Next Year’s Christmas List: Kel-Tec’s SU-16 and SU-22

By Tara Dixon Engel

Some are quick to dismiss the Kel-Tec brand as “utility guns” (as if that is a bad thing). And, admittedly, the Florida-based manufacturer isn’t necessarily focused on perfecting the gleaming, pimped-up look that some shooting enthusiasts fawn over. But it’s a mistake to dismiss the practicality and innovation that founder George Kellgren has worked hard to foster through the years.

For instance, Kel-Tec led the charge of the “mouse gun” back in the early 2000s with the tiny and innovative P-3AT, which was copied ad nauseum by legions of other manufacturers. The company got even more creative with the advent of the KSG, a truly one-of-a-kind shotgun featuring dual magazine tubes that hold 13 3-inch shotgun shells. Then there’s the funky-looking but wildly popular PMR-30. Indeed, if Kel-Tec is guilty of any sin, it’s not being able to keep up with the popularity of Kellgren’s innovative designs (a problem most manufacturers would love to have).

Brother Arms

The company tackled the outdoorsman/survivalist/“prepper” market with the introduction of the SU-16 back in the early 2000s. If you are looking for a durable, dependable and lightweight gun that can be toted through all terrains and conditions, the SU-16 continues to be worth a second look. The gun is chambered for .223 and 5.56 NATO rounds, and if you want a practice version that won’t drain your ammo budget, the SU-22 replicates the design of the 16 while feeding the more affordable .22 LR round. The .22 version is also ideal for beginners or young people who aren’t quite ready for grown-up recoil.

Shooting at 50 yards on an indoor range, the gun is undeniably loud—Kel-Tecs aren’t known for being delicate or quiet; they are rough-and-tumble and in-your-face—but very effective. Maybe a tad more recoil than some AR-style rifles but still perfectly comfortable to use, even for a gal who typically prefers handguns.

Although the gun features a Picatinny rail for a scope or red dot, the aluminum sights were great. We shot two different 16s, one brand new out-of-the-box and the other well-used. One had a peep...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V23N3 (March 2019)
and was posted online on February 1, 2019


Comments have not been generated for this article.