Kel-Tec Sub 2000 Gen 3: Gettin’ Twisty With It

The Sub 2000 Gen 3 is an improvement over its predecessors due to its rotation when folding back. This allows you to leave an optic mounted and still fold and lock in place.
January 1, 2024  
Categories: Guns

The Sub 2000 Gen 3 is a 2024 update to the classic Kel Tec SUB2000 line. It still folds, still takes Glock mags, still does All The Things, but now it has a rotating forend. This feature allows you to leave an optic aboard (and zeroed) while it’s folded without the need for aftermarket SUB 2000 upgrades

This is a solution to the most common complaint about the Sub2K I’ve heard (except for those who’re just Kel-Tec haters in general): the inability to leave an RDS on the top rail without using an aftermarket part to make it happen. For several months now, I’ve been considering the purchase of a Sub2k for use as a truck gun and accessory/attachment platform for some future articles. I’d like to say I was waiting to see if SHOT Show 2024 brought anything new, but the truth is I just hadn’t gotten around to it. 

I guess sometimes it’s good to identify as a member of the Procasta Nation. 

Sub 2000 Gen 3 deployed (top) and folded (bottom).

Sub 2000 Gen 3 deployed (top) and folded (bottom). The forward half of the Gen 3 Kel Tec sub now rotates as it pivots back, allowing you to keep an optic (RDS or LPVO) mounted on top. This is a promising solution to one of the most common complaints about the Kel Tec Sub 2000 Gen II. 

Keltec posted the following on social media: “Introducing the 9mm SUB2000™ GEN3, with a twist! Literally, it comes with a twist. The simple twist-and-fold motion of the patent-pending rotating forend. But thats not all, more updates include many improvements like an aluminum trigger with a lighter pull, an ambidextrous bolt hold-open, and a redesigned operating handle. And yes, it still takes Glock mags.”


Fixing the optic drawback and the trigger? That will just increase the improbable popularity of the gun. 

If they work. 

SUB 2000 GEN 3 Specs and Features

  • Top-folding design
  • Optic ready: rotate and lock in one single-hand movement
  • Threaded barrel
  • Aluminum trigger with lighter pull than previous versions
  • Ambidextrous bolt hold-open
  • Redesigned operating handle 
  • Caliber 9mm
  • Weight unloaded: 4.2lbs
  • Overall length: 30.45 in. 
  • Length collapsed: 29.25 in.
  • Length folded: 16.5 in. 
  • Barrel length: 16.5 in. 
  • Twist rate: 1:10
  • Trigger Pull: 5lbs
  • Easy disassembly 
  • M-LOK compatible
  • Picatinny rail top and bottom
  • Straight blowback system
  • Mag capacity is dependent upon the type of magazine


SUB2K: Some Background

The Sub 2000 Gen 3 is chambered in 9mm and takes Glock 19 or Glock 17 mags. That’s not a surprise. It would’ve been moronic to switch that up…which you probably already know if you’re reading this, I guess, but I figured I’d clarify. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the platform I’ll list out a few reasons why a Pistol Caliber Carbine (PCC) like this is popular. 

  • Budget. Before you get into any of its other advantages, you have to recognize that it’s affordable. Sub $600 for an equipped SUB2000? That’s a great deal. (See what I did there?) There are many people looking for a good backpack or truck gun. Those who can easily afford a CMMG Banshee or a Stribog are a smaller number. 
  • It folds in half and isn’t gimmicky about it. This is a Big Deal when it comes to concealability and portability, especially if you don’t want or can’t afford an SBR or braced pistol. You fold it by pulling down on the trigger guard and swinging the barrel assembly back over the top just forward of the rear sight. Like the toothbrush commercials that talked about someone with a flip-top head. The front sight latches onto the top side of the buttstock to hold it shut, like clicking a child or pet gate shut. Previously (for obvious reasons), you couldn’t leave an optic on top. The front half wouldn’t be able to hinge back far enough to latch shut. This is why so many Sub2k owners use accessories like the Midwest Industries SUB2000 mount.  Now that you can rotate it organically, however, that limitation has been corrected. 
  • While the 9mm, specifically Glock magazine 9mm, versions seem to be the most common, there were also Gen 2 versions that took SIG, Beretta, and S&W mags (including .40 caliber options). The advantage of this – and the one that has me looking to get one – is cross-platform compatibility. If you’re already carrying a [insert pistol make and model here], then you can feed your “long gun” with the same mags and the same ammunition. Obviously, there’s a tradeoff with pistol ammunition for the superior ballistics of a rifle cartridge, but that’s a whole ‘nuther discussion. 


There are some downsides too, of course. 

This isn’t by any means a barbecue gun. You know how they can take a murder hobo and clean him up with a haircut and good clothes to make him look like someone who isn’t a sociopath before a job interview or a trial appearance? That’s kinda what it’s like with a Sub 2000. It’s both portable and functional out of the box, but many people want to clean it up a bit with aftermarket upgrades and accessories before they take it out in public.

This leads some to question the actual price – “Maybe you get one for $400,” I’ve heard, “but if you’re going to buy a whole slew of aftermarket parts, you’re not actually saving much money.”

There is definitely some justification for that opinion, but I think the end result will still be worth it. Note: I haven’t set one up for myself yet. I base that opinion on reviews and anecdotal commentary from some gun guys whose perspective I trust (and who I know are being truthful and candid). 

Some issues are: 

  • Previous incarnations have a less-than-ideal trigger.
  • Ergonomics are poor when compared to something like an AR9.
  • Many people have trouble with the iron sights, though an optic fixes this problem.
  • The bolt tube is right below your cheek weld. Despite the relative lack of recoil generated by the 9mm cartridge, this quickly becomes unpleasant for some gun owners.
  • Though a fun gun to shoot, it’s clunky and inelegant; that’s a Big Deal to people who value form over function.


I’ll be watching the response to the latest Sub2k to see how it’s received. Hopefully, I and/or some of my crew will put hands on one eventually and write it up sooner rather than later. 

Stand by for further. 

George Kellgren, founder of Kel-Tec Weapons. Though none of his prior designs with Intratec or Grendel were particularly elegant, there's no denying the popularity of the KelTec sub.

George Kellgren, founder of Kel-Tec Weapons. The Swedish-born engineer came to the United States in 1979. He founded the company in 1991. Though none of his prior designs with previous firearm companies like Intratec or Grendel were particularly elegant, there’s no denying the popularity of the KelTec sub. 📷NRA American Rifleman.


Kel Tec Sub 2000 for Sale

You can find a Kel Tec Sub 2000 for sale in a number of places, but currently, they’re all going to be Gen II models. On the good side, they’re probably all going to be on sale or rebated now that a Gen III is available. Check out the following places: 

tactical gear for sale



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DR Sub 2000 Gen 3

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David Reeder

David Reeder

About the Author


  1. Buddy

    I think this is great!

    I picked up the gen 2 because I saw it on gun deals. $251 after rebate, $300 real world after tax and ffl charges.

    I hadn’t even considered a Pcc but had decided against a shortened AR.

    I noticed a huge optic bulge on the new version. I still think a quick connect might be the option I would use.

  2. Red_Bjorn

    A completely valid concern, but you can still use any of the options you could before, (or new equivalents when the need is figured out), this just adds ANOTHER option for those who want to use it.

  3. MisterEd

    Meh. What I like about the S2K is that it’s flat when folded. It fits perfectly in the laptop compartment on one of my backpacks. The quarter turn with any mounted accessories destroys the lean “storage” profile. (Notice in the video how the optic sticks out like a sore thumb when it’s placed in the bag.) That leads me to further concerns of an optic holding zero if it runs the risk of getting knocked around or bumped on other items in a bag.

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