Reborn! Remingtonís Re-Engineered R51 9mm Semi-Automatic Pistol

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

July 21st, 2016

 

Click pictures for a larger version.

 

Redesigned R51 with Galco holster and Remington Ultimate Defense ammo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in February of 2014, I reviewed the then-new Remington R51 semi-automatic pistol. This was a sweet-shooting, compact, reliable 9x19mm semi-auto that had a lot going for it, and I had spent several days at Gunsite at a writerís event, as well as quite a bit of time at home shooting the R51. I anticipated a warm reception in the firearms market for the new pistol, as compact nines are pretty popular with those who carry concealed firearms. The R51ís future looked bright.

However, it did not turn out that way. The pistols which we fired at Gunsite withstood thousands of rounds of 9mm ammunition, and the one I had here for the review fed, fired, and ejected flawlessly with most every load tested, with only a couple of exceptions. The pistol is Plus P rated, and I fired a lot of Plus P ammo through the R51. Then, everything went to pot. When the pistol went into regular production, there were problems, and Remington has been a long time re-engineering the R51 to get everything right.

I was really impressed by the way that Remington handled the pistolís functioning problems. They offered their customers three options; 1) They offered a full refund of the purchaserís money, 2) They offered to swap out the customerís R51 for a more-expensive R1 1911, or 3) The customer could wait for a replacement pistol. A few folks took options one and two, but most opted for option three, and those that did have received their replacement pistols by the time you read this review. Remington sent the new pistols out starting around July 1st of this year, and along with the pistol, Remington is also paying the dealerís transfer fees.

At the time of this review, new R51 pistols are shipping to distributors, and will be on dealerís shelves within a couple of weeks. The re-engineering on this pistol has been extensive. Externally, the pistol looks like the original, but Remington has put in a lot of time and effort in to make sure that this new pistol is everything that it should be. The extractor, ejector, and disconnector have been re-designed, and every part has been tweaked to assure that the production pistols function as they should.

I went into detail on the design of the R51 in my previous review, so I wonít re-plow the same ground again, but upon receiving the new R51, I went immediately to my range and started loading mags and emptying them as fast as I could, using every type of 9x19mm ammo available to me, to assure that this production gun would run, and run correctly. I listed velocity and accuracy data in the previous review, so there is no need to do so here. My objective in this review was to determine if the pistol would run reliably, which it did. In fact, it ran flawlessly, with everything except the lightweight Lehigh Defense 85 grain loads, which have very light recoil. The recoil impulse was insufficient to reliably cycle the slide every time on the R51, which I have experienced with other pistols and this load as well. The R51 ran perfectly with Buffalo Bore Plus P Plus (+P+) ammunition, as well as every other load tested, from cheap commercial reloads to imported ball ammo, to the highest-quality hollowpoint ammo available. This R51 runs, and runs well. It seems to run smoother than the previous pistol, and compared to other pistols of similar size and weight, the R51 is very easy on the hand, even with the hottest ammunition.

Critical specifications for the 9mm Remington R51 are listed in the chart below. Weights are listed in ounces. Linear dimensions are listed in inches. Trigger pull is listed in pounds of resistance, as measured with my Lyman digital trigger pull scale. Height includes sights and magazine base with the standard seven-shot magazine in place. Maximum width is measured across the top of the frame, and includes the slide lock.

Chambering 9x19mm
Weight with Empty Magazine 22.2 ounces
Trigger Pull 4.3 pounds
Barrel Length 3.45 inches
Barrel Diameter 0.53 inch
Overall Height 4.6 inches
Overall Length 6.67 inches
Grip Thickness 0.952 inch
Frame Width 0.9 inch
Slide Width 0.978 inch
Maximum Width 1.07 inches
Trigger Reach 2.74 inches
Magazine Capacity 7
Magazines Supplied 2
Accessory Rail No
Magazine Disconnect No
Thumb Safety No
Grip Safety Yes
MSRP as of July 2016 $448.00 US

The new R51 shoots comfortably, and handles recoil better than most small 9mm pistols. Even the high-performance Plus P ammo causes no pain to the shooterís hand. The pistol has a loaded capacity of eight cartridges, and it carries well in a good belt holster, of which several are already on the market from makers such as Galco, Cross Breed, DeSantis, Talon, Simply Rugged, and others. Crimson Trace has a very lightweight, compact Laserguard to fit the R51.

I have high hopes that this ďborn againĒ R51 will meet with success in the market, as it is a good design which is comfortable, reliable, accurate, and made in the USA.

Check out the R51 online at www.remington.com.

To order the R51 online, click on the GUN GENIE at www.galleryofguns.com.

To order quality holsters for the R51, go to www.galcogunleather.com and www.crossbreedholsters.com.

To order quality 9mm ammunition, go to www.buffalobore.com, www.lehighdefense.com, www.midsouthshooterssupply.com, www.luckygunner.com, and www.doubletapammo.com.

Jeff Quinn

Got something to say about this article? Want to agree (or disagree) with it? Click the following link to go to the GUNBlast Feedback Page.

Click pictures for a larger version.

 

 

 

 

Holsters currently available include (clockwise from top left): Galco, DeSantis, Talon, and Cross Breed.

 

 

 

 

Crimson Trace Laserguard.