Hands-On with the Remington R51

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Needless to say, we were all a bit miffed that Remington would hold a coming out party for their new R51 handgun and not invite us. But despite the setbacks, I’ve now put my hands on their R51 carry gun. And while there are some things I’m really liking, there are some that I’m not . . .

The gun uses an aluminum frame, which I’m really digging. Ruger et al are using polymer frames for their mouseguns, but I prefer the feel of actual metal. I get the feeling that the operating mechanism of the gun also requires a stronger frame to handle the recoil. The gun also looks great and feels really good in the hand, which gets high marks in my book.

The wheels start to come off the bus when you pull the trigger. The gun has a trigger with about a 6 pound pull, but unlike some other striker fired handguns the break is actually pretty crisp. The issue is that there’s no real tactile reset — no click to tell you when the trigger is ready to fire again. S&W had the same issue with their early M&P handguns, but they fixed that in the Shield that came out not too long ago.

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The slide feels… strange. The recoil system is to blame for this one, but it’s just slightly annoying for someone who has been used to the smooth slide motion on other handguns.

The last issue is probably the biggest: I couldn’t reliably dry fire the thing. When I went to rack the slide, the gun would occasionally not return to battery. It might be indicative of a reliability issue, or it could just be a byproduct of having the firing pins removed for the show. I can’t tell because, as I said, they haven’t let us shoot it yet.

We talked to the guys at the booth about the issue, and the conclusion was that someone didn’t put that gun back together correctly after removing the firing pin for the show. They handed me a different one and it worked fine every time, but we’ll still need some range time to confirm that the gun functions as intended. We’ve been promised one of the first few off the assembly line to check out, and I’m looking forward to taking it to the range.

So, in short, it has a lot of potential. If it works. MSRP is going to be $420, much to the delight of Colorado residents, and the Crimson Trace upgrade will be about another $200. It’s one of the more talked about guns of the show — and for good reason — but the real proof of whether its the perfect single stack 9mm carry gun will come as soon as we feed it some live ammo.