Halfway to Friday!
Not many people know that the United States’ oldest corporation is a gunmaker, namely the Remington Arms Company. From 1918 to 1927 Remington made the Model 51 pistol, a small pocket piece in .380ACP and .32ACP. The Model 51 was a popular pocket pistol; George Patton owned one, and reportedly used it to fire at German bombers attacking his North African headquarters in 1943.
Incidentally, even though General Patton is one of my personal heroes and was a warrior without peer, shooting at an attacking bomber with a .32 is pretty much the definition of futility – but, knowing Patton’s flair for the dramatic, it’s likely the motive was a bit of inspirational showboating, rather than effective fire.
Now, in a bid to enter the fast-growing concealed-carry market, Remington has given the Model 51 an update and redesign, and is re-introducing it as the R51.
The R51 is a neat-looking piece of hardware. It’s a 9mm rather than the .32/.380 of the original, which gives it a little more punch. Better still, the R51 is rated for +P ammo, which gives it quite a bit more punch. The layout looks simple and usable, with a 1911-style trigger, a grip safety and a slim grip wrapped around a single-stack magazine.
What’s best about this new Remington? Quite possibly this: The price tag. Suggested retail is $420, which means the gun will probably retail most places for $375-400. Upshot: Remington is going after the mid-priced compact 9mm market in a big way, and the R51 has the Ruger LC9, the Beretta Nano, the Taurus PT709S and the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield squarely in its sights.
Remington went through some bad times in the past, particularly during the phase of importing some truly awful Russian-made P.O.S. shotguns and putting the Remington name on them. The R51 would seem to be an indication that they are on the way back. Let’s hope that trend continues.