Hands-On with the Remington R51

P1010555

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.

P1010566

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.

avatar

About Nick Leghorn

Nick Leghorn is a gun nerd living and working in San Antonio, Texas. In his free time, he's a competition shooter (USPSA, 3-gun and NRA High Power), aspiring pilot, and enjoys mixing statistics and science with firearms. Now on sale: Getting Started with Firearms by yours truly!

76 Responses to Hands-On with the Remington R51

  1. avatarKeithF says:

    I still want to play with one. It’s shiny

  2. avatarJay In Florida says:

    Well if the biggest complaints the trigger reset.
    Most I feel who buy this gun arent going to care.
    Im one of them.
    Ive had guns in the past with 10 pound plus triggers.
    You can get used to anything and for close up and personal.
    Its almost irrelavent.

    • avatarActually says:

      I agree. The S&W 642 is one of the most popular carry guns of all time. Does it even have a tactile reset?

    • avatarIan says:

      I am more worried that he said it has a long, heavy trigger pull. I don;t mind heavy, but I hate long. I had an LC9 and got rid of it because the trigger was too damn long. Replaced it with a Shield and that is much better.

      Maybe I will have to fondle one of these at a gun show to see if I like the trigger before I buy one.

  3. avatarSteveInCO says:

    Maybe it will end up being 419.99 to match the mile marker sign the state of Colorado put up to replace the 420 one that kept getting stolen.

    Besides, Washington State should like the price too.

    I seem to be in the minority in not liking the 51′s looks; it’s *too* Buck Rogers. I expect it to come with tail fins when it looks like that. (Conversely a Glock Block is too far in the other direction.)

    I do hope it works out to have better ergos than a Makarov.

    • avatarWilliam O. B'Livion says:

      Don’t care what it looks like, I’m not putting it on a wall with a frame around it, or other things inappropriate for a family blog.

      It’s going to spend most of it’s life in a safe, holster or other carrying device. Now the designer had not been told “Make it evil”, and he’d not been told. ‘Make it totally clear that this gun has a right end and a wrong end. Make it totally clear to anyone standing at the wrong end that things are going badly for them. If that means sticking all sort of spikes and prongs and blackened bits all over it then so be it.”

      So it’s neither scary ugly, nor Italian Double Pretty.

      But, to finish the quote, “This is not a gun for hanging over the fireplace or sticking in the umbrella stand, it is a gun for going out and making people miserable with.”

      Thank you Douglas Adams, RIP.

  4. avatarPaul W says:

    How does the trigger compare to Ruger’s SR9c or the LC9? I shot an LC9 this weekend nad oh god that trigger was horrible…

  5. avatarST says:

    Just my two cents, but reset is overrated.The ability to reset the trigger fast is no good if you can’t acquire a sight picture beforehand-and that takes a healthy amount of practice to pull off.

    IMO, a trigger which requires the shooter to take their finger totally off the pad before shooting again forces the shooter to get a proper sight picture ,which for a gun aimed at being used by novices is a plus.

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      Interesting point. One I never much thought about.

    • avatarDan A says:

      ST: You’re absolutely correct with your first point.

      I’d like to add that this “complaining about the reset” issue is spreading to people who don’t even know what it is that they’re complaining about. As in, pulling the trigger and letting it out without cycling the action first and saying “horrible reset!” Pretty common.

  6. avatar505markf says:

    I’m thinking not quite ready for prime time. It is telling when a manufacturer like the big R bails on Media Day. Someone made a calculated decision that the risks – possibly negative reviews – outweighed the rewards. I still love the ideas and love the looks of the thing, but am sort of glad it’s not truly released yet. Another couple of months of work on the trigger, etc., will no doubt pay dividends when it is available for widespread reviews.

    I’m (patiently) waiting for this one. Looks just awesome.

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      I agree. At this point, I still want a pair of ‘em. But I’m on a bit higher alert level about the gun.

    • avatarropingdown says:

      If you want a pair of them, were you influenced by the image of a knife ground into the slide, handle at the muzzle? Did you even see it that way? Is that needed to cover for a mechanical design fact or is it just tail fins on a early sixties cadillac? Readers want to know.

  7. avatarLongBeach says:

    Chamber it in 460 Rowland and i’ll buy two.

  8. avatarActually says:

    How easy was the slide to rack compared to the Shield (which I hear is relatively hard to rack) or a Glock 26? And regarding the not-returning-to-battery issue, were you slingshotting the slide as in quickly ripping it back and releasing in one motion?

    Guesstimate on the trigger pull weight? Less than a 642?

    • avatarroger says:

      My shield was hard to rack initially, but after one range trip, maybe 100rounds thru the gun, it racked like all my other semis so break in was quick.

  9. avatar2Wheels says:

    I’m hoping the trigger will be good, the potential for a great trigger is part of what got me excited about this gun. Hopefully production versions aren’t quite like what Nick described.

    Questions for Nick…

    Was the trigger a straight back pull similar to a 1911?

    You said the trigger was long and heavy, can you compare it to anything? Did it still feel like a single action trigger, even if a little long/heavy for that type?

    Also, I too was surprised TFB got left out by Remmy! I saw the news everywhere else and ran here to see what y’all thought but saw nothing!

    • avatarRobby B says:

      It’s pouting reviews like this why they weren’t invited. This “review” is so full of backhanded praise and unfounded concern trolling its laughable.

      Nick did you ask for a review copy, talk to the reps, read up on how the action works?

      • avatarChris says:

        He has no idea how it works and has not fired it or even handled a functioning example, but that won’t stop him from spouting baseless conjecture. Not like it matters, his reviews in general are borderline worthless. Lots of bitching with little valuable information.

        • avatarMichael B. says:

          What rock did you two trolls come out from under? It’s not a review, you jack wagons, and I guarandamntee you that his actual reviews are better than anything you mooks can put out.

        • avatarTotenglocke says:

          Like his nonsensical review of the VEPR 12 last week?

        • avatarropingdown says:

          -and he speaks highly of you, too, Chris.

      • It’s… Um… Not a review. Hence why it’s not titled “Gun Review.” It’s the first impressions of this firearm by a single person. You’ll know when we post the review because we’ll call it a review.

        • avatarRobby B says:

          Well thank you for updating the “hands on” to answer some of the questions and clarify that the trigger reset reliability was only a problem with the one floor sample gun. Normally don’t you put updated info at the bottom and label it “update” so that people don’t have to re-read the whole article?

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      “Was the trigger a straight back pull similar to a 1911?”

      That is a fact, and it’s been established several times over in the last 10 days or so; you might do well to go back and check those articles. They might also answer other questions you may have about it.

      But not the ones that still might make or break the deal. The $31 sticker hike may not kill the deal for me, but it still kinda miffs me, and in no small measure.

    • It’s a rotating trigger just like any other striker fired handgun. I may be spoiled by light rifle triggers and 1911 triggers, so to me it’s heavier than a competition gun but it somehow feels lighter than a Glock trigger. Which shouldn’t be, because Glock is a 5.5 pound trigger and this is reportedly about a 6 pound trigger.

      The break was perfect, glass rod esque. But it felt like I had to move my finger quite a bit to get back to the reset, and the lack of a positive reset wasn’t helping. The rep said that on the range it won’t make a difference, but until we actually get it on the range I have no way of knowing.

      I know what I like, and I know what I don’t like. This gun has some great features and a lot of potential, but there are some things they’re asking us to take on faith without ever firing it. And we don’t do that.

      • avatarJLR84 says:

        The R51 is not striker-fired, it’s an internal shrouded hammer SAO design.

        The article on the R51 over at TFB has an animation showing the mechanism.

        http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2014/01/01/remington-announces-r-51-pistol/

        • avatarRobby B says:

          ya its a hammer fired pistol, like the m51 its based on

          Also clearly intended as a carry gun so a Long and Heavy trigger which is long and heavy when compared to a tuned 1911… well I sure am glad you got your “hands on” this one. I look forward to the real review, I’ll be sorely disappointed if this shoots more than 1/4moa

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          1/4 MOA?? A little pistol like that? Stand by for some bad news.

        • avatarJLR84 says:

          A quarter MOA might be optimistic, but the the fixed barrel should help accuracy immensely. The tilting barrel of most modern semi-automatic handguns does not lend itself to extreme accuracy, fortunately a defensive handgun doesn’t generally need that kind of accuracy.

        • avatarRobby B says:

          …Of course it won’t have 1/4 moa, it was a joke since Nick was poopooing the trigger saying its long and heavy and generally crap, then later admits its better than a stock glock and better than other stock pocket guns he’s tried. (6 lbs is not heavy) the joke is that he was comparing it to all the custom 1911 comp gun’s (which I imagine cost several times the r51) triggers. This was originally a hit piece cause Rem didn’t invite him to the party, he’s updated the article several times since it was first published to make it sound less negative.

          maybe I should have used the sarc tag

      • The thing I have about heavy triggers it it always causes me to shoot low and to the right, I have learned to compensate by aiming high to the left. That said, I figure that if I aim center mass, I should at least take out a knee cap or two.

  10. avatarPeterK says:

    420? Up from the previously reported 389?

    Meh, then. Meh I say!

  11. avatarShawn says:

    Frack the Freedom Group and their overpriced 300 AAC ammo. Another company that we should boycott. People complain about CTD, Remington did the same with the ammo. Jacked up prices and claimed shortage.

  12. avatarJan Andersen says:

    Nick Leghorn: Your use of the term “mouse gun” severely degrades any standing you may have as a reviewer, more so when used about a 9mm firearm. It is not only ignorant, it is also the mindset of putting down those with different opinions that gun grabbers use.

    • avatarLucas D. says:

      I’ve never really considered the term “mouse gun” to be derogatory. It usually applies to any pistol small enough to conceal in the front pocket and doesn’t indicate anything about inherent quality.

    • avatarrawmade says:

      Uh…what?
      Mouse gun means small, what the hell do YOU think it means?

    • Mouse Gun (n) – /mous/ /gən/ – A small handgun, approximately mouse size. Use of the term is known to annoy anonymous people on the internet who take things way too seriously.

    • avatarLouie T. says:

      I have a snake gun in my pocket . A diamondback db9, small snake with a big bite !

  13. avatarcrashbbear says:

    I think a long trigger on this is a good thing since it has no external safty other than the grip safty. Bubbas won’t send a round through their leg.

    And I agree with Robbie B and Jan Andersen, articals around here lately have felt less professional/ objectionable and more butthurt/ negativly snarky.

  14. avatarensitue says:

    My take?
    10 LB trigger w/long pull makes this worthless for the elderly and those with hand issues.
    No Reset? Maybe an issue, but a 10 pound TP sorta makes that moot. If Glock can make a trigger w/lighter pull and trigger reset, in a plastic gun w/trigger safety why can’t Rem do it in a metal gun?
    None of this matters as I will NEVER buy another Rem due to their anti-gun proclivities

  15. avatarDave s says:

    9 isnt a mousegun, that term goes to the new glock

  16. avatarGherkin says:

    It weighs 20ozs empty and has a 3.4″ barrel, It’s as big as a PPK. As far as the trigger, Nic was playing with a SHOT show floor model. I’ll wait to shoot one before I jump on the “it has a crappy trigger” bandwagon.

  17. avatarWilliam Burke says:

    Wait, two weeks ago the MSRP was about $380, and now it’s $420? Did they raise the price to $420 in honor of Colorado’s weed legalization, or what? I don’t like this; it feels somewhat like bait and switch.

  18. avatarEl Mac says:

    420. Wow, funny. How original Nick.

  19. avatarjkp says:

    Trigger is the heart of any gun, CCW or no. I was hoping this would be a good ‘un.

    Sigh. Maybe I *will* consider the G42.

  20. avatarDrew says:

    I’ll have to try the trigger myself, the other reports and videos said the literal opposite about the trigger, it being light with a short reset, so an actual firing model needs to come out.

  21. avatarWvcycling says:

    I was under the impression that the msrp was $360-something or so?

  22. avatarDean says:

    This elderly guy wants one and I check out TTAG first. If Foghorn wants to speculate and provide his opinion that’s great. What sold me was the Gunblast video that showed the recoil when they emptied a couple magazines at the end. In my opinion it is almost like a 22 and a lot less less recoil than a Walther PPK or SIG 232. Thats what I want in a CCW.

    I’ll take a SA with a long pull over a DAO anytime. A good ‘smith can tune it the way you want it or you can just practice till you and the gun are one.

    By the way if the term “mouse gun” offends you may be just a tad too sensitive to CC and getting old is tough but a heavy trigger is not on the list of concerns and it’s a long, long list.

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      I feel much the same way. As regarding referring to yourself as “elderly”, I have failed to embrace my inner Elder completely. I’m still in the bargaining phase with “sorta old”. ;) So good for you.

  23. avatarBob handmaiden says:

    Well somebody shit in your Cheerios. figuring you don’t have right price, type of action, how the trigger is fantastic, and has been tested at a party you were not invited to with one hiccup after 8 crates of ammo.

  24. avatarJoe Simeone says:

    Mouse gun refers to the caliber, a 32 acp or a 25 acp not a ass kicking 9 mm…. I hope I did not rumple your feathers Fog Horn Leg Horn…..I say, I say, I don’t like the trigger…it bothers me boy. Another American gun maker making a gun in the USA, since when is this not a good thing. I wish the XDM , XDs were made in the USA, for the price Springfield gets for a gun made by a small 2nd world country, I think they could make it here. Springfield would have to actually design a gun of their own to do that..

  25. What is the trigger reach like on the R51? It looks awfully far from the thumb recess to the trigger face. I have very small hands and need a very short trigger reach. A good way for me to illustrate my hand size is that I can get all four fingers on the grip of my Shield with the 7 round magazine in place. The pinky hangs off a bit (about 20%), but it does have purchase.

  26. avatarcaligula says:

    I’m going to reserve judgement, but I think this pistol has a lot of promise: Price-point, metal frame, concealable, capacity, and the action may reduce recoil to differentiate it from it’s competitors, e.g., Luger LC9, Kel-Tec PF-7, Beretta Nano, M &P Shield, and the latest Taurus junk. However, if it suffers from post-production defects and quality control issues, it could be short lived. Does Caracal ring a bell?

  27. Wow, looks a lot like a gussied up Walther PPK.

    Price is right for us cheapskates but Remington is living off it’s reputation. They are not my father’s gun company. Too corporate with an eye to mass production. Next they will outsource for some of that fine craftsmanship the Chinese are so well known for….

  28. avatarWilliam Burke says:

    ?

  29. avatardjsqueeze says:

    Left this review on Slickguns earlier today:

    Bought one this wkend. Was
    Submitted by djsqueeze on Mon, 2014-03-17 00:46.
    Bought one this wkend. Was looking at the R51 and the Ruger LC9 w/laser. I chose the R51 because I had waited so long for its arrival. I now wish I had chosen the Ruger. I arrived home with my new purchase and as usual I put it to the test. I loaded one magazine with 5rds of 9mm snap caps. I pulled the slide and released it. The slide did not complete it’s forward travel. I pushed the magazine release button and found that quite stiff. Once the magazine released, I pulled on the slide, nothing. It was stuck. Throughout the day I’ve been trying to get used to the R51. However, with the problems I’ve been having I’m almost afraid to run live ammo through this firearm for fear of getting a live round stuck in the chamber; something I did later in the day. So, at this time I wish I had chosen the Ruger LC9 w/laser for $30 more.

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      So you are saying a round “got stuck in the chamber”? Can you be a little more detailed, please?

Leave a Reply

Please use your real name instead of you company name or keyword spam.