Florida-based firearms maker KelTec made the most of a sudden surplus of 9mm carbines and donated them to Ukraine. 

Adrian Kellgren, director of industrial production at KelTec – and son of the company's legendary founder, George Kellgren – told local media the company was recently left with a $200,000 order for SUB2000 carbines. The original order, to a longtime vendor in the Black Sea Ukrainian port city of Odessa, was unpaid for and the vendor was unable to be contacted.

The 400 9mm carbines had been ordered last year, but by the time the red tape cleared the client was unable to accept them and Ukraine is now fighting off a Russian invasion – with enemy troops closing in on Odessa. The solution hit on by Kellgren was to donate the guns to the Ukrainian government to aid in the resistance to the invasion. 

Introduced in 2001, the KelTec SUB2000 9mm pistol-caliber carbine is now in its second generation. Lightweight at just 4 pounds while still retaining a 16.1-inch barrel, it folds in half for easy storage and transport, able to be carried in a pack. 

KelTec SUB2000 9mm pistol-caliber carbine
Using a new forend with M-LOK accessory slots, standard models run Glock double-stack magazines. However, the "Multi-Mag" SUB2000 variant can take any mag catches for CZ75s, Sig P320s, Sig P226s, Canik TP9s, Beretta 92s, and S&W Model 59s. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

Through the help of a volunteer with the Ukrainian-American Bar Association working in conjunction with the offices of the Ukraine Embassy in Washington, the export license for the guns was approved in less than a week.

"I think the American people want to do something," Kellgren, a former Naval Aviator, said in an interview. "This is a donation from us ... When we see a group of people getting hammered like this, it's heartbreaking."

While KelTec did not make a press release on the donation, well-wishers and Ukraine supporters flooded the company's social media accounts with accolades to the company for helping out. To this, the family-owned company simply replied to one comment with, "We weren’t going public with that information, however the media caught wind of it. Thank you for your kind words and support."

Others Helping As Well

Following the news of KelTec's dispatch, a Long Island, New York, gun shop has collected and is sending 60 rifles to Ukraine, and it could be the tip of the iceberg.

"Now that we know there's a way to do it, we can get tens of thousands of weapons over there, maybe hundreds of thousands of weapons," said Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman.

As previously reported by Guns.com, Florida-based Adams Arms – maker of piston-driven AR-platform firearms – announced they have a batch of new rifles ready for Ukrainian hands. Despite current logistical difficulties under the Kremlin-planned attack, the company says its guns will make it to the fight. 

To help feed these guns, American small arms ammunition makers Vista Outdoor and Ammo Inc have each promised donations of 1 million rounds to the country. Meanwhile, optics maker ATN – whose founder, Marc Vayn, hails from the Eastern European country – has raised over $170,000 to help Ukraine. 

ATN has also set aside "pallets of thermal" sights for shipment to Europe. 



The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade group for the American firearms industry, has posted a guide for partners looking to assist Ukraine. According to NSSF, Ukraine is requesting assistance from the U.S. firearm and ammunition industry in the form of donations of the following rifles, pistols, and ammunition:

  • 7.62х39 mm
  • 7.62x51 mm
  • 7.62x54 mm
  • .308 WIN
  • 5.45х39 mm
  • 5.56х45 mm
  • Sniper rifles chambered in .308 WIN or 7.62х51 mm and ammunition (including bipod and scope)
  • If donating a non-.308 “sniper type” rifle, e.g., .338 Lapua or similar, Ukraine requests that manufacturers provide ammunition with the rifle.
  • Pistols and ammunition chambered in 9х19 mm
  • Extra magazines
  • Spare parts

Banner image: KelTec RDB bullpup rifle and SUB2000 9mm carbine at SHOT Show 2022. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)