If you read enough about Kel-Tec guns online, inevitably someone will complain that Kel-Tec “can’t keep up with demand” and that they’d rather design new guns than make any in volume.
Well, after visiting their booth at SHOT Show this year, It’s evident that they’re aiming to do both. They’ve introduced a Kel-Tec Sub-2000 Gen 2 with some improved designs that will be easier to manufacture.
If you’re not familiar with the SUB-2000, it’s a pistol caliber carbine that accepts handgun magazines and can fold in half for storage. The caliber and magazine pattern are up to you! Kel-Tec says they will be producing at least 10 different variants of the Kel-Tec Sub-2000 Gen 2, with more on the horizon.
What’s changed? The original SUB-2000 threw shooters for a loop. Take-down rifles have existed for years, but the pivot-in-half capability of the SUB-2000 was unusual. However, the original polymer handguard wasn’t accessory-friendly and required a lot of excess production work from Kel-Tec. The redesign hit every aspect of the firearm, producing something that was both streamlined for manufacture and improved for end users.
The new front sight block threads onto the barrel similar to the company’s M43 bullpup prototype also going into production this year. But the Kel-Tec Sub-2000 Gen 2 has a standardized AR-15 front post installed, which means you can adjust it with commonly available front sight tools and swap it out with aftermarket tritium, fiber optic, or precision sight posts.
An improved forend really distinguishes the Kel-Tec Sub-2000 Gen 2 from the Gen 1 guns, with both Picatinny and M-LOK attachment points available in the same handguard. You’ll find M-LOK slots on the left and right sides of the forearm, and Picatinny along the top and bottom. The new forend is also substantially slimmer than the older version.
The new stock is collapsible, and features improved sling mounts. A small section of Picatinny rail has also been added onto the bottom of the stock.
Kel-Tec has added their “gator grip” pattern to various parts of the gun, which fits better with the rest of their line. In the firearms industry, matching matters. Seriously.
In addition to being more comfortable, an updated grip gives the Gen 2 an enlarged ejection port.
Gen 1 and Gen 2 parts are unfortunately not interchangeable, so retrofitting isn’t an option. The new gun is supposed to start shipping in March and will keep the $409 MSRP from the Gen 1.
What else was at the Kel Tec booth? The .22 WMR CMR-30 carbine first previewed on All Outdoor in October was looking fantastic.
The CMR-30 is the perfect gun for anyone who’s ever wanted an H&K MP7. The .22 WMR cartridge has lots of punch for a rimfire, and the polymer magazine shared between the CMR and PMR holds a full 30 rounds. The collapsing stock folds very tightly onto the CMR, but still has five points of adjustment when extended. The barrel is threaded for a flash hider, but when it ships later this year it will come with a simple thread protector.
The larger 5.56x45mm RDB and M43 bullpups are still on the way after being announced at SHOT Show last year and a public demo at the 2014 Bullpup Convention, they should finally be on store shelves this summer. Kel-Tec reps indicated that they’re aiming for a $1,500 price point.
While there will always be complaints that consumer demand far outstrips Kel-Tec’s supply, they are steadily increasing production. Kel-Tec was one of the top 10 handgun manufacturers of 2012 with 78,074 pistols leaving their plant, and they produced nearly 150,000 total guns in 2014. But the internet will always have its own opinion. Whatever the case, more exciting things are to come from Kel-Tec in 2015.