Remington R51

The Remington R51 is a semi-automatic pistol announced in January 2014. The R51 is a modernized version of the John Pedersen-designed Remington Model 51 pistol now chambered in 9×19mm caliber.[2][3] Remington announced plans to offer the pistol in .40 S&W and other calibers. [4][5][6] However, no other chamberings were offered by the time of Remington's bankruptcy in 2018.[7]

Remington R51
TypeSemi-automatic pistol
Place of originUnited States
Production history
DesignerJohn Pedersen (action)
Mass22 oz (620 g) [1]
Length6.6 in (17 cm)
Barrel length3.4 in (8.6 cm)
Width1.0 in (2.5 cm)
Height4.6 in (12 cm)

Cartridge9×19mm Parabellum
ActionPedersen "hesitation-locked" action
Rate of fireSemi-automatic
Feed system7-round box magazine
SightsDrift-adjustable 3-dot iron sights

Design details

Pedersen's unique layout of the Remington R51 is copied in the Walther PPK pistol using a stationary barrel and recoil spring surrounding the barrel.[8] However, a notable design feature is the use of a locking breech block within the slide utilizing the "hesitation-locked" action originally developed by John Pedersen.[3][9] When the pistol is in battery, the breech block rests slightly forward of the locking shoulder in the frame. When the cartridge is fired, the bolt and slide move together a short distance rearward powered by the energy of the cartridge as in a standard blowback system.[8] When the breech block meets the locking shoulder, it stops, locking the breech.[8] The slide continues rearward with the momentum it acquired in the initial phase.[8] This delay allows chamber pressure to drop while the breech remains locked and the cartridge slightly extracted. Once the bullet leaves the muzzle and pressure drops away, the rearward motion of the slide lifts the breech block from its locking recess through a sliding cam arrangement, continuing the operating cycle. Only manually retracting the slide with the grip safety held in, or firing a cartridge opens the pistol.

Because the action halts cartridge extraction momentarily while holding locked the breech, the R51 is designed to use higher pressure cartridges than a straight blowback firearm with similar slide weight.[3][8][9] The hesitation-locked Model 53 was based on the Model 51 design, and was built by Remington in .45 ACP for Navy trials. The Pedersen design has the recoil spring surrounding the barrel, reducing the pistol's overall profile.[9] Lighter operating parts and longer lock time provide less felt and actual recoil.[9] The R51's low bore axis gives less muzzle rise which also lowers perceived recoil, while the stationary barrel improves accuracy and simplifies construction.[3][8][9]

Like the original the new Remington R51 uses an internal hammer with a built-in drop safety and features a single-action trigger.[8][10] The slide stop is mostly recessed into the left side of the frame. The primary safety is a grip safety which must be depressed before the pistol will fire.[3][10] The R51 lacks the magazine safety that was present on the original model 51. The trigger guard is undercut to allow a higher grip on the frame.[9] The frame has a 20-degree grip angle designed for natural point shooting, and has checkering on the front strap for improved grip of the gun.[3][8][9] The R51 comes standard with polymer grip panels which are held on with conventional screws. Remington plans to offer optional rubber and rosewood grip panels as accessories for users desiring a wider, more hand-filling grip.[3][9] The magazine is a steel single-column design with a polymer floorplate. Capacity is 7 rounds in 9×19mm.[2][9] The magazine release is ambidextrous. The slide of the R51 is machined from stainless steel and has a matte black FNC finish, while the frame is machined from 7075 aluminum alloy and has a matte black anodized finish[3][10] The 3.4" barrel is machined from 416 stainless steel and has a bright finish.[3][9][10]

Production problems

A press release from Remington in July 2014 said that production of the R51 had been suspended and was expected to resume in October. Customers had informed Remington "that some R51 pistols had performance issues" some serious.[11] Remington determined that these "performance problems resulted from complications during our transition from prototype to mass production."[11][12] In June 2016, Remington announced it was ready to ship new pistols to those who had returned their R51s for repair and / or replacement.[13]


A review in said the Remington R51 was an “epic fail,” noting “To its credit, the R51 didn’t seem to have any issues with liking one brand of ammunition over another. It malfunctioned equally with all of them.”[14][15][16]


  1. Remington 2014 Catalog, retrieved 21 January 2015
  2. Quinn, Jeff, Remington’s New R51 9x19mm Plus P Semi-Automatic Pistol,, 2 January 2014, retrieved 8 January 2014
  3. NAH Staff, New: Remington R51 Sub-Compact Handgun, North American Hunter,, retrieved 8 January 2014
  4. Remington R51 9mm - Gun Review, retrieved 3 January 2014
  5. First Look: Remington R51 Sub-Compact Pistol, retrieved 30 November 2015
  6. Remington Announces New R-51 Pistol, retrieved 2 January 2014
  7. "Remington R51". Remington Outdoor Company. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  8. Slowik, Max, Introducing the Remington R-51: Maybe You’ve Met Before,, 3 January 2014, retrieved 8 January 2014
  9. Amselle, Jorge, Remington R51 9mm Gun Review,, 2 January 2014, retrieved 7 January 2014/
  10. White, Phil, Remington Announces New R-51 Pistol, TheFirearmsBlog.Com, retrieved 7 January 2014
  11. "Remington R51 Pistol Product Update". Remington Arms Company. 25 July 2014. Archived from the original on 24 October 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  12. Keefe, Mike (25 July 2014). "Breaking: Remington R51 9 mm Pistol Update". Blogs. National Rifle Association. Retrieved 23 October 2014. All in all, the pre-production R51 pistols worked very well due to hand finishing, about as well as you would expect for any new design (but it wasn't a "new" design guys). The problem came as the gun went from small pre-production to mass production. There are number of reports from consumers and reviewers about issues with the full production version of the gun, some suggesting a recall.
  14. Leghorn, Nick (10 February 2014). "Gun Review: Remington R51". The Truth About Guns.
  15. Leghorn, Nick (10 February 2014). "Gun Review: Remington R51". The Truth About Guns.
  16. Williams, Lee (22 July 2014). "Be wary of gun reviews; the truth can be hard to find". Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

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