Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kel-Tec Sub 9

Mark Knopfler's song Cleaning My Gun in my last post reminded me of a job that needed doing this morning: stripping and cleaning my Kel-Tec Sub-9 carbine that I'd stashed behind the seat in my truck and forgotten about for awhile.  The Sub-9 is a compact carbine that's easy enough to misplace, seeing how it's only 16 inches long when folded:

This folding feature makes it extremely handy and readily concealable.  Folded away, the Sub-9 will fit unobtrusively in a lap top computer bag, brief case or many other everyday bags.  It can be folded with a magazine locked in place, and deployed almost instantly by unfolding it and racking the slide to chamber a round.

Many readers are probably familiar with the Kel-Tec Sub-2000, which is the current version of this carbine, but may not have seen a Sub-9.  The main difference is that many parts the Sub-9 are built of aircraft grade aluminum rather than the polymer utilized on the less-expensive Sub-2000.  The main reason Kel-Tec changed the design was to get the production costs down.  I got lucky when I found this one that a friend had and bought it at good price along with several mags.  The only downside is that mine is set up to use S&W Model 59 mags rather than Glock 17/19, which would be ideal.   The  mags shown here are 25-rounders, and though they won't interchange with my Glock 19, this set up still represents a respectable amount of firepower in a small package.

The folding configuration is ideal, but unfortunately none of these Kel-Tec carbines, in either the Sub-9 or Sub-2000 version come in a suitable caliber to make good primary bug-out weapons, as the 9mm and .40 S&W are far from ideal for hunting.  But for a general purpose, concealable truck gun or close-range carbine, one of these could be very handy for SHTF.  I've found mine to be absolutely reliable, with no malfunctions in well over 1,000 rounds, and the accuracy is decent out to about 100 yards.  More on the current Sub-2000 at the Kel-Tec website:  http://www.kel-tec-cnc.com/sub2000.htm


  1. Thanks for the great write-up. That looks like a really handy little carbine. I'll bet its a lot of fun to shoot. My 9mm Hi-Point carbine is lots of fun too, but extremely ugly to look at and does not fold down like this does. Great for introducing new shooters to centerfire rifle shooting.

    I have given some thought to getting a Mec-Tec upper for my Glock 21, but realized that a folding AK is so similar in size, it probably isn't worth the effort.

  2. I wish they would make the SUB-2000 in .45 acp and make it take 1911 mags. I would buy one in a heartbeat.

  3. Thanks for the comments. Regarding the Mec-Tec, I think it would be worth the effort if you wanted a .45 acp carbine. I've looked at those kits and they look interesting. I'd like to have one for a Glock 20.

    Regarding the Sub-2000 in .45 acp, I would buy one in a heartbeat too. I don't understand why Kel-Tec hasn't built one for the .45 acp. I would also like to have a Sub-2000 in .22LR, if it were accurate enough, that would be a great bug-out survival weapon.

  4. I've always wanted one of these, may get one soon. Your post has reminded me of how handy it is. All of my pistols are 9mm, 3 of them are Glocks, so the Glock 19 or Glock 17 version would be good for me. .45acp would be nice to, that might force me to get a .45 handgun if I had the Sub2000 in .45acp!

    I really like the folding aspect. 9mm with hot loads will get the job done quite well too. Excellent bug out bag weapon.

  5. I purchased my sub 9 in 1998 and had a choice of S&W 59 or Glock grips. You might contact Kel-Tec to see if they have any parts left.
    I started calling mine My 7 by 16 as folded its 7"x 16" and would fit under my arm pit wearing leather vest unnoticed.Shocked the brother in law when he heard it click open while his back was turned. It was not loaded of coarse.There really short and you better keep your hands where they belong or the bolt will get ya.Thought about parting with once last year but after reading here and remembering I think I'll keep it in the laptop case after all.

  6. I did contact Kel-Tec awhile back regarding the possibility of changing out the magazine configuration to Glock, but was told they no longer stock all these parts for the older Sub-9 model. The newer Sub-2000 is available for Glock mags though.

  7. I purchased a Kel-Tec Sub-2000 last year and I love it. It fits very nicely into a almost secret compartment in a back pack I purchased at Walmart. The back pack has wide padding on the shoulder straps, a hidden compartment accesses from the side, and it has wheels and a retractable handle for travel use.


  8. Sounds like a great set-up, Curtis. The Sub-2000 is easy indeed to conceal.

  9. was this available in the mid 90s? anyone know what dates these and the sub2000 were introduced?

    great articls, by the way


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