The Duty SUB 2000 – Is It A Real Thing?

The KelTec SUB 2000 might be KelTec’s most successful firearm. It’s the easiest to obtain and one of the company’s cheapest options. It’s a clever design that famously folds in half. KelTec made some wise decisions with the platform, namely offering the platform in various models that accept all manner of popular pistol magazines. But what about a duty SUB 2000? 

With compatibility for Glock, S&W, SIG, and even CZ, the KelTec SUB 2000 is a practical choice. Available in 9mm and .40 S&W, it allows for easy pairing with your handgun, sharing ammunition and magazines. And with a retail price of less than $500, it’s a cost-effective solution. However, despite its popularity, I’ve never considered the SUB 2000 a duty rifle. 

When I say Duty weapon, I mean a weapon used by police and military forces. The little budget-minded rifle isn’t a bad gun, but it’s far from your standard duty weapon in terms of performance. Yet, what I picture isn’t always the reality of this world. The Duty SUB 2000 is a real thing, and today, we are going to discuss who uses the gun, why it’s being used, and its pros and cons as a duty gun. 

The Duty SUB 2000 

The first example is one we can excuse as an act of desperation. Did you know the SUB 2000 is internationally popular? Believe it or not, the weapon is popular in Ukraine. At the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, KelTec had an order pending for 400 rifles to a Ukrainian distributor. However, after the war, things went quiet, and KelTec ended up just donating the 400 rifles to the war effort. 

I’ve found one photo of the gun being used by some form of soldier, guard member, or just a civilian defending his city with the rifle in a combat zone. Admittedly, when you’re being invaded by a major military power, you take what you can get. What about when you live in a world where the AR-15 is everywhere and you are in a modern police force? 

Would an American police force ever use a duty SUB 2000? The answer is yes. At least twice now, the duty SUB 2000 has been issued to American police forces. The Brevard County Sheriff’s Department ordered 42 of the rifles to equip their School Resource Officers. The Orangeburg County Sheriff’s office in South Carolina also ran an active shooter drill, and one of their personnel was seen carrying a SUB 2000. 

The Duty SUB 2000 and the SRO 

Twice now, the duty SUB 2000 has made its way into the hands of School Resource Officers. I’m not a police officer and never have been, but the School Resource Officer seems unique with its own tactical and logistic concerns. If an active shooter situation occurs, the SRO would theoretically be the first officer to respond. 

There are few situations where a handgun is better than a long gun. If you are going to a gunfight, taking a long gun is best. If you’re in charge of defending my kids, I want you to have a rifle. However, most school resource officers aren’t going to sling their AR-15s throughout the day. And if they did, you’d have to deal with potential throngs of kids being around you and your rifle. The kid factor is a major consideration when deciding on the armament of your school resource officer. 

(Donut Operator)

You want them to have a rifle, preferably an AR-15, but where do you store it? If it’s in the car, you now have to leave the school, grab the rifle, and go back in. You’re wasting minutes of time. Maybe the SRO has an office, but does it have a safe? Is that safe bolted down so no one can grab it and carry it off? You have to consider all of these factors when equipping an SRO with a long gun. 


If you have a duty SUB 2000, you can store it safely in a backpack, sling bag, or messenger-style bag, and the SRO can carry it securely at all times without anyone knowing. It’s ready for near-instant deployment at a moment’s notice. Of course, that relies on the SRO being tough enough to carry a sub-five-pound rifle all day. 

A Critical Look at the SUB 2000 

The SUB 2000 offers you a rifle platform that offers rifle-like accuracy. You have three points of contact that make the rifle much easier to shoot than any hand gun. It can also share ammo and magazines with your handgun. The rifle is lightweight, easy to shoot, and surprisingly reliable. 

The duty SUB 2000 still has plenty of downsides. First, it’s still just a pistol round. Pistol rounds don’t stop threats like a 5.56 does, and it might take several rounds to take the threat down. Adding optics can be tough due to the folding action, but the Gen 3 has solved that problem. 

You might think a pistol caliber offers less recoil than a 5.56 rifle, but you’d be wrong. A 5.56 rifle and a blowback-operated PCC have roughly the same recoil. The duty SUB 2000 has some logistical benefits and tactical downsides. 

I can see why the duty SUB 2000 is chosen for this role. It seems tailor-made for the SRO role in many ways. It’s certainly a unique duty weapon, but for the role, it might just make sense. I’d still prefer a 5.56 rifle, but I can understand why some alternatives need to be fielded, and not every department can afford a P90. In that role, this little gun might be the best option, and I’d rather have a SUB 2000 than a handgun in a gunfight. 

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.