By David Lake
Small arms today are following new trends compared to the whole of the last two centuries. Guns used to be tools of a trade, utilitarian implements that served a vital role in maintaining law and order or providing food for the family. Then they became less necessary as civilization began to provide goods and services. Recreational hunting and sport shooting were the reasons many people bought rifles and shotguns in the 20th century. Now in the 21st century, to make a broad generalization, for many, guns are just toys. The aging “video game” generation and its demand for impractical excess has created a new world of modular quick detach hi-speed adjustable tactical accessory convertibility. This new breed of “toy” guns at least has the capability to get back to its roots and find purpose. Fortunately, there are still a few guns being invented and built that are specialized “tools-of-a-trade.” These are crafted and honed to serve a singular purpose. We can conclude that there are infinitely capable weapons, and there are perfectly refined weapons. The difference between the two is simple: One has the potential for excellence, the other already is. The weapon featured here is called the SU2000-SS and is the work and achievement of Mr. Ralph Seifert of RAS Engineering. It is a fresh example of a “perfectly refined” system – powerful words to assign to the Kel-Tec.
Conception of the SU2000-SS was not an “ah-ha” moment. The gun was just the product of an engineering mind putting things together that belonged together. Seifert simply saw a niche in the market that needed to be filled. With the assistance and support of his friend, George Kelgren (owner of Kel-Tec), Seifert was able to give his project some steam. Seifert got Red Lion Precision involved in the project as well. Red Lion specializes in aftermarket upgrades for Kel-Tec firearms. It must be stated that the SU2000-SS is not simply assembled from existing accessories. It represents much research and development and trial and error. Kel-Tec makes a special barrel for the SS. The barrel, butt stock, internals and forearm are proprietary “revisions” to standard components. These special parts are not available for sale from the manufacturers. One cannot “build” his own SU2000-SS.
It can only be purchased from RAS Engineering or one of its retail outlets.
The SS is based on the Kel-Tec SUB-2000, a blowback operated pistol caliber carbine that feeds from commonly available pistol magazines. It is mostly plastic to save cost and weight and can be folded in half at the breech for transport or storage. The SUB-2000 has maintained market presence since its introduction in 2001. The basic SUB-2000 is a recreational sporting arm. The SU2000-SS is a professional grade, 9mm only, PDW that uses Glock pistol magazines and there are no iron sights. The SS weighs 4.6 pounds and measures 14”x7” when folded. The unit is 26-inches long and 10 inches tall when deployed with an optic attached. The barrel is 6.5-inches long and has the muzzle threaded 13x1mm left hand. The stock is 1-inch shorter than that of a standard SUB-2000. The Red Lion forearm can swivel 180 degrees to place the optic below the barrel, allowing an optic to be fitted to the gun and remain there when the SS is folded. This forearm features 4 detents in the articulating joint that return a noticeable “click” to ensure proper location of the optic. The forearm is locked into position by a large knurled nut near the receiver. To fold the gun, the trigger guard needs to be pulled downward, and the front half of the gun will unhook, and swing over the top of the butt stock. The SS lacks a mechanical detent to keep the gun locked in its folded state. With practice, the SU2000-SS can be deployed from a collapsed condition in less than 3 seconds. The suppressor is an Advanced Armament Evolution. The Evolution was chosen to compliment the SS for its size and effect and is the largest suppressor that will fit into the forearm assembly. For any given length, a wider suppressor proves more effective. The SS is not available without this suppressor. The SS is assembled from choice components, but should not be considered a “parts gun.” It is a balanced weapon system and nothing about the design is arbitrary.
To become properly acquainted with the SS we needed to shoot it. An Aimpoint T1was installed to the forearm rail and gave it a quick laser boresight. At 25 yards, 3/4-inch groups were printed. Off-hand at that distance we could hold our shots inside 1.5 inches with little effort. The SS greatly improves the 9mm’s capability. The gun was fired with several different brands and bullet weights of 9mm. Federal’s “9mm Suppressor Subsonic” 124 grain was totally quiet… we’d call it “Hollywood quiet” and this was the same ammo that printed the 3/4” groups. This ammo was so well suited for suppressor use, even while shooting indoors; we could hear the bolt slam against the breech as the gun cycled. We performed timed discretionary drills with the SS beginning with the gun collapsed and concealed and with the gun held at the low ready. When “snap” shooting the SS at an IDPA target at 25 yards, “A” zone hits just seemed to happen. The gun points instinctively. Drills beginning with a concealed SS were enlightening. We were able to draw, deploy, aim and fire the gun, in 3 seconds. That’s good enough for government work as they say – it inspires confidence. The weapon functioned perfectly for 99 rounds, and only failed to eject number 100. We know that a suppressor causes more fouling and particulate to enter a gun’s mechanism, especially in a blowback operated gun. So the 1% malfunction could probably be defeated by a preemptive strike with a bore mop.
This gun has great potential to find its way into the professional market. Every police car and motorcycle should have one onboard and every armored vehicle and every armed security detail should have one. Additionally, every Special Forces unit should have it in the armory. While that’s a lot of “Should haves,” it certainly is a remarkable weapon system. The advantage of a truly silent, concealable, compact, semiautomatic, with the accuracy of a rifle, cannot be overstated. The SS fills a role yet to be fully realized. We’d like to coin the term “aggressive defensive” for the role the SS will play. It is indeed a defensive weapon; suppressed to conceal the users location from an assailant. It is highly concealable; to remain out of sight; and keep its user from becoming the first target of a gun wielding madman. It can deliver 29 rounds of 9mm very quickly, and accurate enough to make deliberate hits on a target inside 100 yards. The SS can turn a “guy in crowd” into “guy that saved the day” in 3 seconds. With the ever growing frequency of “armed crazies” on our streets, a weapon of this sort, in the hands of law enforcement, could mean the difference between another shooting tragedy and a swift decisive resolution. In short, it’s as concealable as a pistol, and as effective as a rifle. It punches above its weight.
The end result of Seifert’s effort is so much more than the simple sum of the parts involved. He has brought us a little piece of James Bond’s arsenal. The SS can be carried in a briefcase, a purse, backpack, fanny pack, lunch pail, maybe even your cargo pants. You’d expect the wow factor of the SS to come at a compromise. You would expect accuracy or reliability or handling must suffer somehow, but you’d be wrong. It’s beyond good. The SU2000-SS is undoubtedly the leanest, lightest, and coolest pistol carbine made. It forces one to ask the question; why, then, are all other pistol carbines so big and heavy? It’s not to make them more accurate; this one is superbly accurate. It’s not to ensure quality and reliability; this one is reliable and seems indestructible. Big and heavy seems exactly what you don’t want in a defensive arm. By exclusion then, this is exactly what you do want. It really achieves the most with the least.
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180 Cassia Way, Suite 507
Henderson, NV 89014
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V18N6 (December 2014)|