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Gun Review: Kel-Tec SUB2000 .40 — Survival Carbine Extraordinaire!

As the 2019 summer vacation and travel season kicks into high gear, it is important to know how you’re going to get home if disaster strikes. And so it seems appropriate to consider the SUB2000 — a great example of a “get-home” survival carbine — from Kel-Tec CNC Industries.

For those of you not familiar, Kel-Tec is an extremely innovative firearms manufacturer that was founded by George Kellgren in 1991. Located in Cocoa, Florida, Kel-Tec has long been known for producing innovative handguns as well as some pretty amazing rifles and shotguns.

Purpose-Driven

A get-home carbine differs from a bug-out rifle or carbine mostly in size. A get-home survival carbine is more compact for long-term car or pack storage. It can be called upon to provide a fighting chance of getting home when seemingly normal times suddenly become dangerous. Bug-out guns are designed to help you get out of your home and to a safer location in the face of civil unrest, fire, or man-made or weather-related disasters. They tend to be heavier arms, such as ARs and AKs.

Kel-Tec Sub2000 Firearm Specs

The Kel-Tec SUB2000 is set up as a nearly picture-perfect get-home gun. It is eminently stowable for short- or long-term needs. The barrel folds over the action and stock, locking into place with the front sight over the rear of the buttstock. It takes up far less room than a laptop computer.

Caliber: 9mm or .40

Operation: Blowback

Trigger: Single-Action; 9- to 10-pound pull weight

Magazine Capacity: Varies by magazine type/caliber; available with Glock or Beretta magazines (Glock .40 model: 13 rounds)

Barrel Length: 16.25 inches

Overall Length (Stock Extended): 30.5 inches

Folded Length (Storage Mode): 16.25 inches

Solid Firearm Construction

I chose the .40-caliber version not only because the .40 hits harder than the 9mm but also because I have a Glock 27. This makes the SUB2000 a perfect companion piece since it accepts both full-sized and extended Glock magazines.

The SUB2000 loads through the pistol grip. There is a cross-bolt safety to back up the long trigger pull. The magazine-release button is located on the left side of the grip. The trigger guard doubles as the release latch for folding the SUB2000 into its storage position. The grip and forend are constructed of Zytel and feature Picatinny rail segments above and below as well as M-LOK slots on both sides.

The front sight is derived from the AR-15 in that the post is adjustable for elevation. It also contains the windage adjustment system in the form of a large adjustment screw. The rear peep sight automatically folds over and locks down when the SUB2000 is folded for storage. The muzzle is threaded for various attachments.

The buttstock, while technically adjustable, cannot be adjusted during operation. Adjustments can only be done during field-stripping. I found the stock position from the factory to be ideal.

The charging handle is located on the underside of the stock tube and can be retracted to chamber a round with the non-shooting hand. The charging handle can be latched in place to hold the bolt open for inspection. There is no last-shot hold-open feature.

Trying It Out at the Gun Range

I took the SUB2000 to the range with SIG Sauer 165-grain V-Crown ammunition. I figured if those somewhat stubby 165-grain JHPs would feed, just about any ammo would. And I wasn’t disappointed.

The SUB2000 is quite accurate and totally reliable. I fired from standing at 30 feet. Recoil was relatively mild, and you can easily wield and fire the carbine with only one hand. Muzzle velocity averaged 1,226 feet per second, which is 136 feet per second faster than factory-quoted ballistics. This translated into 551 foot-pounds at the muzzle. So the carbine-fired .40 was in .357 SIG/Magnum power range. I easily obtained one-hole groups, even with the relatively heavy (but smooth) trigger pull. Only one issue arose.

I had a problem keeping my right hearing protector on while trying to obtain sight alignment. The stock tube kept pushing it away. I recommend that you bring a set of earplugs to the range in case you encounter the same problem. This wasn’t a big deal. In an emergency, you won’t have hearing protection anyway. There are trade-offs with any special-purpose arm.

If you are serious about personal and family safety while traveling, I highly recommend adding the SUB2000 in 9mm or .40 caliber to your get-home survival package. It is easily backpacked and, in .40 caliber, represents some fairly significant large-animal defense. MSRP is $500.

Sources:

Kel-Tec: KelTecWeapons.com

About Scott W. Wagner

Scott W. Wagner has been a law enforcement officer since 1980, working undercover in liquor and narcotics investigations and as a member, sniper and assistant team leader of a SWAT team. He currently works as a patrol sergeant. He is a police firearms instructor, certified to train revolver, semi-automatic pistol, shotgun, semi- and fully automatic patrol rifle, and submachine gun. Scott also works as a criminal justice professor and police academy commander.

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