August 2014

Remington's New R51 9mm Pistol Is Recalled

Remington’s new R51 in 9mm has its roots in the pre-WWI Model 51, chambered in 380 ACP. The R51 shot well for us, but Remington has recalled the entire production run, so we can't recommend it.

Remington's New R51 9mm Pistol Is Recalled

Our shooters liked the new Remington R51, right, which is derived from the old Remington 51, designed before WWI. However, the company recalled the R51 in late July with stated plans to replace the entire production run because of function problems. Accordingly, we had to revise our initial positive comments about the R51’s performance in our tests and give it an F, pending its return under the recall.

Just before WWI, John Pedersen of Remington UMC designed a pistol of 45 ACP caliber that featured an outside hammer and a delayed recoil system that drastically reduced the felt recoil. A Navy Board recommended adopting it, but the arms factories were already geared up to make the Model 1911, so this Remington 45-caliber pistol never went into production. During the war the “Pedersen Device” was produced. It made the bolt-action Springfield rifle into a semi-automatic one, firing a low-powered 30-caliber round. The “device” did not have a locked breech, but the pistol did. Pedersen’s mechanism locked the round in the chamber as the chamber and slide moved rearward. When the bullet left the barrel and pressure dropped, the fired case was pulled out of the chamber, ejected, and another round put in. The system worked extremely well, and Mr. Pedersen used the same design for the Remington 51 pistol after the war. After WWI Remington entered the automatic pistol market with the innovative new Model 51 pistol in 380 ACP and 32 ACP. From 1918 to 1927 (some sources say into the 1940s) Remington manufactured the Model 51 semi-automatic pistol. Remington’s new pistol apparently didn’t catch on that well, though the pistols were well thought of by those who used them. Today, Remington has essentially revised the old Pedersen pistol design in the new R51. We were able to acquire both a sample of the new R51 and one of the original Model 51s in 380. We took a good look at the two pistols, shot them, and liked a lot about the R51. However, the company has recalled all of the R51 pistols, so we assessed it a failing grade pending a warranty fix of its problems.

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