Comparing Semi-Auto SubMachinceGuns

I went to the range with some family and friends the other day and shot a couple of sub-types guns back to back and figured I’d write a little on them and the results. None were tax stamped SBRs and I didn’t have my crono or shot timer running, so the results are kind of seat of my pants, how it “felt” type results. We did run drills separately and with dual shooters, varied ranges, static and moving, single and multiple targets… so even though they are non-factualy results, they are based on what I’d call ample tests.

The guns we played with were the Kel-Tec Sub 2000 in .40SW, Drako pistol in 7.62×39, Beretta Storm, and Vector Kriss in .45ACP. Also of course we shot the AKMs and ARs which pretty well win in the scheme of everything. More on that later.

What we didn’t put out to test but should have, would be the AR pistol, PPS-43, stocked and stockless UZI, Hi-point carbine and M1 carbine. I think the results would be predictable for me at this point though. Again, I’ll get back to this later.

So the Sub 2k is nothing new to me or many other shooters. It’s a lightweight, inexpensive, pistol caliber carbine with simple controls and manipulations. Cross bolt safety, mags go in the pistol grip, good enough but cheap sights – it’s a good gun. Shooting wise, I don’t pick up the sights from a low ready very quickly and at least in .40, the muzzle rises early so stitching a target in a rapid fire drill is the technique I use with the Sub. Slow precision shots are possible, but we weren’t doing slow precision shooting.

In close and out to say 25 yards, you can point shoot it in a fashion with a good index of your body, but a nice tight shooting position feels like the best way to work the Sub. I feel like I shoot strings of shots rather than bursting off two to four rounds at a time like you can with an AK or AR. It doesnt take much to get good results at 50 to 100 yards. In all it’s a good gun.

I have very little to say about the Storm. Its weird lookin, pretty comfy, insanely overpriced, insanely accurate, and its sights are not quick to use. Nice gun if it didn’t cost what it costs.

The Drako AK pistol is a gun of controversy. Lots of people say it has no use. Lots of people say its fun as hell. I say yes. It is not an AK with a stock and should not be ran like one. It also is not a pistol and should not be ran like one. What it is, is maybe a little too big to be a really good civilian SMG, but not unusable. The sights suck, but it point shoots so well that’s not a deal breaker. A reflex red dot mounted to the forward guard may be a big help, but that makes a clunky gun have a little more clunk. I would say opening up the rear sight and putting a Big Dot tritium sight up front would be a good sight upgrade if you really wanted to take the Drako seriously. The one essential addition is a sling. We tried shooting without one and its just not going to get you hits. Its way too unstable with that short sight radius. A one or two point (we used one points) in SAS fashion worked very well.

The big 7.62×39 round is actually not that hard to shoot out of this package, and the power over pistol rounds cannot be overlooked. The sights hurt it for quick shots at extended range but going prone (with a 20rd mag), or taking your time in the sling to line up the sights, it is surprisingly accurate for what it is. I was ringing steel at 150 yards, but that is probably beyond the real usable range for this thing. Nice to know what it can do though.

Now the show winner… and loser. The Kriss .45 ACP. A marvel in engineering, a huge leap in pistol caliber carbines and offerings in .45ACP… Yeah, not my cup of tea. The Kriss’ action which is what the rest of the gun was designed around, was developed for automatic or rapid fire recoil reduction. The gun we had there had a shrouded 16 inch barrel and topped with an EOTech sight. The non civilian version with a short barrel may make a difference, but this thing was big, long and weighty (note I did not say heavy), with non intuitive controls. It was only slightly faster on target than the KelTec when ran side by side, but it climbed after a few shots and was slow to move onto multiple targets, even with the EOTech.

When you pick it up for the first time you aren’t sure where or how to put your hands, and the AR type safety lever is not in reach at anytime. These initial issues remain after you’ve ran it a bit, put it down, pick it back up, and then have to re-remind yourself where the mag goes, what button/lever/latch does what, don’t yank the bolt back to chamber a round because it is a short stroke system…. Even with a lot of time on it, you just cant say “run it like a gun” because its not like any other gun. I hear the military has a contract on them and civilian versions in more calibers will be offered at a later date. The idea of a sub gun in .45ACP seems constantly sought after but your thoughts may change after shooting one. There is little doubt that it does look bitchen cool from the sidelines anyway.

o my conclusions? I like guns and I really like pistol caliber carbines. Shooting them in the same realistic drills against standard AKs and ARs though, Im not seeing big differences. The Kel Tec is a feather weight, but an AR is so comfortable you don’t feel the weight when carrying it like you do a RPK or dare I say a Garand.  The Kriss is cool, but an AK is simple, effective and costs 1/3 to ¼ the price.

If it doesn’t have a shoulder stock then it needs a sling, but the reduced size of not having a shoulder stock reduces the size by a lot less then you would think. Something like a stockless UZI or stockless PPS-43 does not hide or handle substantially better than a stocked gun. They have some niches like vehicle gun fighting and indiscriminate room clearing, but they are out of their element quickly when pressed into a role other than that niche. Fun factor is still high.

Short barreled rifles and suppressor use changes some of these conclusions, but 95% of the gun buying public wont be going that route. Im thinking a mid weight carbine in a mid weight caliber should be considered and mastered before ever delving into the world of PCCs and sub guns. So in all…giggle… are you ready for this… don’t KRISS, KISS. HA!


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