Winter Project: Customizing Your Kel-Tec SUB-2000


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By Diego Cesarei

When I first saw the Kel Tec SUB-2000 my thought was, “Cool! I want that thing!” I wanted it so badly that I happily paid the European price, which is almost the equivalent of $800 US. Even today I’m not sure if it was a good deal. Not that the gun isn’t good. Not that the design isn’t “smart”. On this last point, I think it’s way better than most of the other alternative in the segment. Most of my concerns are related to the build quality and general robustness which is way behind that most of its competitors. But this isn’t a review of the SUB-2000, this is the story of how I customized mine to get it more in line with my expectations . . .

Most of the accessories mentioned below have been with me and tested for about one year and 1200-1500 rounds.

Extended magazines – These are definitely must-haves. My S2K takes GLOCK 9mm magazines, but the advice is valid for all the possible configurations. I went for 33-round GLOCK-made mags. The trim carbine is a little less handy with that long mag attached, but the tradeoff is outstanding firepower. It takes just few second to empty the whole magazine and it’s very easy to stay on target, so a lot of fun is guaranteed. I have no experience with non-GLOCK magazines and would suggest sticking with the OEM original article.

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I hate the stock S2K grip. The two halves don’t seem solidly linked and I can’t stop thinking it may crack. While a rubber sleeve doesn’t really improve its solidity much, it keeps the two halves tight and make it more confortable to hold and more gentle to the eyes covering a bit of the cheap material that makes up most of the gun’s body. I also bought Hogue grip sleeve just because I already used that brand and knew the product but any other sleeve will do.

Tacticool Products bolt tube cover – Another must-have, as a relaxed shooter has more chance to hit a target. Any contracted muscle that isn’t directly taking part to the action of holding the weapon or pulling the trigger will affect your accuracy. So when a few millimetres of cold steel are all that stay between your face and a heavy travelling bolt, it may be a bit difficult to relax and focus. The bolt tube cover is a gummy (Santoprene) sleeve that covers the bolt tube. It weights nothing, it’s quite sturdy, easy to install and increases the comfort when shooting the gun. It works to isolate heat and vibration from the shooter and at the same time protects the bolt tube. It’s possible to cobble together your own DIY alternative, but for the price of $13.50 for a custom-fitted item, I wouldn’t bother.

Tacticool Products operating handle cover – This is definitely not a “must have”, but a nice addition. I felt the need to wrap or “plastideep” my weapon’s charging handles, so for $4.50 I decided to go for it. It is comfortable and resists heavy use. Not exactly a piece of cake to fit on, though.

Checking on line for accessories I came across Performance Services LLC of Webberville TX, they provide an interesting set of products for the S2K. The owner, Todd, confirmed that he is planning to set up a website soon, in the mean time you can place orders via Gunbroker.

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Performance Services LLC Aluminium replacement front sight with fibre optic – The plastic front sight blade that comes with the S2K is terrible. To make things worse it’s kept in place and adjusted through a couple of clear plastic screws. The whole part seems taken from some cheap China-made toy more than a real firearm.

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Performance Services makes some state-of-the-art anodized aluminium replacements, with or without fibre optic insert. I bought a red fibre optic insert that comes with aluminium adjustment screws. It’s on another planet in term of toughness.

The standard sight picture isn’t wonderful and the fibre optic gives nice, clear contrast, but what it’s really outstanding is the quality. The without fiber optic blades are available in two size 1/16” or 3/32”. Since zeroing the S2K isn’t easy, I used some clay-like material to take a mold of the original blade position in order not to have to zero the Performance Services sight.

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Performance Services LLC Aluminium Piccatinny rail – For the way I intend to use this gun, I don’t think an aluminum forend full of rails is a good idea. Even the cool Red Lion precision forend is definitely too much. Todd’s solution consists of a short aluminium anodized rail with milled squares on the back made to fit in the texture of the plastic factory forend. This makes installation foolproof and the set-up more solid. Once again the quality is outstanding. No sharp angles and absolutely no problem sliding accessories in and out of the rail. The rail comes with its set of socket head screws (3/32” Allen, I wasn’t able to find an equivalent metric wrench in Italy or Switzerland so European customers will probably need to change screws) and a drill bit.

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Performance Services LLC single point sling attachment – The sling attachment is composed of two black anodized aluminium half rings that are clamped on the nut that keeps together the two halves of the receiver (“collar” according to the excellent Kel Tec Manual). To the ring is attached a heavy-duty quick detachable sling swivel. Pushing the button you can take off the swivel or rotate it 90°. Again the part is very well designed and executed as a boutique mechanic shop can provide.

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Performance Services LLC Foldable aluminium sight – If you somehow attached a red dot or some kind of scope to your S2K, you’ll want to consider this product. The quality of this anodized aluminium sight is again outstanding and you can choose if you want your rear sight to unfold with the gun or just go with the manual option, basically using it as back-up sight. The peep sight diameter replicates perfectly the original one so in terms of target acquisition nothing changes. The sight itself has a slimmer profile than the original one.

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As a side note, one of the things that really turned me off on the SUB-2000 is that just after the first 500 rounds the safety started to auto engage. Contacting Kel Tec, they told me that a possible solution would have been to change the piece (and they will have charged for it, since I wasn’t able to ship the gun back to the factory). I decided to fully disassemble the gun and thoroughly clean it. That was enough to fix the problem.

The SUB-2000 is an interesting little gun that competes in an overcrowded segment dominated by government contractors. Kel Tec decided to sacrifice quality in order to hit the market with a price tag far below its carbine competitors. I understand the business logic behind it, but I think it’s a pity. Still, there are ways to make this gun not only more fun, but more reliable and useful.

comments

    1. avatar Swarf says:

      You made it invisible?

      Impressive.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        It’s a Ghost Gun!

  1. avatar ValleyForge77 says:

    Dude! I could hug you right now! (sorry, kinda scary when an OFWG says that, I know). Seriously though – I have been looking for a sling attachment point for my S2K’s for a LONG time now. I never saw this! Shit, I thought I looked everywhere. I never saw that company’s offerings before. You just sold two of them yourself right now!.

    I have to say, I prefer the Tandem Kross Eagle Eye flip down rear site myself: http://www.tandemkross.com/-Eagle-Eye-Rear-Open-Sight-for-KelTec-Sub2000_p_73.html – It really opens up the sight picture.

    I put the KT rail piece on mine (up front) and dropped on a Magpul VFG and love it.

    I actually carved off a spot on the top of the handguard and dropped a cheap barrel mounted pic rail, so I can drop a red dot on there, and quickly take it off and still fold it flat. I agree, I think the Red lion rail is a bit much for a gun of this quality (sure you know what I mean by now). I love these things, but they are almost like ‘disposable’ guns to me. Which actually kind of fits their purpose for me in some ways. I don’t mind going frankenstein on it, as it’s not exactly an heirloom piece…. I have to say though, I would love to see Keltec make an ‘anniversary’ edition of this gun, super high quality, all carbon fiber, high grade metals, etc. The design itself is awesome. But the quality is that of a $400 carbine for sure.

    Anyway, I also dropped on the red lion front site with the rail underneath and have a TLR-3 on it now. Works perfect with the VFG up front.

    I was going to mess around with the aluminum trigger, but haven’t gotten there yet. Afraid it may mess something up, since the rest of the damn gun is plastic.

    Anyway, I love mine too… but definitely see these for what they are.. and that works for me. (but hell, I paid $900 for a pair of them – one .40 in black and one 9mm in FDE – not $800 for one. Ouch man!)

    Anyway, thanks bud. You made my friggin’ day!

    Oh, of course, they are both paired up with their respective Glocks too. Did I mention that? That’s half the allure of these things. If they ever crap out on you, well… you can always use the mags and ammo in the Glock on your hip! Great bag-gun, or truck gun, get home gun, etc… if your truck ever gets stolen, well… I wouldn’t be too emotionally distraught!

    Peace!

    1. avatar JDS says:

      An aluminum trigger is one upgrade that is definitely worth the hassle of taking the gun apart. Yeah its mostly made of plastic but the fcg is all steel except for the trigger. Makes it feel like a real carbine after the install.

      1. avatar ValleyForge77 says:

        Awww hell, I almost wish you didn’t tell me that

  2. avatar Lightninglink928 says:

    Why are you people even writing about this gun. You can’t find it any where!!! All the retailers have them as sold out, and it’s been like that since it came out. Why write about a gun that’s not available?!?

    1. avatar ValleyForge77 says:

      Got one at a gunshow (literally saw it, slapped my hand on it, and had 6 people reaching for it after me) – and the other on Gunbroker. Don’t really see them in stores, but they do exist. Just have to search.

      1. avatar Jim says:

        The last one I saw was on consignment at a gunshop during the last panic with a $1000 price tag on it. I passed.

        1. avatar 80 D says:

          ‘Tis a pity. My LGS has 5 on the wall for $499. Both flavors. Fun gun!

        2. avatar The Stig says:

          Snagged mine at a gun show literally one week before Sandy Hook for $325.

      2. avatar doesky2 says:

        I think the supply is catching up.
        Saw three in the most desirable Glock 9mm format at three different dealers at Raleigh gun show all under $450 (IIRC one was at $399)

        All the 9mm carbines are going to be hurting when CZ releases their EVO.

    2. Walked into the crappiest range/gun store in St. Louis and there it was, hanging on the wall. Used, but barely fired. Walked out with it for $200. They can be found in the wild, but you’ll have to hone your tracking skillz.

  3. avatar notalima says:

    Bah, I’m still firmly convinced that this gun doesn’t really exist. Or, that there are only 10 in existence that just keep getting traded around 😀

  4. avatar Bob says:

    I wanted a sub2k something bad. Then a friend pick one up during the panic for good money. Ran like crap. Eventually he got it to run good for him, but i couldn’t get through 1/2 mag with out it jamming up.

    I eventually bought a Jp 9mm ar to serve the same purpose and I have no regrets. yMMv

    1. avatar Joel says:

      I bought one during the panic of 12′ at my local gun shop and sold it 6 weeks later for 30% more than I paid for it. It is the only gun I ever bought that I regret selling.

      I will get another eventually. My local gun shop sells a dozen or so every year. The only way to get one is to get on a will-call list they keep.

      1. avatar doesky2 says:

        Hold on….a new version with pic rail support is coming to SHOT show. Bunch of other improvements and a metal front sight instead of plastic.

        Sneak peek at….
        http://www.thektog.org/forum/f85/sub2000-2015-sneak-peek-262414/

  5. avatar Wayne says:

    I picked up mine at the gun club I belong to. They have a nice retail gun store attached and they usually have 2 or 3 in stock. I did add the Kel-Tec aluminum fore end with rails on mine, and just left two side rails off. I have a cheap Chinese green laser on the underside, and a 300 lumen light in an offset Blackhawk mount on the top rail, so it still folds up no issue.

    I took apart the trigger control group and polished the components; dramatic improvement in action and lighter pull weight (4.5 lbs and a crisp break now). I mounted a single point sling on the shoulder stock, and fabricated a slightly oversized “belt clip”from heavy kydex, attached to the fore end just forward of the hinge point on the centre of balance when the gun is folded with a magazine in place. I put the sling over my neck/shoulder and snug it, then clip the rifle (folded) to the right side of my belt, muzzle up. Deploying is a two handed operation; right hand grabs the pistol grip in proper orientation to shoot, left hand disengages the latch at the muzzle end and completes the unfold and latching open the rifle as the right hand pushes the stock into shooting position. With VERY little practice, it can be deployed and in shooting position as fast as drawing a handgun from a retention holster, and when it’s hung by the sling and hooked over your belt, it rides very securely under your arm, no flopping around. You may need to play around a bit to find the balance point for your rifle when clipped to your belt so that it doesn’t sag away from your torso, or dig into your ribs. in just sits vertically, very snug & secure.

    This is my truck gun. to give it a bit of protection when it’s bouncing around in the truck, I took an Eberlstock padded optics cover and wrap & buckle it around the folded rifle. It’s VERY lightweight, completely covered, and has a integrated handle in the cover for carrying it too. The padding and rip stop nylon protect it from dings and scrapes, three quick release buckles and it’s out of the “case” & ready to go. I’ve run just under 4000 rds through mine in a year; still looks like new & eats anything I feed it, although it prefers warm loads. We’re limited to 10 rd. magazines in Canada, so no point in having an extended mag and then pin it. The 10 rd is flush with the bottom of the grip & it makes the best truck gun I’ve ever had…so small it’s almost minuscule, very light, fast to deploy, much more accurate at 100 yds, AND much harder hitting than a 9mm pistol. It’s a gun I’ll hang onto for a long, long time

  6. avatar Nedd Ludd says:


    And they fit discretely into the Husky 16″ briefcase.
    $19.97 at your local Home Depot
    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-16-in-Briefcase-GP-44400FN13/204507902

  7. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    I’m cool with guns being modular and custom configurable with accessories because, well, to each his own. Everyone has preferences and slightly different applications, which make some modifications worth having. However, I do not take to firearms which must be modified, upgraded, retrofitted, and substantially rebuilt right out of the box before they’re even a half-decent firearm in general terms. It’s usually better just to spend the money for a higher quality product from a better manufacturer, in the first place, than to try to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.

    1. avatar Wayne says:

      I agree in general terms, but I don’t think anyone here is suggesting ANY of these mods are needed to make the Sub2K a half-decent firearm. It’s NEVER going to be a long range, sniper gun…isn’t meant to be. Only a fool would use one for three-gun, or as a small game rifle…same reason. I didn’t touch a thing on mine until after I had about 2500 rounds through it. By then, I knew what it could do, what it couldn’t and whether or not it fit my needs. It did, so I made some changes to it to improve it’s usability for me. But, no mistake…this rifle surprised me with it’s out of the box accuracy, it’s reliability, and it’s willingness to shoot any ammo I stuffed into it. I know I can put 8 out of 10 rounds into an 8 in. pie plate, offhand ay 100 yds with iron sights. Is it a Sow’s ear? Absolutely…it looks like it fell from the very top of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down…it would take a lot of work to make it uglier than it already is by accident. It is also an accurate, highly reliable rifle and at it’s retail price point, that in itself is a pleasant surprise

      1. avatar ValleyForge77 says:

        Agree with you. Conversely, I don’t think anyone is suggesting ALL of these mods would turn this gun into an heirloom piece by any stretch… But it sure is a fun and capable little gun. I had my teething issues too, but a little fluff n buff and break-in and they can run like a top. And a little more fun modding and you can have a pretty cool, portable, light, quick little PC carbine to pair up with your Glock (brand Glock). Surprisingly accurate too. This isn’t an ‘out-of-the-box’, “mil-spec-y’, high-quality service weapon. But not every gun has to be. It sure is a blast though and it can fill certain roles where you might not exactly want your bulkier, $2k, tricked-out Sig MPX to be.

    2. avatar John M. says:

      In general I agree with you. But. Nobody makes a similar gun that folds up into a 16″ long package. If you’ve never handled one, it’s kind of a revelation.

  8. avatar AnonInWA says:

    Some more information about which specific Hogue grip sleeve fits would be nice.

    1. avatar ValleyForge77 says:

      It’s just a regular/full sized grip sleeve:
      http://www.amazon.com/Hogue-Handall-Full-Size-Sleeve/dp/B004WRWAQO
      Should be less than $10 wherever you get it. I almost didn’t want to hold the grip until I put it on. It should come standard with the gun.

  9. avatar TheBear says:

    Compared to the stuff I see on KTOG, the stuff the OP did to his Sub2k is weaksauce.

    http://www.thektog.org/forum/f85/sub-porn-pictures-pictures-only-no-discussion-231168/index42.html

    1. avatar doesky2 says:

      As a S2K owner myself I don’t begrudge him for taking the position that the gun ain’t worth putting a ton of money into since its primary role is a sub-100 yard shoot-n-scoot range toy or truck-gun at best.

      1. avatar TheBear says:

        I own a sub2k too… and I have not done a single thing to it.

        My point is that people have been doing super cool stuff to the Sub2k for the last 5 years so this article was a bit, “meh”.

  10. avatar John M. says:

    I had mine folded up in a smallish briefcase in my trunk with my Glock 20 during the run up and aftermath to the Darren Wilson/Michael Brown grand jury decision. I didn’t feel undergunned.

  11. avatar IdahoPete says:

    I added the Kel-Tec SUB2000 Stock Extension ($12) to mine for a slightly longer length of pull. It still lets you fold and lock the gun, and is an easy snapon installation.

    I have not had any of the described problems with mine, and I am impressed by the ballistic improvement for 9mm Cor-Bon ammo at 100 yards. Muzzle energy is close t a .357 mag from a 6″ bbl, plus you get the improved accuracy compared to a handgun. It is also nice to have a carbine that use my Glock mags. Sort of a 2014 version of the 1892 Winchester in .44-40, to go along with your Colt SAA, only you carry it in a briefcase tied to your Harley instead of a saddle scabbard on your horse..

  12. avatar Evan says:

    Just picked one of these up last week – used, 9mm glock model, first one I’ve seen in a shop (first time I’d seen one in person in fact). Mine actually came with the Red Lion forend, front sight and muzzlecomp already installed – paid $600 for it and it and overall I’m really happy with it at that price. I have to say that while the RL hardware may seem expensive compared to the price of the gun, it goes a long way towards making the whole thing feel more solid overall. I only have a couple hundred rounds through it, on a 25 yard indoor range, but so far I like the way it shoots – looking forward to the weather warming up so I can throw it in a backpack and head out to an outdoor range on my motorcycle, something it’s uniquely suited to.

  13. avatar Dustin says:

    Performance Services LLC Aluminium replacement front sight.

    I can’t find this. Do you know where I can purchase one?

  14. avatar Jake says:

    I have also searched to find the Performance Services LLC parts with no luck…anyone have any info on how to find them?

  15. avatar Ryan Foster says:

    I can’t find any of the performance services llc parts. Anyone else?

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