I imagine that most of the gun community has heard of the Remington R51 by now. If not here’s the basics: it is a single-stack 9mm pistol based on a historic Remington pistol also called the R51. It has been updated with modern manufacturing and metallurgy, but remains very similar to the original gun.
One of the more surprising things I experienced at Media Day is going to the Remington shooting lanes to discover that the company chose to not bring the gun to the range with them. Asking about, I was not able to get a single answer on why that is. Different reps told me different things. But, all assured me the gun was in production and would be shipping soon.
Remington had several of the R51 guns on the show floor. Another writer told me he thought the trigger was gritty. The one I dry fired, however, had a nice trigger on it. I hope the production guns have the light, smooth trigger I experienced.
If you need a holster for your R51, visit our list of all holsters for the gun.
Problems (April Update)
After the guns started shipping, people all over the country began complaining of problems with the guns. In the era of YouTube and social media, these problems were quickly documented and repeated by many Remington customers. Among the problems were guns exhibiting excessive primer flow, failing to go into battery and generally not being reliable.
I had the chance to shoot a production (not a test gun) R51 owned by Paul Carlson of Safety Solutions Academy. We experienced many of the same problems with the gun that other people did. I found this to be exceptionally disappointing considering how much I was looking forward to these pistols.
One of the problems I experienced beyond the normal reliability issues was pretty significant slide bite. The web of my shooting hand was chewed up pretty bad by the gun during normal shooting. I do not have large hands, and rarely have this problem with any other gun. (Note: I was later told by others who were watching me shoot, that it appeared the hot gasses from the chamber were actually responsible for injuring my hand. I believe this is something akin to flame cutting one might see with a revolver.)
Replacements (July Update)
It was announced in July of 2014, well short of a year into production, that the entire line of R51 pistols was being recalled by Remington. No fixes to the existing guns will be made. Rather, the company will begin production of a new version of the handgun that they will ship to existing owners.
As a “make good,” Remington will throw in two additional magazines and a Pelican pistol case for all current owners.
In the press release, the company stated that “numerous experts found the pistol to function flawlessly.” I’m not sure who those experts were, what they were shooting, or when they shot the guns. Remington stated that “loyal customers notified us that some R51 pistols had performance issues,” and that they ceased production of the pistols once they realized there was a problem.
I’ve heard a variety of things about why there was a problem with the production guns. Some people have stated that there were problems with an outsourced part, but Remington isn’t saying.
What I do know is that the company had enough guns for writers to shoot at a media event in the Fall of 2013. When the SHOT Show rolled around in January 2014, Remington did not have a single R51 pistol on the range at Media Day. The representative they had in the Remington portion of the range hemmed and hawed, but was not able to provide an answer to why the guns were not there. Frankly, he seemed embarrassed by the lack of guns.
It would seem that somewhere between the media event and the SHOT Show, Remington encountered a problem. Maybe a supplier changed…maybe additional testing suggested a problem. I don’t know and I doubt anyone outside of Remington knows either.
Regardless, the lack of guns to shoot at SHOT Show suggests that there was a problem, and that problem may have carried over to the production guns.
So, now the consumers are in the position of having defective guns, but the promise of a future Remington R51 that will work. The new pistol production should start in October 2014. Hopefully, the guns will start shipping and get into the hands of existing customers quickly.