We welcome Kat Haas to the ranks of The WON columnists. Kat is a college student and budding blogger who loves to hunt, which usually means hunting on public land in Maryland and surrounding states. In this debut column, she writes a review of the R51, a controversial self-defense gun from Remington.
With political riots, thieves, rapists and danger hiding on every street corner, women can no longer afford to rely on others for their safety. Women who choose to carry firearms for self-defense need a gun that’s compact, powerful, easy to draw and easy to control. Remington Arms Company offers women a great concealed carry option. The R51 9mm subcompact semi-automatic pistol is the newest and greatest when it comes to protecting yourself.
I wanted to review this gun because women, especially small-framed women, have a hard time picking out a self-defense handgun that they feel 100% comfortable with using. Certain handguns are just too much for some women to handle, due to size, recoil or simply the size of the frame. Remington has addressed all of these concerns. I plan to use this R51 as a home defense, self-defense and everyday carry handgun.
As the employee in the Gun Room at Molly’s Place slid that green box across the desk, and I saw that bright white “R” on the front, my heart started to race. I was so excited to open up the box and take a closer look at the R51. As I lifted the gun from the box, I liked the comfort and ergonomics of the gun. The grip safety felt strange, as I wasn’t used to one. However, after spending time with the R51, I really came to appreciate the grip safety for a concealed carry gun.
The Remington R51 is chambered in 9mm Luger and is +P rated. This feature allows a shooter to use +P-rated ammo. The +P rating means that the barrel is designed to handle extra pressure. Since +P ammunition pushes the bullet out with more pressure and force, it will travel faster and flatter than standard 9mm ammunition.
Remington has outdone themselves on the feel and shoot-ability of this handgun. The sights are rounded off, giving it a smoother draw that eliminates the chance of anything getting caught on any part of the gun. Whether you’re drawing this gun out of a purse, pocket or holster, this gun will not hang up in the heat of the moment. Another great feature of the R51 compared to other 9mm pistols is that the R51 has 25% less muzzle flip. Basically, this gun barely kicks up, which allows a shooter to quickly fire multiple shots without having to spend time to get back on target.
After testing the R51 at various ranges, I’ve found that I wouldn’t shoot this gun in a defense setting farther than 7 yards. I tested the gun at 10, 7, 5, 4, and 3 yards to see where its most effective range fell. While every bullet was on paper at 10 yards, the shots landed all over the place. This made it difficult to tell if an attacker would have been stopped because not all the bullets hit center mass. Seven yards made a huge improvement over 10 yards and the group size shrunk drastically. However, 5 yards or less was where I found that I could have 3 out of 5 shots touching consistently.
I tested 3 different types of ammunition through this gun. The first one tested was Remington HTP 115 grain 9mm. This ammunition performed great at the closer distances, but the farther back I stood, the lower the holes in the paper got. The second ammo type I tested was Remington HTP 115 grain 9mm+P. As I said previously, +P just means that it exerts more pressure to push the bullet out faster. This ammo grouped really well and I was very happy with it. This ammo is what I would carry with me. The last type of ammunition we tested out with the R51 was the Barnes Bullets Tac-XPD 115 grain 9mm+P. These hollow point bullets seriously mushroom out and will cause major soft tissue damage to an attacker.
My personal favorite with the R51 I tested was the HTP 115 grain 9mm+P. Now remember, just because a certain ammunition works for me and the particular gun I have, doesn’t mean that is the perfect ammunition for you. It is important to determine the correct personal defense ammunition for your gun, and to be confident that it will come through when needed.
After 2 trips to the range and more than 500 rounds fired, the R51 jammed up on me 3 or 4 times, from both double feeds and ejection failures while using standard 9mm ammo. I cleared the gun and added a little bit of oil to the action, I didn’t have an issue after that. This supports why we must test ammunition in guns and make sure our guns are shooting properly before relying on them for self-defense.
Since the R51 is a concealed carry gun, I tested drawing it from a holster. Crossbreed Holsters generously sent out the Freedom Carry (MSRP: $64.50), the MiniTuck (MSRP: $67.75) and the SnapSlide (MSRP: $48.50). These holsters are specifically made for the Remington R51. Crossbreed Holsters uses genuine cowhide to make their holsters. Why did I choose CrossBreed Holsters? They are an American based company that uses American materials. They design their holsters to fit every user and have multiple designs available in order to fit your exact needs. Crossbreed also offers a return policy – which you will not want to use – that is generous.
Ladies, let me be clear. This gun was made for concealed carry. It was designed for us to feel comfortable carrying a firearm that we know will stop our attacker. I don’t know many women that want to carry a large pistol that will take up more space in our purses or fit on our waistbands easily. We want something that we can protect ourselves with and still look amazing while carrying it. On top of that, we don’t need anything super expensive.
A subcompact with this much new technology would lead you to believe that this gun will cost a fortune. The Remington R51 starts at $448. Compared to other subcompact handguns, it is NOT the most expensive handgun I’ve ever seen.
If the R51 sounds like your kind of handgun, make sure you check our Remington Arms Company for more information about the R51 and some of the handgun ammunition, Barnes Bullets for the Tac- XPD ammunition and CrossBreed Holsters for all your shooting needs!