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Kel Tec Sub-2000 vs. MechTech; my experience

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by Modeler, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. Modeler

    Modeler Molalla, Oregon Soccer Fan

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    I wanted to write up a review comparing and contrasting two of the major pistol-caliber rifle options on the market today, the Kel Tec Sub-2000 and the MechTech upper receiver. I've owned both (separately) and had a hard time finding a direct, head-to-head comparison of the two. I hope this helps others make a decision!

    First, the Kel Tec Sub-2000 (hereafter referred to as the S2K).

    The S2K is offered in 2 calibers and multiple models, designed to accept handgun magazine from a variety of manufacturers. S2K's come in 9mm models, accepting magazines from Glock 17, Glock 19, S&W 59, Beretta 92 and SIG 226 handguns and in .40 S&W models with magazine wells designed for Glock 22, Glock 23, S&W 4006, Beretta 96 and SIG 226 magazines. The great thing about this, obviously, is the ability to interchange not just ammunition but also magazines with your sidearm.

    Another innovative feature of the S2K is that it folds in half. When folded it is inoperable and can be locked in the folded position, providing adherence to restrictive gun laws in some states that otherwise don't allow rifles to collapse or change size. Folded size is 16” x 7”, with a little over an inch of thickness. The folded position leaves the bolt face and barrel exposed and the front sight tower latched into the buttstock (locking being optional). The rear sight is a non-adjustable peep, basically a hole drilled in a piece of plastic. The front sight is a hooded, neon-colored blade of translucent plastic which is adjustable vertically by loosening a set screw and moving the blade. Lateral adjustment is provided by the turning the same set screw. Kel Tec does offer front rails and the option of a swing-away sight rail that still allows for full use of the folding feature, albeit with a sight hanging off the side of the folded gun.

    Controls are unique with the bolt being operated by a handle hanging under the buffer tube between the receiver and the shoulder stock. It can be locked open by pulling the bolt back and sliding it sideways into a notch. There is no “last round hold open” feature on the S2K. There is a manual safety located above the pistol grip; there is no magazine safety. Kel Tec prohibits the use of aluminum cased ammunition in the S2K.

    I bought my S2K (a 9mm Glock 17 model) from Wild Bill's in Molalla a few years ago. It was an impulse purchase, I had heard about the guns and when I happened to see one I snatched it up. Note: Kel Tec ships all their S2K's with 10-round, single-stack magazines. It was a good gun, and I purchased a Glock 19 to go along with it. Research showed that a Glock 19 model of the S2K existed but was hard to find, so I wrote the factory regarding a conversion. They replied that they could do the work for free if I shipped the gun back to them, or I could have a local gunsmith do it; I elected to have the modification done locally. It was easy really, the only modification required was shortening the grip 1/2”~ to accommodate the shorter magazine. It still accepted the standard Glock 17 magazine and did well with the 33 round mags as well.

    Overall I thought it was a good gun. I added a stock extension (available from Kel Tec) for a little longer LOP and put the factory's sling on it, although I never could get the sling adjusted to sit right for me. The stock is otherwise fixed in length. The sights were a little chintzy and hard to adjust with precision, but it was still a fun gun to shoot. I never really tried grouping it, and the results probably would have been less than the gun is really capable of (my rifle shooting has progressed immensely since then, thanks Appleseed!). I liked the ability to swap magazines with my carry gun as well.

    In the end, I sold it to finance a suppressor.

    My Sub-2000:

    0F0BEE59-orig.jpg

    AE18B723-orig.jpg

    213088C9-orig.jpg

    8406BD10-orig.jpg

    6266EDB3-orig.jpg

    The MechTech Upper

    The MechTech upper is not technically a firearm, but rather a firearm accessory. It is basically a pistol-caliber rifle upper that accepts a pistol lower to make a complete, functioning rifle. That means it can be shipped directly to your home without having to go through an FFL. They currently make multiple models designed to accept frames from Glocks (compact and full sized) to fire 9mm, .40 S&W, 10mm and .45 ACP. They also make models in 9mm, .380 super, .40 S&W, 460 Rowland and .45 ACP designed to work with 1911 frames and the appropriate magazines. Multiple stock options are available, including a telescoping wire-framed stock, a fixed stock, an M4-style adjustable stock and an M4-style stock mount that allows you to screw in your own AR buffer tube and slide on the stock of your choice. There are multiple foreend, rail and sight options available as well. When you order your upper form the factory they will install everything you've requested for no additional charge and ship it to you fully assembled (less the pistol frame).

    The version I have is a 9mm model designed to accept a compact Glock frame. Just as the frames on the Glock 19, 23 and 32 are functionally the same (with different slides and barrels), any of these three compact Glock frames will fit regardless of the upper's caliber. I bought mine used off NWFA with the telescoping wire stock, a single sight rail on the “receiver” and the “muzzle decoration” as MechTech calls it. It's not really a muzzle brake or a flash hider, it's just a decorative thing that is attached to the barrel via a sweat fit at the factory. Removal requires it to be turned off on a lathe; you can also order the upper without it.

    The bolt is operated from the left side, with a handle sticking out about 3/4”. The bolt can be locked open by pulling fully rearward and pushing the handle in roughly 1/8”; it is released by pulling the handle out. Like the Kel Tec the bolt is not held open on the last shot. There is no manual safety, although any manual safety installed on the pistol frame (aftermarket Glock or standard 1911) should work with the upper. They say that extended 1911 safeties won't work with the MechTech upper, as the extended length won't allow full engagement.

    Assembly is easy-ish. The Glock model requires the use of a “Glockblock”, a small machined piece of metal that sits on the pistol frame just forward of the magazine well (the 1911 version requires a similar "Parablock"). The latest versions have a small magnet to hold it in position during assembly; once assembled the block is captured between the frame and upper. It acts as an intermediate feed ramp between the magazine and the upper, and it seems to do the job well. With the Glockblock in place on the pistol frame the four rail tabs are engaged into mating spots on the upper and the pistol frame is pushed forward against a rubber bumper, compressing it until the frame's takedown lever is fully engaged (similar to putting a Glock pistol back together), locking everything together. Disassembly is the reverse; push the pistol frame forward against the upper, compressing the bumper enough to allow the takedown lever to be slid downward so that the frame can be slid backwards off the upper. Quite a bit of force is required for either operation, and the factory includes a rubber cane-tip to put over the muzzle, allowing you to put the upper muzzle-down and push against the floor for assembly or disassembly without damaging anything.

    No sights are included unless you order them, and since mine came with a single short rail I decided to mount an inexpensive red dot (a Millett from Bi-Mart). It shoots well, the trigger reset is similar to a standard Glock pistol and it is accurate enough at 50 yards. I was able to maintain 2-3” groups with reloads the last time I was out.

    Side note: when I bought the MechTech the rubber bumper had been shaved down to roughly 60% thickness by one or more previous owners, making assembly and disassembly easier. In use I found that the lower wasn't properly engaging the striker/firing pin on the upper when I pulled the trigger, leading it to not fire most of the time. I suspected the carved-down bumper to be the culprit, so for diagnostic purposes I shimmed it a bit with some fiberboard and it worked great. I wrote Mech-Tech and explained the situation and they sent me a free bumper! Replacement was easy, I shaved the old one off the foreend and glued the new one back on with gelled CA; operation has been flawless through 150 rounds. They were also nice enough to send me a new-style latch for the telescoping stock that allowed actuation by pushing up from the bottom rather than pulling up from the top.

    Overall, I prefer the MechTech over the Kel Tec. Although it's heavier, it's also more robust and feels more like a rifle should than the S2K. I can't really explain what that means, but most of you will understand that intangible sort of feel that comes from shooting a stable long weapon. Additionally, the MechTech with the telescoping stock can be shortened to an overall length of 25” (26 3/4” with the muzzle dec), making for a compact package that still functions as a firearm. I wasn't really impressed with the sights on the S2K, and all the aftermarket options interfered with the folding feature (either by not allowing it to fold or by handing off the side of the folded gun).

    I admit that I'm a little bit leery of a rifle with no manual safety. My plans include purchasing a dedicated Glock frame to use with the upper (they're available on Gunbroker for $200-250) and having a manual safety installed on that frame for use on the rifle. I also plan on having the muzzle dec turned off and the barrel threaded by a gunsmith.

    My MechTech:

    IMG_20130622_173153_622_zps1f6d39f0.jpg

    The original telescoping stock latch:

    IMG_20130704_121101_494_zps97fcfddd.jpg

    The new telescoping stock latch (with retaining screw removed):

    c20434a2-640a-4d25-b25f-3693800a8cd0_zps6909e6fb.jpg

    That's all! Feel free to ask any questions you might have and I'll be glad to answer them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
    m469699, Riot, Sgt Nambu and 14 others like this.
  2. Brutus57

    Brutus57 Skagit County Well-Known Member

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    Nice, I would be interested to here what folks would suggest for .45 pistols to use in a MechTech.

    Brutus Out
     
  3. Modeler

    Modeler Molalla, Oregon Soccer Fan

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    Depends on what capacity you're after I suppose. If you like double-stack you could go with a Glock 21 pistol frame, if you like smooth single-action trigger pull and single-stack magazines you could do the 1911. Personally I'd go for capacity :thumbup:
     
    mjbskwim and (deleted member) like this.
  4. M Spiritridge

    M Spiritridge bellevue wa New Member

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    Wow, I have been going back and forth on which one of the two options to go with for a few weeks! Thank you for the comprehensive post. I am leaning towards the mechtech ccu for one of my glocks 19's, how does it handle the weak factory ammo? I have seen a few posts elsewhere from folks saying that issues can occur shooting factory "target loads".
     
  5. Modeler

    Modeler Molalla, Oregon Soccer Fan

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    I sighted in with a magazine of Remington UMC 115 gr and it seemed to work well, no failures at all but I haven't put that many factory rounds through it. Maybe it takes a while to get the upper broken in?
     
  6. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    Personally I feel the only thing the S2k has over the MechTech is the fact the S2k is another gun. I only have a G17 and would rather have a carbine and a pistol then a carbine or a pistol.
     
  7. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    I owned an S2K but ultimately sold it. Reason? the more I shot it the more I disliked it. I realized the plastic parts were eventually going to break then I would be machining new, steel parts to replace them. Also I discovered it was very difficult to disassemble, clean and reassemble and if not careful on reassembly one could damage something beyond repair, such as the molded 'bosses' for the many pins it had. Also as Modeler said it did not have the 'feel' of a rifle in hand. I also did not like the fact the barrel was epoxied in place. There is a 'fix' for this but I already had too many projects as it was to take the time to mess with it any further so I sold it. In summary I did not see it as a 'long term' quality firearm, and one I could not depend on. I'll take high-quality, less capacity over high cap, less quality anytime.
     
  8. M Spiritridge

    M Spiritridge bellevue wa New Member

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    I was kind of thinking a few hundred rounds to break it in, and a few thorough cleanings/ lube treatments with special attention to new wear marks on the internals would probably go a long ways towards increasing reliability. Thanks again for the post. You helped me make up my mind! :thumbup:
     
    Modeler and (deleted member) like this.
  9. Modeler

    Modeler Molalla, Oregon Soccer Fan

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    No worries buddy, glad I could help!
     
  10. Zeshio

    Zeshio Olympia Active Member

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    I was just wishing the forums had a review area for guns and equipment and I stumbled upon your post. Very comprehensive, good job.
     
  11. fyrediver

    fyrediver Seattle Active Member

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    Thanks for the awesome review and comparison. I've been mulling over a decision between the two carbines for a while and am leaning toward the Mechtech with a dedicated lower.

    One question for you though. How do you like shooting with the wire stock? I've never used one and am curious as to it's feel. Is it solid? How's your cheek weld? Also, how many points of adjustment does it have? I think I like the wire over the M4 style stock due to being more compact, but am curious as to your impressions.
     
  12. Modeler

    Modeler Molalla, Oregon Soccer Fan

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    The wire stock is alright. It feels fairly solid, the cheek weld is mostly not there (nothing much to weld to). In total it has 4 points of adjustment with notches at roughly 18", 16", 14" and 10" LOP. The old style latch was no good with the wire stock, the little tab would come back and hit me in the cheek at the 14" LOP. It's not an issue with the new replacement latch though and even less of an issue if I go with the 16" LOP

    Is it as comfortable to shoot as an M4 would be? No.

    Does the compactness of the wire stock make up for the less comfortable cheek weld? For me, yes.
     
  13. fyrediver

    fyrediver Seattle Active Member

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    That's exactly what I was looking for. It's not a precision rifle, it's a compact carbine filling a niche out to 150 yards or so.

    Thanks again.
     
  14. chemist

    chemist Beaverton OR Well-Known Member

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    I have the .45 ACP Mech-Tech on a Glock 21 frame, and it's worked flawlessly. I scored a few Kriss 30-round mags before the panic, and boy are they ever fun to dump through that monster!

    Patrick Murphy at ORL-LLC did the mods. (Oregon_Research_Labs-LLC) He fitted a folding, locking front grip that covers the trigger when folded, serving as the only safety. He threaded the muzzle for my Osprey suppressor. And most impressively, he fabricated and welded up a bracket to the rear that accepts an Uzi folding stock. The original mounting stud was pretty wimpy, but not so this custom version.

    It's got an ATI red dot on it and a single-point sling. The substantial weight of the thing feels good when blazing away through a pound of 230 gr. slugs. And like I said, it has performed without a single hiccup.

    0832cc.jpg

    0832cc.jpg
     
  15. Modeler

    Modeler Molalla, Oregon Soccer Fan

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    That's a cool looking mod!
     
  16. bcrow

    bcrow Beaverton, OR New Member

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    Chemist: great looking mech tech- why is your charging handle on the opposite side????

    This is my Glock 21 Mech Tech:

    2013-09-13 14.35.00.jpg
     
  17. chemist

    chemist Beaverton OR Well-Known Member

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    Buuusted!
    Yes, the pic is flipped. Although I'd love to get a custom lefty version that doesn't blow hot gas in my face.

    What's amazing is the way I have to lean into it, like firing a 12 ga.
    Let's see: 230gr. X 30 rounds / 7000gr./lb. = 0.99 lb. It really does launch a pound of lead with every Kriss mag dump.

    Plus, it's much quieter through the can than any pistol.
     
  18. 308

    308 ΜOΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ ΜOΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ Platinum Supporter Silver Supporter

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    I like my S2K for a couple reasons:
    (1) It folds and fits discreetly in my small back pack which makes it very easy to travel with. The 33rnd Glock mags are a nice touch as well.
    (2) I have found it to be very accurate out to 100yards...at least accurate enough that I can nail anything out to 100yards with confidence.

    my $0.02
     
  19. chemist

    chemist Beaverton OR Well-Known Member

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    Well, I sure hope that any long gun is going to be plenty accurate out to 100+ yards. My carbine's got a red dot on it, so it's really best for CQB anyway.

    The size of mine was kind of a pain - at 26" folded, it was sort of in-between-sized for almost any bag I could find for it. That is, until I located a "Concert Ukulele Gig Bag," whatever the heck that is, on eBay. It's a perfect fit for the gun, mags, and can, all for $9 delivered price.
     
  20. Modeler

    Modeler Molalla, Oregon Soccer Fan

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    You mean 16", right?