5 Kel-Tec SU-16 Problems: Tips to Overcome Issues

The Kel-Tec SU-16 is famous for its lightweight design and versatility. It has carved its niche in the firearms market as a compact and semi-automatic rifle.

Unfortunately, Kel-Tec SU-16 problems always cause the worst feelings of enthusiasm. Mainly, I have searched for the damaged receiver, bolt issue, feeding issue, ejection concern, and shooting problems.

I aim to dive deep into these problems and offer tried-and-true fixes.

In this article, we’ll understand these common issues and explore their quick solutions to make the shooting experience reliable and accurate.

Let’s explore!

Issues and Fixes at a Glance

5 ProblemsTheir Quick Solutions
Damaged ReceiverShip the rifle back without delay.
Bolt ProblemConsider purchasing a new and reputable aftermarket part.
Problems with FeedingAdjust the magazine to ensure the proper loading of rounds.
Ejecting IssuePolishing these lugs can work wonders.
Shooting IssuesEnsure the magazine is seated correctly.
Kel-Tec SU-16 Problems

Kel-Tec SU-16 Problems and Their Practical Solutions

1. Damaged Receiver:

First, one significant issue with the Kel-Tec SU-16 that has surfaced is the cracked receiver. Many users have experienced this problem, which tends to appear around the 500-round mark.

I heard a crack after firing about 300 rounds, though some folks report this happening closer to the 1,000-round mark.

The elephant in the room is whether this is a manufacturing defect or a result of high usage.

There’s been plenty of deduction, but it’s clear that this problem is widespread.

While it’s hard to point the finger at the exact reason, the high number of reports suggests a recurring issue.

Admittedly, this is not something that should be ignored. It seems only a matter of time before more users encounter this problem.

Read More: Kel-Tec Sub 2000 Gen 2 Problems with Effective Solutions


Let’s talk about a solution. My friend’s experience with a damaged receiver was a mix of hassle and relief. When he noticed the crack, he knew he had to check the gun immediately and then contact Kel-Tec.

Luckily, the warranty covered the issue. He was able to ship the rifle back without delay.

The process was straightforward; he sent it in, and they fixed it quickly.

Despite the initial inconvenience, he found Kel-Tec’s customer care quite impressive.

A pro tip from him: always wear safety goggles when firing to protect yourself from potential shrapnel.

Trust me, it’s important not to ignore any signs of damage.

2. Bolt Problem:

Next, I noticed the bolt carrier of my Kel-Tec SU-16 was not moving smoothly. This made me feel uneasy.

A closer look revealed a broken connection with the piston. When the connection snaps during the recoil stroke, it can cause the bolt carrier to slam back into the receiver without any resistance.

In the worst-case scenario, this could result in a cracked receiver and even a potential injury to the shooter.


For a solution, it’s important to approach it systematically. Verifying the faulty part is first and foremost.

While warranty coverage can handle the need for a replacement, it’s not always the most hassle-free way.

I recommend not relying solely on warranty solutions.

Instead, consider purchasing a new and reputable aftermarket part for a quicker fix.

3. Problems with Feeding:

Are you facing feeding issues? Yes, it’s a great frustration. It’s not a laughing joke; dealing with double-feeding can be a real headache.

Owners had the annoying experience of rounds failing to load properly due to widespread feed lips on the magazine. This causes multiple rounds to be fed simultaneously.

This frustrating issue is particularly annoying during high-stress situations at the range. Owners have experienced firsthand the difficulty of ejecting shells and ensuring they’re properly connected to the magazine.

Trust me, it’s worth keeping an eye on for a smoother shooting experience.


Okay, so the solution involves adjusting the magazine to ensure the proper loading of rounds. This prevents the problem from reoccurring. This also ensures a smooth shooting experience.

4. Ejecting Issue:

Next, one recurring theme is the ejection issue. While the rifle is ready for the next round, shell casings sometimes stick around. This creates a mess and potentially causes problems for the next shot.

My friend encountered a similar issue; his rifle would occasionally fail to eject spent casings properly. It leads to extractor spring tension problems and gumming up the system.

Despite attempts to pull out the spent casing, the extractor itself no longer seemed to snuffle it out effectively.

He mentioned having heard stories from other users with similar experiences. This indicates that this issue is not isolated.


Fear not; there’s a straightforward solution that many might overlook.

My experience with this rifle led me to discover a point of interest: the locking lugs and their sharp edges sometimes interfere with proper ejection.

After consulting a local gunsmith, I learned that polishing these lugs can work wonders.

Moreover, fine-tuning the recoil spring and ensuring the extractor is in top condition are solid options to tackle this issue.

Once these steps are fixed, the ejection issue’s solution is achieved!

5. Shooting Issues:

Listen, shooting problems can sometimes leave you scratching your head.

One shooting issue that stands out is its occasional silence after firing. This leaves shooters in a moment of frustration.

I’ve found that this notorious issue can stem from multiple factors. Ammo type and magazine condition are crucial aspects to consider.

However, the complex web of possibilities can complicate pinpointing the problem.

Addressing these issues is essential for a smooth shooting experience. Right?


Let’s talk about a solution. I’ve found that ensuring the magazine is seated correctly and that the extractor and recoil spring are in good condition often fixes the problem.

Does the issue persist? Don’t worry; it’s essential to consult with a gunsmith for an expert opinion.

An experienced gunsmith will rule out any root issues and suggest sending the rifle back to Kel-Tec for further examination. It proves to be a viable option.

By following these steps, you can enjoy a smooth shooting experience.

My Final Conclusion:

Let’s sum up. From my research, it’s apparent that this firearm is a mixed bag.

It boasts plenty of pros, such as being lightweight, versatile, and cost-effective. But. it’s also plagued with issues. Some users have reported damage to the receiver, bolt problems, and feeding inconsistencies.

However, none of these are insurmountable with attention to detail and elbow grease.

Personally, my research with this rifle has been positive.

Overall, with a bit of maintenance and swapping out parts like the magazine and bolt carrier group, it can perform like a champ.

My Friends Feedback:

My friend had several problems with the Kel-Tec SU-16. It had feeding and ejecting issues, especially with brass-cased ammo and some aftermarket parts.

The receiver showed wear, and there was a cracked barrel. Despite regular cleaning, it still malfunctioned. Issues often came from the extractor spring tension and magazine condition.

Using a Magpul PMAG helped, but double-feeding and ejecting problems persisted.

The warranty covered a replacement, but customer service was needed multiple times.

Accuracy was inconsistent, likely due to design flaws and the recoil stroke. The gun’s lightweight and folding features made it good for backpacking, but the plastic parts felt flimsy.

Different ammo types, such as Tula and Federal Value Pack, didn’t solve the problem.

The carbon fouling in the chamber was a constant issue.

Overall, the Kel-Tec SU-16 was convenient to carry but had serious reliability concerns.

Common Questions Asked About Kel-Tec SU-16 Problems:

What is the difference between the KelTec su16 A and B?

The SU-16B shares the features of the A model. It has a lighter barrel and an M-16-type adjustable-post front sight. The rear sight is windage adjustable. Some users criticize the B model for its barrel. They say it is too light for sustained firing.

What caliber is a Kel-Tec SU-16?

The Kel-Tec SU-16 is a 5.56mm NATO semi-automatic rifle with an 18.5-inch matte black barrel. It has a 10+1 round capacity. This gas-operated, self-loading rifle is chambered in .223 Remington. Its unique features make it a versatile sporting firearm.

What is a Kel-Tec Su 16a tactical 223 rem non restricted rifle?

KelTec reinvented the modern Sport Utility rifle with the SU16A. Chambered in 5.56 NATO, it’s a versatile utility rifle. It features a stock with storage for two 10-round magazines. The forend covers an 18.5-inch barrel and doubles as a bipod.

What is the twist rate of an SU16?

The SU16A has polymer stocks and a receiver with a steel bolt assembly and barrel. The barrel is 16 inches long with a 1:7-inch twist rate.

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