One week to the day after I gave my XR9-S slide and magazines to UPS, I received the following email from Arne Boberg. Reproduced with his permission:

Eric,

I got your parts yesterday and had a chance to work on them today. The magazine that had gotten the rounds stuck had totally missed our final sizing process – it was .015″ too wide – it could never work at all. We normally size the “cup” width within .002″ of spec. I put the magazine through our sizing process and ran the QC gages through it . . .

I looked at your barrel and the runout was way too much – next week we will be getting the new production barrels which are made on centers, and will use one of those as replacement.

I stripped the slide all the way down and rounded several edges that could catch on the shell casing, delaying it from leaving the ejection port. Then I re-blasted the slide with Zirconia. The casings should now “slide through”.

As far as the magazine with the popped out spring – I didn’t find anything out-of-spec on the spring or the magazine – I’m wondering if it had come out because there was a lone bullet in there tangling it up during a separation. What I did do with both magazines is close the upper magazine lips in about .015″ – this should be much better for retaining the spring. The top two coils of the spring actually comprise the follower. There are a lot of examples out there where wire-forms have replaced solid surfaces – shelving is one example that comes to mind.

Your slide assembly and magazines will be test-fired on one of our receivers (I’ll probably just use my current carry gun – a recent Platinum model) with standard pressure and +P ammunition to make certain the issues you had are no longer present.

While you may ask why we didn’t request the whole gun back, we have learned that most issues customers have had lie in the slide assembly, which is much cheaper to ship. The only times where we had to get the whole gun back was with pins walking out (we use set screws now) and sticky triggers. Our receivers, and all the parts in them, are consistent within a few thousandths of an inch from gun to gun, so testing a slide assembly on an interchangeable receiver is considered a valid test.

Arne

It is rare to see such service and I look forward to receiving everything back running a bunch of ammo through the gun.

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37 Responses to Boberg XR9-S Update

  1. Sounds like a good business. They are on top of it and are not shy about taking the hit on their part.

    • Admitting they had a problem was their first sign of being a respectable company. Fixing the issue and giving back such a detailed report on why they had issues, well, that’s customer service that gets people to be repeat customers. They were upfront and honest about everything, issues and all. I respect that.

  2. As someone who worked in a tightly regulated and QA/QC driven field, the obvious questions that are not answered here are:

    How did these parts slip through their process to this customer?
    How many other defects were shipped?
    What changes will be put in place to prevent further such events?

    Without answers to these questions, why should we trust your product with a life and death critical product?

    • Probably because they are still ramping up their business and it may take some time to establish QA/QC for a new product particularly if it is a new business. Not excusing it, but that is probably why.

      -D

    • Because these same type of defects happen all the time with Springfield, Ruger, Kahr, S&W, Browning, Remington, Mossberg, Colt, Savage, FN, DPMS, Marlin, Henry, Sig, Walther, Beretta, CZ, Kimber, H&K, Glock.

      My Kahr pistol, from a supposedly top tier firearms manufacturer, has been nothing but endless malfunctions since day one. And it has been back to the manufacturer twice. Still no good. My Mossberg had TWO magazine followers installed, and when the forearm cap was removed to take it down, it proceeded to fire the retainer cap and magazine spring into the next zip code. My Browning was manufactured with a warped barrel and never shot straight.

      The difference is the apparently excellent and prompt customer service you’ll get from Boberg, vs the next to zero customer service from everyone else.

  3. So, don’t buy until they got their shit in order or you can get the boss to work the gun over by hand, got it.

  4. Agree w/ Dubya Bee. Interesting to hear the results of the evaluation, but this is a disturbing situation. He is correct, the most important thing going forward is what are the processes put in place to insure no other firearm leaves their facility with this degree of faults. Without that, no amount of “my bad mea culpa” should convince anyone that they should put their faith in their product.

    • The number of faults is disturbing, but if one QA employee doesnt do his job right, you cant fault the entire company. Hopefully this is just one bad example, but who knows. I was looking at this gun, but dont have the funds right now, and even if I did I would probably hold off for a while until there are more range reports. I’m still pissed at all the problems my FNP-45 Tactical has, and that is from a company that manufactures 80% of the small arms for the US military.

      • “but if one QA employee doesnt do his job right, you cant fault the entire company”

        Sure you can and it happens all the time. I worked in the semiconductor industry. If one QA worker made a huge error, it could potentially cost us millions of dollars, as well as our customers with down-time and ruined lots of wafers.

        Luckily, our QA/QC process had multiple checks and balances and would catch something like this long before it hit the loading dock!

        • Its a apples and oranges comparison. A semiconductor firm has massive amounts of capital to hire almost as many QA employees as need (and I thought most QA was automated?). Comparing it to a tiny gun company that can only pump out a few dozen pistols in a month isnt exactly fair.

    • My experience with Boberg is a far cry from Kel Tec who would keep the returned gun six weeks, never communicate, and send it back with the same problem.

  5. Its a cool gun but as always the first buyers are the beta testers. Remember the iPhone antenna glitch? I’m glad to see Boberg is so dedicated to making his customers happy.

  6. These kinds of problems aren’t uncommon for a newer manufacturer. At least they are trying to fix it. Still, they should probably hire some experienced people to look at their processes to get these kinds of issues worked out quicker.

    • FN Herstal has plenty problems with their $1000 ($1300 MSRP) FNP-45 Tacticals, but they wont generally acknowledge the issues, at least Boberg knows customer service.

  7. While I admire the fact that the company is making things right, and not ducking things publically, the gun should have been right in the first place. For that much money, and with such intense competition, it should have been perfect. Hopefully someday the products will be good enough to justify the price.

  8. I’ll give the guy credit for being honest, but the lack of quality control could have ruined your whole day if you needed to use this gun to save your life. I wonder how many other guns made it out that may fail at the range or even worse, in a real world DGU situation.

    • Range yes…

      Defensive gun use? Be honest, no.

      Police departments and others who are actually likely to need a defensive gun are not carrying these yet, and won’t until things are much more tested at the range.

      In particular, the design’s natural ammo sensitivity is an instant veto. Many autoloading pistol rounds is not designed to have a large negative G-force on the cartridge before firing. Let alone a negative-extraction design.

      • I agree with you. While it would have been much harder to get the project off the ground I believe Boberg would have been wise to work an ammo manufacturer to either design a new cartridge from the ground up. Something like the 9mm Boberg. Or have a custom load creating for an existing cartridge so at least they can recommend a reliable load.

        • There is a way they could make this work with standard 9mm. They’ll need to mount the magazine extractor in a cam slot rather than hard-pinning it to the slide. The slot should be long enough to delay movement until after unlocking, when the mainspring, recoil spring, and case wall friction are all slowing the slide. That should reduce the impulse experienced by the cartridge, and prevent pulling. Of course, it’s really the jerk (technical term, first derivative of acceleration, aka “It’s not the fall that kills you, it’s the sudden stop at the end”) that’s pulling the bullet. A sudden hit at the end of the travel might still do that, so they might need a spring along the slot to begin extraction sooner. But my dynamics class is many years in the past, and I’m sure Boberg has software to do all that simulation now to say for sure.

          What’s really disappointing is they don’t appear to have used it before transferring the design to metal.

  9. I have to say the customer service looks great. Yeah I know it should have never shipped but given they are a new kid on the block at least they ate doing what needs to be done and not shy about saying what was wrong. I am sure internally they are working on the manufacturing process to fix the wrongs.

  10. JMOfartO:

    Gentlemen..

    First let me admit I’m a big Arne Boberg, and Boberg Arms, Inc. fan, so my comments are probably prejudiced a bit in his favor, but..

    I’m old (69).. I’ve been buying and selling guns (primarily pistols/revolvers) for over half a century and I learned a long time ago that a first run, or early series “anything” will probably have bugs yet unfound until enough hit the hands of consumers and as you mentioned the consumers do the “beta testing” for that manufacturer, whoever it might be.

    Arne has approximately 500 or less XR9-S in circulation at this time…

    I did a lot of soul searching before I committed to buy a new Boberg XR9-S because I have been a beta-tester in the past for Beretta, Charter Arms, Taurus, and Walther… I didn’t plan it that way, but that’s the way it worked out.

    I had promised myself that “never again” would I buy a first series “anything” and I’d let other “immediate gratification” buyers do that and then, and only then would I open my wallet.

    But the problem with that thinking, with the new XR9-S is that, at this time, Arne is only capable of producing 60-80 guns per month. If I wanted to wait for a couple of thousand guns to hit the streets and be beta-tested and refined by extensive use in the hands of early buyers it would take at least 2 years or more, and folks at 69+ I don’t have two years to waste IF I want a Boberg XR9-S.

    I hate it that some of the new guns have problems, but if there are approximately 500 guns in the hands of new owners it seems very few are having issues and apparently most love ’em.

    For me personally, IF my Boberg XR9-S has problems I will send it back to be fixed under warranty. I would never consider using ANY new firearm for personal defense until I had run enough trouble-free rounds thru it to determine it is reliable..

    I’m guessing most prospective Boberg XR9-S buyers are not undergunned BEFORE they plink down most of a thousand bucks for the new Boberg.. For me personally, I have several pretty good compact 9MM pistols now. So if I have to send my XR9-S back for warranty repair I will still be well armed in the meantime.

    Obviously the Boberg XR9-S is not for everyone. The “Bulldog” ugly appearance will turn some off… Early reports of problems, as we are now discussing, will turn off others..

    But, there are approximately 1000 names on the pre-order list at present, and those potential buyers alone will ensure Arne and Boberg Arms, Inc. survivability until all bugs are found and dispatched.. Once that is done I believe a continuing list of folks wanting the unique XR9-S will insure the long term survivability of Boberg Arms, Inc.

    There are very few sub (mini?) compact 9’s such as the XR9-S.. Rohrbaugh and the Kimber Solo immediately come to mind. I think there will be enough future customers for all three pistols to keep the manufacturers pumping out new ones for a long, long time..

    Oh yeah… The Kimber Solo was the darling of the gun magazines when it hit the consumer market and that sucker has not been precisely trouble-free now has it? LOL

    No offense to anyone, just making conversation.

    Jesse

    • Jesse- thanks for your perspective. I don’t remember Mr. Kimber writing about how he will fix his Solo problems on TTAG either….

    • You’ve made some excellent points Jesse, and I’m a huge Kimber fan who was very disappointed by the first Solo’s. I still have all my Kimbers and I shoot them at the range, but my carry gun is now the Glock 30SF and sometime soon (I hope) the 36.

      • I got a good deal on a g36 the other day ($450 with 3 mags) and I really like it. Carries like a dream and very accurate considering the short barrel.

    • Or:
      One H&K P2000sk (V3)
      2+ Beretta Nano’s
      3 Ruger LC9’s
      4 High Points
      or….

      What it boils down to is that IF you want a Boberg XR9-S EVEN KNOWING there might be bugs, you want a Boberg XR9-9..

      Not two M&P’s, or any number of any other 9MM pistols…

      I had three HK P7’s, liked ’em, never loved ’em.
      I had two Walther P99’s, liked em.
      I had a Taurus PT92, hated it.
      I had a Sig P239, liked it a lot.
      I had two Glock 26s, hated ’em.
      I had a Star BM, loved it.
      I had a Chinese Tokarev, hated it.
      I had a Bersa Thunder9/UC, liked it.
      I had a Walther P5, loved it.
      I had a Walther P1, like it a lot.
      I had a KelTec P11 (hey, you can get FOUR of these).
      I had a Belgian Browning HP, loved it.

      I still have ~
      S&W 3913
      S&W 3913LS
      S&W 5906
      S&W 6906
      HK P2000sk (V3)
      Ruger LC9

      I don’t want two S&W M&P’s, or anything else. I WANT a Boberg XR9-S.

      But if YOU would prefer two S&W M&P’s rather than the butt ugly XR9-S it’s nice they are available for you at most quality gun stores.. No fuss, no muss, no waiting.

      I’m of the opinion that a person can only carry one 9MM pistol concealed for personal defense, so having two of any particular models means one will stay at home in the gun safe.

      Please understand I am NOT arguing your logic, nor do I mean to offend.. Just saying, “the heart wants what the heart wants”,(as my good friends ex-wife told him just before she filed for divorce), and this senior citizens heart wants what it BELIEVES will wind up being an absolutely top quality, top performance, tiny and easily concealable self defense 9MM pistol.

      And for me, that is the Boberg Arms XR9-S.

      Just conversin’, not confrontin’.

      Best Wishes,

      Jesse

  11. I’m glad to see a company (any company) take the time to communicate with their customers.

  12. They should contact customers and offer to repair or replace those barrels and have the slides inspected as well.

  13. I have worked in manufacturing a long time. While I admire their forthright response to their investigation, I can only conclude that they have very little control of their manufacturing process.

    I could never recommend buying any product from them.

    • I purchased a xr9s when they first came out and have never had a problem. I have fired hundreds of rounds through it and never a problem. I think a lot of people are looking down on the little gun who do not own one and have never fired one. Shut up until you know what you are talking about.

  14. I don’t see these growing pains as a problem IF it is known to the consumer in advance that such problems are possible and that the company is still getting their process in order. If that is the case then what the consumer is investing in is an technology idea they think they may like and they are engaged in the development process with the company (willing to discover problems and iterate with the manufacturer).

    -D

  15. My new Boberg XR9-S works fine (100% for the small number of rounds I’ve had the opportunity to run through it, 85.) It sucks that yours didn’t, but I’m not surprised Arne is being completely honest and making it right. I ordered 3 extra mags to compliment the 2 included. All work just fine.

    I worked in the firearms industry in my younger days (manufacturing and sales) and seen screw-ups from most of the major players. For only 550 guns shipped so far, I’d say Boberg is doing well for a small startup company. Not where it ought to be (perfection) but forging ahead. Of course this means nothing when you’re the one who gets the gun that shit the bed right out of the box… I’d probably be a bit torqued as well. Hopefully all will be well that ends well.

    For such a robust tiny little pistol, I’ll gladly select ammo with a firm crimp if that’s what it takes. It’s certainly a convenient trade off compared to the only thing close in size, the Rohrbaugh, which needs frequent recoil spring changes, is built to carry a lot and shoot a little, and kicks like a mule.

    I look forward to your final installment.

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