Remington’s New R51 9x19mm Plus P Semi-Automatic Pistol

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

February 17th, 2014


Click pictures for a larger version.







Seven-round steel magazine.





Ambidextrous magazine release.



Slide lock.



Grip safety.













Back on January 2nd of this year, we showed a brief review and video of the new Remington R51 semi-automatic pistol. That short review detailed my experience up to that point, which consisted of shooting the R51 at Gunsite in Arizona. Now, as promised, this is a more detailed review of that pistol, now that I have had one here for the past few days. At Gunsite, I had the opportunity to fire a few hundred rounds of Remington ammunition through a couple of R51 pre-production pistols. With a gun here for review, I focused upon testing the R51 for accuracy and function with several brands and types of ammunition.

The Remington R51 is based upon the Pedersen design of the old Remington Model 51. The Model 51 was chambered for the 32 and 380 ACP cartridges, but the R51 is modified to fire the Plus P-rated 9x19mm (9mm Luger) ammunition. The new R51 also uses an aluminum frame to reduce the weight. Weighing in at just over twenty-two ounces on my scale, the R51 also has a thin profile, and excellent handling dynamics, The pistol points very naturally in my hand. The sights are made of steel, and are of the three-white-dot pattern. The rear sight is shaped for a smooth, snag-free draw from a holster or pocket, and both front and rear are windage adjustable by drifting in the slide dovetails.

The R51 has a fixed barrel. The barrel does not move upon firing, as do the barrels in most other 9x19mm pistols. It is also not a direct blowback action, as are most fixed-barrel pistols. The R51 has a breech block that locks the action upon firing, then unlocks and impacts the slide to move rearward, ejecting the fired cartridge case. A spring that surrounds the barrel returns the slide forward, stripping another round from the magazine to chamber the cartridge. The slide locks in the open position on an empty magazine. The R51 ships with two seven-round steel magazines, for a loaded capacity of eight cartridges.

The R51 does not use a manual thumb-operated safety as did the old Model 51. The R51 has a grip safety that blocks movement of the trigger until pressed. In use, one has only to grasp the grip and press the trigger to fire the weapon, getting it into the fight quickly.

Critical specifications for the 9mm Remington R51 are listed in the chart below. Weights are listed in ounces. Linear dimensions are listed in inches. Trigger pull is listed in pounds of resistance, as measured with my Lyman digital trigger pull scale. Height includes sights and magazine base with the standard seven-shot magazine in place. Maximum width is measured across the top of the frame, and includes the slide lock.

Chambering 9x19mm
Weight with Empty Magazine 22.2 ounces
Trigger Pull 4.1 pounds
Barrel Length 3.45 inches
Barrel Diameter 0.53 inch
Overall Height 4.6 inches
Overall Length 6.67 inches
Grip Thickness 0.952 inch
Frame Width 0.9 inch
Slide Width 0.978 inch
Maximum Width 1.07 inches
Trigger Reach 2.74 inches
Magazine Capacity 7
Magazines Supplied 2
Accessory Rail No
Magazine Disconnect No
Thumb Safety No
Grip Safety Yes
MSRP as of February 2014 $420 US

I fired a variety of ammunition over the chronograph to check velocities, with the results listed in the chart below. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second. Bullet weights are listed in grains. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint bullet. DPX, Buffalo Bore Lead Free, and Double Tap Tac-XP  are hollow nose homogenous copper bullets that are made by Barnes Bullets. Guard Dog is a FMJ with a soft plastic core to promote rapid expansion. FP is a frangible, pre-fragmented flatnose bullet. FMJ is a full metal jacket roundnose bullet. FMJ-FN is a full metal jacket flat nose Buffalo Bore Penetrator bullet. PB is Pow’RBall, a specialty bullet from Cor-Bon. Glaser is a pre-fragmented bullet. Velocities were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air temperature of thirty-one degrees Fahrenheit, and a relative humidity of forty-five percent. Velocities were recorded at ten feet from the muzzle.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Buffalo Bore Lead Free HP +P 95 1412
Buffalo Bore Lead Free HP +P 115 1221
Federal Guard Dog 105 1151
Double Tap Tac-HP +P 115 1111
Double Tap FMJ  +P 147 1046
Remington Home Defense 124 1061
Atomic HP +P 124 1240
WCC NATO FMJ 124 1081
Fiocchi  FMJ 115 1062
Buffalo Bore FMJ-FN 124 1256
Buffalo Bore JHP 115 1288
Buffalo Bore +P+ JHP 115 1357
Buffalo Bore +P JHP 147 1065
Cor-Bon Glaser +P 80 1622
Cor-Bon JHP +P 115 1333
Cor-Bon Pow’RBall +P 100 1324
Cor-Bon +P DPX 115 1177
Cor-Bon JHP +P 125 1297
Stryker JHP 115 1023
International Cartridge FP 100 1077
Stryker FMJ 115 1089

As noted in the chart above, much of the ammo tested in this R51 is Plus P rated, meaning it runs at higher pressure than standard 9x19mm ammunition, and is built for high performance. However, two of the standard-pressure loads that performed very well were the Remington Home Defense hollowpoint, and the Federal Guard Dog expanding full metal jacket. Both of these loads had relatively mild recoil, yet exhibited very good expansion and accuracy. Accuracy varied from excellent to average, with the Remington Home Defense turning in the best twenty-five yard accuracy, and the WCC military ball the worst. The Remington load would consistently group one and one-half inches or better, while the WCC load grouped in the three inch range. All other ammunition tested fell somewhere in between those extremes.

Reliability was very good, and perfect with most ammunition tested. I had two failures-to-fire with that WCC load, and had extraction problems with the Buffalo Bore 95 grain load.  A shot of spray lube corrected the failure-to-fire problem, as I found that the slide was not fully closing, causing the pistol to not fire. That Buffalo Bore 95 grain load works perfectly in most pistols, and this just proves the point that firearms are individuals, and that any pistol carried for social work should be tested with the chosen carry ammo to assure reliable function with that particular ammunition. Every other type of ammunition tested, twenty-two varieties, both standard-pressure and Plus P, ran flawlessly in this Remington R51 pistol.

The R51 is very easy to operate. The recoil spring surrounds the barrel, allowing the pistol to sit low in the hand. Also, by design, the recoil spring is lighter in strength than most 9mm pistols. This allows for a slide that is very easy to manually operate to chamber a cartridge. This feature is a real plus for those who have trouble racking the slide on a pistol. Also, the shape of the rear sight aids in using a table, bench, belt, pocket, boot, or any other stable edge to one-handedly rack the slide to chamber a round or to clear a malfunction, in the event that two-hand normal operation is impaired. The ambidextrous magazine release does not protrude, but sits flush with the frame. This feature makes the pistol to conceal better, and also prevents the unintentional release of the magazine in the pocket or holster. The R51 has no sharp edges, as it should be on a carry gun.

The Remington R51 pistol is one of the softest-recoiling 9mm pistols that I have ever fired. The pistol sits low in the hand, reducing muzzle flip upon firing. Even  when shooting the Plus P and Plus P Plus ammunition, the R51 is very comfortable to fire. In addition to the hundreds of rounds fired through the R51 pistols back last December, I fired many rounds of the ammunition listed above through this particular R51. In my hand, the R51 is one of the best feeling, best handling, and most naturally-pointing 9mm pistols that I have ever held. The R51 is just now going into production, and should be readily available soon. The R51 is priced right, built right, and built in the USA.

Check out the extensive line of Remington firearms, ammunition, and accessories online at

For the location of a Remington handgun dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at

To order the R51 online, click on the Gun Genie at

To order quality 9x19mm ammunition, go to,,,, and

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.





Excellent set of steel sights.



Remington Home Defense ammo.



Federal Guard Dog ammo.



Best and worst 25-yard groups fired, measuring 1.5 and 3 inches.







Grooves on barrel are for grasping to aid disassembly.