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P1340506

Remington’s newly announced R51 is a modern version of the old Remington Model 51 [above], released in 1918 and discontinued some time around 1927. This is Remington’s second “updated” pistol after the 1911 R1, and I get the distinct impression they’re slowly working their way through the old designs and re-releasing the good stuff with modern machining and metals. Not that I’m complaining; there are a number of discontinued designs that I’d love to get my hands on (H&K P7 and the BHP spring immediately to mind) and the Model 51 is a fine choice for resurrection . . .

Remington Model 51 (courtesy wikipedia.org)

The original Remington Model 51 relied on a unique type of action created by John Pedersen, a designer best known for the “Pedersen Device” that turned a bolt-action Springfield 1903 rifle into a semi-automatic magazine-fed pistol caliber rifle with a simple bolt change. Like the original, the latter day Model 51’s barrel remains fixed in place. After ignition, the breech block slides slightly backwards before tilting down and out of the way, imparting enough momentum to the slide to carry it through the reloading cycle.

There are two benefits to this operating mechanism. First, it allows for a lighter recoil spring (the breech block is separate from the slide and less force is required to cycle the action). This makes the R51 easier to rack than a normal firearm – a good thing for women and older shooters. Second, as the recoil spring is placed around the barrel, there’s no need for a separate recoil spring guide rod. This accounts for the gun’s thin design and lowered bore axis. The end result: a flatter shooting gun with less felt recoil.

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The original Model 51 was pretty slick in its own right, but Remington has gone the extra mile to modify the R51 for concealed carry. They’ve rounded everything on the gun – including the rear sights — which means the pistol can slide freely out of a holster or pocket. The only exception is the forward end of the R51’s rear sight; it’s squared off to allow the shooter to rack the gun on a belt or other surface one-handed. The magazine release is recessed into the frame, giving the side of the gun a very smooth surface with no protruding controls. Remington also added some streamlined cuts in the slides that reduce weight and make it blend in better in a pocket or other flat carry position.

Not all of these improvements are actual improvements, though — the recessing of the magazine baseplate is a carry mod too far. The magazine’s baseplate sits flush with the surrounding metal, making it nice and smooth. But when you try and insert the magazine into the gun with the palm of your hand – like a normal reload – you have to physically press the magazine into the gun until the magazine catch clicks. Otherwise the gun won’t run.

The original R51 had a manual safety in addition to the grip safety, but the retro-mod R51 goes without. Instead the gun ships with only the 1911-like grip safety found on the original; it’s practically impossible to hold the Remington R51 without engaging the device. It’s my favorite kind of safety feature: one I don’t have to think about. On paper, then, the Remington R51 is a solid win. On the range . . .

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Pull the trigger on a live round and the first issue rears its ugly head: the Remington R51 is painful to shoot, even with light loads. Granted this is a common complaint for wafer-thin compact 9mm handguns, but I was expecting the smoother stylings of the R51 and the lighter recoil of the Pedersen action to eliminate some of that discomfort.

The R51’s grip safety area (located right where the webbing of your hand grips the gun) has two jagged ridges along which the safety rides. These ridges focus the force of the recoil on an extremely small area of your hand. Combined with the R51’s low bore axis . . . for the first time in years I was getting slide bite. The left side of the R51’s slide rail contacted my hand when the gun cycles. By the end of the range day, my admittedly oversized hand looked like someone beat it with a hammer. [NB: RF was having the same issues with his mid-size mitts.]

Smaller firearms that are painful to shoot aren’t anything new. Airweight .357 Magnum revolvers continue to fly off the shelves nationwide (a fact which boggles my mind). But it’s a bad thing, not a good thing. Owners are far more likely to practice their marksmanship and tactics with an easy shooting carry gun than with a personally punishing firearm. There are other, even more important concerns . . .

At the Remington SHOT Show booth, I discovered that the R51’s trigger had no perceptible reset. The trigger’s take-up and break were exquisite, but there was no tactile feedback when the sear had reset and the gun was ready to fire again. The guys at the booth claimed this wasn’t a bug. Out on the range you won’t even notice it. As they say in The Land of Hope and Glory, pull the other one it’s got bells on.

Running the gun, I found myself constantly pulling the R51’s trigger short of the reset – especially when trying to shoot quickly. Judging the reset point is difficult, and it seems to take ages to get the trigger ready for the next shot. In the video above you can clearly see my finger moving backwards and nothing happening. I had to mentally condition myself to touch the trigger guard with my fingernail after every round, which increased my shot-to-shot split times.

Guns & Ammo’s writer said he was quicker with the R51 shot-to-shot than with his other guns. Unless he’s benefited from some specialized training, I don’t see how that’s possible. Even after shooting more than 500 rounds and plenty of dry firing I was still pulling the R51’s trigger before it reset. Having that much movement in my trigger finger also didn’t help with my accuracy. It added more lateral movement in the shot pattern than with any other gun I own.

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Speaking of accuracy, the R51 gets it done. This 2-inch five round group was shot from the five yard line. Saying that, I regularly see one ragged hole out of either my Wilson Combat 1911 or the FNS-9. The R51’s offer better [off-hand] accuracy than some other compact guns I’ve tested recently but it’s not top of the pops either.

The R51’s low bore axis and lighter slide did indeed reduce felt recoil and allowed me to get on target quickly. There was another pleasant surprise: the R51 wasn’t that much more painful to shoot with +P 9mm ammo, and recoil with +P isn’t any stouter than normal ammo. Relatively speaking, at least — the +P loads were no more painful than any other rounds, yet still painful to shoot. It’s also entirely possible that my hand was too numb from pain at that point to know the difference. I tested the gun using standard American Eagle 9mm rounds and a broad smattering of hollow point ammunition to ensure that standard self defense loads would run in the gun.

To its credit, the R51 didn’t seem to have any issues with liking one brand of ammunition over another. It malfunctioned equally with all of them.

I know people who think that disassembling a GLOCK for cleaning and maintenance is too much work. The R51 is not the alternative carry gun they’re looking for. Disassembling Remington’s carry piece is almost as “challenging” as changing an M1 Carbine’s extractor. No one will intuitively understand that you need to grab the R51’s barrel and pull it forward to get the slide free, and getting an American male to read the instruction manual is about as likely as Robert bagging his latest supermodel crush. But they really should [read the manual].

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When you re-assemble the R51 you must slip a small tab on the slide stop of the gun underneath this little spring. You must insert it perfectly parallel to the slide. If you tilt the slide stop upwards by as little as a 1/16th of an inch, if it rides above the spring, the gun will malfunction. As Robert found out it might even refuse to feed. Not to put too fine a point on it, replacing the slide stop properly could be the difference between life and death in a self defense situation.

At the Remington booth, a display model failed to return to battery a couple times. The guy running the display admitted that the gun was improperly reassembled. A different gun cycled perfectly. The fact that Remington’s own sales reps – the guys specifically trained on the use of the gun – didn’t re-assemble the R51 properly tells you that the design is fundamentally flawed.

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The R51’s user manual only mentions this critical step in a small sentence at the very end of the instruction, accompanied by a not entirely educational picture [above]. With every other gun on the market, if you re-assemble the gun incorrectly a quick function check will show you the error of your ways. An incorrectly re-assembled R51, however, will still pass a function check even with the slide stop installed incorrectly. There’s no way to test the R51 to ensure that it’s properly assembled (dry fire, function testing, or visual inspection) short of firing about 100 rounds through the gun. The first sign that something is wrong with the R51 will be when the gun suddenly stops working in the middle of a string.

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.

[I emailed Remington and suggested that they include a simple orange piece of paper in the box, tied to the gun, alerting people to this issue, instructing them on how to properly assemble the gun. They plan to release a YouTube video on the subject.]

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. I know Tim, and his reviews are the only ones I trust outside of TTAG. So when he says there’s a problem, there’s a problem. These are not features you want in a concealed carry handgun.

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Unfortunately, that sleek design seems to be indicative of the main issue with the R51. While the gun looks awesome, both the ease of use and range performance leave something to be desired. It almost feels like the gun is half finished, with just a couple of tweaks required to make it into a rocking awesome gun.

The R51 had enormous potential to be a really cool gun. I wanted it to be a really cool gun. And it still could be! But there are a couple very minor design changes that need to be made to get it to that point: an idiot-proof slide stop, followed by adding a tactile reset to the trigger. Finally, making the back of the gun a little more comfortable during recoil would round things out. But Remington doesn’t seem interested in making those changes.

Compared to the competition, the R51 doesn’t deliver. It’s roughly the same dimensions as a Glock 19, but harder to field strip and re-assemble properly and serves-up half as many rounds in the magazine. The SCCY CPX-2 is cheaper, smaller, more capacious (holds three more rounds) and easier to maintain. In fact, there isn’t a single reason to buy the Remington R51 over any of the other guns in the compact 9mm category (other than marketing) and at least one good reason to avoid it altogether.

As much as I’d like to mend fences with the Freedom Group, I call this gun an epic fail.

Specifications:

Caliber: 9mm Para, +P rated
Barrel Length: 3.4 inches
Overall Length: 6.6 inches
Width: 1 inch
Height: 4.6 inches
Weight: 22 Oz
Capacity: Ships with two 7-round magazines
MSRP: $420

Ratings (Out of Five Stars):
All ratings are relative compared to the other weapons in the gun’s category. Overall rating is not mathematically derived from the previous component ratings and encompasses all aspects of the firearm including those not discussed.

Accuracy: * * * *
For a sub-compact $420 handgun, it’s not bad at all.

Ergonomics: * * * * *
Holding the gun in my hand, it feels pretty great. It slides beautifully into a pocket or a holster, too.

Ergonomics Firing: *
It hurts your hand, and there’s no tactile trigger reset. I’m not alone — Robert agrees.

Ease of Maintenance: * 
Honestly, I’d rather detail strip my 1911 than field strip this thing. It’s a pain in the butt to take apart and put back together. Worse, it’s very easy to get it wrong without realizing what you did.

Reliability: * 
The gun doesn’t even run when you assemble it right.

Customization: *
There is exactly one holster available so far, but give it time. Given how hard Remington is marketing this thing there will be plenty of new stuff available soon. And hopefully two of those things will be a replacement trigger and slide stop.

Overall Rating: *
It’s a great concept, but there are serious design flaws that shouldn’t be acceptable in a modern firearm. For a gun that’s being marketed to new shooters and people with a freshly-printed concealed carry license, it’s way too easy to re-assemble the gun incorrectly — and even when put together right it still doesn’t work. Add on top of that the painful shooting experience and people won’t be likely to put much time into practicing with the gun. It has a lot of potential, and all it would take are a couple design changes to fix the issues.

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303 COMMENTS

  1. Since when is 4.6 height, 1 inch width, roughly the same size as a Glock 19?
    That is literally the same specs as a M&P shield, and I can tell you that it’s not “roughly” the same size as a Glock 19.

      • That’s an enlightening observation, and one I’m glad you relayed. Though I’ve never man-handled one, my web-impression was that the R51 was considerably smaller.

        Been researching the R51 as a suggestion/recommendation for my wife (trust me, let yours buy her own). A balanced counterpoint article which doesn’t extol it as the second coming is appreciated.

      • My strongest response was how much better looking the model 51 is vrs the new R51.
        I guess I just do not warm to modern plastic fantastic firearms perhaps due to the way I have seen engineered plastic items degrade and fail in the early years of the tech in the 50s and 60s when they were learning how to use the wonder material. Anyone else here have a chance to shoot a Dardek pistol back in the day with its Tround ammo?

        But honestly I know that those early material problems were solved a long time ago and you can not argue against the market domination of Glock and the other plastic designs .

        I just find metal firearms in general to be more pleasing to the eye

  2. Nice to hear a critical review Nick! Everyone has been drumming this gun up so much, I had the distinct feeling it would disappoint.

    The only reason I can see to buy it is if you are real hung-up on the “metal-guns” only thing. Might be popular with some 1911 guys.

    • I think the sig P938 has the metal-only compact 9 market cornered (some small parts are plastic though). My only complaint would be that Sig took an opposite approach to Remington’s corner rounding, and styled every surface after the jagged edge of a broken beer bottle. Looks great, feels bad to carry most of the time (shoots fantastic of course).

  3. Such a shame. This was the one gun from SHOT that excited me. I read the TFB’s article on it and hoped for the best.

    This has harshly brought me back to reality.

  4. This sounds like a pistol designed by people who have never designed a pistol before. Give it a few design revs to smooth over the rough edges and then buy one.

    • Eh, I’m not a big fan of using the buying public for beta testing. That said, sharp edges on the safety should be easy enough to deal with, folks have plenty of experience with grip safeties on 1911s, and a redesigned slide stop should also be straightforward. The trigger might be trickier at that price point however.

  5. I’m glad the grip safety is basically impossible to not engage, that was one concern I had.

    I wonder how difficult it actually is to reassemble the slide stop properly once you know what to look out for and how to do it?

    How is it roughly the same dimensions as a Glock 19? Based on the specs you give, the width and height are the same as the Shield, and the barrel length and overall length barely longer than the Shield’s.

    Also, you don’t think the extremely easy to rack slide is a single reason to buy the R51 over the competition? I suspect (but don’t know for sure) that this might reduce the number of limp wrist malfunctions that plague the polymer framed pistols out there today.

      • Thanks for mentioning that. For me, that’s a deal breaker. My next gun won’t be an R51. Maybe a Glock 42 or 19 or 1911 or a 300 BLK upper. Something like that, anyways.

        • +1. Thanks for the review, Nick. I wondered about teething issues with a new (well, new-old) design.

          Guess we’ll see how the R51A1 (or Model 2 / Block 2 or whatever they call the fix) does next year.

      • So you take the gun to the range, get it dirty, then go home and clean it – but the only way to function check it properly is to take it back to the range and get it dirty again. ???

        • Sometimes after cleaning my carry gun I will test fire it,2 shots. Than only swab the barrel. Calling it clean and working. Its’ always good piece of mind to me.

          Dave

      • Can’t you tell if the slide-stop is installed correctly by manually holding the slide just a hair past the point where the slide-stop engages the slide, while holding the pistol on its side, and then push up on the slide-stop to see if the spring returns it to its downward position or if you feel and resistance from the spring?

        Based on what I’m seeing from the design in the video, it doesn’t look “impossible” to function check without firing, but simply not intuitive. Much like making sure that you got the slide-stop spring is under the cross pin in a Glock after detail stripping by holding the slide just past the stop engagement point and then press up, while holding the pistol on it’s side, to make sure the spring pushes the slide-stop back down. I agree that this is a much bigger issue on the R51 because you have to check it each time you field strip it as opposed to the infrequency with which you have to detail strip a Glock.

        Maybe you can explain this better since you have actual hands-on experience. I’m not saying it isn’t a bad design for how easy it is to do wrong, but from a mechanical standpoint, I don’t see how it is an insurmountable issue to someone properly educated with a modicum of mechanical inclination. IF I’m right, then the mechanics aren’t a deal killer for me, since I’m mechanically inclined. But it might prevent me from recommending the pistol to someone who I am not confident can properly reassemble the pistol.

        As for the trigger, I certainly agree that on a single action semi-auto pistol there is absolutely no reason (as there is on a DAO revolver) not to have a short, distinct, tactile reset, since speed is part of the advantage of autos and a full release of the trigger has to take more time. I don’t anticipate it causing a functional issue for me since I go back and forth from releasing the trigger fully on DAO revolvers to shooting from the reset on Glocks without ever short-stroking the revolvers, but I do think that the R51 trigger would unnecessarily slow me down.

        What would probably be the deal killer for me is, instead, the size if I find your assessment of it’s dimensions to be correct.

      • Actually. you can verify if you assembled it correctly. simply rack the slide back without a mag. if it locks back you did it wrong. i dont understand whats so hard to rotate the slide stop up when installing.

        • Exactly, I have had a little trouble getting it right but it does seem to let you know when you have failed. I have some other concerns and contacted Rem today. It can be made to dryfire out of battery which may just be a factor of the design. Have some side to side slop with trigger that I am not used to. Factory is 90 miles away, would love to visit. Those complaining about recoil, hurting hand really surprise me. I think it feels like most of my 380’s. The accuracy, return to target, and recoil are excellent.

      • I grabbed the first R-51 to hit town, and I have a different set of concerns. First the mags are way too hard to reload for my wife. Second, I had to remove every last drop of packing grease, and put in Rem Oil, to get the slide to fully close. Third, I found an intermittent defect that’s way out there. But it went away on its own. The mag started to lock in without going all the way to battery. If the d#$%m thing was empty, the slide stop impinged on the follower and held it tight. But with live rounds in it, there was a good .040″ slop. The first round wouldn’t feed, but after assisting it, the rest would run for some reason. Somehow, the opposing mag release buttons can get out of alignment, and do this, intermittently.

        I have half of a solution for the two herky mag springs ( 14 coils). I changed out one for an old WWII Walther P-38 spring with only 11 coils. The Rem spring doesn’t stack up so bad in the longer P-38’s mag. body. I ordered a Wolfe replacement spring for a P-38, but it too has 14 coils of about the same diameter wire as both the Waffen Issue and the Remington’s. The crazy part is that both of these springs have the same footprints top and bottom, so they will interchange perfectly. Part of the trouble is that the Rem R-51 has a strange angle in the mag’s lips. The cartridge is pointed upwards more than the P-38’s.

        You showed American Eagle ammo, but I got a lot better results with some locally produced Estate ammo, by Howell Machines. The American Eagle stuff uses a cannelure below the bullet, whereas the Howell reloads have sheer case walls. I will look into having a finish 9mm Reamer run into my R-51’s chamber to bring it out to SAAMI specs. I surmised that Remington was a little too Owley about making a tight chamber for its hesitation blow back action. Remington has always tried to make the parabellum into a 38 ACP with its 125 gr. bullets. But I am happy to shoot classic P-08’s at 115 grains.

        Some of the machining on my breech block is atrocious. Plus the firing pin’s retaining cross pin keeps working out. But from some forums, I learned that you simply do not send one back to Remington. I’ll have a G.S. here, tune it until it works. Its for my wife to keep in our Tin Teepee, to defend against anything coming into camp to devourer our two Shiht Tzu ankle biters.

        The interlock which prevents racking the slide all the way, unless you depress the lemon squeezer, will have to go, eventually. But at hunting camp, I will have the slide racked back for her, to merely insert the magazines. The one with the old Waffen P-38’s mag spring, will be the the one in the batter’s box. The extra stiff factory R-51 mag will be the reserve. The laser is on hold, until I get this little beast tuned up or sold off.

  6. If that’s what it did to your hand with standard ammo, who in their right mind is going to shoot +P through that thing? Disappointing to say the least.

  7. Huh. All Remington had to do was not f*ck up, and this thing would’ve been golden. But they created a pistol with a fatal flaw, which they plan to remedy with, of all things, a youtube video. I would call that a pretty stellar f*ck-up.

  8. This is precisely the very sort of article that first attracted me to TTAG and keeps me coming back: very thorough, honest, detailed reviews.

    Great job, Nick.

    My “go to” handgun now is my Walther PPQ M2. I use it as EDC in a holster that fits very snug OWB and I’m good to go.

    • I agree Paul. We have way too many gun sites and video channels that don’t lay it on the line. Keep spreading the truth. Now I do believe that you can get a gun and run a few hundred flawless round through it and then report a good review.

      I honestly love where we are in the gun world these days, but I also have much lower expectations. I almost expect to buy a gun and have to break it in an deal with a few little nuances. I am less and less happy with that the more I spend however.

      Examples for me. Glock 19- brass in the face issue. FIXED and Now Flawless. Springfield XDS .45 Recall. Fixed Now Flawless. Ruger New Model Blackhawk – Cylinder spring not strong enough so cylinder falls out with heavy recoil. Fixed and Now Flawless.

      Would I buy a R51? At this point I might wait and monitor what others run into as they start to trickle into the market.

      • In my opnion, the ONLY objective gun reviews available are on YouTube channels where the channel owners are not bought and paid for by the gun business. I have never asked for, nor received, an T&E copy of any firearm I’ve shot and reviewed on my channel. I’ve paid every last penny for every single firearm I’ve used.

        It prevents me from, in any way, feeling any sort of obligation to post BS reviews, even in small part.

        I try my best to review as honestly and objectively as possible.

        Gun Magazines are simply total sell-outs for the gun industry.

        • I agree again Paul. You do a nice job. I will have to say I like when the popular channels get the new guns to review. At least I can see them in use and maybe compared to other like guns. I like that Hickok45 got his from Bud’s for the R51 I think. I know he gets T&E guns as well, but I have also seen him get a T&E gun and show you exactly when it fails.

      • TTAG reviews are honest unless it’s Nick doing a review of any FNH product. Then it’s just as bias as any other paid off review. The only difference being Nick wasn’t paid off with cash, he was allowed to tag along with their 3 gun team.

  9. Regarding the trigger reset or lack thereof: J frames don’t have them either and I don’t have any problem with the trigger myself. Is it simply a matter of Foghorn being so used to the short resets of the Glocks? Would he have the same experience if he picked up a tried and true 642 to review?

    • No he his use to 1911 comp gun trigger resets so anything with a longer reset or no loud click is a miserable trigger created by the devil.

    • To maintain a method of operation that’s common to all firearms, some of my instructors do teach their students to do a full reset – not exactly trigger slapping but close to it – on all handguns. Not that I particularly subscribe to that, but I don’t see the reset issue as being a fatal flaw. In particular, if the gun is intended to be marketed to newcomers to shooting, the lack of reset will pretty much be a non-issue for them.

      The other issues are more concerning to me, and thanks Nick for writing about them. I’d been seriously considering the R51 – but since I already have an XDs (.45) and a Para PDA (9mm) I think I’ll just be happy with my current pocket gun inventory.

  10. Off on a tangent here, but has anyone ever tried to make a locked breech semi auto pistol with the recoil guide rod above the barrel? Would that even be possible? It seems that would be a great way to lower the bore axis, making a compact powerful gun in 9 or 45 that much easier to control.

    • Standard guns recoil assembly contact the frame. This one goes around the barrel, but I’m assuming still contacts the frame. Being above the barrel would prevent it from having any surface to act as resistance.

      A centerfire version of a Buckmark might work. but for what you’re talking about, you need something that didn’t interfere with the barrel but still came down to the slide…

      I got it! Dual action bars like a pump shotgun that go on either side of the barrel, riding on a curved track, using blowback energy to actuate the “pump”. For further complication, the spring would work in reverse, where extended it holds the slide open, and compressed it locks it shut. or not.

  11. Grip safeties. How shall I put this? Hmmmm…. I hate the damn things! It was the first feature I learned to hate on a 1911 (others came with experience) and it’s a feature I do not want on a handgun. When I first read about the new R51, it looked good enough for me to think I might grit my teeth and bear the damn thing. Now I see the first issue out of the chute in this review has to do with the grip safety. The gun is no longer a consideration for me.

    Disassembly difficulties. I recall my first attempt at field stripping of my original Ruger Standard .22 pistol over 30 years ago. After that experience, I’ve never disassembled it again. Spray it out with brake cleaner and drizzle some oil into it. It keeps on working fine. But the problems encountered during this test is just another reason the R51 is out of consideration.

  12. Thank you for the most excellent review (and your pain and suffering for the effort). I was really curious about this one from SHOT, especially since all I heard was glowing praise (and suspiciously not one reviewer trying to strip and reassemble it).

    Now, could y’all get your hands on a SIG 320 ASAP? (My other big interest from this year’s new offerings.)

  13. It’ll sell, and for three reasons.

    1. It’s a Remington and there are simply a lot of Big Green fans out there.
    2. The price – if the MSRP is $420, it could probably be bought for like $375 at the gun store.
    3. It’s standard capacity magazine is small enough to comply with most ban states.

  14. Seems like the negatives were due to operator error and/or failure to RTFM.

    Of course, READING the instructions then not FOLLOWING them is a problem as well.

    • Slide bite isn’t operator error unless you’re holding it wrong. If you need to hold a compact pistol in a “special” way (that is, different from any other pistol of comparable size) to avoid your hand becoming mincemeat, that my friend is a design flaw.

    • Even after reading the instructions it’s still extremely easy to do it wrong.

      Remington’s own employees can’t put them together right. That should tell you everything you need to know about this gun.

      • Remington’s own employees also can’t build a Marlin rifle worth a shit. Maybe Remington’s employees are a poor yardstick to use to measure the ease or difficulty of mechanical tasks. 😉

        • Remington employees are a good yardstick to measure the quality of products shipping from the Remington factory, though.

      • It’s it possible to detect if you’ve reassembled it wrong by manipulating the cleared weapon and then correct it? Or can you only figure it out by loading and firing it?

      • “The fact that Remington’s own sales reps – the guys specifically trained on the use of the gun – didn’t re-assemble the R51 properly tells you that the design is fundamentally flawed.”

        No, what that tells you is the Remington sales reps at the show were a bunch of lazy pukes not really interested in doing their job.

  15. A Freedom Group product under $500 which has serious function issues precluding use as a defensive arm?!

    NO WAY.

    Next you’ll tell me an M&P Shield will stomp all over this thing in a comparison .I HATE to say it folks…..but I told ya so.

  16. Man, now you’ll NEVER get another fun from Remington.

    Maybe you can do a useless, unrealistic, completely subjective torture test to win their favor back.

    • I have a Tarus PT1911 SS. Eats anything I feed it. But I got rid of the ambi thumb safety and the
      locking hammer and the series 80 junk. Like I said, not a picky eater!

  17. Now you know why you were not invited to the “special press” outing to begin with. We all know we bloggers are not “real” journalist… Okay, a little sarcasm alert there….

    Thanks for the honest review, I expect these things will end up in the used display cases soon enough. Being honest in one’s recommendations and reviews is what builds one’s reputation for integrity. Keep up the great work.

  18. Wow, this gun is longer (with a shorter barrel), taller, thicker and heavier than my Kahr CW-9 which comes with 7-round mags and is accurate, simple to clean and easy to shoot even with +p ammo.

    Of course the CW-9 lacks in the “Buck Rogers Department of Nostalgia”, so it has that going against it.

  19. The flaws (some of them) are in the American Rifleman article, but in code:
    “There is enough grip frame there to hold onto, and Remington will offer oversize grip panels that will bulk the gun up for trips to the range.”

    Translate that into TTAG’s signature honesty:
    “…the Remington R51 is painful to shoot, even with light loads. Granted this is a common complaint for wafer-thin compact 9mm handguns….”

    This is why, even though I read reviews elsewhere, I don’t consider anything to be fully reviewed until it shows up on TTAG.

  20. Looks like I’ll stick with the LC9 as my pocket nine. Freedom group is doing its level best to destroy brands. Add another crap feather in the Remington hat.

    This gun also looks like that dreadful Jennings .22 I can’t get out of my head. Add in the reliability issues and it brings back some horrid memories.

    Pass.

    • Could be subjective? Like hitting your nuts with a 5lb sledge hammer hurts, but hitting them with an 8lb hammer felt as painful as the 5lb hammer?

    • Ya I noticed a couple of contradictory statements they made throughout the article. Not to mention the comparison to a Glock 19 (.2 inches wider which is identical the differnce they rave about during the Shield’s comparison to its big brother). And then complaining about the lack of ammo when it carries the same number of rounds as most single stack personal defense 9mm’s.

      • I have the Model 51 (1919 version) and it is a sweet shooter in .380. I find it hard to believe that this new R51 is that bad as far as recoil. The 1919 version is .75 at the grip and the new one is about an 1″. The wider grip I would think should spread the additional recoil of the 9mm out on the hand. I’m not sure how you got the slide bite, when hold the old model my hand is a good 1/2 of an inch away from the slide.

  21. Thanks for the review Nick. I will definitely wait until it sounds like Remington has resolved the issues.

    That being said, if this was Robert doing this review, and this gun was a GLOCK 42 or a Caracal, I kinda feel like many of these design flaws would be brushed off as “simple missteps in the design process which will be worked out in the next development cycle.”

    Also, in an earlier article RF said he would be testing the R51 against the Glock 42. Why? They are in different ballparks.

  22. Great review. It seems like the negatives are mostly items that Remington can address in the next iteration, though I don’t see any way around the takedown process.

    On the slide stop, though, this is not the first pistol I have seen where things can go awry during reassembly. The P238/938 and Kimber Solo all have slide stops that need to be inserted correctly in relation to a sprung wire that prevents the stop from catching when the gun cycles. I have never had a problem with it on my P938, but I did F up the reassembly on my wife’s Solo once upon a time. It’s certainly not ideal for a gun marketed to first-time shooters, but it’s also not a deal killer, IMO. As you suggest, a brightly-colored warning tag – and maybe even an engraved warning somewhere on the barrel assembly – would go a long way to address it.

  23. It sounds like most of the problems are things that could be fixed with a few simple modifications that could be released in a Gen 2 version. Except for the disassembly thing.

  24. Now release one in .380 and let’s act excited all over again! I don’t “get” the LC380, or the 9mm sized Glock that’s not 9mm. I don’t get this flawed pistol thingy either. I have a great 8+1 CCW weapon that carries well and functions perfectly: Bulgarian Makarov! Not enough rounds? CZ82!

    • CZ82 Rocks! And great support. I sent my old Mak in and had it back in two weeks.
      Never yet had a failure to eject or stovepipe on it. And it even shoots steel case russian
      ammo. It was made for that.

  25. I will echo the sentiments above. Very decent, Honest review. If you are looking for warts and all reviews in any mainstream gun rag you can forget it. Write a shit review of the new R51? Poof! There goes thousands and thousands of potential ad revenue dollars. I’m sure the PR flacks at all the makers carefully nudge and cajole the gun mags into positing their products into the best light with all sorts of, errr, incentives and whatnot. Gun mags these days are only good for gun porn. Along with TTAG, Gun Tests magazine (which accepts no advertising) will give you a good honest review as well.

    • +1

      I was going to jump on one of these. Now, forget it. You can rarely win my limited funds for firearms back after integrity is lost. This will be one of the greatest “could have beens” except they just had to screw it up. I am just going to forget about Remington and just act like they are a dead company who once made good things. I’ll stick to S&W and Glock, at least their mistakes weren’t horrific, were easily and promptly fixed, and oh yeah, you can take it apart and put it together with a blindfold.

      I’m now debating whether I want to add a Shield to the fold or a bigger Glock so my G26 isn’t as lonely.

  26. You shot hundreds of rounds through a wafer thin pocket pistol, and you consider mild bruising to be a detraction from the overall design.. and then compared its inherent accuracy to 1911s and other full sized firearms? Talk about unfair. Why not put it up against a Shield, which is the exact same size.

      • No, I’m not staking my reputation on the gun, but… wow “we put it back together wrong, so it isn’t reliable” isn’t exactly good journalism or a standard for fairness. Sounds like they wanted a negative review to differentiate themselves from the other blogs.

      • And it’s probably relatively easy to put it together correctly if you’re paying attention to what you’re doing
        Not to mention Nick hated the gun in his “pre” article about it, so it’s no surprise that he (still) didn’t like it.

        Is it a good pistol? Dunno, haven’t even see one in person yet, but not going to condem it based on one (obviously biased) review, nor will I sing it’s praises to the heavens based on a positive one either.

        I’ll reserve judgment til I can get my hands on one myself.

    • I thought it was odd that he calls out the SCCY CPX-2 as a potential alternative, but in the review of the CPX-2 he totally slams its accuracy (“minute of paper”) and trigger (“heavier than Joe Grine coming out of an all you can eat Chinese buffet”). I can learn to reassemble the R-51 correctly. If it’s shooting 2-inch groups where a competitor is “minute of paper” and the R-51 “turned typically painful +P rounds into pussycats” those things are a lot more important to me.

      Nobody else has complained of slide bite — I’ll have to hold one for myself and make my own decision about that, and also wait for a greater volume of reviews.

  27. I got to fondle the R51 at the Harrisburg Outdoor Show this weekend and I really liked the way it felt in my hand. For once my wife was with me and had the opportunity to see and handle a variety of carry guns. She seemed to like it as well as it’s the first 9mm that she has been able to rack successfully without leaving marks from slide serrations on her hand. (Yeah I know, I’ve tried to get her to rack using a pushing motion on the frame but she won’t listen to me). Disappointing to see and read about the painful shooting and reliability problems. Maybe Remington will correct these design problems. Too bad Ruger didn’t show up at the show, I would have liked her to handle an LC9 as well.

  28. Pull the trigger on a live round and the first issue rears its ugly head: the Remington R51 is painful to shoot, even with light loads. The R51′s low bore axis and lighter slide did indeed reduce felt recoil and allowed me to get on target quickly. There was another pleasant surprise: the R51 turned typically painful +P rounds into pussycats. Which is it? Painful or not? Your bruising from slide bite or the pistol smacking back into your hand?

    • I like the basic shape of the gun but they shouldn’t have tried so hard to “jazz it up”. Better to go with the basic simplicity of form following function. And I hate the skeletonized trigger. The result of trying to style it to look like the latest pair of Nike basketball shoes instead of a businesslike piece of machinery keeps me from ever wanting one of these pistols.

      The one 9mm that I’d REALLY be interested in getting would be a single stack Glock that was only slightly larger than their 380. and that gun would be such a perfect size that I wouldn’t care how ugly it was. And a Glock trigger that’s been properly re-worked is about as good as it gets with a DAO pistol.

      And better a gun that’s just plain ugly than one that looks just plain stupid.

    • I thought of that also. My gut tells me that this gun is not going to be a piece of crap. Time will tell. If the issues are repeated in other reviews as well , I’m sure Remington will address them. If they don’t address them , I think we will have a collectors item.

      It’s (in my opinion) too early to judge. If these issues do exist ( I’m not saying they don’t) they will be echoed OVER and OVER in other reviews. These types of issues can’t be ignored by all the reviewers. I was pretty sold until this review. I’m still interested but keeping a wait and see stance. Multiple reviews will help me decide. I can’t hold any one reviewers observations as the be all end all. Going to wait for multiple in depth reviews.

  29. Good review! I always check 2 things before I purchase any new gun; the price/availability of ammo and ease of maintenance. This R51 passes the ammo test but flunks the ease of maintenance test. I will not even consider buying the R51 because of this flaw. There is absolutely no reason today to have a weapon that is difficult to maintain and worse yet impossible to function check when completed cleaning. Nice looking gun, terrible execution.

    • So you’re basing the “ease of maintenance ” on one persons opinion instead of checking it out for yourself?…FLAME DELETED

  30. My wife just said that to her the R51 looks kinda feminine and not unlike a tampon applicator…. I think I’ll stick with my NANO.

  31. I wanted to *believe*! The R51 and I were going to hold hands and walk along the beach and live happily ever after. *sniff*

    Oh well. I had high hopes for this one. Let’s see what voluntary product upgrades this thing endures in the next five years.

  32. So…the R51 is a “total fail” because:
    A) It’s got a reassembly quirk different from 98% of the pistols on the market that requires you to read the manual. So it’s inferior for a new shooter compared to the “perfect Glock-brand Glock” which demands a new shooter perfectly observe the four rules each time it’s disassembled because you have to pull the trigger. (This also from the quy who complains there’s nothing new/different in the gunmarket.) You also in the comments below the article label this as a hopeless flaw which renders a gun untrustworthy because you don’t know if it’s going to fail -despite your own photographs showing there’s a simple visual check to see if you got it back together right.
    B) It’s mildly painful to shoot -which you admit in the article is just like other firearms of it’s general dimensions. You later go on to say in the same review that it tames recoil “into pussycats”. You blame the discomfort on the width of the grip but don’t address that there are wider grips available for the gun and don’t appear to have requested them before being tested or after for a small followup.
    C) It’s got a nonexistent trigger reset…..just like the Smith & Wesson M&P line which TTAG knocks does not deride as hopeless because of that.

    Oh come on. These are things you had to dig for to ding a gun on: a reassembly quirk which is still safer for a new shooter than a Glock, same-for-it’s-size hand imprint yet with “pussycat” recoil, and a trigger flaw it shares with the M&P line you’re otherwise happy with. These are quirks, yet they lead to you calling it a “total fail”. Other guns you (you personally) have reviewed have had similar knocks against them and received well-it’s-not-perfect-but responses rather than it’s-hopeless-never-buy-one.

    These may be real dings to the firearm, but it looks like the manner they’re presented in says more about TTAG’s relationship with Freedom Group than it does about the firearm.

    Very disappointed to see this.

    • 1) It’s not that it’s different, it’s that the gun is extremely easy to re-assemble improperly and there’s no way to be sure you’ve done it correctly. Even the PR guys at Remington can’t do it right when they’ve been trained on the gun. It’s the modern DC-10, and I’d rather they fixed the cargo door before the major crash than wait for the body count to pile up. And it’s not new — it’s from 1917.

      2) It’s still painful. It may have been an over-statement of the relative pain levels, but +P is no more painful than regular ammo. It’s not like the gun suddenly turns into a marshmallow with the hotter loads. It still sucks, just not the typical additional amount of suckage you get from other +P loads in compact 9mm handguns.

      3) I’ve never reviewed an M&P. But if the trigger is as terrible as the R51, I’ll knock it the same amount.

      In my opinion, the gun has serious issues. If you disagree, you’re welcome to your own opinion.

      • You have a damn picture in the review of what it looks like when done right! The idea that it magically hurts less with +P ammo but just as much as any other gun with standard pressure flies in the face of physics and *still* boils down to “feels no worse than every other gun of this profile”. The lack of obvious reset is a ding on a feature (trigger) that few companies get perfect, but hardly a “total fail”.

        Meanwhile you give a single line to acknowledging a “new” design ate everything you fed it without issue. You bury the “yes it mechanically reduces recoil” underneath “wow it hurts (as much as a gun of this size)”. Backing off and looking at this review, you constructively minimized everything you might have said good about it and magnified what would otherwise be quibbles. On other reviews you have said things like ‘could be better and hope to see it improved’, here you summed it up as “total fail”.

        Furthermore, the review isn’t especially long, there have been much longer ones, yet it was split into two articles by editorial contrivance. Then a third one is put up from Ralph the same day approaching the “don’t buy it” line from another angle?

        This isn’t a review, this is vendetta.

        I’m out. I’m done. I’m positive you don’t give a single damn, but *I no longer completely trust you guys.*

        • In my opinion the review didn’t knock the gun enough for it’s primary failing, which is that it’s really big. For a gun that’s bigger than a Glock 26 (in length and height, it is about .2″ narrower) to be painful to shoot is ridiculous.

        • Youre having an issue understanding what he meant with the pain.
          He meant the +P doesnt hurt any more than regular rounds in the gun. BUT THE REGULAR ROUNDS STILL HURT. Aka both +p and standard rounds feel the same…painful.
          Sorry you didnt get the glowing review you wanted.
          Go buy one.

        • Holy crap!

          The Shield beat out the Glock 19 as the best concealed carry pistol because…wait for it…it is thinner than the Glock 19 and is the same width as the R51. LOL!

    • On the M&P line, the trigger reset is short, just not clicky. The reset is actually better on the new M&P line and my Shield’s reset is almost as audible as that of a Glock.

      So it sounds like the R51’s trigger is a totally different deal, with a reset that is longer and more similar to a DA revolver.

  33. “roughly the same dimensions as the Glock 19”? Seriously?… it’s not even close when you account for width, which is arguably the most crucial dimension for concealed carry.

  34. Nick, do you still have the R51? Any chance of getting a weight of the reciprocating mass (slide and breech block, separately) pretty please?

  35. “Never buy a new model firearm in the first year of production.”

    I’ll let the early adopters find and iron out the gremlins before I’ll try one.

    Pretty pistol, though.

  36. Well, hell. Now I do have to fire one of these before buying, and tear down and reassemble, and fire again. Wonder which of my “rich” collector friends I can talk into getting one quick!?!?!

  37. I have to get this off my chest. It’s a delayed blowback. I just can’t get over that feature. Delayed blowbacks are so… European. Not just European, but antiquated, 19th and early 20th century (pre 1935) European. I can think of only one popular Post WWI blowback handgun, the H&K P7. Before that, the Luger. There have been a handful of others, the HK P9, the Korth, but they never really sold all that widely. Delayed blowback pistols have a tendency to be touchy with ammo, be lest robust, and finicky. You can destroy a P7 by running a magazine full of jacketless or really dirty 9mm through it. The R51 seems like a design that should have been relegated to the dustbin of history, not dredged up and sold as the next big thing from Remington.

      • Actually I do. The P7 is a gas delayed blowback. There is a gas port just in front of the chamber. When the round is fired, a small amount of gas is tapped off and redirected to a small secondary chamber below the barrel. A piston a attached to the slide sits in the muzzle end of the piston. The gas pressure in the secondary chamber pushes on the slide (via the piston) in the opposite direction of the pressure in the barrel. This counter acting pressure system is designed to slow down the slide.

        This is what makes the P7 touchy. If you don’t get the balancing act of chamber/piston pressure correct, the slide over accelerates and comes back HARD. Lead bullets, very dirty ammo will block the port, preventing gas redirection. The piston was not calibrated for +P ammo and so +P will also over accelerate the side. Battering the slide into the frame will break the gun. I have seen it with my own eyes.

        On top of this, the P7 was not an ergonomic design, and was pushing obsolescence when it was released. The “squeeze cocking” feature rendered the gun single stack. By the time it was released in 1976, other companies has already put out double stack 9mm pistols, S&W 59, Beretta 92, CZ 75. Even H&K had done a double stack by then, the VP70. This was the dawn of the “Wonder Nine” era, and the P7 was behind the times. For an 8 round pistol, it was a heavy gun. The “squeeze cocker” made the grip very wide and tiring to use when target shooting. Say all you want about how “you will never notice having to death grip the gun in a fire fight.” But with 12 lbs of pull on the cocking lever,after a few hundred rounds on the range, it becomes very noticeable.

        It was accurate, but virtually anything with a fixed barrel is accurate.

        I know the P7, I have shot the P7, I have had to fix a few P7’s and for a little while in my youth, I owned a P7. Don’t HK fanboy me about the P7.

        • The P7 was designed for NATO spec ammo therefore +P is not an issue.

          Lead bullets can clog the gas ports but they don’t destroy the gun. You just have to clean the lead out.

          Dirty ammo can clog the gas ports. Regular cleaning will fix that.

          Clean the gas cylinder and piston as directed in the owners manual.

          It takes about 1 to 1 1/2 lbs of pressure to keep the cocking lever depressed, not 12 lbs.

          There was so much wrong with your post…

          Oh yeah, you forgot to say how they heat up to 300 degrees after shooting only two magazines of ammo.

  38. Riding the trigger reset is a bad habit picked up from shooting Glocks. The R51 is a true SA pistol.

    Might as well complain that a 1911 does not have a grindy/clicky reset. Release the trigger all the way like one is supposed to.

      • On a Glock the “in” thing to do is not to release the trigger all the way. This works because the first part of the trigger is doing stuff other than actuating a sear or striker, it’s moving safeties out of the way.

        Bad habit that the speed shooters pick up when shooting some striker fired pistols..

        • So, all the doodads and gimmicks lead to bad habits. Hmmm. Bad habits lead to the wrong body being on the ground. ’nuff said.

      • Fully releasing the trigger is the smart thing to do if you shoot different guns or anticipate ever have to defend yourself with a gun that you aren’t familiar with. I grew up on revolvers and carry one as a backup so I’m used to a long reset.

        He was blaming the hardware for a software problem.

  39. Ouch. The video of the kid putting one of these together makes you look a bit foolish. Especially with all the grunting required when you did it.

    I own zero Remington firearms and really have no particular loyalty to them or this gun (wow, I just realized that and am a little amazed, almost like I have been avoiding them!). That being said, I will echo the other comments that this review is lacking and unprofessional. This gun needs to be compared with the other single stack nines out there: M&P shield, XDs, LC9 etc. Recoil should be compared to that standard, size as well.

    Surely you understand that the big draw to a single stack over the little Glock and it’s competitors is the width. Yes its only .15″-.2″ (just like the other single stacks), but that little bit is noticeable and matters inside the waistband. Furthermore it matters on the slide width – not as much on the grip. How about putting a caliper on it for a thorough review of relevant geometry. It is almost as if you guys figured by putting a few scathing reviews out there you could say “See! Look how impartial we are!”.

    • Unprofessional is the right word here. I’ve had my doubts about Nick’s ability as a gun reviewer based upon blazingly ignorant comments he has made in the past and this review only furthers my skepticism–the review wreaks of sour grapes and the video of him shooting does more to show off his terrible flinch than anything that is specifically wrong with the gun.

  40. I wonder how a newer shooter would feel about shooting this gun? I’d love to find a person new to shooting and ask them to shoot 3-4 popular 9mm pistols in this size range and see what they say about it.
    I’m sure this thing will sell, I wouldn’t pick it but plenty of people will.

    • Agreed, a beginner should damned well begin with a full size pistol. Once they are correctly trained in its use and operation they can move on to something more compact. Hand size does play a role, that said no one should start out on a mini of any type.

  41. Lord Wulfgen and 2hotel9

    I am not the person you speak of. I am just a frequent reader who was disappointed in this unfair, agenda filled “Review”. As you can read from every article this writer has written about R51 since he wasn’t invited to the range to test with the real journalist, the tone of this article was a foregone conclusion. He even mentions it again in the first paragraph in this article.

    Some of his criticisms may be valid, but they are certainly not insurmountable problems leading to a an ‘Epic Fail’ as the writer suggests (he could start by reading the directions).

    This transparent, agenda ridden article is beneath this site.

  42. Such a shame. The R51 had potential. It was the only chance Remington had of selling a product to me. I guess I will just sit around and continue to wait for a single stack Glock 9mm.

  43. The video shows the popular thumbs-forward grip technique being used. Do you think that the thumbs-down grip familiar to Walther PP/PPK-series (and double-action revolver) shooters would alleviate the slide-bite issue? This does the trick for me when shooting a pistol with an unusually low slide.

    • Thanks for the ref. It always pays to get a second [third?] opinion.
      Re-assembly: Good idea to read [and understand] directions. Using sense in putting a weapon together is even a better idea. To prove that point, reassemble a Broomhandle without Utube or manual; Hint: Reserve that for a rainy Sunday, but you will learn a lot.
      Trigger reset: Also a good idea to learn and complete actions which a tool is designed for and requires to function. Maybe this gun is not the best to shave milliseconds of a string of shots. Believe me, in combat you will never hear or feel the clicks! Train!
      Slide bite: After-market grips, ducktape, different hold—small sizes dictate compromises as well as offer advantages. Live with or without it; there even might be people for which this gun might feel just right. And, btw, we learned to load the M1 without yelling for the corpsman, didn’t we?
      Last but not least: There are still a few of us old geezers around- probably twice the age of your average commentators, so let me tell you what awaits you: There will come a time when you cannot wrack the slides of most pistols made with swinging links anymore and you will look high and low for blow-back actions, if you want to carry anything beyond the minor calibers. So, thank you Remington, as soon as you deliver I will be there for your gen 1, warts and all.

    • Joe thanks for sharing that video! I didn’t see any problem with the gun. Reassembly look very easy, if you watch this video or read instructions you won’t have an issue. To crap on a Remington sales person that put it together wrong hmm. I have seen sales persons trained that just don’t get it in all types of fields.
      What I have done in my field of training is put things together wrong. To create a problem and test people after my training to find the problem and resolve the problem.
      The negative review just taught me how not to put it together, it’s not a flaw at all. It’s all in the mind of the beholder!
      This is a compact gun and not made to fit all hands. I’m sure a 7′ 3″ MBA player wouldn’t like the gun either!
      How many concealed guns has Remington made?
      People you need to be open minded about all things in life , we don’t all drive a Chevy , Dodge or a Ford we just prefer what we like. Buy American!

  44. Agree with Tom. TTAG didn’t get invited to the Remington writers conference. We get it. Your feelings were hurt not getting invited. We get it. Eviscerating the gun based on assembling it incorrectly is exactly the way to get invited to the next one. One can reassemble a Glock or M&P incorrectly and get similar malfunctions or a dead gun. The only thing that you guys really proved here is that putting a gun together incorrectly will make it not run. Got it. Oh, and all small 9mm’s recoil more than full size. News flash- the sun will rise tomorrow.

  45. Great review. Remington screwed this up bad. GM still beta tests it’s cars using the first 2 years of production. Austin’s rule of customer word of mouth “If you delay a product for months to get it right no one will remember the delay. If you releases a product too soon that is crap people will never forget” You will never get the market share you would have if the product would have been good no matter how many improvements you make. People won’t trust you.

  46. Why is it that the incorrectly assembled one at SHOT wouldn’t go into battery but yours appeared to function fine when assembled incorrectly?

    • In the field strip video, I assembled the gun correctly. It worked fine.

      In the shooting video, I assembled it incorrectly. At the end of the video you can see one of the many, many malfunctions I experienced. It didn’t work fine, and often refused to even cycle.

      That’s one of the issues: you can never be sure if you’ve assembled the gun right, and there’s no easy way to check.

    • He knows the one at SHOT was assembled incorrectly without shooting it, but he doesn’t know his sample is assembled incorrectly without shooting it.

  47. “similar to a luger”? I don’t… I can’t even… stick to reporting the news, dudes. The only fail is that they weren’t invited to try it out in Jan, and subsequently smeared a perfectly fine design out of spite… and that they can’t figure out how a gun goes back together. Maybe grow up a bit and the adults at remington will share their toys with you.

  48. Good review in general but I have to say, Nick has quite an obvious flinch. That is not the kind of shooting ability/trigger control I expect from a gun reviewer.

    I also have a hard time believing that proper reassembly is THAT hard–yes, I’m willing to believe that for the “casual” shooter this doesn’t sound good, but those of us who shoot guns as a hobby should be able to deal with this quirk (and I bet Remington fixes it).

    I think the one star here is a little harsh–Nick is saying that in terms of handungs, it can’t get any worse than this…and I find that VERY hard to believe

  49. It is pretty disgraceful journalism, if you ask me, giving this (very important) article to someone who has a MASSIVE axe to grind, and lacking the maturity (apparently) to keep his slighted feelings OUT of the article. Then, afterwards, troll around in the comments halfheartedly clarifying the non-thought out conflicting nonsense he rushed online without so much as a read through. And then when its clear how much of a fool he’s made of himself, he starts editing and retracting major portions of the review… without annotations or any note indicating he has done so. I’ll get my gun reviews elsewhere from here forward. Also… Since when is a delayed blowback action “like” a luger’s toggle lock action?

  50. So, you say in the article that “To its credit, the R51 ran flawlessly — so long as you put it together right.”

    It looks to me that there are no videos of it running flawlessly. Shouldn’t you be fair and post some videos of it functioning correctly and with the gun assembled correctly… What kind of journalism is this…

  51. It will be interesting to see how Remington responds to this feed back and the feedback from early buyers. I was impressed that Ruger improved the lcp’s trigger and sights this year so maybe the industry is responding to consumer’s and the competition. I contrast this with Colt who single handedly spawned countless gunsmiths and excellent competitors like Kimber and Wilson. They did this by making 1911’s that required significant customization to meet customer expectation’s and to properly function.

    Good job TTAG

  52. If you want to see how to easily determine if the slide stop is installed incorrectly, take a look at the picture at the top of the “Housekeeping: R51 Corrections and Amplifications” article.

    http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/02/daniel-zimmerman/housekeeping-r51-corrections-amplifications/

    The slide stop is pushed up out of where it’s supposed to be much like a Glock that has the slide stop spring installed incorrectly.

    The lack of attention to detail is startlingly evident.

    Fellow from MT noticed it.

      • Compare the photo on the corrections page to the last photo on this page. Both photos show the gun with the slide locked back, yet the slide stop position between the two photos is different.

        Either way, if you hold the slide completely back and remove the magazine, you should be able to tell if the spring is positively positioning the slide stop correctly. This is a function check that you should do with every magazine-fed semi-auto pistol after you reassemble it. To say that there’s no way to tell if the slide stop is functioning correctly is simply false.

  53. I would just like to add that I have seen more than one person using a thumbs forward grip accidentally activate the slide lock while shooting and then blame the gun. Much like when you short stroked the trigger.

    I had a real problem with that when I was shooting a SIG 239, until it was pointed out to me, and it convinced me to transition to a grip where that isn’t possible.

    Any possibility it was user error Nick?

  54. Nick and Robert both say its a piece of shit, so it must be. Never mind the hundreds of designers, engineers, developers and assemblers (many who I’m sure are avid shooters), who think the gun is NOT an EPIC FAILURE! Who did you talk to at Remington that made you conclude, “Remington doesn’t seem interested in making those changes.”?

    The pistol hasn’t even been released to the masses. The consumer, US…We will make or break the R51. If WE experience the issue you pointed out and Remington is not interested in making changes, the R51 will not only be an “epic failure”, it will be one of the biggest mistakes made company wide. Remington didn’t jump back into the fray simply to waste money, be closed minded, and disregard their paying customers!

    Finally, I’ve never read a review where the author cried so much about how painful a pistol was. I’m thinking Nicks’s EDC is a .22 cal.

  55. Are crimson trace lasers not considered customization?

    This review better be accurate or you just ruined this sites reputation.

    For what, some pissing match?

  56. Glad I read this review.

    The slide bite/soreness is interesting.

    The issues remind me exactly of the Hungarian PA-63 in 9x18mm Mak… I used to own one. Basically a Walther PP clone with an extremely light aluminum alloy slide and too weak of a recoil spring. From what I understand though, strengthening the recoil spring does the trick in fixing the PA-63. Aftermarket grips help, too. I never found out with mine; offloaded it for about what I paid because Mak ammo is no cheaper anymore (and often more expensive) than 9mm Luger and tough to find in stores around here.

    Maybe Remington put too much stock in making their gun easy to cock (heh); I’d like to see what Wolff springs comes up with here. An extra power recoil spring would do the trick I bet.

    Remington is looking pretty naïve in believing that the R51 does not follow basic concepts of handgun recoil springs. My guess is that the old Model 51 was provisioned with legit strength springs.

    • I recently acquired an old model 51 and I can assure you that the weapon takes quite a bit of force to move the slide

  57. I guess fit is more important than I once thought. My Model 51 was purchased from a pawn shop circa 1964 in near new condition. My hands are smaller than usual for a man so I never had a problem with the 51. It fit my hand nicely and was comfortable to shoot.

    Since the major use is for an off duty or concealed carry weapon, I would accept the problems he related in exchange for the easy conceal-ability of the R51 even if the pistol was not all that good a fit.

    No gunsmith need ever fear me as a competitor, even so, I never had a problem tearing down my 51 or reassembling it either. It has never misfed or failed me in any way.

    Based upon my very pleasant experience with the old 51, I can hardly wait to get my hands on the new R51.

  58. One comment that was made was that the R51 was only an insignificant 0.18 thinner than a Glock.

    I guess that depends upon the perspective of the person. Since the R51 is only an inch thick, an increase of almost 20% is significant. Possibly being nearly equal to the thickness of the holster. That seemingly small difference can be a big deal in terms of concealment or comfort with a gun that will be carried all the time.

      • I was being sarcastic. In my opinion this review of the R51 isn’t worth reading. It’s hard to believe that an American company of almost 200 years of gun manufacturing and with thousands of hours of testing for the R51 could produce a gun that has slide bite or is painful to shoot… I also have the original model 51 made 1919 and it is dream to shoot and eats any type of ammo. From the pictures and videos I have watched they have made some improvements in the Pedersen breach block and put a slide catch on the gun and improved the trigger other than that the design looks pretty much the same. If you read up on the original 51 in Wikipedia you will find that it was more reliable than the 1911 and the Navy wanted a scaled up version in 45 as their service pistol.

        • Ah, figured that. I meant the guy in the video, your comments overlapped in my email. YT lets far too many people pretend they know what they are talking about.

          I got to fire an R51 over the weekend and have to say I had no troubles, 160 rds mixed types, 40 of them +P. Then again I can’t one hand a basketball and have swung hammer and worked with various power tools most of my life, so that may be the difference. Broke it down and reassembled several times with no problems, then again all the reviews I have read on it let me know what to look for. I never got to fire a M 51, only saw a couple for sale over the years and I did know about it being in the running during USG’s pistol poker game back in the day.

          Have to say my preferred cartridge in 9mm is Remington jacketed hollow point, subsonic, although they are impossible to find in 167gr anymore(shamelessly hoarding the 300 rds I have), you can still find them in 147gr. All these new superhot light weight loads I just don’t like. Just my druthers!

  59. Thank you very much for, in my opinion, the only valid review of the R-51. Honestly, I suspected the recoil would be a problem as I own a Walther PPS and PPK, both are not fun guns to shoot with anything close to a defensive load. Actually, my Sig 938 is the most comfortable shooting very small handgun I have ever owned.

    From the first photo I saw of the R-51 the trigger looked like an afterthought. In tactical shooting, and this is the market this gun was made for, the trigger pull and reset are important issues and a deciding deal breaker for me. I own a HK P-30L, which is a great feeling, excellent shooting handgun with a terrible trigger; long hard DA pull on the first shot then a good SA pull, but with a very long reset. You find yourself pulling against the frame instead of getting off quick secondary shots. Sounds like reset will be an issue with the R-51 also. The R-51 trigger also looks like it may pinch when pulled.

    If the gun is the same basic dimensions of a G-19 they why would anyone want to give up a winner for a horse with known problems?

    Lastly any gun that a 10 year old can’t put back together and be assured it will work properly does not belong in the market place, especially in the defensive market, The average gun buyers I see at the shows are hard pressed to field strip a Glock.

    I carry a Sig 938 and at the present it looks like it is going to continue to be my choice for carry for a long time, or at least until Sig finally produces a 938 HD model in all stainless.

  60. I acquired my Remington model 51 .380 ser# PA57xx from mother-in-law, whose husband bought it in the 50’s in Chicago. Compared to others I’ve seen, it looks pretty much like a new gun. I figure it was manufactured in either 1918 or 1919. I have read about the ergonomics of this gun, had to find out what they were talking about. I stood on my deck, ‘pointed’ the gun at an old rusty wheelbarrow 170 feet away. I fired two shots in rapid succession, both holes in the barrow were two inches apart. I am a fair shot, not that good, so tried it again. Next two shots were a bit over three and a half inches apart. I think the gun ‘pointed’ itself, as with the miniscule sights my and failing eyesight, no way could I have aimed and gotten off two shots so quickly. I am 79. Now I am curious about the new R51, I think I have to have one.
    Sorry, Reminton haters……also bought a Remington Model 870 in Lake Charles, La. in 1954. The only thing I needed was a shorter modified barrel for grouse hunting up here in northern NY. It originally came with a 30.5 inch full choke, good for ducks and geese. I got my share in Louisiana and here near Lake Champlain.
    Just a little food for thought…….

  61. Well , I come to realize my suspicion about (anybody) doing a review is correct. I use reviews as a tool to buy almost all my products. I always keep an open mind when reading a review. Especially when its a person who bought the product that’s writing a review. I expect a professional writing reviews to be neutral . I can’t say that this reviewer is biased but my senses told me something may be wrong. As I read all the controversy . I have to say that I’m more likely to read more reviews and see if these defects surface over and over. So far I have found none. If the gun is this bad it will be shown in other reviews. I’m now leaning toward purchasing an R51.

  62. In your opinion, do the same problems/complaints exist in the original Remington 51? Slide stop/spring malfunction problem especially.

    • The original Model 51 does not have a slide stop,this was added with the new version. That being said, I find it hard to believe that the new gun would pass a function test if it was assemble wrong.

  63. I had the opportunity to put about 100 rounds through the R51 yesterday and mentioned my feelings to a friend that said my review “sounded just like the one on TTAG”….so I had to come look. Your review is dead nuts with what I found. I was SOOOOO hoping that this gun was going to be what I wanted it to be, and it just didn’t deliver on many levels. Very depressing for me since the accuracy was dead on, and I shot it VERY well. But that only happened when I would get a round to actually chamber because I either failed to insert the mag completely (which I didn’t even after checking multiple times), and from not racking the slide enough past that funky two-stage pull that you need to do. I, like you, would love to see a few tweaks to it, because it does have some wonderful potential. I now completely understand why Remington did not have these available to shoot at SHOT Show Media Day…

    • Hi , did you experience the same slide bite?
      Can you confirm there is no way to check if the gun has been put together properly ?

      These are the things that I am concerned about .thank you

  64. I just purchased one of these yesterday. First shot the mag falls out and spring goes flying who knows where. Thought, well I didn’t get it locked in completely. Grabbed the spare mag, made sure it was seated all the way, boom, mag fell out… Haven’t had a chance to really get into it and see what the problem is yet. Just wondering if anyone else out there has had this happen

  65. I picked the r-51 up a few days ago and shot it today.

    0 ftf
    0 fte
    No slide bite and no pain in my hand at all. It felt similar to other single stack 9mm guns like the lc9, zxds, shield, etc You need a good grip on the gun or you are going to feel it a little bit. That’s how siingle stack 9mm guns are. Remington is making more grips to accommodate wider hands. I wouldn’t mind something a little more rubbery.

    This is the best trigger I have ever felt on a cc gun. It’s short and a very clean break. No audible reset, but I had no problem with rapid firing the gun. No mag issues here either. I pulled the trigger 300 times and the gun went bang 300 times.

  66. Thanks for the review. I had planned on buying the gun, waiting for them to become available. Remington will have to make acceptable improvements before I reconsider. Still, when my local gun shop gets one, I’ll rent it and try it out.

    • When I read the first reviews I was ready to throw my money down. Now with all the negatives and real size comparisons I really can’t imagine why anyone would want an R51 when there are so many better and proven guns choices out there.

      • Dragonheart: I concur. But Remington has a long history of quality guns, and their 1911 is no slouch. But all new guns can have problems: the important thing is to find out if it really is a design problem, an individual gun problem, and ammo problem, or a company QC problem. Then get it fixed quickly and accurately (XDs, and others are examples). Since mine didn’t blow up, create fireworks, or simply fall apart, there may be a good gun lurking. As others have said, they’ll await version (Gen) 2 in a year or so. They may have been wiser than I was. But I’m learning. Yet the few shots it fired were accurate and felt good for a smaller (not subcompact) 9mm. And it was only a hair larger than my Bersa Thunder .380 CC. Caveat Emptor.

        • Since people are paying well in excess of $600 for an R51 I can’t imagine replacing my Sig P-938 which has served as my conceal carry for 2 years, is smaller, cost me less, is very accurate, comfortable to shoot and after several thousand rounds has demonstrated outstanding reliability. I even fired it in an IDPA match just for fun and it performed flawlessly.

        • $600 for an R51? Must be the laser-equipped model. I got the non-laser for $400 (online $420). My Bersa Thunder .380 CC right now is a better carry pistol, but not as accurate (considering my limited time shooting) as the R51, and though feels good for grip and recoil, I felt the R51 “felt” better. If this turns out to be a few flawed units, I’ll be a lot happier (just wish they’d hurry up and tell me how to send it in and give me a UPS sticker to do it with). The R51s some have seem to be doing well, are accurate, etc. Again, maybe the “wait for nextgen” folks are wiser. They were with Windows upgrades on computers…….

        • No, $600 for the standard gun. I saw the first of the R51’s going for those prices on Gunbroker. When it comes to an auction some people have no sense at all and have to have it before anyone else regardless of the price. When the gun was first reviewed the incorrectly given dimensions indicated it was the same size as my P-938, so it had my interest. Since then I found it’s Glock sized and with the manufacturing problems posted, (check out YOU TUBE) I am going to pass completely, as I also own a Walther PPKS and a PPS both are excellent defensive handguns.

        • Don’t feel like the Loan Arranger….I’ve been burned before on the high “new gun” bandwagon too. But as of last week, the $400 was at my independent local gun store, and the $420 at an online store (I do a lot of research, also when gun hunting). I’m still waiting for Remington to tell me how to get my gun repaired or replaced. Good luck to us all.

        • On the subject of small guns. I just returned from the range where a friend had a new Glock 42. I am no longer into the 380 caliber, but I have to say this was one sweet shooting little gun;.small, thin, accurate and very, very comfortable to shoot, no bite at all. You could shoot this little gun all day long and it’s the best shooting 380 I have fired and I have shot just about all of them. I would imagine an extended magazine is in the near future because a man’s hand only gets a three finger grip.

        • My range’s gunsmith got one, and despite the early reports of barrel problems (never could find exactly what the problems were), his keeps firing well with no issues. My Bersa Thunder .380 CC needed an extension to feel stable too, and handling the Glock 42 with my mid-sized hand, I agree an extension would be more stable. I like the .380 round as a backup gun, having read lots of the pros and cons about its stopping power versus carry versus recoil. Enjoy.

        • The first batch of 42’s to ship had improperly heat treated barrels that would split. They also used unsupported chambers like the .40 cal models, and like the .40’s, use of +p ammo would result in a case rupture. My store had to send our first and only shipment back to Glock. Fortunately, there is no official +p loading for .40 or .380, so most manufacturers don’t offer +p loads in those calibers.

        • Many thanks. Even experienced researchers can miss things. In the hurry to get new guns to market with maximum ad impact (like Shot Show), mistakes can happen.

  67. Bought R51 3/14. Took home, cleaned. Next day, range. Shot 5 rds. Herter’s brass 9mm 115 gr., accurate at 15 ft., low recoil, felt good. Loaded 5 rds. BVAC (same), 4 fired, 5th would not enter battery. Cleared. 5 rds. PMC (same), none would enter battery. Slide stuck half open. No cartridge damage found. 2 gunsmiths (separate locations) were able to finally take it down, nothing obvious but felt a spring on side of bolt (hammer?) out of position was preventing closure. Tried to register gun online: “server error ‘/’. Phone gets “unusual call volume”. NOT happy camper. My first Remington, not first handgun.

  68. I have decided to go ahead and order the the R51. The review on this website gave me pause at first . But now I believe the two main issues written about here are not real issues at all. I’m refering to slide bite and that there is no way to tell if you put this fire ARM back together properly. I don’t believe these issues to be true.

    Any other issues that folks here are writing about can be fixed. I would chalk it up to getting out the bugs in a new firearm. You can’t fix slide bite or the way a firearm goes back together.

    I guess the people here who currently have this gun must have paid an exorbitant amount on an auction site. I can’t seem to get one anywhere else. My LGS will be notifying me when he gets his in.

    • I purchased mine at my local gun store 3/13/14 (who has a very good reputation for many years) when they finally were able to get a couple. I have found them on a couple of websites, but not all the bigger ones. I hope mine can be fixed: I finally got a repair “ticket” for mine, but no indication of any action except “…will get an email soon…”. I like how the gun shoots, feels in my hand, low recoil, easy to point, and decent sights. However, the slide issue (see my earlier comment) happened after 9 total rounds, with no ammo damage, and had two good gunsmiths temporarily confused. The takedown and reassemble is more complex than most guns, and my injured one hand doesn’t help. After several post-Shot Show reviews confirmed the jamming (slide) issue, and one gunsmith found an online discussion with photos of the suspected problem (the spring on the side of the bolt: sorry, I’m no gunsmith or expert) clinched the issue. Now I’m awaiting Remington’s proposed “fix”: according to the 2-year warranty, they’ll repair or replace. Will that solve the problem? I dunno. Good luck if you do buy one, hope your experience is better than mine. This is the first gun not fully functional right out of the box that I’ve purchased.

    • I too was originally interested, especially for a under $400 handgun, but these got to have it now folks are paying well above $600 to get one of these in hand. At that price and with the malfunctioning issues already being reported I plan to pass completely. My question is why