'm just kidding around with you. Sometimes, when we hit the submit button, it does cause a bit of impatience waiting for the comments to post.....:-). Oh, WD-40 also works fine on arthritic knees and knuckles for those of us in our 8th decade of life.

Posted by: canovack | December 19, 2011 3:51 PM    Report this comment

Hi canovac! I use it plenty for other uses. :) I just prefer to use gun products on my guns. Probably so there's less to worry about. I'm a Training Counsellor and I'm shooting every day of the year and sometimes, my equipment suffers from my schedule in that I try my best to clean and re-lubricate each session, but sometimes.... :) Also I just like the quality of the Tetra products. They've never disappointed and I'm enamored by the results of coating the royal bluing on my Colt Anaconda. :)

Posted by: rjdavin | December 19, 2011 2:30 PM    Report this comment

While I have not experienced the problems with WD-40, that have been related here, I certainly yield to those problems. Perhaps my application of the compound was such that there was no plating damage or gumming that resulted from a very sparing use of the product. That said, the WD-40 will be confined to locks and dead bolts on doors, along with their hinges.

Posted by: canovack | December 19, 2011 2:11 PM    Report this comment

I'm with KCSHOOTER on this. I own a Desert Eagle that is nickle plated and at the ejection port, there is a small scratch in the plating. In cleaning my brother used a misting of WD40 to protect the finish from moisture and it attacked the copper under the nickle and the nickle peeled up within minutes. Further, it's so light and prone to 'gumming' that it provides almost no lubrication advantage and what beneficial properties it does have are negated within an hour of application. I prefer to use Tetra products on my guns as I've done without problem one through over 30 years of daily use and cleaning/lubrication of the tools of my trade. :)

Posted by: rjdavin | December 19, 2011 1:56 PM    Report this comment

WD-40 provides absolutely no protection against wear. Horrible suggestion.

Posted by: KCSHOOTER | December 19, 2011 12:33 PM    Report this comment

Years ago, I was a great fan of Gunslick grease. It worked great, but the black stuff easily got on things like hands, clothing, etc. I figured that maybe I was using too much of it, but it still got stains on things, even when I used it sparingly. So, I quit using the grease and started using Rem Oil (by Remington). That worked quite well, and I even picked up some GI weapons oil figuring it was as good as the Rem Oil. Now, I use the GI stuff most of the time, and every now and again I find myself using 3-in-1 oil and even WD-40. In my estimation, they all work pretty well. The one thing that I have determined with all of my experimentation is that when lubricating your firearms, no matter the action type, it is best to use any lubricant in small quantities, so it doesn't get all over the piece, your hands, and other things that don't need lubricating. With that in mind, I normally leave just a thin film of lubricant on the places where parts rub against each other. I no longer use oil as a surface protectant on any of my firearms..... Instead, I like silicone wipes. They provide good resistance to rust and fingerprints.

Posted by: canovack | December 19, 2011 12:21 PM    Report this comment

Hey, canovack my friend, I need to pick your brain again if I may. I have been reading up and seeing on the tube that some of the newer guns and even some of the older guns (like the break open shot guns) it is better to use and some say to use grease on certian areas, where I used to use a lite oil, for better lube to help make the gun last longer. But I am having one heck of a time finding one. What do you feel about this and what would you reccamend and where would I get it? Thanks for the info Old Friend. God Bless America and Our Troops Past Present and Future. Keeping to My Oath Locked Loaded and Keeping My Powder Dry. Get the US Out of the UN and the Un Out of the US

Posted by: bear1 | December 18, 2011 9:53 PM    Report this comment

Canovack thanks for the tip and yes I am in AZ...I know their products are popular but really dont work very hard to keep their products stocked, to each their own I suppose.

Posted by: azbearhuntr | December 18, 2011 3:23 PM    Report this comment

I saw one yesterday at one of our local gun shows here in Texas. 'Don't know where you are, azbearhuntr, but it sounds like you are in Arizona..... Try their gun shows.

Posted by: canovack | December 18, 2011 2:26 PM    Report this comment

Well it seems to me that just like may other Kel Tec products they run their business back order only. I have signed up for 12 "notify me once available" websites and frequent many local shops. For the last 6 months I have seen zero Kel Tec Sub2000's in the glock 19 or 17 configuration. Could be the greatest gun in the world but by the looks of it I'll never get to find out. That is unless I feel like getting taken advantage of on an auction site...

Posted by: azbearhuntr | December 18, 2011 1:57 PM    Report this comment

I like Kel-Tec innovation

Posted by: cannibal | December 17, 2011 3:23 PM    Report this comment

Maybe I am wrong but these in 9mm seam alittle bit on the small size for a carbine. I have the SU16CA and it to folds up but unlike the SU16C will not fire when folded and uses 223 ammo, and uss the M15/M16 mags or the Mags that comes with it. Personaly I would like to see this little cabine in 357 mag/ 38 sp. for just alittle more knock down power and range. But again I would have to take canovacks expertise to heart on one of these if I was going to get one. God Bless America and Out Troops Past Present and Future. Keeping to My Oath Locked Loaded and keeping My Powder Dry. Get the US Out of the UN and the UN Out of the US

Posted by: bear1 | December 15, 2011 10:23 PM    Report this comment

Thanks, david b, I was just thinking up a gentle, non-offensive way of telling KCGUNGUY about his transgression of Internet courtesy protocol, when you did quite well with it.

Posted by: canovack | December 15, 2011 6:50 PM    Report this comment

That's why other companies make guns too. :) In the car business, they say; "There's a behind for every seat."

Posted by: rjdavin | December 15, 2011 5:58 PM    Report this comment

KCGUNGUY - please look at an internet or e-mail courtesy protocols list somewhere. Writing in all caps is considered to be THE WRITTEN EQUIVALENT OF SHOUTING! For those aware of this 'cultural tendency' - which is pretty much everyone these days - your comments all read as SHOUTING at us. If you're that angry with us already, then quit posting comments. If you're so hard of hearing that you shout even when you're writing, then please get a hearing aid.

Posted by: david b | December 15, 2011 5:57 PM    Report this comment

IT IS WORTH THE $100 EXTRA TO ME TO BE ABLE TO USE HIGHER CAPACITY AND BETTER QUALITY MAGAZINES, LOSE A THIRD OF THE WEIGHT, AND HAVE A HIGHER QUALITY WEAPON. BUT THATS JUST ME.

Posted by: KCGUNGUY | December 15, 2011 5:45 PM    Report this comment

Hi KC, Just so you know, the reciever is steel, the olny inferior metal is in the reciever cover/scope rail and the front sight housing. BUT, as I stated. I've put 10,000 rounds through mine without a hiccup. Hollow points, FMJ, lead the works in 5 different weight bullets, including about 1/3rd +P rated ammo. Unbeatable anywhere for the $215 I paid new with a lifetime warranty. Bar none.I don't sell them. If it's worth it to you to buy a hinged gun at $100 extra & 2 pounds lighter, have at it, I'm just saying. :-)

Posted by: rjdavin | December 15, 2011 5:20 PM    Report this comment

THE HIGHPOINT HAS A LIMITED CAPACITY OF 10 ROUNDS AND WEIGHS A LOT MORE THAN THE SUB2000 DOES. ALSO, THE SUB2000 ISN'T MADE OUT OF POT METAL, SO THERE'S A PLUS. THEY ONLY POINT THAT THE HIPOINT BEATS THE KELTEC IS PRICE, AND IT'S LESS THAN $100 DIFFERENCE. NO COMPARISON.

Posted by: KCGUNGUY | December 15, 2011 4:30 PM    Report this comment

Hi jwag74, They weren't, to the best of my knowledge, available anywhere near 2003. I'll have to assume that they(he) didn't notice that it was a 2003 article.

Posted by: rjdavin | December 15, 2011 4:25 PM    Report this comment

YES, THEY WERE AVAILABLE IN 2003. THEY EVEN HAD MODELS THAT TOOK DIFFERENT PISTOL MAGS ON THE SUB9 WHICH WAS THIS GUN'S PREDECESOR, DISCONTINUED IN 2000.

Posted by: KCGUNGUY | December 15, 2011 4:25 PM    Report this comment

To the KC guys. Turns your caps lock off and note this article is from 2003. Can you verify that two models where made in 2003 or are you just basing your comments on the current model listings?

Posted by: jwag74 | December 15, 2011 4:00 PM    Report this comment

"After all, shotguns have been hinged for years with precision." Shotguns and precision are opposites. Besides many break-in-half shotguns cost $$$$.

Posted by: Mister E | December 15, 2011 12:27 PM    Report this comment

All useful information guys. Thanks, but the rest of you keep your experiences with this and similar guns coming.

BTW, I really like the fold-up idea. I already have a tool box and a couple of gym / gear bags it would fit into, with lots of room for spare mags. It's kind of like a really big concealed handgun in that regard.

Posted by: david b | December 15, 2011 12:11 PM    Report this comment

Amen on the High Point carbine. I have had one from the time they first came out. It's about as ugly a gun as might exist, so I bought an after market stock for it that makes it look like a Beretta CX-4. I has a permanent place in the back of my Jeep Patriot. I had a few problems with the magazines coming apart when firing, and High Point replaced them without any argument.

If I was going to get a Kel-Tec carbine, I'd opt for a few more dollars and get the SU-16C. It folds up too; it's in a rifle caliber; and it uses M-16 mags.

Posted by: canovack | December 15, 2011 12:06 PM    Report this comment

I admittedly haven't tried one, but the Hi Point makes a damn nice (reliable/efficient) carbine. I've put over 10,000 rounds through one with essentially trouble free reliability for less money.

Posted by: rjdavin | December 15, 2011 11:00 AM    Report this comment

Dang. I forgot to check the 'email me' box, and had to come back. I'm interested in knowing what the rest of you think too.

Posted by: david b | December 15, 2011 9:46 AM    Report this comment

It shoots OK for close range, it folds into something you can store in a short piece of PVC pipe, it has 30 round mags available (actually, 33 rd, right?), the ammo is cheap and ubiquitous, and it's under $400. This is a gun a guy could buy just to bury, or carry in the trunk of his car in a small tool box so it wouldn't attract much attention. I'm getting in on this one!

Posted by: david b | December 15, 2011 9:44 AM    Report this comment

member

Posted by: Ojo | December 15, 2011 9:15 AM    Report this comment

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