The announcement that Remington would be seriously entering the concealed carry market with the new R51 subcompact handgun surprised some firearms enthusiasts when the news broke to the public a little over a week ago. The R51 is a re-imagining of the Model 51 pocket pistol first released in 1918, which was offered in .32 ACP and .380 ACP variants.
The 2014 R51 upgrades and upguns the original. Chambered in 9mm and rated for +P cartridges, the new subcompact utilizes a version of the “Hesitation lock” action of its predecessor, and has a 7 + 1 capacity. The frame is made of aluminum, while the 3.4-inch-long barrel and slide are composed of stainless steel. An ambidextrous magazine release sits behind the trigger, and a relatively rigid grip safety must be engaged before the gun can be fired.
The trigger pull comes in around the six-pound mark, but has a surprisingly crisp break. The pistol is a little over 6.5 inches long, slightly taller than 4.5 inches, and one-inch wide. These attractive dimensions are rounded out by an unloaded weight of 22 ounces, and an even more attractive MSRP of $420. A variant outfitted with a Crimson Trace Laser Guard will also be available.
Though I am not a fan of subcompact handguns—or even most compacts, at that—I was impressed by the price and overall feel of the R51. I may be biased, however, due to my love for all-metal handguns. I’m excited to be able to shoot one and see whether the gun’s recoil is truly as light as its manufacturer claims.
Note added 1-19: This article has been edited to include additional information about the R51.
Images by Matt Korovesis