Great Gun Ideas That Just Didn’t Work Out

courtesy gifer.com

Have you ever found a particular example of a type of product that, in concept, anyway, seems great? Something that you figured everyone would be destined to love? Only, for one reason or another, hardly anyone buys it and the product languishes in relative obscurity. Guns are no different.

Sometimes it’s due to a manufacturing fault or otherwise not executing the design as well as it could have been. Sometimes it’s due to a product hitting the market at the wrong time.

One of the guns that, on paper anyway, should be much more popular than it is: the Remington R51. It had so much promise. A slim, lightweight polymer frame with a grip safety for added security. Its dimensions make it easily concealable. A bore axis lower than a CZ, cool sci-fi looks that are actually interesting in a sea of boxy plastic fantastics and the novel Pederson hesitation lock mechanism.

But we all know what happened. The pistol hit store shelves before the bugs had been ironed out and it got pulled from the market within months of release. It wasn’t re-released for two years. As a result, it just hasn’t take off as it should. 

A gun from some time ago that should have been a lot more popular was the Colt Double Eagle.

The Double Eagle, produced between 1989 and 1997, was basically a DA/SA 1911. It had pretty much the same grip and ergonomics, but it had a SIG-like decocking lever on the grip. Full-size and commander versions were available, and you had your choice of .45 ACP, 10mm, 9mm, .40 or .38 Super.  

Pretty much all the benefits of a 1911 (great ergonomics, svelte dimensions that make it easy to carry) without the drawbacks of the single-action operating system and grip safety.

Unfortunately, it came out in the midst of the Polymer Spring. GLOCK was taking over and they really haven’t relinquished their hold since. A few outfits have tried to replicate the same idea – the goodness of the 1911 without the single-action holdups – such as Para USA’s LDA pistols and now the Hudson H9, of course.

So what seems like a great idea, a sure-fire hit on the drawing board, doesn’t always work out in meatspace.  

Are there other guns that you thought were perfect — or that should have been — but just didn’t work out? Guns that didn’t get the love they should have? Sound off in the comments!

 

Sam Hoober is a contributing editor at Alien Gear Holsters, as well as for Bigfoot Gun Belts. He also writes weekly columns for Daily Caller and USA Carry.

comments

  1. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    The action on the R51 was a terrible idea. Back in the day it made sense to evade patents but not so much any more.

    My “great” idea that will never materialize is a 38 Super rimless variant in a carry gun. A little more power than 9mm yet no compromise on capacity and minimal size changes.

    1. avatar Rick says:

      357SIG. Similar ballistics.

      1. avatar JR says:

        Compromises capacity

        1. avatar Paul McMichael says:

          9mm +P+ gets you close without reducing round count.

    2. avatar Hasaf says:

      Once Remington runs another rebate I will be purchasing an R51. It is just too unique to not get one.

      1. avatar ozzallos says:

        Those rebates are sweet. I purchased my R1 Threaded 1911 on one of their $100 rebates. Paid under $600 for a very fine pistol made in the USA.

      2. avatar Bloving says:

        A rebate would be nice but I’d be just as happy if they could just send me a couple of extra magazines.
        I’ve said it before – that pistol is a sweety and the only reason one isn’t attached to my hip at this very moment is a bunch of auto repairs.

      3. avatar jtsmall says:

        Perhaps silly. My hands down favorite CO2 BB pistol is the Rem R1. I’ve looked at the real deal several times. I’m sure I’ll save one eventually.

        1. avatar Hasaf says:

          Where did you find a Co2 practice pistol for the r51?

      4. avatar Laserbeam says:

        That’s what I did. After rebate the pistol cost me $199. Still haven’t fired it yet but it IS attractive and feels good in the hand. Having said that, I still wouldn’t bet my life on it until I’ve wrung it out a bunch. Which is my plan. I guess I just have a soft spot in my heart for Remington ’cause my first firearm was a Nylon 66 for my 13th X’Mas which was a long time ago.

    3. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “The action on the R51 was a terrible idea.”

      The ‘modern’ version, agreed.

      The original one was fantastic for people with limited mobility…

    4. avatar barnbwt says:

      Explain *exactly* why the design itself is flawed. It’s as much a patent workaround as the P38 was to the Luger. Just a different action, with pros and cons.

      The flaw was that the R51 was produced by Remington amid its death throes.

      1. avatar Sich says:

        The “Tolerances” were different for the Remington Production R51 and the John Pedersen Prototype R51.

        1. avatar barnbwt says:

          Also the materials, also the machining quality, also cutting the chambers without a leade, also not doing any QC at all…I could go on.

      2. avatar Geoff PR says:

        {Modern R51}

        “Explain *exactly* why the design itself is flawed.”

        The weapon could be assembled *incorrectly* after being broken down for cleaning and appear to function normally, but would refuse to fire.

        I don’t know about you, but that’s one big-ass flaw in my book…

        1. avatar barnbwt says:

          So user error, can result in user error. Alrighty then.

          Putting in the safety wrong results in the slide locking back. Not a fail to fire, and not something a simple function check after assembly wouldn’t catch.

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “Putting in the safety wrong results in the slide locking back. Not a fail to fire, and not something a simple function check after assembly wouldn’t catch.”

          Uh, no.

          From Nick Leghorn’s R51 review :

          “So a new shooter could buy an R51 and shoot it without any problem (save a bit of palm pain). At some point, he or she will break down the R51 to clean it. They reassemble the gun incorrectly and holster it without realizing their mistake. In a self-defense scenario they now have less rounds available than they thought and a gun that stops working “for no reason.” Not good.”

          http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/02/foghorn/gun-review-remington-r51/

          That’s a design flaw, *full stop*…

        3. avatar Geoff PR says:

          EDIT –

          “Following the release of this review, Tim from the Military Arms Channel confirmed all of my results and more. According to him, even when the gun is absolutely 100% assembled correctly, it still fails to fire, fires out of battery, and fails to feed with alarming regularity.”

    5. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      The R51 bears a limited resemblance to the Model 51. They aren’t the same. The R51 was an attempt to make a Model 51 on the cheap.

      The original Model 51 was a very reliable pistol. It was considered (briefly) by the US Navy to replace the 1911 following WWI, because it had fewer parts, was as reliable as the 1911 and pointed so well, but the US government had little appetite for a new pistol once the 1911 production got underway in earnest.

    6. avatar ams says:

      I call my great idea, 32 super. Imagine a 32acp, now imagine that the case is actually a 30carbine case trimmed back to about .98″. Like 32 magnum, but for autoloaders. Should be able to fit more in and/or make single stacks even slimmer.

      Maybe I will finish it some day.

  2. avatar Mystickal says:

    My vote goes for the HK P7. Too many virtues to list here, so I’ll just point at Jeremy’s excellent review at http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2015/01/jeremy-s/heckler-koch-p7-is-the-best-pistol-ever/

    1. avatar Hasaf says:

      I agree, it was a great design, I am also going to avoid saying why as it would make this letter too long. However, the P7 had two things that kept it from being a world changing design. The first was weight. The second was cost.

      If it were possible to make the P7 with a polymer frame, and for the price of a Glock. . . well, there would never have been a market for the Glock.

      1. avatar Mmmtacos says:

        From what I hear the third reason being the gas retard system made the gun too hot to shoot and it didn’t take a whole lot of rounds to do it, either.

        They are damn nice guns though, at least from what I know from handling and never firing a couple of them.

    2. avatar Paul McMichael says:

      One of my favorite pistols. The H&K P7M8 is the thinking man’s P7. It wasn’t the design that caused the demise of the P7. It was the cost. Like many H&K products of the time, they were expensive. I’ll also admit the design was a little unorthodox for most U.S. shooters. That said, no one ever shot mine that didn’t fall in love with it.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        “One of my favorite pistols. The H&K P7M8 is the thinking man’s P7.”

        One of the TTAG writers had his P7 turned into a color case hardened beauty.

        Prepare to *drool* :

        http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2016/12/jeremy-s/midwest-gun-works-delivers-hk-p7-hotness/

        1. avatar El Duderino says:

          While I like the look of the nickel/wood Nills grips P7s better, this one is definitely unique!

    3. avatar Gregolas says:

      If Colt or Remington want to redeem their fortunes, buying the patents and machinery to make the P7M8 (at a reasonable price) would make me a buyer. The last NIB P7M8 I saw was in 2015. Asking price, $2,100. I’d prefer Colt do it b/c then we’ll know at the outset that it was done right.

  3. avatar Sich says:

    I don’t know if that holds true for the Hudson H9! I understand those that have Rheumatoid Arthritis find the Hudson to be a Godsend with its Short Trigger Pull of ~1.3mm.

    1. avatar Binder says:

      Its 3mm (not that big of a deal), and the Hudson H9 has nothing in common with a 1911 other than the SHAPE of the trigger and grip. Similar to the CZ-40B

  4. avatar Joe R. says:

    The Colt Double Eagle was Colt’s laziness / Chinese-like reverse engineering of the Beretta 92 in a barely sparged to 1911 appearance.

    1. avatar Binder says:

      I think the Z40 was a much better try, but even those are nothing to get excited about.

      1. avatar MouseGun says:

        Not to mention they technically weren’t even colts. They were made by CZ and colt just imported them and slapped their name on them.

  5. avatar Joe R. says:

    I don’t know about guns, but there are a few accessories I want.

    [FU MagPul] I want a Tactical Link Bad Lever (MagPul’s ‘bent’ ones don’t fit on Sig Sauer ambi-controls lugs)

    AND . . .

    WhereTF went the STL-900 light / laser?

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      I want a battery assist lever for an AR-10 (again, with ambi-controls).

  6. avatar ACP_armed says:

    Edit; It’s Pedersen, not the Pederson.

  7. avatar Joe R. says:

    Bring back the Daewoo Precision Industries K5/DP51.

    1. avatar TheSophist says:

      Pretty sure the Lionheart is exactly what you’re asking for. Used to own one. Great pistol. Just didn’t want a DA/SA back then.

      1. avatar Parnell says:

        Have one in Patriot Brown. It is a great pistol.

    2. avatar Joe R. says:

      DH40

    3. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Bring back the Daewoo Precision Industries K5/DP51.”

      Great gun, my first new gun purchase. Like an idiot, I sold it…

    4. avatar VerendusAudeo says:

      The Lionheart LH9 is just a Daewoo K5 that gets (very practically) dressed up by the company that imports it. It’s a little expensive, but ultimately worth it. I went on a roadtrip to Seattle two years ago with a friend. She came back with a tattoo and I came home with an LH9.

  8. avatar Ogre says:

    This goes back aways – late 19th c. – but I’ve always thought that the Merwin & Hulbert revolver should have done better and not passed away prematurely as it did. From my reading, it seemed to be superior to most other late 19th c. revolvers in the way it loaded/ejected rounds, it had interchangable barrels and it came in both SA and SA/DA versions. It came in a large size (for .44-caliber cartridges), but also as a pocket pistol (to handle .38s). With the technology available today, I think the design would be viable, if expensive. An attempt was allegedly made a few years ago to reintroduce it for the cowboy action crowd, but nothing was ever produced and people were bilked out of their deposits. But if a reputable manufacturer ever reintroduces the M&H, particularly in stainless, I’ll be in.

  9. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    YuP the R 51 was the most recent gun Flop that came to mind and there was the picture as I scrolled down.

  10. avatar Adam Selene says:

    The R51 has an aluminum frame, not a polymer frame as stated in the article.

  11. avatar BLAMMO says:

    Armalite / Henry AR-7.

    The cool factor can’t be denied. I don’t own one but I’ve always wanted one ever since James Bond shot down a helicopter with one. And, despite all the alleged reliability and accuracy issues, Henry seems to have improved them quite a bit.

    Unfortunately, the gun has always been a solution in search of a problem. I can’t think of a single “practical” use for it. Not that we need an excuse to buy a novelty gun for less than 3 beans. I swear, one o’ these days …

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Unfortunately, the gun has always been a solution in search of a problem. I can’t think of a single “practical” use for it.”

      Toss the stock with the gun inside in your trunk or behind the seat of your pickup. For emergencies. *Cough*…

    2. avatar VerendusAudeo says:

      It’s a survival rifle. An extremely compact, lightweight rifle that you keep in your trunk or stuck in a backpack. .22 LR can take down a moose with proper shot placement. That’s why the AR-7 exists.

    3. avatar bontai joe says:

      I bought my AR-7 as a solution to my not having enough fun while plinking. Mine dates back to the Charter Arms days. It’s small and light enough to get packed in a bag when anything bigger would get left behind while on a weekend trip to camp and plink out in the woods. I bought a Marlin Papoose for the same reason for my wife to shoot.

  12. avatar J.D. Fowlerton says:

    For me it’s got to be the MR-412 REX. A modern design break open revolver in .357 but was doomed largely because they couldn’t import the thing from Russia to the US.

    I keep hoping someone would pick up the design. I figure it would be expensive for a .357 but anything under $1500 or so and I’d buy one the first chance I got.

  13. avatar TheUnspoken says:

    I thought the R51 is an aluminum alloy frame, not polymer. That was part of its initial allure: a svelte, single stack 9 that was all metal instead of plastic, with classic lines that was perfect for concealed carry, with a price well under $500. And with the initial demo guns (which weren’t the production guns) it seemed like a winner. And then… Not so much. The Sig P365 seems to have had some troubles on release as well, and it was destined to be “the next perfect carry gun.”

    The Bushmaster ACR, again, same culprit, also seemed like it was going to hit all the design objectives of a next generation rifle, but didn’t seem to catch on or get the support needed to succeed. CZ Bren 805 suffers from first generation obselence, where a theoretically superior 806 was quickly designed and announced putting a damper on the 805, though the 806 hasn’t even been imported yet.

    Vaporware tends to be an issue too, you see some designs at Shot announced and then they either take years to come to actual production, or just completely disappear. Which may actually be better to cut the losses than stubbornly inflict a flawed design on the masses.

  14. avatar Joe R. says:

    Build the Colt Scamp. Re-import the Polish RAK.

  15. avatar Mark N. says:

    I watched a Forgotten Weapons episode recently about the M1 Carbine. From the discussion with an expert on this little rifle, its reliability issued stemmed not from the rifle, but from the sheety stamped steel mags. According to the expert, a ;lot of soldiers just ditched old mags when resupply came in with lots of new ones. And a lot of the new clones suffer the exact same reliability issue. So why hasn’t anyone made a reliable polymer mag for the millions of these things floating around in circulation?

    1. avatar Swarf says:

      That is a good one.

  16. avatar Juice says:

    First thing that jumped out at me in this article:

    R51 “A slim, lightweight polymer frame with a grip safety for added security.”

    CDE “…without the drawbacks of the single-action operating system and grip safety.”

  17. avatar former water walker says:

    Ummm…Sig 365? Too soon?!?😄😄😄

  18. avatar Carter White says:

    A favorite design of mine that went nowhere (sadly) and never gets the love it deserves is the old Steyr GB. Tonka tough fixed barrel, gas delayed blowback, and about 20 parts in the whole kit and caboodle.

    Only part of it I don’t love is the slide-mounted safety.

  19. avatar neiowa says:

    Steyr GB – 1st high capacity “wonder nine”

  20. avatar aircooled says:

    The new Colt Cobra? Doesn’t seem to be selling well despite all the “if only Colt would make revolvers again” internet experts

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      Colt’s making the ‘Cobra’ like Dodge is making the ‘Dart’. You could get a better replica (of the Cobra) out of Brazil.

  21. avatar Slow Joe Crow says:

    The Colt Double Eagle was multi-layer failcake of poor timing exacerbated by flawed execution, and proof that S&W management was smarter. By the time the Double Eagle showed up S&W and Ruger had well established wonder nines, as well as .40 & .45 variants, while Colt had an expensive me too with reliability issues and no double stack magazines. Worse for Colt, both competitors had polymer framed striker fired designs in the works or on the street ready for the next wave.

  22. avatar GS650G says:

    The Dardick has to be one of the worst. They eveninvented a new term: trounds

  23. avatar Gralnok says:

    Super Commanche. It’s a simple, single shot .410 pistol, but with full size revolver grips. It makes sense to me, since a derringer is only feasible in a very small caliber, and if it’s large enough, why not use a full size frame to eliminate the pain? I like that it’s basically a shotgun pistol, but cheaper than the Judge yet also reasonable to shoot, unlike some of the larger Bond Arms. Mostly, it just looks like fun. Sadly, nobody seems to have them in stock and I fear I’ll never be able to get one for a reasonable price.

  24. avatar MyName says:

    I’d love to see a return of the HK P7. Always thought they were cool but have never run across one for the right price when I have greenbacks in my wallet.

  25. avatar Mmmtacos says:

    Great idea that did work out (eventually): the S&W DA/SA semi-autos (a la 5906).

    I just wish they still made them but with updated tech and the stylings of the M&P M2.0, maybe even with a polymer frame. Not sure why they completely dropped it in the first place. The P226 and the 92FS are in the same family and they are still incredibly popular.

    1. avatar bontai joe says:

      I just recently got a very lightly used 5906 mainly because it uses the same magazines as my Marlin 9MM Camp Carbine. I couldn’t resist having a handgun and long gun both using the same mags. I will say that after using my Glock a lot the past few years, I had forgotten just how heavy a loaded stainless steel pistol is.

  26. avatar Johno says:

    The trigger on the Rem R51 looks as if it belongs on a plastic toy, or water pistol. Aesthetics of the gun were forgotten by the design team, it looks like junk, no wonder that Remington went broke.

    1. avatar Hasaf says:

      Aesthetics are an individual matter. I was looking at one yesterday and I found it quite attractive as a modern example of Art Deco.

      I am still holding off for another round of rebates.

  27. avatar Danny Willard says:

    I bought several R51s to resell and not having any luck. Beautiful shooting gun so cannot imagine why they have not sold better. More rebates would be nice as that would really help pricing.

  28. avatar jtsmall says:

    To Hasaf
    The 1911 was mentioned in the article and the Remington R1 1911 is what I was referencing.
    https://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Remington_1911_RAC_CO2_BB_Pistol/3358

    1. avatar Hasaf says:

      Sorry, my misunderstanding. Yes, I have an airsoft 1911 for basement practice.

      And yes, I thought you had found an airsoft R51. That would have been more interesting.

      1. avatar Sich says:

        @ Hasaf

        Pyramyd Air also sells 5.1R’s made by “WE” in either Spring Loaded or Gas Blowback Softair Pistols ranging in price from $59.99 to $89.99. Unfortunately it’s on a 9-page list, and some digging is required…

  29. avatar bontai joe says:

    My list of gun ideas that didn’t work out as well as expected?
    1. Remington XP-100. a single shot bolt action pistol capable of 200 yard accuracy.
    2. Dan Wesson Revolvers. An amazing design to have a revolver that can be transformed by the owner from a 10″ barreled scoped hunting handgun into a 2″ snub nose carry gun in under a minute. Available in calibers from .22LR to .44 Maximum. CZ recently brought the .357 back after several years, but the price is steep.
    3. COP four barred .357 mag derringer.
    4. AMT Backup pistol. I have one in .22LR and can’t find magazines for it. I think of mine as a very handy little gun that works great, and needs little maintenance.
    5. Braverman Stinger Pen Gun.
    6. Stoeger’s .22LR Luger pistol, just because the FUN factor, this one should still be in production.

  30. avatar James Howman says:

    The Colt All American 2000. Reed Knight/Eugene Stoner design. A series of articles circa 1990 made it seem like an ingenious design. I was hoping it would eventually be chambered in .45acp. But alas….

  31. avatar Jim Macklin says:

    A binary liquid propellant with steel jacketed bullets and a magnetic feed mechanism.

    1. avatar Sich says:

      BP’s (i.e. Binary Propellant) Ammunition has been around since at least WWII, and while feasible as a Pistol Round. Long Term Storage is a “Bitch”, not mention the weight of the Ammunition and the actual Firearm. The First Liquid BP, used Hydrogen Peroxide as an Oxidizer and Kerosene as the Combustible Fuel. As I recall the XM2000/XM2001 Crusader 155mm Self Propelled Howitzer was a BP Gun. And was cancelled by SecDef Donald Rumsfeld in 2001…

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