The first part of my review of the Boberg XR9-S ended with my sending the slide and magazines back to the factory for refurbishing. You may want to read that as well as my out-of-the-box preview to catch up. After shipping them back to Boberg, I received the slide and magazines along with a new barrel about three weeks after I sent them off. In addition, a spare mainspring and recoil spring were thoughtfully included in the package. I also got a note saying they had tested both magazines with twelve rounds of ammo and shot 47 rounds of Russian steel cased ammo through the pistol. Since then I’ve shot it a bunch and here’s what I found . . .
Range Session One:
I took the XR9 to the range just to break her in. After checking the approved Boberg compatible ammo page, I ran 100 rounds of Winchester White Box (WWB) and 50 rounds of TulAmmo through the gun. As before, the pistol was very easy to fire and seemingly accurate, at least for plinking. I did short stroke the trigger a few times before I got used to it, but that’s what the break-in period is for.
I experienced two hard primers with the Tul Ammo, both of which fired on the second strike. I had a single stovepipe on the last round of WWB which is a malfunction I haven’t experienced again with the pistol. Interestingly, the excellent Boberg product manual mentions the possibility of a stovepipe on the last round of a magazine.
Disappointingly, I also experienced trouble with one of the two magazines not advancing the rounds again.
This only happened with the WWB ammo, and it happened intermittently. I tested the mag with multiple other ammo types and had no problems with it.
A couple more thoughts from session one: some reader comments on my prior review worried about getting a finger in front of the barrel with that mid-body grip. I held it every which way and never felt like my fingers were in jeopardy. Chamber checks are stupid easy with this gun. You don’t have to move the slide if you don’t want to, and if you want to pull it back a touch, the light recoil spring makes it a breeze.
The gun shoots remarkably easily compared to other small guns of its caliber. But while others have said the Boberg has less perceived recoil than a Glock 19, I have to vehemently disagree. And so does my hand. Perceived recoil is slightly less than my PM9 when shot back to back, but 200 rounds is about all I’d ever want to put through the pistol at any one time.
After the initial range session, I decided to clean and lube everything before putting any more rounds through it. Taking it apart, the quality of the gun’s machining and assembly is apparent.
Field stripping involves pulling the slide all the way back and turning the disassembly lever from the 3:00 to the 6:00 position to lock open the slide. This gives you the chance to peek in the breech and make sure the weapon is clear.
Once that’s done, turn the lever to the 9:00 position to release the slide which slips off the front.
Below is a photo of the undersurface of the slide with the unlock block on the barrel, and the tongs used to extract the cartridge from the magazine.
The recoil spring simply falls out of the back of the slide
From there, the spring guide comes off the spring easily enough. Remember that for re-assembly, one side of the spring is larger than the other, and you want the guide to go in the skinny end.
Push the barrel and unlock block forward in the slide to remove the unlock block and pull the barrel back out.
Once you clean everything up, you can see the barrel is nicely machined and polished.
The lugs on the barrel interact with the unlock block to rotate the barrel and unlock the slide.
Re-insert the recoil guide and spring into its place.
The spring floats fairly freely until the slide is assembled back onto the frame. Just ensure the spring goes into its perch.
Put the slide back on and see that the spring hits the rear perch
Slide the assembly on the gun and lock into place by moving the disassembly lever back to 6 o’clock again. This pic shows the guide rod protruding from the front of the slide which is normal.
Turn the lever back to three o’clock and re-assembly is finished.
The magazines appear to be high quality units. The welding is incredibly small.
Again, there’s no follower with this design.
Range Session Two:
During this session, I shot fifty rounds of 115 grain Brown Bear steel cased, fifty rounds of Aguila 124 grain, 50 rounds Wolf 115 grain WPA, and eight 115 grain Gold dots. I shot at a range where I can move around and I practiced shooting one or two-handed in various positions. Again, I was hit with brass in the face when shooting over my left shoulder, right handed with the gun at a 45 degree to the right. I was hit directly in the glasses with ejected rounds twice. Not a huge deal as this is an uncommon shooting position.
I noted that the magazines now fall free from the frame when it’s time for a swap. They previously didn’t do this.
Malfunctions: one WPA round that took three strikes to touch off. The Aguila ammo again gave me trouble with rounds that would extract from the magazine, but not go into battery.
This malfunction is extremely difficult to clear because the magazine will not drop free and the slide is somewhat locked in a partially open position with a live round suspended in the extractor. It required some force to strip the magazine followed by a very vigorous rack of the slide. If the slide is locked nearly completely open, you just have to pry the round out.
This malfunction only occurred with the Aguila 124 grain and I have to conclude that it’s simply incompatible ammo for this gun despite the crimp, even though Aguila 115 grain is mentioned as compatible on the Boberg ammo page. I also had one instance of the spring popping out of one of the mags (the same mag that had the WWB ammo stick in it).
At round 297 since I re-started testing, this happened:
I correctly diagnosed a broken mainspring. Now I knew the reason for the spare included with my returned slide. Mainspring replacement is amazingly simple and covered again in the Boberg Manual (p30). I did the repair in about five minutes at home:
I asked Arne Boberg about the mainspring failure/issue. Here’s his reply:
“The current mainspring has a larger transition radius and no forming mark where the old spring was breaking. We had to get a new supplier because the old one was not willing to remove the forming mark, which on some springs was actually a notch that caused breakage. We stopped using the old mainspring as soon as we got the new ones.”
He noted that current production mainsprings should last the life of the pistol. The original in my frame lasted around 400 live and 500 dry trigger pulls. I lubed up the pistol and headed to the range again:
Range Session 3
I went to an indoor range for some marksmanship work and this time I fired 80 rounds Wolf WPA, 50 rounds TulAmmo, 7 rounds Federal Hydrashock 135 grain and 8 rounds Winchester Ranger T +P. Malfunctions all occurred with TulAmmo and included three hard primers – which fired on a second strike – and two failures to feed similar to that experienced with the Aguila 124 grain.
I don’t blame the gun for a 2-3% hard primer rate on Russian ammo and appreciate the double strike capability of the design in these instances. In the photo above, that is a single hit and is appears plenty deep enough. A heavier mainspring is available for those addicted to hard primers, but you should expect a heavier trigger pull in return.
Toward the end of the shooting session, the spring came out of that same problematic magazine again. This didn’t cause a malfunctions and reseated easily.
Accuracy exceeds the ability of the shooter:
The gun appears to be sighted so that the front sight is placed over the top of the desired target. I prefer a six o’clock hold, but adapted to it pretty quickly. Accuracy was maintained at the level of my ability as the range increased.
Rapid fire accuracy was also acceptably within a minute of bad guy.
That isn’t a keyhole, the paper tore from my handling.
So what are my impressions at this point? The XR9-S is an innovative, extremely well made, nice handling, nice shooting pocket pistol that runs well when fed ammo it likes. The gun has ongoing, and in my opinion, minor developmental issues. Its inventor eagerly stands behind his product and takes feedback seriously and positively.
I would not recommend it to anyone as their first firearm. I would certainly not use it for defensive purposes until I had extensively tested my carry ammo with it. I think the overall concept is sound and had no problems at all with the parts of the gun unique to the pull-you, push-me feeding mechanism that weren’t ammo related.
This gun is probably a must-have for mouse and pocket gun collectors with disposable income. If you own a Rohrbaugh, just get yourself on the list for a Boberg. The XR9-S outshoots and outshines the equally ammo-sensitive R9 in every area except smallness/pocketability. Plus it’s cool and you know you want it.
When faced with a choice between a Kahr PM9 and the XR9-S, for carry, though, the decision is more difficult. Both are terrific shooting small guns. The Kahr’s conventional design, in my experience, is more reliable and has broader aftermarket support for holsters, etc. I favor the Kahr trigger by a narrow margin.
All that said, the XR9-S holds more rounds and throws a bullet about 100 ft/sec faster than any firearm of comparable size. The question is, how important is 100 ft/sec and one extra round in the scheme of things? I don’t think the question is answerable without back to back ballistic gelatin tests of several brands of ammo and that’s beyond my capability. The bullet might penetrate deeper, or it might expand more and penetrate less.
If I wanted another gun for the safe, I would keep the XR9-S, find ammo it really liked (Brown Bear and any quality self defense ammo apparently) and keep working through its issues. I went back and forth about returning it, but in the end decided I’d rather have my money back to use for something else. I’ll keep the PM9 in my pocket.
Reluctantly, I stripped, cleaned and oiled the XR9-S for the last time before sending it back to Boberg Arms. Arne’s response to my email expressing my findings and decision to return the pistol:
“Thanks for not holding back – we are constantly working on improving our products and look forward to getting your gun back so we can test it and go over it with a microscope – everything we learn will result in QC improvements, possible design changes, and better customer service.
When we get your gun back, we are going to go through it completely and resolve all the issues, then we are going to send it out to another gun writer – we have quite a few chomping at the bit to get their hands on this thing.”
What’s not to like about that response? Just remember you read it here first on TTAG.
Barrel Length: 3.35″
Overall Length: 5.1″
Weight: 17.5 oz. (with unloaded magazine)
Ratings (out of fiver stars):
Accuracy * * * * *
Better than this shooter.
Ergonomics * * * * *
The XR9-S is the comfiest pocket pistol I have had my mitts on.
Reliability * * 1/2
Broken spring, ammo sensitivity, magazine issues with one magazine (the other ran perfectly), one return to the factory. I think the gun is potentially reliable, but be prepared to tune it a bit to be sure. And don’t be surprised if it requires a trip back to the factory.
Customize This *
Fuggetaboudit. Holsters available from Remora and a few other holster makers.
Overall * * * *
Despite the reliability issues, I really liked the gun. If you enjoy fine pocket pistols, get a spot in line, pay the price and take your chances.
/sarcasm mode on
What???? A gun review that has something *negative* to say about the gun being reviewed? Are you crazy? Don’t you know that one never says anything negative about any gun being reviewed.
/sarcasm mode off
I think you spelled “Gunblast” wrong when you googled [/sarc]
Reliability = 2.5*
Well, that settles it for me. I so wanted this gun to run. For reasons stated on the last review (i.e. a small entrepreneur vs. industry giants and at long last some ingenuity in this industry) I was seriously excited to put some money down on this one. But a compact, self defense oriented, pistol that doesn’t run reliably is pretty much a paperweight. And an expensive one at that. I’ll give this one a year or two and see if it runs then.
Sorry, but what you described is unacceptable performance for a firearm of that price. I don’t think malfunctions are acceptable in any defensive firearm, but one that is as expensive as the Boberg should run everything out of the box with no malfunctions. My Glocks did. My SIGs did. Even my Kahr P9, which is supposed to have a substantial break in period, has fed everything from Glasers to Wolf without a hitch.
My brother has a freaking HI POINT which is more reliable than the Boberg, and it’s a $150 pistol.
“You may experience a stovepipe on the last round”—I can’t believe a manufacturer would believe that’s acceptable. If you know the gun stovepipes on the last round, FIX IT before shipping to the consumer. No other industry would ship a product with a built in flaw and tell the consumer to deal with it. Also, why not replace the mainspring for you, if they expected the old one to break, instead of waiting for it to break on you?
I’m not quite sure I understand the purpose of this pistol. It is high end, price wise, uses innovative but finicky technology and crappy ammo is recommended. Why shoot all the Brown Bear, Tula, Wolf, etc.?
“No other industry would ship a product with a built in flaw and tell the consumer to deal with it.”
Mike, have you ever heard of Microsoft?
GM Ignition switches..? (And don’t get me started on Subaru EJ25 heads). Yeah, not to excuse it but shipping product that “needs work” is absolutely common.
I think you handled sending it back the last time like a gentleman, I think there are plenty of people that would have some pretty filthy things to say about spending that close to a grand with a reliability rating of 2 and a half stars. That being said – I think there are plenty of businesses out there that dont mind losing customers after 3rd complaints so its nice to see they are eager to fix their problems.
I dislike the amount of parts you have laying around after you disassemble the pistol, and the off center guide rod throws me off a bit. Also, the design that requires no follower in the magazine seems…not so good.
I can not see this pistol selling as it is more of a curio than an actual self protection pistol. It is overly complex, seems kinda like a Rube Goldberg feeding system that while interesting is not 100%. Hammer springs are breaking, no magazine follower? How about a way to retain the spring? At the end of the day where will I decide to spend my money? On one of the numerous designs out there that work and are a fraction of the cost…. this pistol offers nothing marketable, a pistol has to have the whole package, reliability, durability, maintainability, and simplicity of use….
10/10 for style and effort…but I’m kind of reluctant to get a pistol when the owner’s manual says that stovepiping is to be expected for the last round in the mag. 🙁
In defense of the gun: it is not a big deal if it is always the last round of a magazine. Adding new loaded magazine requires a re-rack of slide during which the brass will fall out.
Also, it happened exactly once in over 400 rounds. Fluke I think.
“Also, it happened exactly once in over 400 rounds. Fluke I think.”
Exactly. Probably shouldn’t have included a photo as it makes it look like a major problem.
I was about to make a snide comment about how it made sense that the gun would not advance a round loaded backwards…until I remembered that was how the mags loaded. Genius moment.
It’s refreshing to hear a review where a gun actually jams. Apparently, everything that the gun mags review runs 100%.
That being said, the expectations of effectiveness raise on all levels with cost. I’ve got guns that cost way more than $995, but they are very reliables pieces. I hope that Boberg works things out, for their sake. For my part, I wouldn’t by an auto loading handgun that had magazines without followers.
(And I’ll be sticking with my Smith 340PD and Glock 27…)
Its not ready for primetime.I bought a used Smith & Wesson 5906 that had a bum extractor which outperformed the Boburg in reliability.The Smith jammed only three times out of 74 rounds fired.
Thanks, Eric, for an absolutely stellar series of reviews about a pistol that is anything but stellar.
I give props to Boberg for a noble experiment, but no kudos at all for turning its early adopters into beta testers. This is a pistol, not gaming software. People’s lives might depend on the thing functioning properly in a pinch. There are plenty of guns in this class that actually work. I think I’d rather have one of them.
Thanks for the kind words. I try to be an A student:)
I know I’m answering an old post, but thought it important to advise that I was an early adopter of the Boberg technology (low 300 Serial #) and I was FULLY aware that I was a beta tester of the firearm. Other than a small minority of early adopters, all of us early adopters understood that. Few of us carried it as an EDC until the kinks were ironed out, but it seems we did shoot it a lot. In my case, EVERY minor and not so minor problem, Arne Boberg dealt with with grace and humor. All of the few problems I did have were ironed out and the gun was fully broken in at about 1000 rounds. I have since transferred my original Boberg XR9-S to my son who’s Walther PPS recently experienced a nasty flying extractor and is now locked breach open. If I didn’t trust Boberg, I wouldn’t have given it to my son as an EDC. I still carry my XR9-L as my primary carry pistol.
No thanks…don’t need an expensive, “innovative, extremely well made, nice handling, nice shooting pocket pistol” that might not go bang when I pull the trigger.
I really am intrigued by this gun. However, as I’m currently working up to my first black rifle, this has to go in line behind it. Perhaps by the time I get to it, they will have worked out the kinks.
Fortunately for us, this has not been every customer’s experience. The gun Eric got delivers unacceptable performance. I made an error in judgement in not getting the whole gun back to go over it. Pinching pennies on shipping in this case was not a good idea when 23K viewers per day see the results. While I thought I had all the kinks worked out of the prototype guns before launching the product in June 2011, getting every single gun to work the same and work perfectly when considering variability and quality issues with supplier parts and assembly labor has been a challenge, to say the least. I am not trying to make excuses here, and I know it is not possible to make every single customer happy, but I want everyone to know that we take each and every issue very seriously, and are continuously making changes in our manufacturing and supply chain to address these issues. Some of you may close the door on us, which is your right; but others have been very patient with us through this launch, even if you had to send your gun back twice – and it is those people I want to especially thank for hanging in there with us .
There’s nothing wrong with making an cutting edge firearm with new features. However, it was a bad decision making a firearm intended for concealed self defense with these kinds of problems. Unlike an iPhone or Blackberry, a defective handgun can send its owner into an early grave.
That reason alone is why many, including myself, have written off your product. It is no measure of hyperbole to say that my used and old 15 year old S&W 5906 with a bum extractor was more reliable than your brand new pocket pistol. Something is wrong when a used handgun made in the Clinton years is a better choice for duty use than a brand new firearm. Perhaps when proper testing and a track record for reliability has been established we’ll change our minds.
I am not sure about that comment. My iPhone 4 had a problem with random dialing, and one phone call my wife heard almost got me killed…
Why not swap his faulty one with a new one for a Part III? I’m still interested in seeing what your unique design does when all is in order.
It would be good to get that one back anyway so you can isolate where the problems came from and work up new QC points around those specific spots/parts/etc.
Not a bad idea, but I would prefer it go to another TTAG reviewer rather than myself to get another perspective.
I do feel this gun will run, and run well once the bugs are worked out.
I appreciate your open and honest approach to product development, it’s refreshing. From what I’ve seen, you’ve been very straightforward at every stage with this product and I’m excited to see how things progress.
What many seem to be forgetting, you are not running a multi-billion dollar manufacturing facility with oodles of units out the door every year. You’re in the start-up phase of an innovative firearm design, and the fact you’re spending significant time and money reviewing and resolving each issue as it comes up is important. If you had the pockets and facilities of a major firearm manufacturer maybe I’d expect different things. But, then, what innovations are they pushing?
In the end, I’d agree with Eric, this should not be anyone’s first or only firearm. And I’d want lots of time and consistent results before I called it my EDC. But you’re doing great things and honoring your customer commitments and that deserves mention. I think this is an up and coming product and your gun remains on my list for future purchase.
Every new product has its hiccups. Many of the products we use every day and take for granted, had less than stellar initial launches.
If I took out the owners manual on a new pistol and read from the manufacturer that the shooter could expect a malfunction of any type, I’d repackage it and send it back. And rounds loaded backwards in a magazine with no follower? Sounds like someone’s nightmare.
Eric, you should melt that POS down and turn it into something useful. If you don’t want to go to that much trouble just use it for a fishing weight.
All mechanical devices malfunction. I appreciate Boberg’s honesty, personally. Every single auto-loading handgun I have owned has malfunctioned occasionally, even the Glocks. This is why we practice malfunction drills.
The backward loading in the magazine is actually incredibly easy to load.
I cruised the Boberg site and the thing that gets me is when they display the gun footprint comparisons between the XR9-S and the LC9, S&W Shield, Springfield EMP, etc, the frame on the Boberg is not any shorter than any of the other small 9mm pistols. The barrel? Yep, noticeably shorter, but when you’re carrying concealed and generally IWB, another .5-.75″ of barrel doesn’t matter because it’s down inside your pants. I agree with Eric, if you’ve got the cash and want a unique firearm, the XR9-S looks to be fun. But for CCW, it doesn’t hide any better than other, more conventional firearms also used for CCW. I’d rather spend my money on something I can rely upon to do the job it was purchased for.
You’d be correct regarding bbl length if we weren’t taking about SUB compact guns that many people may consider for pocket carry. Being able to fit an extra inch of barrel into a pocket gun when other poctet 9’s are already at the bottom edge of the cartridge’s performance envelope is actually a pretty big deal
any gun can malfunction, the xr9-s is no exception.. however, from my personal experience, my boberg runs like a champ (my two guns were shipped from the first batch offered to the public, serial numbered in the mid 30s).. she’s got approx. 500 rounds through her, and with only 4 ammo related issues at the beginning (2 hard primers w/ the critical defense rounds, and 2 head case separations w/ WWB).. after switching to a speer and federal ammo diet, she’s been 100%.. Arne is a great guy, and his company has been a pleasure to deal with.. matter of fact, I just purchased two more of his guns, in the onxy version, one of which, is going to my fiance.. in closing, with Arne’s constant presence on the boberg site, it shows that he truly cares about the real world functionality of his product, taking in all feedback, both negative and positive.. this can only, and will lead to, a better product(s)..
Just because you hang out on your company’s forum doesn’t resolve the nasty quirks of their pistol. A $1000 pocket defense gun might should be fully tested before release. That’s the problem with mom n pop gun manufacturers. Not enough time or throw-away capital for proper testing. In other words, when your suppliers bills you for 100 frames, 100 raw barrels, 100 slides, 100 internals, etc., are you going to fully sample test, say 20 completed guns, or assemble them and ship them out to make enough money to pay the help and keep things going? Take a guess. Springs with known kinks that will break apart is a great example of getting a product rushed out the door before it’s ready. Seems like grounds for a lawsuit if a failed mainspring causes serious injury or death. It might be a great time to understand the issues and ensure that the present 500 or so customer’s are provided with the latest parts, which includes replacing those off-center drilled barrels at no cost. Just a pipe dream for those beta-testers, I know. If Boberg manages to stay in business long enough, perhaps they will eventually have a winner, even if the similarly spec’ed Ruger LC9 is half the price.
Boberg XR9-S Onyx (black finish) with 5 mags total… S/N very close to 550 (I suppose that makes it a sample from the most current production version.)
Current round count:
100 Winchester Ranger 124 +P
50 Winchester white box 115
50 Wolf “Classic Military”
Two different shooters now, fired in a variety of positions. One ejected spent case hit me in the forehead early on in testing. Ejection is rather brisk, it hit mouth first and gave me a little cut. No brass (or steel) to the noggin since. Ejection is high and about 5:00 (if the muzzle is 12:00.)
One round of Wolf required a second trigger pull due to a hard primer… no other malfunctions. My Boberg has been monotonously reliable. I know, only 200 rounds but other than the hard primer it’s been 100%.
This is not my first or only pistol by any means, but at this point I’m pleased. I will probably have the trigger radiused a bit (it reminds me of a light S&W revolver pull without the staging but the trigger seems wide and flat) but I find it quite comfortable to shoot as is. The other shooter who tried it out was astounded by the light perceived recoil.
I admire the thorough, patient and honest review given by TTAG and I’m in no way refuting it or discounting it, but my mileage has varied… in a positive way.
I’m sure Arne IS a great guy. As far as the “All mechanical devices malfunction” statement, well that is true. So far, my Ruger LC9 has gone 600 rounds of several different hollow points, ball and blazer ammo without One malfunction. I carry it daily with 115 grn. Gold Dots which it eats with abandon. Right now, the XR9-S can’t even come close to that. JL – you don’t think a case head separation is a problem? Much less two of them? It could have been the ammo, but I doubt it. Sounds like a gun problem to me…like a chamber out of specs. I’ve fired thousands of rounds of Winchester WB in multiple calibers and never had that problem in any gun. BTW…I’ve got a Ruger Mk II, Browning Hi Power, and two Sig P220s that have never malfunctioned either, but I still practice malfunction drills, just so I won’t be taken by surprise when it finally happens. At this rate that could be many thousand of rounds down the road.
Good luck with this endevour…me thinks you’re gonna need it.
Joseph, the head/case separations were ammo related issues.. using quality SD ammo w/ an actual crimp, and not “plinking/crap” ammo, resulted in no further malfunctions.. I hope to put another 100-200 rounds through her this weekend.. will update if this happens.. as for your ruger lc9, I’m glad that yours is operating fine… however, some of those guns were having issues w/ brass shavings blocking the firing pin (from some of the reviews that I have read)… I’m not ragging on your ruger, hell, I also own 2 lcps, both of which have been 100% reliable.. this just means that Eric from TTAG, may have just received a faulty xr9-s, but it’s not in any way, indicative of these fine little pistols..
but as stated, all guns can malfunction, especially when it comes to the autoloaders (every automatic that I’ve fired has had at least a few malfunctions during the range sessions.. from colts, to glocks, to sigs..).. the only weapons that have never failed, have been my 2 jframe revolvers, a model 36 and a 638 (that’s why they ride backup on my ankle, accompanying my main carry).. btw, glad to hear that you practice clearing malfunctions.. everyone should! be safe.. J
I want one of these Sooo badly, but after that review, when my name comes up, I’m going to have to think about it very carefully. I don’t have $1000 to spend on an experiment. I wish you well Arnie, and I hope you work the bugs out before my turn comes up. I’ll be watching the forum religiously.
A $1000 POS.
Glock, XD, M&P, END OF STORY…
Being intrigued with new and unusual handgun designs, I was an early adopter of both the Sig Sauer P250 and the Boberg XR9-S. I fully expected problems when I purchased both guns and did not (and do not) intend to use either for self defense any time soon. My particular P250 had severe light strike problems. I sent the gun back to Sig Sauer, they fixed it, and it has run perfectly since. I am very please with it. I purchased six magazines, one of which was very problematic, so I just set it aside and do not use it.
My Boberg XR9-S has run perfectly from the beginning, including both magazines. After reading this review, I will order the new mainspring before mine fails. So I appreciate the full disclosure of Eric’s review.
I patiently endured 20 months (March 2010 thru November 2011) on the Boberg Arms waiting list while Arne tested and refined his very new and different XR9-S design before receiving mine. Based only upon my experience, I thought Arne was much more cautious and conservative than the management folks at Sig Sauer in shipping out a new gun design.
I do not know if I was very lucky to receive a rare problem-free XR9-S or if Arne was very unlucky in sending a rare lemon to a gun reviewer. Either way, I am on Arne’s list for an XR9-L and am patiently waiting to get one. Being an early adapter, I expect this new gun design to also have problems, and if it does, I expect Arne will fix them just like Sig Sauer fixed my P250.
If I’m going to spend $1,000 for a defensive handgun, it had better be 100% problem free.
Knowing you can send a gun back for repairs is not a selling point.
Knowing that you won’t have to, is.
Why do you persist in shooting with a defective magazine, and then bitch about it being defective? They sent you a new non defective magazine TO REPLACE the defective one, not as a bonus. You claim to tell the truth, but the fact you keep shooting a defective mag calls into question your ability to know the truth. Throw the darn thing away IT’S BROKEN. I think a different reviewer is a good idea.
Both original mags were sent back to Boberg after part one of this review. They were replaced/repaired for “part deux” of this review.
One of the replaced mags malfunctioned again. That is the truth.
The review is disappointing. The price is shocking. Good luck with that venture. Great looking little gun though.
Hey gas – read the review carefully – maybe twice – before you slam down on someone. When you’re wrong and with attitude it makes you less credible.
I bought a Boberg in mid Nov. SN 432. Had a few issues. They sent me a return UPS authorizatin and i got it back with up date and even a short stroke trigger. Excellant service from the Bobers group. As a collector i have had many of new guns have growing pains. Including early Glocks.
100 fps faster? innovative design? less perceived recoil? nice machining and polishing?
Priority number 1 for a personal defense handgun is reliability. So is priority number 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. Everything else is 11 or lower. So what if the Boberg is a little smaller and lighter. If I get killed because I depend on it and it isn’t reliable, I don’t think I’ll be impressed.
New cars usually have some design issues that can take a year or two to resolve. I can’t afford to depend on a new, unproven design for a defensive handgun.
I’ll stick with my Glock. When I pull the trigger, it always does what it’s supposed to. It doesn’t jam and require two hands, a Leatherman tool, a second person or my teeth to hold a flashlight on the gun at night, and many seconds or minutes to clear the jam. I think the guy I’m trying to shoot might not be polite enough to wait for the end of my timeout.
“Priority number 1 for a personal defense handgun is reliability.”
Everything I’ve read says they ARE reliable.
Not sure when “reliability” became equivalent to “shoots every brand of shitty ammo out there”, but they’re not the same thing.
Find the right ammo and it sounds like the current design is 100% reliable.
I purchased a Boberg XR9-S in mid 2012. It has a mid 500 range S.N. I ran 75-80 rounds of Winchester 115 Gr. RN without a glitch. After that it began to jam. When I returned home and disassembled it for cleaning you could see that the internal parts were very dirty from burnt powder residue. A week later after cleaning, lubing and reassembly I went back to the indoor range and shot more the of same ammo. After about eight sessions like this with no hitches except as noted, my pistol has given me confidence that it will do its job effectively every time called upon, provided it receives what it likes, a clean body inside and out and fed a non-irratating diet. My XR9-S does not like sharpe pointed ammo, but loves round noise bullets for target practice and digest self defense loads like the Federal premium Hydra-Shok’s and Tactical HST’s, as well as Corbon’s DPX self defense ammo without a hitch. I have experienced no problems with the XR9-S with the exception of shooting ammo which burns dirty. Make it your priority to eliminate known deterants to accuracy and dependability. No one expects to be in a situation where it can be said their life or the the life of another is but only one breath away from the reality of death by anothers intentional violent behavior. Your pistol and ability to effectively stop the life altering threat is dependant upon your spontaneous skillful response and mechanical dependability. Shooting a few hundred rounds in a couple of sessions does not validate a pistols reliability. My Boberg is consistant, trustworthy because it came from the factory with no known mechanical problems AND I LEARNED TO GIVE IT WHAT IT LIKES, until, by the numbers, it proved itself.
Reply to people that may read this old thread.
My Glock, Sig, Smith, XD like everything so far.
Why should I have to spoon feed a gun that cost twice as much?
YOU don’t have to. Caring for a precision machine requires more thought and most shooters don’t like to think about what/how they shoot. And honesty, staying away from specific brands of what is usually also cheap and dirty ammo is far from “spoon feeding”
This was a great review. I found it factual, honest, to the point and practical. In fact, it helped in my decision to purchase an XR9-S (slightly used). I decided I wanted the Platinum – I like the way it looks, so I held out for that. I plan on buying some extra springs and whatever extra parts I can get from the factory. While I hope this gun is successful, if its not, I don’t want to be without parts. I like the unique technology that went into this gun, and I am hoping the quality is as good as folks have raved about. Maybe I will carry it occasionally, but it won’t be my daily carry gun. If I simply can’t live without carrying it, I’ll buy another cheaper used one in the standard finish. Heck, the way the Fed is printing money, the gun will be worth 3x what I paid for it in the next 2 years. Besides, as a piece of man-jewelry, it’s one-seventh the price of a used Rolex!.
Where is part one of the review?
Hi, Tom. Chronologically, the posts prior to this one are:
XR45-s just released chambered for the 45acp.
It has progressive “gain twist” rifling for higher velocity and reduced felt recoil.
Too many “expert” opinions, so I’ll add mine to them. 1st production run guns always have teething issues so to speak. Ruger, XDs ,Shield, Caracal , Diamondback, etc etc, Innovative. Awaiting the 45 version. KUDOS to Boberg….. Once established Arne may be considered the next J. Browning or M. Kalashnikov or H Maxim of firearms design.
Seems to me that the primary problem is with ammunition, not the pistol. I can understand significant differences in primers between milsurp and commercial cartridges, but why such variation among consumer ammo? We have SAAMI standards for cartridges, why not for individual components?
As for problems with the pistol itself, it does seem that the magazine spring ejections could be prevented with a properly-designed follower. The spring is flexible, and if strong enough to feed the cartridges, it appears from the top-view above that it is likely to force itself past the feed lips. Surely a suitable follower could be added without reducing magazine capacity.
After reading, the majority of the posts, I have to wonder why anyone would even consider this gun, jmop
I own and shoot the Boberg XR9-s and the longer XR9-L with NO mechanical problems. The guns have lighter recoil and are more accurate than other 9mm pocket pistols. So far each gun has digested more than 500 rounds of ammo.
I use the Liberty Ultra 9mm ammo for EDC.
The XR45-s should be shipping by June 2014 and this big bore pocket pistol will take advantage of all the previous “innovations” and add some new features. It will feed.45acp, .45+P and .45 SUPER ammo with felt recoil similar to a full sized 1911a1. It will hold ammo in a “mag-clip”, Yup, a clip inside a mag so thanks to Boberg, now, there really is such a thing as a mag-clip. HaHaHa!
I was intrigued by this pistol the first time I read about it. I’d love to shoot one, but alas, it is not ready for prime time. I consider any gun I own to be a possible self-defense gun. That includes my S&W 22A. I hope they work all of the bugs out this gun. I’d hate to see this idea die and go under.
I found the honest Boberg review on this site refreshing. Its about time a reviewer actually displays some integrity and freely documents the problems encountered. My compliments to the author.
In connection with my employment, I shoot at least 120 rounds through my one of my three Glocks every quarter. That’s a minimum of 480 rounds per year of Speer 40 cal, but generally the real amount is probably double. In the last seven years, I have multiple jams per year – be it failed primer strikes, failure to feed, etc. Guns jam! Even the most reliable ones, with the best ammo, and regular maintenance.
My brand new Keltec KSG seems to have a failure to cycle around 5 percent rate. Guess what, I’ll send it back soon, but not give up on Keltec. I have the same kind of faith in Boberg. Kudos, for daring to do something new.
I personally find the Boberg design innovating and exciting. However, I would not purchase any pistol that the manufacturer categorically knows is prone to jam on the last round in the magazine. I note this review is now 2 years old – I would be interested to know if Boberg updated the magazine or gun itself to eliminate the problem. It would be great if you could review a current production model, and let your readers know if the performance has improved. Or, perhaps review the new and similar Boberg 45. So again, thank you for the honest review.
Keltecs are garbage. Owned one and traded it off asap. Will never buy another.
Id rather carry a high point. No Lie.
“I would not purchase any pistol that the manufacturer categorically knows is prone to jam on the last round in the magazine”
The gun does not “jam”, it stovepipes AFTER the lest round is fired. The gun is empty. It doesn’t matter. If you want to reload the gun you have to rack the slide anyway. It’s a non-issue. You should pay better attention to what has been already said above.
I would call the gun marginal at best.
1st gen guns all have flaws. XDs, Ruger sr series, Diamondback DB9,etc come to mind……. Since everyone has a complaint. My 2 cents is lack of slide lock…. Polymer lower?
It would be interesting to see if Boberg would be willing to send a current production one to Eric for a 2nd follow up (is that right?) and comparison to see if they’ve licked some of the problems.
First if we are talking about a defensive handgun shouldn’t a review be actually testing the gun with true defensive ammo and +P ammo not cheap crap? Tul ammo, give us a break, I ran one box of that and every round had a different report, obviously the loads varied considerably. If this is a defensive gun then I want to know how it eats the real quality defensive stuff. As far as a broken spring, bad and malfunctioning magazine, totally unacceptable, as this has nothing to do with the ammo. I realize any new design may have issues, My Sig 938 suffered from a broken extractor as many of the first guns did, but now it’s completely reliable. My 938 costs less than half of the Boberg. The other issue I have is a 9# or a 7.5# trigger and then a reset that is basically the full draw of the trigger. One thing I found from years of shooting in the IDPA is you can shoot accurately with a heavy trigger, but you are not going to shoot fast and accurate with a heavy trigger and especially in a gun with such a short sight radius. This appears to be a neat little gun, but would I bank my life on it? I don’t think so.
Ok. I will agree that this gun is a little high priced, especially given the flaws in this review. And yes, the fact that the maker is aware of all these and even calls many out in the manual is somewhat troubling. Now some of you here have acknowledged other companies that do the same thing. And, for the most part, I believe many consumers are aggravated by this practice. The good thing is that the maker is very proactive about seeking his customers opinions. Still, your are paying a lot of money for something that is expected to break at some point. Not my idea of intelligent consumerism. If anyone of you have read a Kimber owner’s manual there are a couple of similarities, but only during the initial 300 round break in period; first is the finicky selection of ammo, second is the recommendation that you will have to change the main spring at around 300 rounds, and third is the expectation that you will have failures to fully eject some spent rounds during that initial 300 round period. But beyond that a Kimber is known as a high quality weapon that performs almost flawlessly, except those things noted during the break in period, out of the box. And most Kimbers is around the same price. Actually, you can buy the Kimber Solo, another pocket pistol, for less than $700. Given all that, I wish Arne Boberg well, and I do hope he gets all the bugs worked out and becomes successful. But as someone mentioned here already, I too will wait until that time. I just cannot see spending $1,000 on something that I already know is going to break.
I don’t think there is anythingthat needs to be further said about the Boberg review. I personally am glad Sig made the 938 as I just returned from the range after firing 200 rounds with an incident. Now that’s what I call a defense pistol!
I would bet $1000 dollars that this gun will never become anything more than novelty. I love innovative designs but $1000 dollar pocket pistols are for collectors. Even if this pistol was 99.99% reliable its trying to solve a problem that ammo manufactures are already solving. Sure I would love to have 100 more fps but I’m not going to pay $1000 bucks for it when I can just buy a 4″ barrel XDS or buy some of the new 124gr HST rounds or shoot ball ammo to ensure adequate penetration. Only 2% of the American population carries concealed, an even smaller number buy pocket pistols, from a business perspective it’s the dumbest thing Boberg could have dumped his money into. Hope he can engineer himself out of bankruptcy.
The opinions of the uninformed are often amusing but never particularly useful.
Is that your opinion?
“Observation based on experience” would be more accurate.
I have had my Boberg XR9-L for about a year now. After about 900 rounds through it I have yet to have a FTF or FTE. It is accurate, easy to carry and a pleasure to shot. I use quality ammo or load my own. It is my everyday summer carry gun and I love it. I plan on getting the .45 version as well for winter carry.
I also drive a sports car, which is also a complex, precision machine. It does not run well on cheap gas. I knew this when I bought it, and do not insist on filling it up with 87% gas and expect it to perform at 100% potential.
I could drive a mass market econo box that would run well on cheap gas, but I prefer my car and am fine paying the premium to feed it. Same as my Boberg. I do not judge it based off of using crab ammo that is barely reliable in a full sized pistol that is not a precision machine.
Drawing analogies with cars is particularly appropriate, as espoused above.
Furthermore, those of us whom do not want mass market tedium are happy to pay the extra for perceived ‘luxury’, whether that comes from material, construction, innovation, exclusivity or even customer service or close contact to those involved with the company.
There was a terrific article at The Truth About Cars since this was published, penned by Jack Baruth, which explained why luxury cars have to be so terrible in our times. Arne Boberg at least has a chance to work through issues if owners keep returning pistols to the factory.
I have high hopes for XR45-S. It looks to me that bigger cartridges make it easier for too-smart actions. Just look at the number of machine guns that feed in such strange patterns. PKM is one and its feed reliabilty is such that you can shoot 10,000 rounds without a single malfunction.
Being too cheap to add a follower which causes the mag spring to pop out and the last round to stovepipe is just plain un-American. Reliability is everything with a pistol and I won’t buy one unless it’s 100% on the button. I also don’t like a skimpy spring that is side mounted. Springs should be central and 100% reliable. I am really impressed with the barrel back design though and feel that this is a good work in progress but take advantage of it by giving the shooter a full 4 1/2 inches of true barrel length to give real life saving 9mm ballistics. A single column slightly larger grip would be OK too.
Your statement regarding the “spring” proves that you lack fundamental understanding how this pistol works. In a conventional pistol, the spring serves to both absorb recoil and to return the slide to the closed position. In the Boberg design, the rotation of the barrel AND the unlock block on the barrel as well as other features serve to absorb the recoil, accordingly the slide spring serves only to return the slide to a closed position and does not need to be heavy in serving that purpose. As an independent and corollary benefit, the light slide spring also makes it much easier to rack the slide. As far as followers are concerned. I have only once had a spring pop out of a magazine on me and that was with the earliest magazine design. I’ve also tried the followers that Boberg supplied and found that they were occasionally troublesome in more recent magazines. They also sometimes prevented a full loading of the magazine to 7 rounds. I stopped using them altogether with no bad effect.
Boberg has since been sold to Bond Arms – good luck, Bond! I think Boberg was a shameless attempt to cash-in, on the pocket 9mm crazed market. My Hi-Point C9, is a better gun, made by a respectable/reputable company. ‘A fool and his money, are soon parted’..
But just bought one of the last run, supposedly.
Next time apart, will check the SN, as there seems to be none stamped anywhere on the outside.
The box shows a low-mid range 700#.
Only two mags of two different premium brands of ammo so far, completely trouble free.
Two complaints hand fit, and trigger pull.
Not the most comfortable grip for me, and I believe the trigger pull is somewhere north of 12 pounds!
Have heard “butter smooth”, and no “stacking”.
Smooth, yes, but I feel what I would call “mucho” stacking!
That is if “starts fairly easily, and progresses to way too much” is what stacking means.
My Wheeler trigger scale only goes to 8 pounds, starts low and goes well past that 8 pound limit before breaking.
Only gun I have that I can say, 14 shots, and my finger is sore!
Nice gun, but not sure that I am going to keep it!
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