The R51 was the camel’s nose under the modern handgun tent for the Remington Arms Co.—and that particular 9 mm camel had to pull its nose back. It seems the Pedersen hesitation lock has tolerances more difficult to hold in manufacturing than Remington thought. The recent announcement of the Remington RP—a pistol that has been on the back burner for some time—demonstrates that Remington is ready to brush its handgun plans off and try again. The gun that became the RP (it didn’t have a name the last time I saw it) was handed to me several years ago in a dark conference room at the SHOT Show. Timing is everything, and Remington saw enough success with the re-launch of the R51 to get back on the RP camel.
Remington brought aboard Leland Nichols to develop a line of handguns. Ever heard of the Smith & Wesson M&P pistol? That happened under Leland’s watch while in Springfield, Mass.. Of course, the Remington R1, based on the M1911, has been hugely successful, but not all consumers want an M1911. The first new design was the R51, a gun that I have written about both pro and con, and one that will be featured in the magazine soon. There were production issues with the R51 that pretty much derailed Remington's entire master plan for handgun launches. Problems have been addressed, as evidenced by how the re-launched R51 is doing—which is quite well.
The new sample R51 at our offices is performing as advertised, and we have had no hiccups several hundred rounds into the pending review. Too, since the R51 was introduced then recalled, Big Green moved forward with the RM380 pistol, a double-action-only .380 ACP based on the Rohrbaugh.
But the gun being shown by Remington now was where the company wanted to go last year, or even the year before, and probably the year before that. And it is interesting to me that Remington started with what will likely be the largest gun in the firm’s polymer pistol line. And that is a 4.5”-barreled 9 mm Luger with an 18-round magazine capacity—and a .45 ACP that has a magazine capacity of 15 rounds is said to be right on the nine’s heels. The prototype I handled years ago actually did not feel as big in the hands as its magazine capacity would lead you to think. Remington’s engineers managed to keep the grip as small in circumference as allowed by the constraints of the gun’s magazine capacity. It also has a generous beavertail, and the frame allows the shooter to really get his or her hand into the gun. This is a laundry list gun. What features do consumer surveys say purchasers want? Striker-fired, polymer frame, adjustable sights, generous magazine capacity, an articulated blade safety in the trigger, and a trigger with a short reset. It appears the RP has them all.
When it comes to engineering handguns it is easier to start big and go smaller. And no doubt that is Remington's long-term plan for the RP platform. Look for double-stack mid-size and compact guns in the future. It was a bold move to come out with a full-size in both .45 ACP and 9 mm when all people seem to want to talk about is the 9 mm. We have requested a sample of the RP, and are looking forward to range time with it.
The RP is indicative of where Remington has wanted to go with a full line of handguns, and while not the entire camel, it is certainly a dromedary step in the right direction.