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 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 Pedersen breechblock operates with a combination of straight blowback and locked breech in what could be described as delayed blowback.

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 that 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, and the pistol also features a fully functional slide lock/release and an ambidextrous magazine release.

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. Remington also plans to produce a .40 version as well, but the 9mm version will be immediately available.

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.
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Show Comments
  • Mike G

    We’re you able to field strip the new R51? I own and shoot a model 51 and it recoils more like a .22 than a .380, but the downside is the difficult and irksome field stripping, especially removing the barrel from the slide.

    • Louie T

      Mike, i hope they made it easier to break down compared to the original. I just watched a video on it and it looked like a royal pain in the a**.

  • Steve

    My wife wants one of these very badly. So, I’m thinking at the price, one for her, one (w/threaded bbl) for me.

    • Louie T

      All the barrels are threaded, thats just so you you could grip it when you pull it off the slide.

  • Donn N.

    My question is, how do you carry this gun? Condition 1? Condition 3? Condition 2 wouldn’t be possible. Condition 1 seems less safe than with a 1911 since there is only a grip safety and no one wants to carry in Condition 3. Am I missing something?

  • Ridget

    Double action only?

  • VeriAeq

    A short video on the speed to disassemble and reassemble. It does not look too difficult.

  • gundick

    Bought one 3/14. Cleaned. Next day, range. Fired 5 rds. Herter’s brass 9mm 115 gr: accurate at 15 ft., low recoil, felt good. 5 rds. BVAC (same), 4 shot, 5th jammed. 5 rds. PMC (same), none went into battery. Noticed slide wasn’t closing, is jammed half open. Two different gunsmiths had difficulty disassembling, indicate hammer ramp may be problem or spring next to bolt. Unable to register gun online (“server error ‘/’ “). No response yet to email to Support, phone: “unusual call volume”. VERY disappointed.

    • Louie T

      The quest goes on , Come on glock make that single stack 9.

    • dupkaman

      Reinforces my love for revolvers. Pull the trigger and it goes bang.

  • Denise51

    I purchased this R51 last Wednesday and had to return it to have it shipped to Remington for repair. When I could get a round to feed, the trigger pull was nice! However, the slide most of the time would not feed the next round. After 50 rounds the slide could not be racked back!!
    Also the rear “fixed” site walked off the slide. This is not suppose to happen!
    Luckily I purchased this gun from Bass Pro Shop and they ship it back for the warranty.
    Note to Remington customer service: I want my R51 to function JUST as your R51 video showed!! That’s why I purchased this gun. Its suppose to be so easy, done with 2 fingers!! NOT!!!

    • Louie T

      There are a couple videos on you tube on the remington r51, most of them have some of the problems that you have denise 51. Its too bad alot of us wanted to like this gun. I cannot believe they are letting them go out the door like this. Come on remington get your sh** together and give us an american handgun we would be proud to own !!!

  • greg

    This wasn’t a review, it was a Advertisement.