Kel-Tec and clamshell shooters

One of the Kel-Tec SU-16E rifles in action

Trust me, the remedy is known
So that finally everything immediately fell into place.
No one will say bad, but who decides to say
It will immediately lie down.
Dear boy. 1974 Music by D. Tukhmanov, lyrics by L. Derbenev

Weapons and firms. Within the framework of this cycle, many samples of the most original small arms of our time have already passed. Produced by both large firms and small manufacturers, which, however, did not affect their quality. Such are people: they want a choice, and they are afraid of the opportunity to choose, they cannot make up their minds to make this very choice, they swear that their eyes run wide, that this was done on purpose to lure out money, and yet they want the opportunity to have this very choice. All the same applies to weapons. That is why today there are dozens, and already, perhaps, hundreds of companies all over the world that, using the most modern leasing equipment, saturate its market with its most diverse samples.

Kel-Tec and clamshell shooters

One of the first “dryers” – SU-16 chambered for 5.56 × 45 mm cartridges

And at the forefront, as always, is the USP – “unique selling proposition”, that is, what distinguishes one weapon from another. About one they write that this is the top of reliability, not inferior to the famous “Russian Kalashnikov”, and the “security people” are already right there: they are attracted by the magic word: reliability! Say: “We have an original design!”, And people who do not want to be like everyone else will join you in line. There are first-minute buyers, and there are last-minute buyers. But the article is not about this, but about the fact that an innovative company, analyzing in this way a potential audience and market, can always find its own niche, even a very narrow one, and successfully develop in this segment. Examples?


This is how they fold, and the stock can be used to store two magazines.

For example, the American company Kel-Tec CNC Industries Inc., which is called Kel-Tec for short. This company was founded by George Kellgren in 1991, it is located in Cocoa, Florida, and began to produce firearms in 1995. They started with semi-automatic pistols, then added rifles to their range, and then shotguns. George Kellgren, owner and chief engineer of Kel-Tec, is a Swedish designer who previously worked for Husqvarna, Swedish Interdynamics AB (in Sweden), as well as Intratec and Grendel, and was involved in the development of a number of firearms.


SU-16C folded

Well, today the company is engaged in the creation and production of a wide range of firearms, ranging from the same semi-automatic pistols to semi-automatic rifles and shotguns. And each new sample was developed by George Kellgren in accordance with the important, in his opinion, principle, according to which each new development should be innovative in its design and … interesting to use.

With an elegant movement, the SU-16C rifle transforms into …

So, the company has developed a pistol-carbine with a retractable stock chambered for .22 caliber and with a magazine in the pistol grip CMR30 – compact and very easy to use, with a Picatinny rail along the entire length of the receiver. Weight only 1.7 kg, magazine for 30 rounds. Barrel length 408 mm. Its peculiarity is also a double, and also folding, shutter handle, both on the left and on the right.

Very short drying model

The RFB rifle stands for Rifle, For-ejecting Bullpup, but there is a “forward extraction bullup”. And the originality of the RFB lies in the fact that, using 7.62 × 51 NATO rounds, it is equipped with a patented system of ejection of casings through the tube above the barrel forward. With a total rifle length of 698 mm, the barrel length is 470 mm. The RFB is positioned by the company as the safest bullpup ever created, because the breech from the shooter’s face is separated by two layers of steel, 1.6 mm thick each. But even if the chamber breaks, this again does not threaten the shooter: the design of the rifle is such that the flow of gases rushes down through the magazine shaft and does not fall on his face. The “Okhotnik” model had a barrel length of 610 mm, but without a flame arrester. Bipod, muffler – all this is installed on them! The fuse key is located on both sides.

The RFB rifle next to the FAL rifle

A whole series of SU16 rifles – SU16A, B, C, CA, D9 was also prepared. All are very light, about 2 kg. All are semi-automatic, gas operated and use AR-15 magazines, but the rifle is completely different in design. Thanks to the long shutter travel, its automation works very smoothly, and the shooting is accurate. On some rifles, the buttstock is foldable, which reduces the overall size of the weapon. But that’s not all. Their fore-end is sliding and can turn … into a bipod! The rifle is also disassembled in an original way: its butt leans back, the cover is removed from the receiver, after which you can remove the bolt with a gas tube.

RFB rifle mechanism device

Shutter and device for feeding a cartridge or case to the ejection line

In the field of smooth-bore weapons, the company distinguished itself exclusively with an original model of a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun, also developed in several versions: KS7, KSG, KSG25, KSG Tactical and KSG Compact. The first of which was introduced in 2011. The weight of the first is 2.7 kg, the second is 3.1 kg, but the KSG25 is the heaviest of them – 4.2 kg. All variants are designed according to the bullpup principle and have an under-barrel magazine, the recharging window of which is located behind the pistol grip. All variants differ in the number of cartridge pipes (KS7 – one, KSG – two), their length (KSG25) and, accordingly, capacity.

KSG. Left view

The most original is the KSG, although it is generally an ordinary smooth-bore shotgun with pump-action reloading using a sliding forend, but here it is made according to the bullpup scheme. And he has two whole tubular magazines, which are located horizontally under the barrel. Depending on the ammunition used, the number of cartridges of 12 caliber in stores may differ: 14 (7 + 7) cartridges of 12/70 caliber and 12 (6 + 6) cartridges of 12/76 caliber. When shooting, food comes from only one store. The magazine switch is located at the bottom of the receiver, behind the pistol grip. Moreover, if its extreme left or right position shows which magazine becomes the feed, then the middle one allows you to discharge the chamber when both magazines are full. The RSG25 has a larger capacity: 10 + 10 + 1 or 12 + 12 + 1, that is, a maximum of 25 shots of it can be fired!

KSG. View from the right

But, perhaps, the most original example from the Kel-Tec company is a pistol carbine – “clamshell” SUB-2000.

It was made on the basis of another carbine, SUB-9, by means of its maximum simplification, although its design did not differ in complexity. Well, SUB 9 was a development for a competition of the US Department of Defense, which needed a portable, lightweight and cheap weapon to arm the crews of patrol and military vehicles. The weapon passed the full range of all tests required for an army weapon, but it was not accepted into service, including because of its too unusual appearance. But the money was spent, which means it had to be returned! So the designers did this: they simplified their competition model even more, and so the SUB-2000 turned out.

KSG2 with clips for additional cartridges

First of all, this weapon can be folded, in this position it is reduced in size by almost half. When folded, it can be put in a backpack or in a hiking bag, and it will not take up much space in the trunk of a car, because its dimensions are only 40 by 10 centimeters. You can fold it in half a minute, and unfold it even faster, literally in seconds.

KSG in service with the South Korean Army

In fact, this carbine is a long pistol that shoots the popular 9×19 mm Parabellum cartridges, and has a magazine receiver from the Glock 17 pistol, although magazines from other pistol systems can also be loaded into it. Its creators believe that this will make the SUB 2000 interesting for travelers, including car travelers, for whom it can become an effective self-defense weapon, as well as for hunting and recreational and target shooting.


SUB-2000 with a 15-round magazine from the Beretta pistol

The automatic rifle works on the principle of recoil of a free breechblock, which has a long stroke, but the spring of which is shifted into the tubular butt, and is not located in the receiver, like in most similar samples, which are simply converted from pistols. The trigger-type trigger provides fire with single shots and only self-cocking. But on the other hand, the effort of the platoon was very minimal, which gives a very high rate of fire for non-automatic weapons – about 150 rounds per minute. The magazine is in the pistol grip, and the fuse is on the left side, above it. The sight is unusual and seemingly very simple, that is, unregulated, high, but it can be folded back. But a huge front sight at the end of the barrel, just like a Kalashnikov assault rifle, but very conveniently fits behind the butt.


In addition to all these advantages, the price is also attractive in this weapon. The manufacturer recommends a price (in the US) of $ 300 (which is comparable to the average price of one visit to a good restaurant)! And this is for a light, compact, rapid-fire, powerful enough, long-range (100-150 m) and … lethal weapon.

In addition to the modification for the 9×19 mm cartridge, the SUB 2000 is also produced for .40 S&W pistol cartridges (10 × 22 mm), which are popular in the USA today.

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