Saturday, May 31, 2014

Winchester PDX1 38 Special +P 130 Grain Bonded JHP Terminal Performance Test


Last year I tested the Winchester Ranger 38 Special +P 130 grain Bonded JHP.  After publishing the test, several folks commented on the video and the blog that the Winchester PDX1 Defender was the same load, but packaged for the consumer market.  I made a mental note to pick up some PDX1 for testing as soon as the ammunition supply started to catch up with demand.

Over the last several months, I've been working through many .38 Special ammunition tests.  The results of those tests have made me question if the snub revolver is a good carry choice in the Fall and Winter months when heavy clothing barriers are the norm in our area.  I remembered the Ranger Bonded 38 Special +P load showed some expansion in the heavy clothing test.  I was hoping to see similar performance from the PDX1 Defender load tested here. 

Test Pistol:

Test Protocol:
Step 1)  Measure and record temperature and relative humidity.
Step 2)  Run a 2 shot velocity average over a ProChrono Digital Chronograph at a distance of 10 feet.
Step 3)  Run various terminal test shots, with and without simulated clothing barriers, into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that is calibrated to 10% Ordnance Gel density.  Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 4)  Run a 600 fps calibration test bb shot into the Clear Ballistics gel block and record penetration depth to verify density.

Test Results:

Video Documentation of the Entire Test from Range to Bullet Recovery:

My Thoughts on This Load:
I thought it was very interesting to see nearly identical terminal performance from this load and the Ranger Bonded previously tested.  It does give a strong indication that the two loads are very similar, if not identical.  There was a slight difference in velocity between the two tests, but that could be accounted for by the distance from pistol to chronograph, weather conditions on the test days, or lot to lot variations in the two tested loads.

Pick or Pan:
As I mentioned in the video, this is my current 38 Special +P ammunition pick based on the testing I've personally done in my LCR.  It may not expand optimally when fired through heavy clothing, but it does partially expand and stays inside the 18 inch gel block.  I feel equally comfortable with the PDX1 or Ranger Bonded version of this load because their terminal test results were nearly identical.

The Ranger Bonded is packed in 50 round boxes and is a better value.  Unfortunately, it's been difficult to find over the last few years.  I can usually find the PDX1 at my local Walmarts, but at a higher cost per round.  The consistent availability of this load is a significant factor in declaring this load a pick.   

The results of this test conducted May 2014
The results of a Ranger Bonded test conducted May 2013



Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested.  All tests represent actual performance in ballistics testing media.  Terminal performance in all other media will show different results.  It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision on which specific ammunition to use for their needs.  It's also critically important to test any ammo in YOUR SPECIFIC FIREARM before relying on it for any purpose.


Ammunition labeled as +P or +P+ should only be used in firearms that have been certified by the manufacturer as safe for the additional pressures generated by these ammunition types.



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Glock 42 Review - A Concealed Carry Gem - 2014 Wishlist Update

In the weeks leading up to the 2014 SHOT Show, the internet was buzzing with stories, theories, and conjectures about two new Glock models that would be making their debut appearances at the show.  After several weeks of wild speculation, more snippets of information were pieced together by the internet super-sleuths and it was ultimately determined that the G41 was a long slide 45 Auto and the G42 was a single stack 380 Auto.  As it turned out, the folks doing the detective work had done a fine job and the G42 was indeed a single stack 380 Auto that would become the smallest, lightest, and thinnest Glock pistol ever produced.  I added the G42 to my 2014 Wish List about two weeks before the SHOT Show started.

As reports started to funnel in from the 2014 SHOT Show, folks that actually had the chance to handle and shoot the G42 at Media Day seemed pleased with the new pistol.  Around the various gun forums, opinions were split.  Many liked the idea of a lighter and thinner carry with the smaller 380 caliber, while others wished for a pistol of similar dimensions chambered for the more powerful 9mm cartridge.

From my point of view, I was tickled to death to hear the news about the G42.  As a long time pocket gun fanatic, I remember the days back in 2007-2009 when 380 pocket pistols were selling faster than they could be produced.  New pocket-sized 380 pistols were constantly being introduced in the market.  Most suffered from reliability issues and tended to be fussy about the ammunition they would feed and fire reliably.  Many a firearm forum post lamented the fact that what we really needed was a Glock 380 that would bring the legendary Glock reliability to the pocket gun platform.

You may be wondering why it took Glock so long to launch their 380 pistol here in the USA, when they currently have two other 380 Auto models (G25 and G28) produced in their Austrian factory.  The short answer is the Gun Control Act of 1968 established a scoring system for imported firearms.  Based on the design, features, and caliber of a firearm a series of points are applied.  ATF Form 4590 details the scoring system as it currently stands.  Any Glock 380 pistol produced in Austria would not score enough points to allow it to be legally imported into the US for non-law enforcement sales.  Things changed when Glock established their Smyrna, Georgia production facility.  With a US production plant in operation, the import scoring system was no longer a hurdle that Glock had to deal with.

First Impressions:
The G42 ships with two magazines and usual Glock goodies.
I missed the first batch of G42s that hit our local stores right after SHOT.  I had a busy week at work and didn't have a chance to visit my local stores until the weekend.  By the weekend, the stores that did receive an initial shipment were out of stock and taking names for their waiting lists.  I watched the auction sites for a few weeks, but I never won anything I had a bid on.  Rather than pay a crazy auction price, I decided to wait it out and try to get my G42 at close to retail price.  As it turns out this was a smart move on my part as reports of problems with the initial shipments of G42s started to surface.  Duncan at LooseRounds.com has a detailed report of changes made between the January and March shipments of Glock 42s.  His excellent report can be found here.

In my opinion, one of the greatest inventions ever is the "Notify When Back In Stock" feature many retailers have added to their websites.  By being patient, eventually one of my NWBIS alerts hit my email with the good news that I could order my G42 for immediate shipment.  My G42 has a test fire date of March 26, 2014 and I have confirmed it has three of the four changes identified by Duncan in his LooseRounds.com article.  If I tore the gun apart, I'm sure it would also have the fourth modification.

While the G42 might be larger than other available single stack polymer 380 Autos, it does have the advantage of a longer barrel.  Having terminal tested more than my fair share of 380 Auto ammunition, it's nearly impossible to find a JHP load that will expand and still penetrate to greater than 12 inches in ballistics testing gel when fired from a barrel of 3 inches or less.  The 3.25 inch barrel of the Glock 42 may allow some of the marginal JHP loads to achieve that extra bit of velocity to hit the 12 inches or more penetration goal.  The accompanying table shows the results of my preliminary velocity testing with the Glock 42.  Overall velocities were 30 to 40 feet per second faster than you might expect from a 2.8 inch barrel.

The G42 is indeed the shortest, lightest, and thinnest Glock ever produced.  Magazine capacity is tied with the only other single stack Glock, the G36 in 45 Auto, that also features a six-round magazine.  At the moment, I found it impossible to find spare G42 magazines at retail price.  Available spare magazines are currently commanding a substantial premium from the sellers that have them in stock.  I hope this will correct as supply catches up with demand.

The field stripped G42 reveals no surprises.  It's a Glock.
Glock states the G42 shares the same 5.5 lb. trigger pull weight of the larger Glock pistols.  Using a digital trigger pull gauge, my trigger pull tests repeatedly measured 9 lbs. 1 oz.  My trigger finger agrees with the pull testing.  The trigger feels much heavier than 5.5 lbs.  As a point of reference, using the same trigger pull measuring protocol with a Glock 27 yielded a repeatable 6 lb. 10 oz. trigger pull weight.  It's not a horrible trigger pull, but it is worth noting that it is heavier than any other Glock I've previously shot.

Glock designates the G42 is a Slimline series pistol.  While lacking the interchangeable backstraps of the larger Gen4 pistols, it does share the same rough textured frame, dual recoil spring assembly, and enlarged reversible magazine catch of the other Gen4 pistols.  Since I was reviewing the pistol, I actually opened the manual and found it contained nothing specific about the G42 model, but did reference the G42.  If you are familiar with other Glock models, operating and maintaining the G42 yields no surprises.

Range Time:
As a fan of the smaller calibers, I was lucky enough to have a fairly wide variety of .380 Auto ammunition available to run through the G42.  Over several weeks I had the G42 out on the range many times.  Most of the time, I cleaned the pistol between range sessions.  Once, I intentionally neglected cleaning the pistol just to see if it would make a difference on the next trip to the range.  By the time I thought I had enough range video to complete the range portion of the review, I had run slightly less than 400 rounds through the pistol.  On the right you will find the list and round counts of the ammunition I used with the G42.

If you are interested in negative feedback on the performance of the pistol, the list is very short.  The only issue I experienced was occasional failure to lock the slide back after the last round was fired.  This only happened with some varieties of FMJ range fodder ammunition that was run through the pistol.

On the positive side, I had zero issues with feeding or extraction.  I've come to expect this reliability from Glock pistols and the G42 didn't disappoint.  As previously mentioned, some smaller pistols can be fussy about the ammo that allows them to run reliably.  This G42 ate everything it was fed with no complaints. 


7 Yard groups fired from a rest
As I was testing the velocity of some sample loads, I also shot for groups.  From a rest at 7 yards, the G42 was capable of groups under 1.5 inches as long as I did my part.  Holding at the bottom of the red bullseye, the rounds impacted very close to point of aim at this range.

Firing off-hand groups was a bit more challenging for me.  As you will see in the range video, I have a tendency to shoot a bit low and left with the G42.  It got better with practice, but I still have have more practicing in my future before I would declare myself proficient with the pistol.

Earlier in the review, I mentioned the trigger was on the heavy side.  I didn't mention that the trigger has a short reach and reset.  As I was reviewing my range videos, I noticed my trigger finger would migrate across the trigger face during a string of fire.  I would start out with the pad of my finger on the trigger and end up with the trigger resting near the distal joint.  I believe this is the root of my trigger control problem and I'll be working to correct this during future range visits.

The video has some highlights from my range trips as well as some additional commentary for the folks that don't read reviews.  It's fairly short and lacks the detail of the written review.  On the other hand, it does visually illustrate many of the points covered in the review.


I was really pleased with the lack of felt recoil and general comfort when shooting the G42 during my range sessions.  The only pain or fatigue I felt on the range came during my frequent breaks to reload the magazines.  It wasn't a difficult task, but the pistol was so much fun to shoot I think I spent much more time loading magazines than I did behind the trigger.

As a concealed carry pistol, the Glock 42 really shines.  With an actual fully loaded weight of 16.1 ounces, it fits my weight criteria for a pocket pistol.  It may not work with all pants pockets, but I know it will work with a few pairs in my wardrobe.  The slim width and short grip makes the G42 a great choice for in-waistband carry.  I've carried the G42 IWB appendix carry most frequently and it disappears under a tee shirt.

The Glock 42 should be very appealing to folks looking for a small pistol that isn't going to punish them with excessive felt recoil and trigger finger slap.  A more comfortable practice/training experience will hopefully lead to spending more time behind the trigger developing familiarity and skill with the pistol.  I know I'm looking forward to spending many more range hours with this concealed carry gem. 
 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ammo is Back.....In a Big Way

If you haven't been watching, centerfire pistol ammo is coming back strong in the stores and at the on-line retailers.  That's probably not big news.  What is most welcome is that prices have also started to moderate (drop sharply) over the last several weeks.  50 round boxes of 9mm bonded JHP are getting back down in the $25 a box range again.  9mm FMJ range fodder hasn't participated in the price drop yet, but likely will as the pipeline refills.

As I was putting together a restocking order, I happened to see some 38 Special +P ammo available that I had tested many months ago.  The test samples were a donation from a blog reader and it was the first time I've ever seen it available.  I couldn't remember exactly how it performed and didn't want to buy it if it wasn't a great performer.

What did I do?  I came over to the blog and hit the Ammo Tests tab on the top of the page.  I quickly scanned down to the test I was looking for, clicked the link, and checked the data sheet.  It took me less than 2 minutes to get a full evaluation of the load, and decide to buy with confidence.  If you aren't using the Ammo Tests page, I think you are missing out.  It's the complete catalog of tests so good, I use them myself before making an ammunition purchase decision.

One of my goals for the blog has always been to build the most comprehensive source of independent terminal testing data that I could afford to put together.  Another goal was to provide a platform to share that data with others so they can make their own informed ammunition selection decisions.  It never occurred to me that I would end up using the resource myself.  Funny how things tend to come full circle when you least expect it.

This is what I looked up and decided to buy.  



COP 10mm Copper Only Projectiles 155 Grain Mult Shot Test


C.O.P. or Copper Only Projectiles ammunition is currently manufactured by General Arms and Ammunition in the USA.  I previously tested other C.O.P. ammunition when it was manufactured by another company.  I'm only mentioning this because I believe this test is representative of the currently available COP 10mm ammunition available in the market.

COP ammunition is loaded with all copper hollow point bullets.  All copper hollow points continue to increase in popularity with the shooting community and more companies are bringing out new loads, and lines, of ammunition featuring solid copper hollow point bullet designs.  COP ammunition has been around for a few years.  Their retail prices are consistently lower than competitive ammunition products with all copper hollow point bullets.

I was really interested in this test because my previous tests of COP ammunition ended with disappointing terminal performance results.  I was hoping the new owners had revisited the load recipes to improve terminal performance. 

Test Pistol:

Test Protocol:
Step 1)  Measure and record temperature and relative humidity.
Step 2)  Run a 2 shot velocity average over a ProChrono Digital Chronograph at a distance of 10 feet.
Step 3)  Run various terminal test shots, with and without simulated clothing barriers, into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that is calibrated to 10% Ordnance Gel density.  Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 4)  Run a 600 fps calibration test bb shot into the Clear Ballistics gel block and record penetration depth to verify density.

Test Results:

Video Documentation of the Entire Test from Range to Bullet Recovery:

My Thoughts on This Load:
The ammunition appears a bit rough right out of the box.  Every single Starline brass case had some amount of blemishing.  It fed and fired fine so this was purely cosmetic.

As I watched the first two test shots fly over the chronograph, I was immediately disappointed by the velocity of this load.  This ammunition brand doesn't have a strong web presence at this time.  I did find a 1200 fps velocity listed for this load at a major on-line retailer's website.  We still missed that expectation by a significant margin.

Terminal performance was actually pretty good on the expansion front.  All test shots expanded fully and uniformly.  Penetration was the area of opportunity with this load.  Only one of our 3 test shots made our desired minimum penetration depth of 12".  The other two came up short.

Pick or Pan:
It's easy to like the much lower cost per round of COP ammunition over competing all copper hollow point loads.  Unfortunately, this load fails to demonstrate the desired terminal penetration performance of 12" to 18", in ballistics test media, that would make this load a pick.



Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested.  All tests represent actual performance in ballistics testing media.  Terminal performance in all other media will show different results.  It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision on which specific ammunition to use for their needs.  It's also critically important to test any ammo in YOUR SPECIFIC FIREARM before relying on it for any purpose.

Ammunition labeled as +P or +P+ should only be used in firearms that have been certified by the manufacturer as safe for the additional pressures generated by these ammunition types.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Dude, What's Up With Your Blog?


I can't believe Pocket Guns and Gear turns three years old this month.  It's been incredibly fulfilling to watch the blog grow, and receive Reader feedback that information on the blog was helpful for them.  I'd like to thank you all for reading, and send out special thanks to the people and companies that have directly contributed to support the blog over the last three years.  A running list of blog Supporters can be found on this page.

Even though most of the blog posts focus on ammunition testing, the most popular posts are the gun reviews.  If that's the case, you may be wondering why I don't do more gun reviews and less ammo tests.  I have to buy or borrow the guns I review, so you can see how doing many gun reviews would get expensive for me in the long haul.

You may have noticed that I haven't done a gun review since the DoubleTap 45 last August.  It's true that I have not published a gun review on the blog since August, but I have been reviewing guns.  Last September, I was approached by GunsAmerica about doing freelance reviews for their blog.  I've had the fantasy of being a gun writer since the 90's so I jumped on the opportunity.  It's been a great experience for me and has really pushed me to up my game with my reviews.  I've added links to the GunsAmerica reviews I've done on this page.

The lead photo for this blog post has the Glock 42 and Glock 29 Gen4 that will be the next guns reviewed on this blog.  The Glock 42 review is just about wrapped up and should be published in the next few weeks.  The G29 is a new arrival that hasn't been out on the range yet, but I'm really looking forward to comparing the biggest and the smallest of the Glock sub-compacts.

Ammunition testing will continue in the coming year.  I really appreciate all the offers to send in ammunition for testing.  Last year I accepted donations from January to March.  I was still publishing test results from those donations in March of this year.  I stopped accepting donations because I realized I only have time for one or two tests per week and I have this accumulation of ammunition that I've personally purchased for testing.


Some of this has been tested before, but 90% of it is stuff I have not tested.  Those with keen eyes will pick out the newly added .223/5.56, 12 Gauge, and .17 HMR that will be showing up in future tests.

I'm really looking forward to another great year with the blog.  It should be the best year ever. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

SIG SAUER Elite Performance 357 Sig 125 grain V-Crown JHP Multi Shot Terminal Test


A big thanks to our friends at Ammunition Depot for supplying the ammunition for this test.

SIG SAUER recently launched their own line of ammunition.  First sightings and reports started hitting the internet during the 2014 SHOT Show.  The ammunition started showing up in the stores a few weeks ago.  Rumors have been plentiful about who's actually producing the ammunition.  Many think it's being produced outside the US while others think SIG is manufacturing the ammunition at the same locations they produce their pistols.  I can confirm the ammunition is being produced in the US.  All boxes of Elite Performance I've looked are all labeled as made in the USA.

SIG has targeted their Elite Performance ammunition to the personal defense market.  The ammunition features SIG's proprietary V-Crown jacketed hollow point bullet, Techni-chrom coated brass cases, and low flash propellants.  It's currently available in .380 Auto, 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 Auto, and naturally .357 Sig.  I was pleasantly surprised to see Sig's Elite Performance ammunition with retail prices similar to other premium personal defense ammunition brands.

Test Pistol:

Test Protocol:
Step 1)  Measure and record temperature and relative humidity.
Step 2)  Run a 2 shot velocity average over a ProChrono Digital Chronograph at a distance of 10 feet.
Step 3)  Run various terminal test shots, with and without simulated clothing barriers, into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that is calibrated to 10% Ordnance Gel density.  Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 4)  Run a 600 fps calibration test bb shot into the Clear Ballistics gel block and record penetration depth to verify density.

Test Results:

Video Documentation of the Entire Test from Range to Bullet Recovery:

My Thoughts on This Load:
My first thought, as I was pulling a few rounds out of the box for pictures, was the ammunition looks amazing.  Every cartridge in the box was clean, shiny, and had the appearance of being crafted with care.  The next thing I noticed was the Techni-crom coated cases really are slick to the touch.  If you suffer from "butter fingers" you may have a difficult time holding on to this ammo.

The V-Crown bullet has a wide nose cavity with a very small secondary hollow point cavity behind the main cavity.  It really does look like a much smaller hollow point cavity in the center of the main cavity.

SIG publishes a very exact 1356 feet per second muzzle velocity for this round when fired from a 4" barrel.  We fell a bit short of that in our testing with a 4" barrel.  That was really surprising because I thought if anyone was going to load SIG'S namesake cartridge to its full and safe velocity potential, it would be SIG. 

Terminal performance demonstrated mixed results.  The bare gel and cotton tee-shirt test shots performed well.  Both test shots expanded to greater than 1.6 times their starting diameter and penetrated more than 12, but less than 18 inches.  The denim test shots were a different story.  We lost the first denim test shot when it penetrated greater than 18" and exited the gel block.  After adding a second block, we caught the second denim test shot at just over 21" of penetration. 

Pick or Pan:
Light clothing test results were exactly what you would want from a defensive ammunition.  Terminal performance during the heavy clothing test demonstrated incomplete expansion, and too much penetration.  Inconsistent performance across the three test scenarios makes this load a pan for me.




Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested.  All tests represent actual performance in ballistics testing media.  Terminal performance in all other media will show different results.  It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision on which specific ammunition to use for their needs.  It's also critically important to test any ammo in YOUR SPECIFIC FIREARM before relying on it for any purpose.

Ammunition labeled as +P or +P+ should only be used in firearms that have been certified by the manufacturer as safe for the additional pressures generated by these ammunition types.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Buffalo Barnes Lead Free 10mm 155 Grain Barnes TAC-XP Multi Shot Test


Buffalo Barnes is a specialized line of ammunition from Buffalo Bore.  The Buffalo Barnes line is loaded with the Barnes all copper TAC-XP hollow point bullet.  I've tested Buffalo Barnes in 380 Auto and 9mm previously and they performed well.  The ammo is expensive, but always appeared to be well made and flawless in appearance.  From previous tests, the Buffalo Barnes line has always performed as well, or better, than the loads from other manufacturers who also load the Barnes TAC-XP bullets.

Test Pistol:

Test Protocol:
Step 1)  Measure and record temperature and relative humidity.
Step 2)  Run a 2 shot velocity average over a ProChrono Digital Chronograph at a distance of 10 feet.
Step 3)  Run various terminal test shots, with and without simulated clothing barriers, into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that is calibrated to 10% Ordnance Gel density.  Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 4)  Run a 600 fps calibration test bb shot into the Clear Ballistics gel block and record penetration depth to verify density.

Test Results:

Video Documentation of the Entire Test from Range to Bullet Recovery:

My Thoughts on This Load:
The box of ammunition used in this test was purchased in March, 2014 from MidwayUSA.  Based on how quickly and frequently Midway turns over their ammunition inventory, I'm assuming this was current production from Buffalo Bore.  As I mentioned above, Buffalo Bore ammunition is typically nice looking ammo.  The brass and bullets from this box were so full of finger prints, I had to use creative placement to get the lead photo for this blog post.  The photo below shows some good examples of the partial prints all over the brass and bullets.  The prints don't wipe off.


The other problem with this box was inconsistent weights from cartridge to cartridge.  I never weigh loaded rounds unless I see anomalies like a 900 fps shot mixed in with 1300 fps shots.  After the test, I weighed the remaining 15 cartridges and they ranged from 242.9 grains to 248.2 grains.  Aside from these outliers, most of the other cartridges were right around 245 grains + or - a few tenths of a grain.

In addition to the appearance and cartridge weight concerns, we didn't achieve the 1400 fps published velocity with any of our test shots.

Terminal performance was good with all test shots.  All bullets expanded as expected.  Penetration fell short with the 900 fps shot, but even that shot expanded fully.

Pick or Pan:
In general, I liked the terminal performance of this load.  I am put off by the quality assurance lapses with consistency and appearance.  I wouldn't rule this one out for future consideration, but I won't be buying more until after the Buffalo Bore Idaho relocation is complete and they've had a chance to settle in at their new location.  




Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested.  All tests represent actual performance in ballistics testing media.  Terminal performance in all other media will show different results.  It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision on which specific ammunition to use for their needs.  It's also critically important to test any ammo in YOUR SPECIFIC FIREARM before relying on it for any purpose.

Ammunition labeled as +P or +P+ should only be used in firearms that have been certified by the manufacturer as safe for the additional pressures generated by these ammunition types.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Kel-Tec Sub-2000 Upgrades


http://www.tandemkross.com/
http://www.keltecweapons.com/sub-2000/sub-2000-accessories/
https://www.soft-armor.com/

I've always liked the concept of a pistol caliber carbine ever since someone told me about the Ruger .44 Magnum Carbine.  At the time, I just acquired a beautiful used Smith and Wesson 629 .44 Magnum revolver, but Ruger had discontinued the .44 Magnum carbine by the time I learned that it existed.  This was all back in the early 1990's before on-line auction sites and the ready access to discontinued firearms we all enjoy today.  I prowled a few gun shows hoping to spot one for sale, but I never found one.  The appreciation for the idea remained strong, but I gave up on the active pursuit.

After purchasing a Kel-Tec P-32, I started hanging around the KTOG Forum and learned about the SUB-2000 9mm carbine.  My pistol caliber carbine interest was fueled again.  Since I owned a Glock 17, it was logical that I should buy the Glock 9mm pattern SUB-2000 so I could use the Glock 17 magazines in the SUB-2000 Carbine.  I had no problem tracking down the carbine at a local dealer.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the SUB-2000 ownership experience since adding it to the collection.  It's been 100% reliable and reasonably accurate out to 50 yards.  Much more accurate than if I tried shooting the Glock 17 at that distance.  Some guns are just fun to shoot and the SUB-2000 is one of those fun guns you can look forward to getting out on the range.

Like most guns, there are always customizations and add-ons that can make your SUB-2000 uniquely yours.  I've seen SUB-2000s with insane $1000 plus customization packages applied to them.  I've always wanted to customize mine, but only to change out a few basic parts that would enhance my overall shooting experience with the carbine.  I really like that the SUB-2000 is compact, light, and folds for storage so my modification list doesn't impact any of those features.  I consider this level of modification to be low impact and easily changed back to the factory configuration if I want to do that in the future.






TANDEMKROSS offers a package of 4 upgrade components for the SUB-2000.  They offer each component individually, or as a combo package.  I've always appreciated the detailed color installation instructions that come with every TANDEMKROSS product.  They also have several YouTube installation videos available.  They make it easy to be successful installing their upgrades.

The TANDEMKROSS upgrade package focuses on replacing the plastic Kel-Tec sight components with metal replacement parts.  They also add some unique features with their parts that Kel-Tec doesn't offer.






 



The most unique item in the package is the Eagle Eye rear sight.  For the folks running top rail optics, having the ability to fold down the rear sight could be a tremendous benefit.  I like the sight because it eliminates the peep sight and replaces it with a notched rear sight.  At 50 yards or less, I prefer this type of sight.

If you spend enough time on the Kel-Tec forum you will see complaints about the factory front sight cracking/breaking/failing.  The TANDEMKROSS front sight replacement should eliminate those problems while still providing a high-visibility fiber optic insert.  The fiber optic is easily replaceable if it should be damaged.




Kel-Tec also offers accessories for the SUB-2000.  From their list of available accessories, I liked the Dust Cover and Stock Extension.  The Dust Cover minimizes the chance of something getting into the barrel when the carbine is folded and the Stock Extension adds about 1.5 inches to the length of pull.  Perhaps I'll try the Sub Picatinny Rail and Spare Magazine Holder if I decide to make more invasive modifications in the future.



With a folded length of about 16.5", the SUB-2000 is too large for most pistol cases and too small to justify a compact rifle case.  With some searching, I found the REX Scoped Handgun Case from Soft Armor.  This case is a bit larger than it needs to be, but it will hold both the SUB-2000 carbine and Glock 17 pistol along with a boatload of magazines.






The total package price for all the modifications and case was less than $150.00 if you include shipping costs.  That may seem like quite a bit to add to a rifle that sells for under $350 in normal market conditions.  For me it was easy to justify the cost because it will make my SUB-2000 more fun, and hopefully accurate, for many years to come.



The video describes the upgrades in more detail.  I did the actual installations off camera in the interest of keeping it short.  All the parts installations went smoothly and were really easy to do without using any specialized tools. 
 

If you asked me for additional ideas to improve the SUB-2000, I would immediately ask for a Glock 21 SUB-2000 in .45 Auto.  Since Kel-Tec only makes the SUB-2000 in 9mm and .40 S&W, a .45 Auto version may not be possible.  If they ever decide to produce one in the future, please add my name to the top of the waiting list.