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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.