Review: The Kel-Tec SUB-2000 is a Handy, Reliable and Affordable Carbine

If you’re looking to buy a pistol-caliber carbine, the Kel-Tec SUB-2000 is a handy, reliable, and affordable option, available in either 9mm or .40 S&W.


Introduced in 2001, the SUB-2000 has proven itself a popular firearm for plinking, backpacking, and bug-out bags. One of its signature traits is the unique ability to fold in half. When folded, the overall is reduced from 30.5-inches to 16.25-inches, making it extremely compact and lightweight. Unloaded, it weighs in at just 4.25-pounds.

The Kel-Tec SUB-2000 is a Handy, Reliable and Inexpensive Carbine

When the Kel-Tec SUB-2000 is folded in half, it measures 16.25-inches in length.



Folding the gun is simple, as the trigger guard acts as a release lever. Pulling on the trigger guard unlocks it, and the barrel folds upwards and locks into place on the stock. To return the gun to its firing mode, a latch at the top rear of the stock releases the gun from this position and it snaps back into place. There are no tools necessary and is a major selling point of the firearm.


The Kel-Tec SUB-2000 is a Handy, Reliable and Inexpensive Carbine

The Kel-Tec SUB-2000 has an overall length of 30.5-inches and weighs 4.25-pounds unloaded.

The SUB-2000 is semi-automatic blowback operated firearm, meaning the recoil of the discharged round compresses a spring located in the tubular stock. The spent shell casing is ejected from the side of the gun and the spring pushes the bolt forward, picking up a fresh round from the magazine and chambering it. The simplicity of the action makes the gun easy to clean and maintain.

The barrel measures 16.25-inches and comes threaded for suppressors, with the 9mm version featuring a 1/2×28 thread and the .40S&W version offering a 9/16×24 thread. A thread protector comes standard. The SUB-2000’s trigger breaks at 9.5-pounds with a nice audible click.

The length of pull and front sight are adjustable, with LOP offering three settings. The charging handle is located on the tube about halfway up and Picatinny rails line both the top and bottom of the barrel, allowing for mounting lights, lasers, and optics. It should be noted that if you do add hardware to the top, the gun will no longer lock into place when folded. The sides of the barrel shroud feature M-LOK slots.

The Kel-Tec SUB-2000 is a Handy, Reliable and Inexpensive Carbine

A page from the Kel-Tec SUB-2000 owners manual shows all the bells and whistles.

Magazines are inserted into the grip much like a pistol, and magazines vary based on the SUB-2000 model. So, if you already own a pistol, you will likely be able to use your existing mags in the SUB-2000 — another selling point to this platform. Ammunition capacity varies according to magazines and, of course, state laws.


The advantages of a carbine in a pistol caliber are plenty but the two biggest are the increased sight radius, which aids accuracy, and the longer barrel, which increases projectile velocity. A carbine also allows more points of contact between the shooter and weapon increasing stability.

Shooting a pistol-caliber carbine is a ton of fun. Being able to throw it in a backpack is a nice touch. The Kel-Tec SUB-2000 comes in black, flat dark earth and gray.


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