MCarbo: Must-Have Upgrades for the KelTec SUB2000

As much as I like tinkering with my guns, there are very few times when an upgrade performs better than I ever expected. A Magpul stock might be better than a standard m4 stock, but it doesn’t blow my mind. A little company called MCarbo produces some of the most innovative additions and add-ons for a variety of firearms. My particular interest in their products boils down to the SUB2000.

KelTec’s SUB2000 is a pistol-caliber carbine that famously folds in half and uses popular pistol magazines. It’s a handy and fun little rifle that’s both made in America and quite affordable. The SUB2000 is one of my favorite little guns and my favorite bug-out blaster by far. However, the gun has a few problems.

The SUB-2000 is a fantastic carbine, but it has a few problems.

The Blowback Problem

The KelTec SUB2000 uses a straight blowback principle to operate. Straight blowback works. In fact, it works rather well. This simplistic but reliable system allows the SUB-2000 to stay relatively trim and small and also affordable. The downside to blowback is an increased level of felt recoil. Every morning straight blowback systems wake up and choose violence.

The recoil isn’t painful like a ten gauge shotgun in the shoulder but does deliver a little snap. In fact, I’d say it’s snappier than most other blowback PCCs due to its minimalist design. Less recoil would make a more controllable platform.

The Optics Problem

KelTec’s little gun comes with a decent set of adjustable iron sights, but like any weapon, it could benefit from an optic. The problem is that adding an optic to the gun’s rails requires you to forfeit the handy folding design. Attaching optics of any kind is complex, and the weapon suffers for it.

The MCarbo scope mount allows for absolute co witnessing with optics

A red dot makes PCCs easier to use. You don’t have to align sights, just put the dot on the target and go. A red dot is easier to see and easier to track between shots. If you want to max your speed and accuracy potential, a red dot is going to be the best way without going into the guts of the weapon.

The MCarbo Solutions

As mentioned, MCarbo provides some rather genius upgrades to the SUB2000. They make everything from an enhanced rear sight to an enhanced trigger kit to lighten and refine the pull a fair bit. They also make two simple and affordable products to solve the SUB2000’s most glaring problems.

First, the Recoilless Charging handle tames the snap. It’s a drop-in charging handle that’s thick but in a good way. The Recoilless charging handle weighs 3.2 ounces by itself and reduces recoil by slowly down the bolt as it flies backward.

the big charging handle makes reduces recoil.

The stock charging handle weighs an ounce, so the MCarbo charging handle only adds 2.2 ounces to the total design. That 2.2 ounce does a fantastic job of reducing recoil and stopping the bolt from slamming rearward with so much violence. To add weight, the charging handle is massive and does provide a better grip to allow easy charging of the weapon.

The recoiling spring in the SUB2000 is quite stiff, another problem with blowback guns, and the oversized charging handle makes it easier to grip and rip. Installation takes no time at all, and it just pops in, and the stainless steel locking pin ensures the MCarbo charging handle stays in place.

The Difference

You won’t believe the difference this charging handle makes. It truly does a fantastic job of reducing recoil and taming the SUB2000 a fair bit. I actually didn’t realize how much the SUB2000 recoiled until I installed the new charging handle. The difference is readily apparent and makes the SUB2000 much easier to shoot and much more comfortable.

Charging the SUB-2000 is even easier with the fat charging handle.

Getting fast follow-up shots on target has never been easier. While the handle is heavier, the weight is minimal, and you don’t notice it. This is especially true when the weight sits near the rear of the weapon. Also, while you keep the weapon shouldered, the thicker charging handle is easier to work when reloading the gun.

The SUB 2K becomes a sweet shooter with a few additions.

MCarbo claims it reduces recoil by 68%. I’m not sure how exactly I can measure recoil reduction in a scientific way, but I can assure you the difference is immediately evident. I’d agree with MCarbo’s claim.

What About an Optic?

Adding an optic can be a little trickier when you want to retain the folding capability of the SUB2000. Yet, MCarbo found a way. They produced a spring-loaded optic mount that allows you instantly swing the optic to the side when the user wants to fold the SUB2000. Users get to choose between a left or right-handed configuration.

The MCarbo optic mount adds a small section of Picatinny rail that allows the user to mount nearly any red dot on the market. Mounting magnified optics is possible, but eye relief would be the main issue. Maybe a Scout scope or something could be used, but I think a red dot would be the better option.

Installation is easy, and the mount is very stable

Mounting the MCarbo optics mount requires you to replace four bolts in the side of the gun with four longer bolts to attach the mount to the gun. Once mounted, though, it’s a rock-solid fit. There is no movement, and it’s extremely tight.

Once mounted, a press of a top-mounted paddle sends the optic to the side and tosses it out of the way for easy folding capability. As long as you utilize a low mount, the MCarbo allows you to effectively co-witness with your iron sights. However, the sight picture might be crowded for some. A slightly higher mount offers a lower 1/3rd co-witness but compromises your good cheek weld.

The MCarbo scope mount ensures you can easily fold the gun.

Banging Away

The MCarbo optics mount and recoilless charging handle are must-have upgrades to your KelTec SUB2000. Both are simple, neither affects reliability, and both will make your SUB2000 an easier to use and a more effective platform.

Both work together to make you faster to engage targets, reduce the time between follow-up shots, and even make it easier to shoot your SUB2000 accurately. To me, these are must-haves, and I don’t plan on removing them for as long as I own my SUB2000.

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  • alan March 24, 2023, 7:28 pm

    Yeah i think the hey day of the old plastic fantastic is over thanks to new s&w fpc. of course the sub2k still takes a variety of mags, more than any other pcc. its still the thinnest wo a rds mount but its got too many drawbacks now. namely the trigger and the folding mech. which allows for no permanent rds, plus a plethora of cheap plastic parts. if u still want one my advice is to just buy one direct from mcarbo for 850? way better than stock keltec but that doesnt include the rds side mount above, which i think is expensive, awkward and bulky. better off w a rds w aquik release mount maybe but might lose zero after taking off. newer trending stuff on the market are side folders(trailblazer) u can leave a rds on and this more than anything makes it a dinosaur. the fpc has a better trigger too and 3 mags. its a better quality gun overall for around $600 w last round bolt hold and no recip charge handle. all modern pcc’s should have these features now. keltec needs a new model/gen 3 to keep up.

  • Max Hoyle March 13, 2023, 3:00 pm

    Hey you all, to get an almost free scope mount get an large (4 or 5 inch) spring close heavy door hinge and check instructions on youtube, mine took less than an hour!

  • John E March 13, 2023, 10:26 am

    I still prefer the Red Lion Precision replacement forearm that rotates allowing you to mount things on 3 sides while still being able to fold it up. I would have said its only draw back was it is a little pricey but then seeing the price of the MCarbo mount it really is not that much more. Plus they have versions for both Gen 1 and 2.

  • John McDowell March 13, 2023, 10:16 am

    Great information. Let me add a little more, join the McCarbo blog forum, and the Kel-Tec forum. Many personal experiences.

  • Tom March 13, 2023, 9:01 am

    I have run thousands and thousands of rounds thru multiple SUB2Ks with Mcarbo upgrades and every one especially the trigger kit and optic mount were vast improvements over stock parts!

  • Guido March 13, 2023, 8:15 am

    One would think after so many years, Kel Tec would have done a few minor low cost upgrades to this second generation rifle ? I had one for a while and did add a Mid West swing away red dot set up which made concealed storage cumbersome and I could no longer use a laptop bag for concealed carry. This rifle is by no means expected to be a long or even a medium range rifle. With that in mind the rear peep sight “hole” is way to small and yes the after market has a better replacement for that as well. Me? I prefer true buck horn type V open sight, similar to what the AK47’s come with for a snap sighting picture. Muzzle brakes can help with recoil but then again make the rifle cumbersome due to added length.
    That said spending hundreds of $ to upgrade with many options is a stone in your shoe.

  • William March 13, 2023, 6:08 am

    I already bought the scope mounting plate seems their products are on the pricey side but they do work and Mcarbo seels to be the only company offering up grades for the sub 2k