Remington has decided to look to their past for inspiration for a new concealed carry handgun, and they found it in the unique Remington Model 51, made from 1918 to 1927. Like the original, the new R51 from Remington is a single-action only (SAO), hammer fired, semi-automatic pistol with a grip safety and fixed barrel. Thanks to a redesigned Pedersen locking-block mechanism, the new R51 is chambered for 9mm +P with a 7+1 round capacity.
The Remington R51 9mm Subcompact
The Pedersen breechblock operates with a combination of straight blowback and locked breech. This could be best described as delayed blowback. Remington redesigned the Pedersen block to be much stronger to handle 9mm +P ammunition.
The advantages of this operating system are significant. By combining blowback and locked-breech operation, the R51 offers a smaller profile with an extremely low bore axis. As a result, it can handle higher pressure and provides significant recoil reduction. Another advantage is that a lighter recoil spring can be used, making the slide much easier to manipulate.
The steel slide has a matte black finish and is topped off with drift-adjustable front and rear three-dot sights. The frame is lightweight aluminum instead of polymer. The fixed barrel is made from 416 stainless steel and features some odd-looking grooves cut around the outside about 0.25 inches from the muzzle that are intended to aid in disassembly.
The triggerguard has an undercut allowing a higher grip on the frame. Additionally, the pistol also features a fully functional slide lock/release and an ambidextrous magazine release. The hammer is internal and there is no thumb safety. Instead, the R51 has a very positive grip safety that can be heard when it engages.
There is also a trigger bar disconnect safety so the pistol will not fire unless the shooter has both a firm grip on the gun and intentionally squeezes the trigger. The SAO trigger itself has also been redesigned for improved safety with a long, consistent travel. It is still a fairly light trigger at a reported 6.5 pounds.
Shooting the R51 Subcompact
The 20-degree grip angle is designed for superior ergonomics and controllability, while also helping to reduce perceived recoil. On the sides of the grip frame are removable panels that allow the user to customize the pistol with grip materials of various colors and widths for a better, more hand-filling feel. Standard thin aluminum grips are included and Crimson Trace laser grips are a standard option as well.
I had the opportunity to test fire more than half a dozen early samples of the R51 during an event at the Gunsite Academy. I found that the slide is indeed extremely easy to manipulate, and the ergonomics were outstanding as the gun fit well in the hand and had a natural “pointability.”
However, what was most impressive was the recoil impulse. I have never fired any full-sized or compact 9mm pistol with less felt recoil and less muzzle climb than the R51.
Remington also plans to produce a .40 version as well, but the 9mm version will be immediately available.
For more information, please visit Remington.com.