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Next Post reports that Field Editor Wiley Clapp was “part of an elite group of gun writers that wrung the Remington R51 out at the Gunsite Training Center in Paulden, Ariz.” Although TTAG doesn’t split its infinitives, we’re willing to boldly go where other gun writers go as well. Not this time. The world’s most popular firearms blog wasn’t elite enough for the Big Green gun junket. Even so, after some careful negotiations, we managed to secure a brace of R51s for test and evaluation. Nick’s running one for a full review. I’m putting one into the hands of a newbie for a comparo with the GLOCK brand GLOCK 42. Meanwhile, American Rifleman’s Mark Keefe highlights the fact that the R51’s “backwards” sights allow for one-handed cocking. Even better, you don’t need much oomph to get it done (6.78-lbs of force). Yes, well, I can think of better places to cock a slide than one that puts your fingers in front of the muzzle. You?

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    • So why did he not cock it on his hearing protectors? That would have saved wear and tear on his expensive watch, and brought a smile to my face!

  1. True….but I think he was just pointing out how it can be easily cocked on a hard surface. His wrist watch happened to be the only convenient surface on video frame.

    • You noticed that too? How he said “…on any hard surface just in case your weak hand was immobilized.” and mentioned the impetus of this design being dog handlers (I am assuming military and police dog handlers here).

      Frankly I thought that the funky shape was just to reduce snag and drag potential when worn in a concealed holster, and would have never considered it a “hands free” cocking serration on the top of the slide.

  2. We just had a post like this where someone advocates reloading while your arms are extended and aimed in on your target. So essentially, forcing you to concentrate on two things and using fine motor skills as opposed to focusing on one thing and using muscle memory to reload. Another gimmick tactic that’s bound to go wrong at the worst possible time. I can definitely see someone trying this with a different pistol thinking they can handle it. Eventually someone is going to try something like this and blow off their hand, or worse, then sue the creator of the video and tactic and in the right district, win. Maybe that will put a stop to this stuff.

    • Yeah, but it was so bad guys couldn’t see your slide was locked back. It’s brilliant!

      Ok, not brilliant, but it made him sound like he knows more than I do. Isn’t that the goal?

    • Those range time with Cory and Erica folks on YouTube absolutely insist on sights that allow you to run the gun one handed. I really don’t put that as a priority over how the sights function

      • What if the sights function the same as any other sight, but they allow for one handed manipulations if one hand does get injured or is tied up doing something else i.e. blocking your face from hits. Are you still gonna whine about it?

    • I believe FBI stats show that you are most likely to be injured in your strong hand/arm, since that is where the opposition focuses and tends to shoot. If this cocking techniques has ANY validity he should be practicing with the weak hand. Also, point of interest, if you’re down to one hand, how did you slap that new (only seven rounds?) magazine into the handle?

      • I work both, also you have to work drawing your reload mag. If carrying concealed THAT can prove a bit awkward.

  3. I was interested to hear from this guy that the Berretta M1951 was the predecessor to the R51, and that the R51 has the same kind of grip safety as the HK MP5. I loled. They have since edited the video to remove those facts. I expected a little more from the NRA.

  4. took some defensive combat pistol classes awhile back from a retired Marine 30 yr LEO trainer Ipda chapter founder blah blah…who had us try weak hand and single hand reload techniques (if strong side disahled for ex.). One way was to push sights against side of a kydex holster or a stiff belt. I can see how this might be similar but only in extremis not all the time. Bad habits take lives, good habits save lives.

    • This is exactly why you cannot allow yourself to be blinded by someone’s supposed street cred (Marine/LEO/SEAL/SWAT, etc.)

      As I asked above, if you are down to one hand, especially the weak hand, how do you push the new magazine into place? How did you get that magazine out of its holder, which was probably on your weak side? And if you are going to cock the slide by putting the rear sights against the edge of a Kydex holster, using your weak hand, how are you going to reach around to your strong side to do this, since that is most likely where your Kydex is riding?

      Some of the stuff these guys pass on my be useful or helpful, NONE of it is Gospel.

      • All excellent points, and all of which you work out in practice, practice, prac,,,,,You get the idea.

        Many the time over the years Wifey has come into the kitchen/backroom and found me doing something bizarre looking with pistol/rifle/shotgun or knife. She just stopped asking. And yes, I make her work with her carry piece and the shotgun which lives near her computer desk. The dogs all know their jobs, inside and out.

      • Thank you- I appreciate your concern for my vision…:)

        My bad for not making the point more clear- the slide release/cock technique might be another example of what to do in extremis, to practice, before you get there. Adapt or Die, as they say.

        To your question, as I recall you could put the pistol between knees, or under an arm, while grabbing the mag, and then insert it, one handed.

        How you release the slide, and/or cock it would depend on the weapon, and what you have to work with. In the case of kydex used on strong side- if it was the fingers on weak hand that were injured, that could not rack the slide. Yep, and reaching around to get the mag would be a challenge based on your reach, flexibility, body ‘style’. Something to think about for us OFWGs.

        On the weak hand shooting, it might be the stiff belt you’d hook the sight on, sideways, to release the slide or cock it. Or the edge of the concrete planter or bench, if you were taking cover behind it, at the mall. Or the edge of the fender well, whilst reloading behind the area that contains the engine block.
        Cover, not concealment. You get the drift.

        I should also mention that this particular instructor was very humble, and said, you should try different trainers as you progress – you can learn from different techniques and tips, and no one has all the answers. I thought that was impressive, and have taken his advice.

      • Perhaps we do things in a way which accords with our perception of the probabilities. I have practiced racking the slide or releasing it from lock-back using my belt. If I’ve lost my strong-side hand/arm, I’m really not so concerned that I might graze my outer thigh with a round. The backup magazine is inserted by holding the gun between your knees or under your injured strong-side arm pit.

        I don’t practice it often, and I do so with an unloaded gun. I’m convinced that even with bullets in the mag it will work as intended when the slide slams home. Why practice loading and operating a rifle and shotgun with nothing but the weak-side hand/arm, but not with the pistol? Besides, it amuses me.

  5. Qualifying in the AF on the M9 required us to do a one handed tactical reload. We were instructed to use our bootheel or a surface on our duty belt to charge the weapon. Even without these they claimed that any hard surface would work like a belt buckle.
    That was hard to do with an M9 and I’d rather not point a muzzle at my junk. So I always figured that the nearest wall corner or other surface would have to work.
    I’m just curious…who wears a watch anymore?!!!

  6. Backwards?

    No, it’s forward, the way it should be…

    I honestly have no idea why more manufacturers don’t make sights this way, it just makes sense, snag free draw and flat surface catch the rear sight.

    • They overdid it though, and cut the sight radius down greatly. One could certainly have a reverse slope on the thing that was maybe only 1/4 inch long, but then such would have broken the line of the rear of the slide (it wouldn’t be a continuation of that curve). Can’t have that now can we? (A less radically curved back end of the slide would help with that.)

      • How much of a sight radius is necessary for a defensive handgun that will be used mostly within 15 yards?

  7. In an ideal situation this isn’t a great idea, to say the least. But for someone like me, with arthritis in my hands, I can’t always get a firm grip on the slide. If something were to happen (cold or wet situations) and I needed to use another surface.. something like that could save my life.

  8. Looks too much like a gimmick gun, Remember all the “wonder-9s?” I’ll stick with my Springfield’s thank you very much.

    • Hmmm… the “wonder nines” I remember were things like the Beretta 92, CZ 75 and Glock 17. Hardly “gimmicks.” Or are you and I thinking of two different definitions of the term?

      • I was using the term generically. The era of the wonder 9 is over. I well remember that for several months/years every gun mag in every issue dealt with the latest whiz-bang version of the 9. My first thought after viewing the video was wonder 9.

        That said. I owned the Beretta 92FS and it was a great gun. dead nuts right out of the box. Bought a CZ75 and sold it less than a month later. I thought it was terrible. I’ve never owned or shot a Glock so I can’t legitimately make any comments on it. I make the same jokes some folks do about them but it is in the spirit of fun. Like my rude comments about “why would anyone shoot anything other than 45ACP”? Thanks for your comment.

        • Well, on the bright side you proved there are exceptions. Nothing wrong with that, just surprised.

      • Bought a CZ75 and sold it less than a month later. I thought it was terrible.


        All kidding aside, I think we both understand there’s no right gun for everyone.

        And of course there are fads in this part of our culture like any other. What helped kill the “wondernines” fad was two factors: concealment (making full size guns boatanchors for a lot of people) and the magazine ban that expired (now ten years ago! I still remember calling a shooting friend that day and saying “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty we are free at last!”). People rightly figured if they were limited to ten rounds they might as well be something as stout as would fit in their firearm.

        Of course a ten round mag limit still exists in some places (and I am trying really hard to forget that my state imposed a 15 round limit, grrrrrr…) Were I sent to the PRK and decided to take a gun with me, I’d bring my CZ-75 in .40 with its ten round magazines. (I understand SOME mags for it have 12 round capacities but CZ apparently doesn’t sell it that way.)

        • (This is an extension of a comment that is “waiting for moderation” so it might not make sense until that happens.)

          It just occured to me you may also have had the wrong CZ-75. If you like 1911 style, but bought one with a decocker, you’d probably hate it, and vice versa. I know someone at my favorite range complained about their rental gun, and it turned out that gun had a decocker and he was a 1911 guy.

          I *should* have offered to let him shoot mine. I didn’t think of it until later.

        • Honestly don’t remember much about the CZ except that I hated it. I gave the Beretta to my son. His wife carries and shoots it now. He carries and shoots the XD in 45 that I gave him.

          I had to make a hard choice some time back about how many different calibers I had on hand. I reload all my stuff so I winnowed it down a lot. I only shoot 45 in my handguns. (I’m one of those old farts that thinks the 45 is the best man stopper.) So I reload only 45ACP and 45LC for my cowboy action revolvers.

        • Since it was so long ago that you don’t remember, maybe you should try again?

          I know I sound like a mormon, but please do it, maybe you will be saved.

        • Mike, I too thought ‘wonder 9’ meant, ‘I see somebody shooting a 9 and wonder why they bother.”

          As for the R51: They’ve ground the shape of a clip-point knife running from the muzzle back. They’ve ground the shape of a round-nose bullet under the rear sight. So my question is “why didn’t they bother to mold the lines of a hand-grenade into the grip?”

  9. Being unable to reload their weapons 1 handed was one of the issues at the 1988 Miami shootout.

  10. Tier one bro! Tier one!


    Don’t do what that guy did in the vidja.

    You’ll put your eye out kid.

  11. While I can’t imagine a situation in which my watch band would be the best surface to use for charging a pistol I fail to see that this is inherently unsafe. Assuming that the area the pistol is pointed into is free of people and ones own body is clear of the muzzle I’d say it’s not in any way dangerous. This seems to be another case of a common meme here about, that is; “Because there is a potential for it to go wrong if done improperly, it’s inherently unsafe.”

    The fact is that everything is unsafe if poorly or improperly executed, consider driving as a perfect example of this. Conscientious people are seldom ever injured by their own pistol. There are certainly people out there who are a hazard to themselves and everyone else when armed but there are also plenty of those who can do things that would otherwise be dangerous with relative safety because they have thought it out, observed the basic safety protocols and are doing a potentially dangerous thing in a safe way.

    An example of this is a fire and movement drill in which one or more shooters cover the movement of another as he advances down range to cover. Such drills are absolutely essential to the works of a small unit and must be performed in training until they are second nature if they are to work in the fog of an actual engagement. Yes, there is some potential that the mover will be shot by his team mates that would not exist if no one ever went forward of the firing line. Obviously one should not do this with any random group of shooters since the potential for an accidental shooting would be high. However, among a group that have an established and mutually understood system of communication, who are all aware of what is going to happen and who understand the path that the mover will take the risk is relatively low. Furthermore, such movement training is absolutely essential to the operation of the group. Failing to train it would be negligent. The fact is that gun fighting is inherently dangerous, and realistic training for it is paramount for those who intend to engage in it and survive. The better the training, the more potential risk, it’s just the reality of armed combat.

    While the above example is extreme, there are myriad things that those who intend to use a gun defensively should train but do not because it seems potentially risky (i.e. racking the slide against a belt). Range rules are written for the protection of everyone from everyone regardless of skill level. Those who would train in the use of a gun for combat, to include defense, will benefit from training a number of skills that would be inherently dangerous on an open range.

    Super safe, square range training will improve basic gun handling and accuracy, which it probably enough for most defensive use, maybe 90+%. For many people that is enough and they are already far better off than most people who have either no gun, no training, or neither.

    However, some of us prefer to train to have a fighting chance in the other 10% of encounters, and sometimes that training looks dangerous.

  12. Posts like this really make me roll my eyes… criticizing the ability to reload this pistol one-handed due to ignorance that many pistol sights have been designed with this in mind for decades. Personally, I’d hope to never need this feature, but it’s better to have it and not need it.

    And yes, it was said above, but he used his watchband as it was the only example he had in the frame. A boot or belt works just as well, and if you are pointing the muzzle at your junk when you use a belt, you aren’t doing it right… point away (pistol inverted), hook the sight, push down and away.

    • The Russians make a holster that you push the gun down to get it out. Doing this also racks the slide and disengages the safety. I thought it was a cool/useful design, especialy with a suppressor.

  13. I noticed that every time he racked the slide, the trigger was not pulled, meaning the force needed would be less, as you are not pushing against a spring loader hammer. Was that 6.78 lb of force needed, with or without the hammer cocked?
    I’m assuming this gun has an internal hammer as explained earlier this week in a post??

      • The sad thing is, a $3K watch is in the watch world probably falls somewhere in the Corrolla/Civic/Mazda3 range. You can get a somewhat decent caliber (movement), but you are looking at a pretty no frills stainless case and leather band in that price range.

        • I so miss my Haverhill Navigator, wore it from 1975 to 1997, the back of the bezel wore out and the buttons popped out.

        • Most high end watches never see a retail store. At that level guys deal with the maker or maybe a broker. We’re talking low to mid 6 figures pretty commonly. But higher end “mass produced” models will still run you the best part of 50 – 75k.

        • It’s true, Drew. My wife wanted to buy me a Rolex for my birthday, to replace one stolen long ago. Since was going to cost me anyway, I priced them. You must be kidding! They’ve price-inflated worse that my son’s tuition.

          I’m considering buying one of those cell phone tethers JeffR mentioned. I do like to know the time when I’m leaning into my shotgun. What good is the inclination if I don’t have the time?

  14. I practice working slide onehanded with my Walther P1, with the exposed barrel/open slide body it is not hard. I can definitely see it being hard to do with a lot of semi-auto pieces, though. And don’t poopoo the possibility! AnyF*ckingThing can happen, and hope is not a viable tactical option. Best be able to work your weapons under the widest variety of circumstances. An old Mud Marine taught me that back in the long ago.

    • Obviously the best way to one hand cock is to grab the slide and push the grip down against your shoulder or against your thigh as you lean forward.

          • Wow, that just reinforces why I don’t play first person shooters anymore. I would suggest trying that, with unloaded mag, and see how it works. You are in Europe, right? I would guess you have at least seen a Walther P1/P38? To take it down you put the muzzle against something, table, wall etc and push it in slightly, then push the slide release lever, located on front left side of frame, and slide/barrel move forward and come off frame. The way the slide is designed lends itself to onehanded racking of the slide to load. It is also one of the safest to carry with rd chambered handguns you are going to find. Single stack mag is the only drawback, really.

        • I know it seems crazy but they claim that they talked to marines and soldiers who were taught to do this in case they were injured. I did try it, it works decently (mainly since I didn’t get to practice it) but requires some finer motor skills than “grab slide, pull back slide”.

          Yes I have seen a Walther p38 not in person (have seen a Luger in person though). Regarding the P38’s design, could it be integrally suppressed (due to the exposed barrel)?

        • If you are a machinist. You could remove the front sight blade, get the muzzle cleanly rounded and then tap threads. More than likely German military had custom barrels made for silencers on P1/P38. I been looking for an extra barrel for mine, have extras of all the internal parts. I’m strange like that. In my chest rig for my AK I have all the parts to rebuild bolt assembly and hammer spring. In my tacbag for my Garrand I have 2 complete new bolt carriers, operating spring and internal action parts(no backup trigger assembly, though) and for my Enfield .38 revolver I have 3 extra cylinders. Been caught out with an inoperable weapon before. Just once.

        • Oh, for that onehanded 1911 trick, my hands are not big enough, best bet with onehanding them is to catch the back edge of the ejection port on an edge. Although most of this is academic, seeing as the majority of semi-autos lock open on an empty mag, anyway. Still, does not hurt to know how, in case you have a jam or a non-firing cartridge to clear onehanded.

  15. the ability to cock the gun with one had is invaluable when INJURED. who gives a shit “what could possibly go wrong” or how much that watch is worth if you’re in a situation where you need to manipulate the slide with one hand. at that point you obviously have bigger problems.

    and why are we going to be comparing this new (old) gun to the Glock 42? vastly different guns in different calibers with different uses.

  16. Jeff Cooper demonstrated how to reload the 1911 using one hand many times and using various techniques. Not so outlandish a demonstration but I’m more interested in the function of the new gun and not this kind of sensationalism.

  17. NRA? Never heard of them. Maybe if whoever they are got a few more members they could afford to record on a range by themselves. 1986 called. It wants its production values back.

  18. That pistol is butt ugly but I still look forward to Nick’s review. Because of their small weak left-handedness, SWMBO and the girl child are hard to find pistols for that meet certain criteria.
    1. easily operated (all functions) by a lefty
    2. short trigger pull (in all actions)
    3. light force to work action
    4. doesn’t cost most of an arm and part of a leg.

        • seems like everyone wants to be a hip and happening youtube sensation, and most are failing. I have told a few people they need to dial it down a bit, unless they are going for the comedy gold awards, on their vids. Advice that appears generally ignored.

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