If the popularity of the 101-year-old Browning-designed Model 1911 pistol tells us anything, it’s that great guns get even better through the application of modern technology. Remington took a page out of that playbook in the design of its newest pistol, the 9mm R51. What today is a beautiful sub-compact concealed carry gun started in 1917 as the Remington Model 51, designed by John Pederson. Pederson was a contemporary of John Browning, who called him “the greatest gun designer in the world.” Remington based its new gun on the Pederson design, resulting in a pistol with a crisp trigger, reliable action and a low bore to reduce felt recoil.
In a world awash in polymer guns, it’s nice to see an innovative and functional all-metal pistol, especially with the lines of the R51. An aluminum alloy frame and stainless steel barrel and slide combine for a relatively low weight of 22 ounces. The R51 is completely ambidextrous, with magazine release buttons on both sides of the grip and a very interesting approach to an ambi safety. Rather than being a thumb switch, the safety is built into the backstrap. As you take a firing grip on the pistol, the safety comes off without your having to even think about it. But Remington seems to have thought of everything. There’s even a suppressor-ready barrel available as an option. They say that form follows function. If that’s the case, I can’t wait to shoot the new R51.