The Freedom Group is not TTAG’s BFF. We weren’t invited to Front Site to test Stage 1 (pre-production) versions of Remington’s new carry pistol, the R51. When I had a look at the R51 on the Show floor, all that agita counted for nothing. Nothing I saw at Remmy’s booth disabused me of the notion that Big Green’s fashioned a game-changing carry pistol. It’s not just the R51’s price (MSRP $389), caliber (9mm), capacity (7+1), concealability, extremely low bore axis (the Pedersen “hesitation locked” breech action reduces muzzle flip), all metal construction (reduces felt recoil), or female-friendliness (easy racking slide). It’s all of it. Not since the .32 caliber Colt 1903 has there been such a seemingly perfect combination of characteristics for everyday carry. I say seemingly because A) thebangswitch.com has serious reservations about the R51’s grip safety, trigger and production quality and B) Gabby Marcuus is also not impressed and C) the proof of the pudding is in the firing. Remington’s promised a sample. Watch this space.

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55 Responses to Robert Farago’s Pick of the SHOT Show: Remington R51

  1. I keep seeing all aspects of the spec for this thing inching upwards….

    Price ….then 380…then 420…preorder $499(yeah I know…capitalism)
    Size …smaller then shield…then 6.0″…maybe 6.2″ …maybe 6.5″?
    Weight…. 20oz…..22oz….???

    Starting to make me worry.

    You’d think that somebody would have nailed these down.

    I’ve yet to hear a peep about comparing/contrasting the muzzle flip to the competitors.

  2. I consider it junk until proven conclusively otherwise.

    It’s a Freedom Group product sold at a price under $500, using a brand new action in a new release handgun.It is , therefore, practically destined to be a heap of crap for at least for the first two years it’s on the market.

    I predict the R51 will be “The Gun That Could Have Been” of 2014.A lot of hearts are about to be broken once this thing hits the shelves.At least Apex will make bank selling replacement parts for whatever Remington/Freedom Group botches in the first run.

    • The action is not necessarily new. It’s based off the Remington Model 51 of yesteryears, which proved to be exceedingly reliable. As far as I remember, the Model 51 was also chambered in .45ACP and completely wiped the floor when it was compared to the 1911, but since world war 1 broke out and everything was already tooled to make 1911’s they decided to scrap the idea because of the cost to retool.

      • The Model 53 was chambered in .45ACP. The 51 was .32ACP and .380ACP.

        If, and it’s a big if, Remington actually machines these pistols well, I want one. But in the next two years.

        • Having finally seen the actual specs for this pistol, I’ll pass. It is about the same size, though 1/5 inch narrower, as my G36. It weighs about the same. The G36 is slightly shorter. But the G36 is .45ACP. and is easy to shoot well. When my clothes allow a slightly thicker grip, I turn to the G30S.

          I disagree that metal pistols shoot softer than polymer frames. I think it’s the other way around. I stick with the Milan-influenced style on the R51, though there’s also a hint of early Buck Rogers in the lines.

    • The question shouldn’t be is it smaller than a Mak. The question should be is it as well built and reliable as a Mak? As the owner of a Mak I’m constantly surprised at how well my Mak, essentially a surplus mass issue pistol, holds up in comparison to more modern, pricier tacticool wonders.

      • Here is a lil’ secret you already know:

        The mass produced, soulless guns are usually the most reliable. They are also a blank canvas where memories – both good and bad – will be “painted” on.

        Some of my best memories are from a friends Yugo AK, mainly since we go inna woods with it, and he taught me urban fighting with one.

    • But this is RF’s thing and it doesn’t seem right to discourage him. The minute I saw the SHOT Show photo I thought, “suck it up, Caracal, RF’s going to dump you.” Why? The 51 has that little bit of Italian-influenced curve, the styling to carry the thing.

      “Let Mikey try it!” Somebody’s got to.

    • Yep. I recently re-read the TTAG review of the Ruger SR9c (my all-time favorite EDC), which gave it glowing respect in almost every category, but now it seems that it is never mentioned and everything is measured against the MP or some other new wonder pistol. This thing holds 7+1, the SR9c holds 10+1 in its SMALL mag, 17 +1 in the large one. This Remington is all metal, the SR9 is polymer.

      Sorry, the Remington will have to be orders of magnitude better than the Ruger or Smith before I would even consider it, and I don’t see that happening.

      • Love my SR9c (my first handgun). But, it was on the big side when it came to EDC in Florida. So I got a Nano for IWB (I can wear w/e I want now — never prints). I threw a TLR-3 and the 17-rd mag + sleeve, and use the Ruger for HD now.

  3. I will keep watching, but not buying just yet. I don’t trust the Freedom Group. Hell, I would buy a Taurus over this right now. Remington has a lot to prove.

  4. Well, it’s not hideous to look at and I like the alloy frame. It does look like it is well engineered for accuracy and will fill a niche.

    I find it odd that they are calling it “the rock” as it seems like a rather large, low capacity firearm for EDC. Maybe the nick name is more appropriate than they realize?

    Personally I think the Taurus G2 is the gun to beat for EDC, great price and they seem to be working out well. Not sure why Rem burdened this thing with a grip safety. The whole thing feels very “retro.”

    • I believe “The Rock” is the goofy name that the Remington marketing people have given their website:

      http://therock.remington.com/

      As for the grip safety, I would think they almost had to have it, since the gun uses a single-action trigger to drop an internal hammer. It’s either that or a thumb safety, and the grip ordinarily would be a slightly more “automatic” option. (Though some reviews indicate that it can be tricky to engage it, so maybe not.)

    • I assume you mean Millenium G2? Theyve got a few G2 (gen 2) guns.
      I would agree its probably the best EDC when cost is considered. Bought mine for 330 but saw it couple weeks ago for $304, was gonna buy another. Shoulda.
      Best grip of any gun, ever

  5. I was enthusiastic about this gun, but that’s starting with the negative views of Gabby & Mac. I’m thinking the XDs9 4″ might be the way to go.

  6. I like the look but I live in Massachusetts where if it’s ever approved, it’ll be a long while before I could buy one anyway.

  7. It has a nice look, that’s about all the good I’ve heard on it lately.

    I think it will appeal to Bubbas because:

    1. It’s ostensibly going to be cheap and inexpensive.
    2. It says Remington on it just like their deer rifle does.
    3. It’s ‘Merican made man.

    I can’t see what the point of the exercise is for reviving a dead design that was already rejected by the market when it made it’s first appearance.

    It is also very odd that Remington did not want any press to shoot it at SHOT media range day. That’s pretty weird. If you know what I mean. Sketchy.

    I put it in the same category of “Who gives a damn?” as I do the Kimber Solo. Niche product.

    As for today’s iteration of the Pedersen design, too big, too heavy, too retro, too grippy safety. Why would I want this versus the LC9, Shield, XDs, PPS, P239, P225, P7M8, or H&K Mk 23, MP5K?

    What’s that? It’s thin you say? Oh.

    Well, lose some weight fat boy and you won’t have to worry about being able to stuff a pistol in your britches and pinching a roll of voluminous OWFG excess torso. Lol.

    Predictions:

    The usual suspects of gun reviewers who never met a pistol they didn’t like will extoll its virtues.

    American Rifleman magazine will give it some kind of award or something.

    It will sell okay. Especially the second year after the kinks get worked out.

    It will probably shoot pretty nice in terms of muzzle rise and felt recoil, and it will appeal to women shooters in that regard but many will not like to carry it because of size and weight.

    The grip safety will come to be hated by most. There will be lots of “This pistol would be a great carry option if only it didn’t have the retarded grip safety…:” followed by other dudes saying “Well if you ain’t man enough to operate a grip safety in a high streeeessss, adrenalized dump situation, then you ain’t dynamic enough for this pistol or to leave your house in the morning Nancy!”

    Having said all that, I will probably buy one of these and take it for a spin.

    (Never said I wasn’t a Bubba. 😛 )

    • Nothing is so beautifully, internally inconsistent than gun folk. “Piece of crap, I hear. Yeah, I’ll take two.” 😉

      I’m there with you.

    • “I can’t see what the point of the exercise is for reviving a dead design that was already rejected by the market when it made it’s first appearance.”

      It was lovingly embraced by the market for years. So many of them were made you can still find working examples of the M51 cheaply at gun shows. American participation in WWI kept the .45 version from going into production. Strain on resources and being more expensive than blowbacks after the ’29 stock market crash took the .380 version out of Remington’s lineup.

      It’s a low-bore axis, fixed barrel, single-action gun. That means it’s very low felt-recoil, has quick follow up shots, and should have an excellent trigger and accuracy. Hardly a failed design. We’ll have to see about excecution, but I don’t anticipate any more teething troubles than the S&W M&P had (“this trigger’s okay, but can you fiddle with it more?” etc).

    • I don’t think this will be better than the PPS but we’ll see. The 4″ bbl on the new xds is nice, a tad better velocity for 9mm without having to carry a Glock 19. Many Bubbas carry 1911 with or without them being branded Remington, Bubba knows what works, and he get’s his laddies done right even with a little spare jelly roll, its about testostorone-Bubba has it more of it than all the avacado/wheat grass-smoothy drinking prissy-shoed metro sexuals who stare at themselves in a gym mirror. Move that Jetta outa-the way of my kenworth flatbed ya sissy-boy!

  8. Meh. It sounds like a bunch of marketing hoopla to me. I don’t really see what the big deal is. It doesn’t really compare favorably to say.. The Steyr S9-a1 or a Glock except for price. Even then, there’s the Taurus G2 millennium. All have a higher capacity and are very close size wise. I’d like to see some reviews, but I don’t see that thing in my future.

  9. Well, thank God you guys already know so much about something you haven’t tested yet. That means we can skip all the reviews, range reports and hands-on accounts on the horizon and jump straight to conclusions.

    Or, we can reserve judgement until someone can actually put their hands on one and then make a decision, but that’s the kind of open-minded nonsense that kills the fun for fanboys.

    • You don’t need to have a felony rap sheet to realise prison really sucks.

      Do the math.Sub $500 retail price, made by a company with a VERY dodgy history (Freedom Group) of making reliable products, test samples being unavailable during the SHOT show, and signs of QC problems on the sample guns-which, by extension, means the actual products will be at least as badly machined seeing as how Remington would have picked the prettiest of the litter to show off this week.

      AND it uses a pistol action not seen since the 30’s.Im not a math genious, but all this computes to “Recall Waiting To Happen!!”.

      • A little reaching, don’t you think? Designs even older than that are in use today, and the original R51’s action still holds up fine. But by all means, don’t let my choice to not rush to judgment keep you from being a know-it-all.

      • I think we’re overlooking the huge flaw. The original Model 51 did not use a single screw, not one. The original had grip panels that attached via a spring-loaded fitting. On the R51 they’ve gone to screw-on panels. So they screwed it up, obviously.

      • I’ll definately be waiting on the happy-money-burners willing to be beta-testors. I’m interested in this working though but from those who had hands on feel of the grip safety it doens’t sound good. I like the idea of the grip safety as on the 1911 and XD pistols, its actuation should not be noticible when gripping the gun, no clicking or stiffness. It should not impede a natural grip of the frame, that’s the way the 1911 was designed. Even though the origional 1911 didn’t have the grip safety its still a great design, but only that its hardly noticible or at least its easy to actuate.

  10. Many years ago, I owned an original Remington Model 51 in .32 ACP. It was a beautifully proportioned gun, totally reliable, and I could kick myself for selling it. Now, its modern counterpart is available in 9mm, and I wish they had stuck to the original design. For whatever reason, they made an all-metal pistol that looks like it’s made out of plastic. I’m not crazy about ventilated triggers, and I don’t understand why they put a “bow wave” on the slide. That said, I’ll probably order one. I liked the feel of the sample at the SHOT Show, and the caliber makes it quite practical for EDC. I have a Kimber Solo DC on order, but God only knows when that will be available. Anyway, the price of the new R51 makes it very tempting.

  11. I’m guessing we will see at least two recalls on this handgun before it all said and done, just going with my gut here.

  12. The shiny new toy that I have to have syndrome. The Remmy could be the the greatest thing since sliced bread but I don’t see how it is going to be any better than all the other “carry” nines out there. If I didn’t already have my Nano I would look at but I am certainly not running out there and buying one just because it’s new and cool. Besides I am breaking down and considering finally getting a black rifle just because. That is unless I run into a good condition M-1 carbine on my way to the dealer.

    • If I was just looking for a new toy I’d pass, but I am in the market for a compact carry nine to replace the LCP in my pocket now (she’ll be migrating to an ankle holster).

      I will wait until some trustworthy reviews start rolling in or, ideally, borrow/rent one and try it out before I buy because, hell, the naysayers aren’t always wrong. Even a broken watch is still correct twice a day.

      Oh, and watch out for the Universal M1. Despite the name, most parts aren’t interchangable between it and the real deal.

    • I see the extremely easy to rack slide being huge (did you see how he grabbed the slide with his hand, and pushed down on the back of the handle with one finger and it racked easily?) This could also potentially make limp wristing — a problem which plauges Glocks and other polymer framed, non-Pederson designed semi-autos — non-existent, although the jury is still out of course.

    • Recoil and muzzle flip. My Kel-Tec pf-9 with +p rounds is BRUTAL!!! Faster and more accurate shot placement is a must for defensive applications. Also…larger grip surface allowing the frame to be gripped with 3 fingers instead of the usual 2 all with a flush mount mag. Plus the threaded fixed barrel option would be a hoot to shoot suppressed. So there’s a couple lol.

  13. S&W offered an all metal 9mm with one more round capacity many years ago. It started with the model 39 and continued in various forms through the 3913, etc.

    I occasionally carry my 3914 (black version of the 3913) and it’s proven to be an outstanding gun through years of range use. I’d stake my life on it.

  14. It looks interesting, and yes, I will be very excited on the day when I get to try one out. I do not feel a need to replace my G26, and will continue to save my money for something nicer.
    I give Rem applause for a metal-framed, single stack, 9mm.
    ……not another polymer .380. Attn:Glock

  15. I like it. I hope the threaded barrel version is at least 4.2″ to make it legal in Canada.The retro look and metal frame and interchangeable grip panels really set it apart from all the other new tupperware compacts.If it proves reliable this is going to sell like hotcakes.

    • I believe I read the non threaded was 3.74 iirc. So add 1/2 inch for the threads; I think your good.

      I’ll enjoy the extra velocity as well.

  16. As a fan of the original M51, I have to have one. Period. In fact, I may have sent Remington an email a year or two ago to beg them to build exactly this. Compare it to what will sell against it: plastiguns with creepy/gritty heavy triggers, plastic guide rods and other such cop-outs. For $400, I’m in.

  17. I like what I’ve seen of this new R-51 so far. Our firm plans to take a hard R&D look into this platform, much as our cousin company, Apex, did with the M&P. I suspect this new pistol has much potential, and we’ll help it along. Yes, it’s early on in it’s career, but I’d rather give it a try with an open mind and know from whence I speak, than to condemn it outright based on nothing but ignorant conjecture and misplaced biases. Remington is not Caracal, and if nothing else our friends in New York State deserve a decent new carry gun they can actually buy. So, let’s see how it really stacks up?

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