Tag Archives: R51

Remington R51 Do-Over


I was asked what I thought about the Remington R51 Re-Release.

Look… I wanted to like the R51.  I really did.  I think it looks cool, and I like the idea of an all metal single stacked 9mm, that’s not a 1911, Kahr, or SIG P225… just for the sake of variety.  I really wanted to like it.  But a couple things gave me pause.  One, is the Pederson Hesitation Lock system it uses… which is… just not that good.  Then Remington made a very limited invitation only special pre-release introduction for certain Gun Media guys with a history of liking everything that comes their way.    Okay, that’s fine… They wanted good impressions to get out there.  Sure.  Every Gun Company wants that.   But the warning lights started flashing when shortly there after at the Media Day at the Range, the day before SHOT SHOW that year – The Remington R51 was suspiciously absent.

Warning Klaxons sounded in my head when at the Remington Booth, Remington Employees were physically blocking people from getting to where the R51 was on display.   They stood around the display like defensive Musk Ox surrounding their young.

Remington Reps protecting the R51 at SHOT SHOW.
Remington Reps protecting the R51 at SHOT SHOW.

They wanted Dealers to order them… they just didn’t want anyone to actually touch it.  But I did.  I went around behind them, went behind a counter, and got in to where it was hanging on the wall, behind the Remington People.  I could tell from the expressions on their faces when they saw me – that they were pissed.

When I handled the gun… I liked the size and weight just fine.  But the action felt like it was broken inside.  That hesitation lock felt like it was going to be a Jam Maker.  The Grip Safety was awkward as it pivoted backwards from normal, it had sharp edges of the frame exposed when the safety was depressed.
I warned people to avoid being an early adopter of the R51.
Turns out I was right, and all the pistols I had warned people about – all got recalled.  The gun was a bigger pile of crap than I had expected it to be.


Now, fast forward and Big Green is releasing the gun again.  All the work to rebuild the gun, all the new engineering and testing… should have been done before it was released to begin with.   It should have been tested – thoroughly – before it was released.    This was Remington’s fault, resting squarely on the shoulders of Remington.  But Remington pointed their fingers at Para USA, in Charlotte, NC…. where the R51 was being produced.   This wasn’t a quality control issue… this was a DESIGN ISSUE.   And guys at Para were saying “This isn’t right”.  Turns out that the guys at Para were right as well.  Because to fix the gun, Remington didn’t have to tight QC on the production line… they had to re-engineer  the bloody handgun.  Proving that it was indeed, a design issue.

Maybe the gun is now “fixed”.  But the first people to test it and say it’s fine – are some of the first people that said it was good to go the first time.   I have a bit of a problem with that.   When asked by a friend what my initial thoughts were about the new again R51… my knee-jerk reaction was “I’d rather have a Bersa.”

So my advice is the same as before.  Avoid being an Early Adopter of these R51 2.0’s.

Remington Down

Remington was once known as Big Green.  They were huge and they were moving.  Winchester had dropped the Model 70 and Savage wasn’t even an option…  Brownings and Sakos were for the rich and famous.   The Model 700 was dominant as the bolt action for the Every Day Man.   The only shotgun worth having was the 870 for serious field use.  Remington rifles were known for accuracy and quality.   The shotgun for rugged durability.   There was no question about this.  These were Remington’s halcyon days.

Now we’ve had yet another recall on Remington 700 and 7 triggers.  Remington only original pistol design the 51 was brought back and it’s looking like a major flop.  Remington’s acquisition of Marlin has been regarded as a death knell for Marlin as a brand as the quality control of those storied lever action rifles has fallen through the floor. The ACR rifle which was the great promise of freeing us all from the doldrums of   AR-15’ness has fallen flat on it’s face from a lack of the Barrel Conversions as promised to change lengths and calibers.  We were supposed to have had them a long time ago, and here we are in 2014 and we still don’t have what what promised.  You know, the whole major selling point of the ACR other than “it’s not an AR-15”.  I’ve even seen and heard other guys talk about the Remington 1911 in tones of disappointment and regret.  Even Remington brand ammunition is pretty much my least favorite ammo out there.  In fact, I’d rather shoot steel cased Wolf stuff through my guns.  A common theme in the remarks about any Remington product is “I’ll never buy another Remington again”.

It would seem that Remington is caught in a Huey Tuck of unfortunate failures, and doesn’t have the altitude to pull out of it.  What can Remington do to prevent the impending doom of crashing through the tree tops?

First off, Remington needs to concentrate on quality control.  Every gun that goes out there door needs to be individually inspected by a Gun Smith, not just a packaging clerk in the shipping department.   And that needs it’s own QC there too.  The actions, triggers, extraction and ejection, everything.   If it’s not perfect – don’t just ship the bloody thing!

Second.  There is no valid reason that there are not a plethora of barrel kit options for the ACR platform.  None.  Zero.  Any reason you think you have, is just as excuse.  Get them out there and get it out at a decent price.  Have barrel options for 12 to 20 inches in all applicable calibers.   Just do it.  You have a whole mess of people waiting for those and a whole lot of other people that would be buying the ACR if they were actually available.  ACR Barrel Kits are now Vaporware on the same level as the fabled Glock Carbine.

Thirdly.  Just drop the R51 pistol.  Continual production and sales of this lemon is putting Remington at risk.  A gun that can fire out of battery is a gun that is waiting to Frag its owner and cause serious bodily harm.  That’s a mountain of liability that you do not need right now.  Someone is going to get hurt and they are going to go after you tooth and nail for producing this thing.  And with all the videos on YouTube showing that this is a known and documented issue – you guys are already in trouble on this.  It’s just a matter of time before someone files.   It should be recalled and discontinued.  Or recall it and do a radical redesign.  I’m sure there are people at Remington that know how to make the R51 work.  You need to listen to them.  And fire whoever is keeping them quiet.

Fourth.  Get rid of the Corporate Yes-Men and start telling people in the upstairs offices “No”.  Because not all the ideas have been good ones.   Like the 887 Shotgun.  That’s a terrible gun.  It’s no improvement over the 870, and it feels cheap and wrong.  What’s the advantage?  No, don’t answer that, I don’t need to hear the propaganda.  That was just a bad idea.

Fifth.  Marlin.  You guys really stomped all over the Marlin name.  The quality control has been the worst I’ve ever seen.  In the production and in the Warranty department.  Absolutely the worse.  Quality Control there was an absolute joke.  We had new guns come in that we couldn’t even get the actions to cycle and we would have returns come back from warranty service missing parts in areas that were unrelated to what they were sent in for.  I don’t know how they managed to fail so hard.  Who is working in the Marlin department?  Chimps?  I know things have gotten better.  But that’s a low hurdle to mark down as an achievement.   When Rossi is making a better Lever Action – that’s just sad.

Take a look at Taylor’s and Wild West Guns and look at how they are making some guns that people are wanting… How come you do not have anything like that?  Where is your take down?  What year is this now?  Where are your winged and adjustable aperture sights?

I don’t know guys… Can Remington be redeemed?  Or have they fallen too far now?