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Keltec is known for producing innovative firearms. Unfortunately, Keltec is also known for poor execution. They do, however, have many "fanboys" -- generally I find these folks rather new to firearms and not super experienced with mechanical systems in general. Still, Keltec is known for innovative firearms. For example, after a bunch of tweaking I was able to get my CMR-30 to be an outstanding and reliable firearm.

I hate to say it, but the Keltec Sub 2000 Gen 2 I purchased one a couple years ago and it was so bad I sold it within two weeks. However, after some consideration (and especially after reflecting on my CMR experience) I decided to try again. Still, the Sub 2000 has a number of serious flaws in the factory configuration. These are: Poor ergonomics, excessive recoil, horrible trigger, less than stellar durability, and no way to really mount an optic. We will consider each of these defects and solutions in turn.

You'll note that I didn't mention any reliability issues. My original Sub2000 had zero malfunctions whatsoever in almost 200 round fired. In fact that is what make this project so compelling: If the flaws can be overcome, the innovative folding design will make this a great PCC for use as a so-called "backpack gun" -- maybe even better than my Ruger PC Carbine living in a Magpul Backpacker stock. If not, this project will end up being "trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear".

Poor Ergonomics:

Problem: The ergonomics of the gen 2 Sub 2000 are not just bad, they're awful. All you have to do is to an Internet search to understand just how bad they are. Many people find it uncomfortable to place their cheek on the directly on the buffer tube. In addition, the locking latch bashes many people in the jaw.

Solution: Buffer tube covers for the Sub2000 are sold by a number of vendors, including Tamdem Kross, Tacticool Products, and MCarbo. Some people use pipe insulation, but this is not recommended. Buffer tube covers tend to raise your face slightly, requiring some effort to acquire a good sight picture. Pipe insulation makes this problem even worse. As for getting slammed in the check with the latch, KelTec still sells Gen1 buffers -- ones which don't have a latch (P/N SR-222). At the current price of $1.85, you'll want to get one even if you're not sure you'll need it. Be aware that replacing the buffer will require you to find a different way of looking the firearm folded. My solution was a Velcro cable strap.

Options: An alternative to the Gen i latch is to introduce your Gen 2 buffer to a belt sander and remove the latch. However, new Gen 2 latches are close to $20 from Keltec, so this is not recommended unless you're positive in your skill and are positive you won't ever want to revert this modification.

Excessive Recoil:

Problem: I was astonished the first time I fired a Sub 2000, as the recoil can only be described as harsh. However after some reflection this didn't seem quite so surprising: The stock is made of hard plastic, the action is straight blowback, and when combined with the poor ergonomics, felt recoil is worse than many of the hunting rifles I own -- and certainly worse than my AR. When the Sub 2000 is compared to other PCCs, it come up short as well: My Ruger PC-9 and CMMG Banshee both have much less felt recoil -- and this despite the CMMG having a brace instead of an actual stock.

Solution: My solution was threefold: First, I purchased a slip on pad from Missouri Tactical. Note that MCarbo sells a screw on one as well. Second, I also purchased an MCarbo "Recoilless Charging Handle" and urethane rubber recoil buffer. Tacticool Products sells a more substantial buffer. Unfortunately, their buffer prevents the charging handle from locking the bolt open. These modifications seemed to tame the recoil somewhat, but still more than either my Ruger PC-9 or CMMG Banshee.

Options: My preferred option was the installation of an Odin Works Zulu stock. The Odin Works stock comes equipped from the factory with the highly effective LimbSaver recoil pad. In addition, the Odin works stock is highly adjustable to better fit the shooter. Note that even with the Gen 1 buffer, the factory stock isn't super comfortable. I found the Odin Works unit an all around better alternative. The downsides are twofold: First is the $150 MSRP for the Odin Works. Second is that the stock is made for ARs, so you'll need some metal working skill to fabricate a bushing before using it on the Sub 2000. The only real downside to the Odin Works stock is that it extends the length of pull to a length of pull which make it too long for folks of shorter stature. For more information, see: Stock Modification - The Odin Works Zulu.

Horrible Trigger:

Problem: And the it doesn't end with ergonomic and recoil: The trigger pull on the Sub 2000 is long, mushy, and exceptionally heavy. My wheeler gauge put mine at over 10-pounds -- which is not conducive to any sort of accuracy. (Note: The actual measurement exceeds my Wheeler's ability to measure as it maxes out at 10-pounts.) This is not really acceptable and it's surprising, as my CMR-30 has an excellent trigger which breaks cleanly at just 4-1/2 pounds. It's hard to imagine how disappointing the Sub 2000 is in this regard.

Solution: My solution here was to install a set of MCarbo trigger springs. The trigger springs reduced the trigger pull to right around 5-pounds -- which is about perfect. The only downside is the sear spring is difficult to install and has a tendency to launch itself across the room. If you're not particularly good at home gunsmithing projects, you might want to engage the services of a local professional. MCarbo also sells installation services, which would be another alternative if you don't mind shipping your rifle to them.

Options: I also purchased an MCarbo trigger bar, replaced the polymer trigger with an MCarbo aluminum unit, and replaced the OE hammer bushing with the MCarbo "Fixed Precision Stainless Steel Hammer Bushing". I don't know if these are absolutely essential upgrades, but MCarbo claims these will make the trigger crisper on the break. Since I was opening up my rifle for the spring upgrade anyway, I figured I would go ahead and add these as well.


Problem: I didn't own my first Sub 2000 long enough to be able to judge the durability first hand. However, I do own other Kaltec firearms and they are an eclectic mix of odd features. The most troublesome are the polymer feed ramps Keltec likes to use. Anyone who is serious about putting more that a couple boxes of ammo per year through their Sub2000 will need to address this issue post haste.

Solution: The only real solution here is the MCarbo stainless steel feed ramp. Since you'll probably want to replace the springs anyway, you might as well just go ahead an spend the extra $30 for the feed ramp.

Options: I also replaced the OE aluminum grip pins with MCarbo's steel ones. I also bit on the MCarbo aluminum trigger guard. Note that MCarbo also sells hardened grip screws, but I didn't see the need. In fact, all these upgrade should be considered optional. However, I'm glad I got the steel grip pins, as I was in and out of my grip assembly at least a dozen times before I figured out what I was doing wrong with the spring kit installation. sigh

Optics Mounting:

Problem: The picatinny rail on the Sub 2000s polymer handguard is not particularly well suited to optic mounting. Not only is it polymer, but the rifle won't fold completely with an optic installed. In addition, since there is no ability to mount an optic to the receiver, you will certainly end up with either a red dot or long eye relief scope. So unfortunately all the options are less than optimal -- as the sometimes say "your mileage may vary".

Solution: The two top contenders are mounts from MCarbo and Red Lion Industries. The MCarbo mount bolts securely onto the side of the handguard, installs easily, and deploys quickly. Unfortunately, it does not allow the sub to fold "flat" for stowage in a backpack. The Red Lion unit replaces the existing handguard and allows the rifle to fold "flat". Unfortunately, not only is installation is more involved than the MCarbo mount, but deployment is not nearly as quick as the MCarbo. Thus in an emergency situation you might find it necessary to take your first shots through the OE sights. Since my objective was for a "backpack gun", I decided the Red Lion unit would be the better alternative. However since in an emergency my first shots would be using the OE sights, I decided to just wait to purchase and see if a better alternative will become available.

Options: There are other alternatives for optics mounting on the Sub 2000: The least expensive involves using a quick detach (aka QD) mount in conjunction with the existing polymer rail. Unfortunately, the long term durability of using any mount on the existing polymer rail is dubious and the QD mount might not deploy as quickly as desired. As a second alternative, a QD mount can be used in conjunction with Keltec's "Aluminum Forend with Picatinny Rails" ($117 MSRP). Note that any option involving the Keltec aluminum rail results in a rifle which will not quite fold completely. Also keep in mind that using a "quick detach" mount are not really all the quick in an emergency. Finally, Midwest Industries makes a mount allows the Sub 2000 to lay flat when folded ($115.95 MSRP). Unfortunately, it attaches to an m-loc slot on the forend, which is of dubious long term durability. In addition, this mount requires the bolt handle to the tied back when folded to prevent it from flying foreword and damaging the optic.


As shown by the preceding material, the various shortcomings of the Sub 2000 are all tracible problems . . .

If you're looking for a PCC as a "backpack gun", your choices basically come down to to the Ruger PC Carbine and the Keltec Sub 2000. Both require modifications in order to be optimized for this role. The Ruger PC Carbine needs the Magpul Backpacker stock. The Keltec Sub 2000 requires all the modes from above -- also recommended is the Odin Works stock. Both weigh in at just over 5-pounds unloaded w/o an optic. When modified, both are in the same price tier, though the Keltec would be a few dollars more. When modified, both should be reliable, durable and accurate. If you're looking for a more turnkey solution, this favors the Ruger -- as does somewhat better ergonomics and a last round BHO. If quick deployment in an emergency is your priority, then the Keltec is the way to go. On the other hand if you require optics in a flat folding backpack gun, you'll have to trade deployment time for that feature.

So here's the bottom line: If you think threats will be unexpected, close range, require a rapid response, and can be handled by by traditional sights, then the rapid time to deploy the KelTec Sub 2000 makes it your backpack gun. And if you do need optics, the Red Lion fore end can be deployed with some additional effort after you take your first shots. On the other hand if your priority is optics and you think you'll have more time to respond to a threat, then the Ruger will be a better choice.

Photos (click to enlarge):

I am surprised that you found the recoil to be anything but a minor annoyance. I did give up on ever using the iron sights. Mounted a Bushnell Trs-25 on the picatinny rail and have had no problems with accuracy at all. Can't fold it, but why would l want to? If I need it quickly, I don't want to have to rebuild it.

55 Posts
To keep it with you, maybe in a backpack or laptop case, in places where if folks know what you have they might ask you to leave. It doesn't mean a rifle OR a handgun, both would be nice and are easily done. Someone stated years ago that a handgun exists to fight ones way to a rifle. Yeah, that.

I used a micro red dot on a Midwest Ind' mount for years competitively. It never lost zero or caused me any problems. The MCarbo mount would also work fine. Rebuild the gun to use it? Do you mean in a moment of need? It might add 20 seconds if one is really slow to deploy it. But that's what the handgun is for. But I agree, the best solution, not workable for the vast majority, is to walk around with a fully deployed rifle. In that case the sub2k would work, but under those conditions where one had to carry a rifle openly I'd choose another rifle (SBR or AR handgun).
Good points.
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