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remington r51

Were you as excited by the original announcement of the R51 as we were? Were you then equally as horrified that a company with the history and tradition of Remington would release a QC-free POS like that upon the gun-buying public? If you were an early adopter (or just missed Nick’s review) and laid down some cold hard cash for one, Remington’s finally acknowledging the debacle and they’re trying to make things right. Friday afternoons are when everyone releases bad news so Big Green’s just let it be known that they’re offering to replace your R51 (with one that, you know, works, we presume) and will throw in two new mags and a custom Pelican case for your trouble. Their announcement after the jump . . .

Earlier this year, we launched the innovative R51 subcompact pistol to critical acclaim. During testing, numerous experts found the pistol to function flawlessly. In fact, they found it to have lower felt recoil, lower muzzle rise and better accuracy and concealability than other products in its class.

However, after initial commercial sales, our loyal customers notified us that some R51 pistols had performance issues. We immediately ceased production to re-test the product.  While we determined the pistols were safe, certain units did not meet Remington’s performance criteria. The performance problems resulted from complications during our transition from prototype to mass production. These problems have been identified and solutions are being implemented, with an expected production restart in October. 

Anyone who purchased an R51 may return it and receive a new R51 pistol, along with two additional magazines and a custom Pelican case, by calling Remington at (800) 243-9700.   

The new R51 will be of the same exceptional quality as our test pistols, which performed flawlessly.  

We appreciate your patience and support.


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  1. “During testing, numerous experts found the pistol to function flawlessly. ”

    This quote is why I don’t read print gun review articles.

    • There is a possibility the guns were hand fitted and worked fine. Before the mass production and typical machining tolerances entered the mix.

    • That whole first paragraph is pretty hilarious actually.

      Honestly I’d have had more respect for them if they’d just owned up and said “We blew it, but we’re working on it. We’re not going to tell you we’ll fix it because we’d rather prove it to you instead.”

  2. so funny. just got this month’s issue of GUN TESTS, and they rated it an A and could find no fault with it if you read the owners’ manual and used the recommended ammo (remington or buffalo butt bullets) think it was buffalo somethin, but couldn’t resist the dung humor.- and they did find the disassembly and reassembly slightly difficult, but again, they had to read the manual. Gave up all my gun mag subscriptions except gun tests, cause they all are whores and pimps of the manufacturers, now even GUN TESTS is suspect.

    • Buffalo Bore… they’re a reputable ammo manufacturer. One of the few that makes a true .380+p round that is actually a +p rated load.

    • I too was surprised when I read that review in Gun Tests this week. I was looking for them to really rake it over the coals because I remember them giving the p938 an F rating when it first came out.

  3. Lol wow now there’s marketing spin. More accurate = as accurately as one can throw it, better concealment = it’s never seen on me cause it’s in the shop, lower felt recoil = its never qctually fired, & run flawlessly = we sent our best guns to reviewers along with a hefty sum of cash to ensure a glowing review. All in all this release makes it seem like if the gun screws up it’s the customers’ fault. How dare yall have a problem!!

  4. I’m just going to throw it out my theory that these guns still have some design flaws. :p Hope to be wrong, though.

    • The biggest design flaw is see is that the STEEL locking-block in the slide locks up against an ALUMINUM locking-shoulder in the frame. I’ve looked inside several used production samples of the R51 and noticed that the aluminum locking shoulder has been peened and rounded by its interaction with the locking block. Unless Remington redesigns the frames to ad a steel locking-shoulder insert into the frame, I just cant see how the redesigned pistols will hold up any better than the first generation lemons.

      I understand that steel-on-aluminum bearing surface interactions such as those between slide and frame have been successfully employed for decades, but I have never seen steel-to-aluminum locking mechanisms on any firearm before. If I’m wrong that this is a questionable arrangement, maybe someone with a mechanical engineering degree can quell my skepticism.

      • You’re not wrong, and in fact I’m astonished to hear that Remington went for this combination of materials rather than putting a lot of thought into it, because even Pedersen’s original gun had some problems in this area (see below). Here’s my best guess about what happened:-

        Manager: I see here that Pedersen’s lock sometimes split after long use. What was going on?

        Engineer: Metal fatigue.

        Manager: How can we fix that?

        Engineer: We can use other materials. For instance –

        Manager (cutting him off): What are the cheapest materials we can use that won’t fail that way?

        Engineer: Probably a steel block bearing on a softer material like aluminium, but –

        Manager (cutting him off): We’ll go with that then.

        But the engineer was most likely cut off before he could say:-

        – “We can use other materials. For instance, phosphor bronze resists metal fatigue better than anything Pedersen had available.” and

        – “Probably a steel block bearing on a softer material like aluminium, but that will only avoid failing by splitting by failing by deforming instead.”

        • You do realize the R51 bolt and slide design are very different from the Model 51? That’s the one part of the design they actually modified quite a bit from the original. The original bolt failed because it was hollow; the new one has slots carved on the sides; much more robust against fatigue cracking.

          The only locking block damage I’ve experienced on my R51 is in regards to the disconnector, and would have happened were it steel or otherwise. The way the relief cut for the disco is made, the contact point for the disconnector lobe is more exposed than it should be, causing a bur to be raised on the underside of the block, which then digs a furrow across the top of the locking block/frame (you can see the worn spot on practically every field stripped gun). Couple quick passes of a file and it hasn’t re-occurred, but obviously not a great design/manufacturing choice. Not a problem of materials, though.

        • Yes, barnbwt, I did realise that Remington made quite a few implementation changes from the Pedersen original. The point I was making was that it looked as though one of those changes was to use a steel/aluminium combination of materials for the locking system, with the problems mentioned. Clearly, Remington did make changes or we wouldn’t be talking about the steel/aluminium combination in the first place. Myself, I would have looked into phosphor bronze or other modern materials with better fatigue behaviour, but I would also have looked into whether the fix introduced new bugs of its own – and that’s what seems to have happened here, with the components deforming.

  5. I have one that actually works as advertised. No problems at all. Now I need to figure out whether to replace it, or wait 20 years and see if the originals that are still out there have value.

    • I’d say trade it in. Why would somebody pay more for a gun model that is known for being an unreliable mess? Because you say it’s one of the few that actually did perform as intended? Why should they believe you, when there are newer, known to be functioning models of the same gun that they can buy for less?

      • Because some people are collectors.

        Think error-print baseball cards that now carry enormous value due to rarity.

        • Or… The early Ruger Single-Six revolvers (without the “fix”) that were deemed so unsafe because you “had” to carry them with an empty chamber under the hammer? Now, the un-“fixed” ones go for a premium… There are plenty of examples of defect items, that eventually sell at a premium… Another? How about the upside-down airplane stamp?

  6. They stated the tested prototype was not the same as the production models, that would explain the test differences. Reading comprehension folks.

  7. I still think Ill wait awhile maybe a year or 2.
    If it still works I will take a look at it.
    This is almost the same situation as at Sig.
    They push out the newest and latest to unsuspecting customers like me. Use me as a research guinea pig and then fix the guns 18 months later.
    While mines been back to CS 4 times……….
    I just bought a P938 and waited 2 years this time.
    No more being the 1st on the block to have the latest and greatest 100 year old designed gun for me.

      • The p220 that I had was awful. The double action was horrible. I traded it in on a Ruger Stainless 1911 which always works great. I am going to add a muzzle break and try some sabots in it and see how they work!!!!

    • SIG has gotten it’s act together. The P938 is as much of a runt as the original Mustang it was based on, but the latest rifles have been getting produced without much issue and the P320 – their biggest launch in a few years – seems to be going flawlessly. With a few thousand P320s out the door now, the single report I’ve seen is a guy on a high-volume shooting forum who had some peening and the recoil spring skipped a couple coils off the guide rod. That’s it.

  8. This is panning out like some sort of dramatic movie. Ridiculous.

    I’d say they oughta drop the R51 altogether, but at this point, they’re probably too far invested in the product. No choice but to attempt to improve it and get it back out there.

    I understand some flaws, but there’s just been waaaaay to many with this one. Dangerous flaws, at that.

    The newest Remington product I have in my safe is from 1967. It performs beautifully.

    Remington, you’ve really dropped the ball, and you’ve got a long way to go to gain the gun community’s trust back.

    As much as I am anticipating the reviews of the R51 (Version 2.0…lol), you’ll never get a damned dime from me. Period.

    With the exception of your ammo. I buy as much of that as I can.

    Good day!

  9. The new R51 will be of the same exceptional quality as our test pistols, which performed flawlessly.

    This is a lie, as the test pistols did not perform flawlessly. Military Arms Channel’s T&E gun provided by Remington for review is one example (for more on his case, see also the follow-up article “Is the Remington R51 Safe?“).

    • My thought exactly. From the time I registered for the recall on my 700, I’m nearly three months in to the process. I’ve already missed most of the good shooting weather, and now summer is slipping away.

      All they offered me (us), was a discount code on the Remington Country (or something) website. A code which I don’t even have because I didn’t write it down. They couldn’t even send it in an email.

      I used to be a huge Remington fan, but I’m pretty much through.

    • All you had to do was throw a aftermarket trigger in your 700 to fix your issue. I don’t know any shooter of a 700 bolt rifle that uses stock trigger.

    • I try to never buy ANYTHING in the first month or year, guns, cars, trucks, electronics, because the price generally goes down and the quality goes up the longer a model of something is manufactured. Like flat screen TVs, microwave ovens, etc.

  10. Great. In most of NYS, gotta wait for your “amended license” to come back before you can take possession of your replacement gun. Sucks.

  11. Remington did me a solid when my R1 had a minor slide stop issue a few years back. Turned that rascal
    around in less than a week from the West Coast.

    I’m willing to cut them some slack on this.

    If I was in the market for a striker fired sub, I’d give the post October models a sniff.

    • Uh, what? Model 51 and R1 not ring any bells? Probably a good chance they’ve sold more of those than Armies at this point ;). The R51 was botched, but the 51 very well made, and the 1911 suitably well made by all accounts.


  12. So the fancy machining they did on the prototypes was important after all. It is easier than you think to suck out design intent by trying easier (cheaper) processes. These all-metal pistols had to give up something at that price point. 1) Good 2) Cheap 3) Fast you only get 2 at once…

  13. Kind of like your doctor telling you your cancer’s gone, but now you have tuberculosis.

  14. And who would trust Remington now? Plenty of small 9’s to choose from. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a non-admission admission of guilt in my life.

  15. The more I look at the R51, the more I like it. But the more I read about it, the more I want to leave a flaming dog turd at FG HQ’s front porch. It’s very confusing.

    • At present, the guns are very Russian like. The machining is very reminiscent of a low-grade SKS. So the gun is a lot like an Ural; cool, unique, interesting, has its perks, but requires a lot of work and thought to keep running right. That’s asking too much from a public that won’t even field strip a pistol to make sure there’s no machining debris left in it before blasting away –that’s about 1/3 the R51 locked-up guns right there. Same thing will happen on an Ural bike if the buyer does not beware and do some due diligence.

      It’s not an outrage if you know going in. There’s no competing product so it is the only option if you want a smooth shooting Pedersen action in 9mm (it really is, if you haven’t shot one; like a full size steel Hi Power in recoil). Once 2.0 is out, that won’t be the case, and I’ll trade up –but only after convincing myself Rem’s changes are actually improvements (I’ve understandably lost faith in their entire org and command structure to run a project properly, since everyone from manufacture to inspection to auditing at the Para plant was in on the scam)


  16. Wow, they’re still not coming clean and admitting stuff. A couple of experts did determine that some were unsafe to fire.

    I wonder if there was any design changes made to keep it from being improperly reassembled? Or are they just fixing the functional issues and leaving the design inherently flawed?

  17. Even if TTAG clears it and it turns out to be the best gun ever made I don’t give it much of a chance.
    How many single stack 9’s are out there now?

      • Corvair suspension issues were overblown by Nader to sell books; this is more like Ural sidecar bikes that have metal shavings in the oil pan and tire bolts loose from the factory. A 1911 built like the R51 would likely fail even harder, only it would kaboom out of battery instead of bulging brass (a happy fail safe of the Pedersen system)

  18. A few months ago I picked up the R51 and I asked the salesman how he could sell “this POS” with a straight face.

    He looked at me, like I was a 3 headed Hydra, and was speechless.

    ZERO tactile trigger reset, a trigger pull as long as an LC9, gorilla grip required for the safety to disengage, and a “false” slide lock on it. You thought it was in slide lock, but it really was hanging up on the barrel and other internals.

    Frankly, I think I said, “no way,” faster than any other pistol I have ever held.

    Sorry “Big Green”, but you really didn’t do your reputation any favors by rushing this out the door.

    • Seriously, the RESET is what put you off? Didn’t check it out very closely, I imagine. Either that or you’re a striker-shooter (wild guess). To be fair, about 2/3 of the trigger is over travel, but they were made with super aggressive sear surfaces so the sloppily built guns wouldn’t go full auto and get Remington in trouble. As a result, the trigger is heavy. But the actual trigger group design is more similar to a 1911, and can therefore be brought WAY down with proper smithing.

      The rough slide is doubtless due to the metal shavings left inside from the factory. Shameful, but I still think it’s sad that LGS’ and buyers can’t be bothered to inspect/clean before sale/shooting. The slide catching is because you were racking it with the safety released (and some of the guns apparently have stiff safeties, my guess is they are binding on the hammer strut they straddle). Some shooters apparently grip the sides of their guns rather than the front/back, so the grip safety is not for everyone (Weaver stance shooters have less issues than the presently-popular SWAT square-on stance practitioners)

      You have to remember that the guns were made to Soviet standards; they’re about on par with a rough SKS, but with an action that requires precision to work well. The result is less than successful.

  19. Eh, I’ll buy their excuse. Remington wouldn’t intentionally shoot themselves in the foot. They should have ramped up the quality control in the first place though.

  20. As an owner of an 1100 and 700, granted both over 20 years old now, I was really liking the R51 as a CC option. Really like the smoothed out lines. Was a bit concerned on the action. It seemed Luke an old idea that had flaws so was never a long lived design. Sure was hoping modern machine technology would have made a difference. Kind of glad I still have the money. Hope Big Green gets it right now.

    • He called nothing, at least not the right things. As I recall, he had no non-user-induced malfunctions. The trigger reset is a non-issue to non-Glock users, the “slide bite” is utterly bogus to everyone who’s shot mine (none can imagine how you could get bit, either), and the “reassembly difficulties” were laughable. What the gun did have was an extremely loose trigger, extremely stiff disconnector hindering slide movement, debris in the action out of the box (so I cleaned it before shooting), short and rough chamber, enlarged firing pin hole, and a minor but real peening problem of the bolt/disconnector interface that quickly arises. Not one of these things I noticed in my first range trip were noted by the leading online reviewers, and yet somehow I found none of the various reviewer’s ‘serious flaws’ present in my gun.

      Every user of the R51 that’s posted online has reported bulged primer strikes from the oversize holes. Not one of the magazine or ‘big time’ blog writers seemed to notice this, but cried bloody murder when the gun that was having trouble chambering their ammo fully finally lets a shot off slightly out of battery (hint; every gun will do that if you try to cram in ammo that won’t fit.) Just because Remington’s chamber reaming incompetence was at fault doesn’t make the decision to push the gun intelligent, nor the result unexpected. Nor does it make the design “dangerous” or “flawed” any more than a 1911 or Glock so chambered would be.

      We can’t trust the magazines because they’re bought. But we also find bloggers miss what is important all too often, as well, since as with magazines, they ultimately rest upon the opinions and experience of one writer. Which is why it pays to read multiple types of opinions and experiences before forming expectations. The R51 is an adequate American design which relies upon a certain level of build quality to function well, but was built to Soviet standards (think rough SKS and you’re close). Since Remington now appears to be attempting to burn through its operating capital as fast as legally possible, I expect they will spare no expense devoting resources to the R51 ahead of their bankruptcy (wild guess, early next year)

  21. My August edition of Gun Tests just hit the mail box. They gave their R51 an A… I cant wait to read the mail next month.

    I am pretty sure they buy their test models off the shelf.

    • I’d be more impressed if his critiques had been for the reasons most R51 users have reported subsequently, as opposed to inexplicable or very rare ones (to be fair, there are plenty to pick from, though). He gets credit for being one of the first, though.

      I do love watching gunnies schadenfreude all over each other as though it accomplishes anything for anybody, though.

      To fix the R51:
      -Cut chambers with something other than a broken-off endmill
      -Tighten up holes on pivoting elements, namely trigger
      -Tweak disconnector design to activate on the slide rails, rather than slide internals
      -Clean the damn guns of metal shavings before packing

      And you’d address about 95% of the problems, bringing the gun back into the rest of the sub 400$ set in terms of quality. 90% would be fixed by cutting the chambers correct (a flaw being seen increasingly across Remington’s entire lineup, speaking to a breakdown in manufacturing management and discipline across the board)

  22. Remington keeps mentioning the word “flawless.” Doesn’t sound like an apology or admission of fault to me. My gut feeling is the R51 will end up on the list of guns that should’ve never existed.

  23. I know someone who shot a prototype. If ran flawlessly. The explanation actually makes sense. Remington wouldn’t be the first company to fail at transitioning from hand fitted prototypes to mass produced product. In fact, its probably the hardest part of making something in quantity.

    • It is becoming increasingly apparent Para played a really mean trick on Remington. Obviously everyone, managers, production engineers, quality control, the tool control crib, and ground level machinists colluded to pass off faulty merchandise onto the public. At some point, lax corporate oversight allowed the con to fester until it was too late to stop, and then Remington went into damage control (recalling guns from distributors, and maintaining radio silence until now, lol). My theory is word got out to that plant that they would be on the chopping block in this current corporate consolidation move. Real hard to keep people motivated to do a good job, on a high stakes short-schedule job, when they know they’ll be fired or relocated after the first run. Brilliant planning on the part of Corporate to put this project in the hands of this particular plant. Almost any other course of action would have turned out better product (which makes me wonder if the sabotage doesn’t go higher than we realize)


  24. Evolution works in mechanical systems just as it does with biological systems. The R51 was based on an evolutionary dead end. There are two basic automatic designs. Browning hammer fired pistols and Glock type striker fired pistols. You get variations within the groupings but once you start deviating to far from either design the risk of failure is high.

    • Glocks and 1911’s both have tilting barrel lockup; striker/hammer is practically a distinction without a difference, mechanically. The R51 is closer to an FAL rifle than anything. You also have the Beretta 92, PX4, and a couple other lockup designs far diverged from the Browning concept. The Depression killed all gun designs that weren’t cheap or bank-rolled by Uncle Sam. Were it ready in time for WWI, it is likely the 1911 would have fallen to the M53 (45acp variant that did better in trials before the war but wasn’t tooled up, yet)

      • I think 92 is a lock up design with an open slide. I agree that the Px4 is different and thought about mentioning it but I don’t think anybody will ever copy it. Beretta pulls off a more complicated design because they are quality operation that has been business for almost 500 years.

        Economic conditions are a key part of the environment where design, engineering and manufacturing take place. To say under different conditions there would have been some other result is a meaningless statement.

        It is very doubtful that the 1911 would have be replaced by a competing design. The gun is a masterpiece of ergonomics. To this day nobody has matched a John Moses Browning design for easy of use and safety.

        • “Economic conditions are a key part of the environment where design, engineering and manufacturing take place. To say under different conditions there would have been some other result is a meaningless statement.”
          And yet people claim that fact the 51 died off –almost entirely due to economic reasons– is proof it is an inferior mechanical design. How many 32/380acp 1911s are made today? None, because that’s an incredibly expensive way to make a 32/380acp pistol. Same for the Pedersen action; if made for 9mm or 45acp in the initial offering, it would have seen far more success in the military, which was the final arbiter for what lived or died at the time. But it was designed to be an equisite pocket gun, which, we have subsequently learned, was not the best market niche to be in during economic calamity and gangster violence that was rapidly getting pistol carry in cities banned (where the money to pay for them was)

          Not to impugn the 1911, but for a perfect machine it didn’t find much of a home outside America. Browning himself felt the Hi Power project he was working on was a solid improvement on the original (which, we have to admit, is a pretty arcane design, with lots of difficult parts doing separate jobs that later designs accomplish much more efficiently). Interestingly, the Hi Power ranks as high if not higher than the 1911 as far as comfort for most people I’ve asked; obviously a very subjective thing that comes down to individuals, though. Also worth remembering that the gun was hardly picked for its ergonomics, trigger, or anything else; it was the only 45acp pistol in mass production at the time that was worth a damn –very happy coincidence that the gun was also a very good design. Lastly, guns that have ‘ease of use’ are a lot easier to field strip than the 1911/Hi Power designs; I’d submit the Berettas and Glock designs probably reign, there.

          What the 1911 was, was the ultimate jumping off point for future pistol design, with its half-dozen or so brilliant design concepts not seen previously that would serve to inspire countless others for a century and beyond. Sort of like the first Wright Flyer that put the control surfaces behind the wing and made the planes infinitely easier to fly for the first time ever.


          PS: TTAG; what the hell is up with your website? The ads are sucking so much bandwidth as to be oppressive. No matter what machine, device, or browser, I can barely scroll, I have to type in another program because the lag is so bad, and more than two or three tabs frequently locks up the browser. Recently you guys bragged about how many page hits you’re getting; they will not last at this rate

  25. the “expert” reviewers (who got free guns) had nothing bad to say about the free guns. there’s a shocker!

  26. I believe Remington just hand selected the cream of the crop for reviews in print mags.

    Photography companies do that with lenses. Every lens review where the owner did not go out and by it uses a lens hand selected by the manufacturer (to increase the likelihood of a stellar review).

  27. Dove season is coming up, and I find myself without a suitable shotgun. My options are to buy a replacement barrel from Remington for my 870, or a brand new shotgun. New barrel is > 1/2 the cost of a new gun.

    Up until this press release, I was really waffling.

    Now I think I’ll be trying out that Weatherby SA 08.

    Anybody see that Cerberus-owned Albertson’s is buying Safeway? Almost makes me want to find a new grocery store.

  28. About six months ago, I was trying to decide between a Remington 700 and a Savage 11. I’m very happy with my decision. Guess what it was?

  29. The R51 looked like a POS to me the minute I saw it, so I’m not surprised. They ought to be replacing it with a R1… 🙂

    • Yeah when I read the headline I thought they were going to do right and give a voucher towards something else, not replace it with another awesome R51 which is currently under production suspension for the suck.

      A-holish if you ask me.

  30. Freedom Group, bringing you worse product cheaper and faster. They’ve ruined Marlin too. Only Remington I have is a mid-40’s model 341 .22lr.

    C’mon folks, what didja expect? People hate on HK’s that work because they cost too much, then turn around and whine about cheap guns that don’t work right. Quality costs. Even the championed “bang for buck” Glock has had issues as they changed their designs for the different generations.

    To the folks that say with minor pre-use attention and cleaning the guns work well enough, you are in the minority that don’t expect it done for them. Clean all new acquisitions before firing, new or used. SOP. It’s called familiarizing yourself with the design, etc. how can you possibly diagnose a stoppage if all you know is squeeze trigger, gun go bang? Some people can’t operate a sponge.

  31. This announcement is utter “please don’t sue us” corporate poopy-talk. They knew what they were doing when they kicked this POS out the door and figured, F-it, we’ll deal with it when someone complains.

    That’s like my opinion man.

  32. @bigfinger
    20 ga with 3″ chamber, blued, for a lightweight magnum, with interchangeable chokes. A few 3″ options, a few interchangeable options, only one with both in a suitable length so far as I can find.


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