The SUB 2000 Vs. the FPC: Folding PCC Shootout

The release of the Smith and Wesson Folding Pistol Carbine brought instant comparisons to the Kel-Tec Sub 2000. Why wouldn’t it? The Sub 2000 is one of Kel-Tec’s most popular products, and it’s been in production since 2001. The FPC and Sub 2000 have a lot in common. They are both pistol caliber carbines that fold in half and use popular pistol magazines. They both fill the role of a super compact carbine that stores easily while providing semi-auto firepower.

The guns have a bit more than that in common as well. They are both straight blowback operated and feature an M-LOK rail system and threaded barrel for accessories. Heck, even Kel-Tec jumped in on the fun comparisons, posting a number of memes poking fun at S&W for copying their design. I’m a Sub 2000 fan and I really like folding guns, so with that in mind, getting an FPC was on my shortlist.

Now that I have both in hand, it seems like a great time to talk about their differences and if one is better than the other. We had to hit the range for a folding carbine competition.

The OG versus the Young Blood

Let’s first dive into the feature that draws so many comparisons: the ability to fold the gun. While both of these guns fold, they do it in very different ways. What they both do have in common is their inability to fold while a round is chambered.

The Kel-Tec separates the barrel from the receiver and folds over the top of the design. The barrel then locks into a tab at the rear of the gun that keeps the gun folded and locked in place. When folded, the Sub 2000 is 16 inches long. The Sub 2000 uses the trigger guard to unlock the barrel and allow the weapon to fold.

folding guns
Both guns are folding and super compact.

The S&W FPC’s barrel folds at the receiver but folds to the side of the gun. It friction fits and locks onto the charging handle of the gun. When folded, the FPC is only 16.375 inches long. The release for the barrel is on the right side of the gun, which is a fairly large tab that is pressed forward to release the barrel.

Both systems are intuitive, and both require two hands. The Sub 2000 is fully ambidextrous, and the FPC tends to favor right-handed shooters. The systems are both very compact, and each store easily. The FPC is thicker, and the Sub 2000 is taller, but both fit in your average backpack, rifle bag, or whatever. The FPC even comes with a very nice, low-profile bag for storing your gun.

both guns unfolded
Unfolded the guns are still compact.


Which is more accurate? That’s tough to answer. Neither are precision rifles, but both can be accurate enough within the range of a 9mm round. The shooter behind the gun makes the biggest difference. I shot both guns with optics. The Sub 2000 comes with iron sights, and the FPC does not. In each case, we are looking at basically a 2 to 2.5 “Minutes of Angle” gun.

FPC rifle
The FPC isn’t just a copy of the of the Sub 2000 it has some unique twists.

The FPC does have a much nicer trigger than the Sub 2000. The Sub 2000’s trigger tends to feel like plastic rubbing plastic. The FPC is identical to the M&P 2.0 series. It’s quite nice, crisp, and predictable.


There is something to be said about straight blowback designs. It’s crude and simple but also super reliable. There isn’t much that could go wrong with a blowback design. It’s a very popular choice for pistol-caliber carbines because it works and can be done relatively affordably. It also tends to work with a wide variety of loads and power levels.

Keltec shooting
The Kel-Tec is super reliable.

I have a lot more lead through the Kel-Tec since I’ve owned it for quite some time. Neither weapon has given me any difficulty. The KelTec and FPC both chew through whatever you toss through them and function without a problem. This is another category where the two guns are tied, as far as I’m concerned.


While straight blowback designs can be reliable, they aren’t always the softest recoiling options. In fact, a 9mm blowback carbine can often feel like a 5.56 rifle. It’s not a lot of recoil, but it’s more than you expect from a pistol cartridge. The Sub 2000 has a rough recoil cycle. It throws itself backward and slaps you in the face ever so lightly like a mafia guy reminding you who is boss.

shooting FPC
The FPC has much lighter recoil than most blowback guns.

The FPC is different. It’s a pound heavier, but that pound must be well spent. S&W must have done some serious testing to find the right combination of bolt weight and recoil spring weight to create a very light recoiling platform. The difference is apparent immediately, and the FPC has way less recoil. It feels like what you’d expect from a 9mm rifle. Maybe it’s the thicker, more supportive stock that truly makes the difference.

I have a massive charging handle in my Sub 2000 from MCARBO to help reduce recoil. Even with that aftermarket accessory, the FPC recoils less and is smoother and more comfortable to shoot.


Both guns are an ergonomics mixed bag to the point where each one is better than the other in different categories. Sometimes, each has a strong feature in the same category, but they do things completely differently. It’s best to break it down feature by feature.

Let’s start with the grip. Kel-Tec’s is fine. It’s comfy, small, and works as a grip. S&W went with the M&P 2.0 style grip that has a much more aggressive texture and even has interchangeable back straps to better fit the grip to your hand.

FPC and SUB 2000 side by side
Who has the better ergos? That’s not an easy question to answer.

The magazine release on the FPC likely works great on a handgun. On a rifle, it does feel awkward and is tough to reach without breaking your firing grip. It’s just too small and sits too deep into your grip. Kel-Tec uses a massive magazine release that’s easy to reach and engage with.

The safeties are the opposite. The FPC uses a cross-bolt safety that sits right in front of the trigger guard. It’s quick and easy to reach and very easy to engage with. The Kel-Tec has a safety that’s placed awkwardly behind and above the hand.

The stock on the Kel-Tec is adjustable to three different positions and offers multiple sling points. The FPC’s stock is larger and more supportive. It offers an actual cheek weld and can store two M&P magazines in the stock.

Optics and Accessories

The FPC does make adding an optic easier. Since it folds to the side, you can toss an optic on the gun and fold it over and out of the way without a second thought. With the Kel-Tec, you have to either surrender your ability to fold with the optic, or buy a pivoting mount like I did.

FPC with optic
The FPC makes adding optics easy.

The FPC makes it much easier to add an optic, but it does cost any accessories you might want to attach to the side of your handguard.

Since the Kel-Tec folds up, you don’t lose a particular side of your handguard for accessories. This helps it lean more towards being ambidextrous, with an affinity for those poor left-handers often plagued by right-handed dominance.

Magazines and Calibers

Both guns use popular pistol magazines. The difference is that the S&W FPC only uses M&P magazines and only comes in 9mm, as of now. The Kel-Tec Sub 2000 can use Glock, S&W, SIG, CZ, and likely other magazines I’m forgetting. It also comes in 9mm and 40 S&W. So, for folks with guns other than the M&P, the Sub 2000 starts to make more sense.

FPC magazines
S&W includes three mags with the FPC.

Folding PCC Perfection

There used to be a time and place when Folding PCCs were kind of rare. These days, there are PCCs of every size and shape. Heck, we have two that fold in half! It’s a great time to be a PCC fan, and the Sub 2000 and FPC are two of the most compact and discrete options out there.

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

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