The internet is probably the hardest place in the world to admit that you did something wrong. The Mom’s basement trolls are brutal, and half the time, they won’t even accept that you were really wrong. Everything has to be some kind of payoff, and if it wasn’t so pathetic it would actually be funny. I was a pioneer of internet automation, creating what would be the first ever version of free remote authoring software like you are reading from now, and I don’t think any of us could have envisioned the way it would empower the useless with what they perceive as the power to share their ignorant and useless perspective.
In this particular case, the Remington RP9, Clay Martin’s review wasn’t technically “wrong.” He said that the gun’s slide was much thicker than the gun he expected when he opened the box. It is actually several millimeters thicker than a Glock 45 slide, as you can see in the video. Clay said that the gun is ugly. Yeah, it’s pretty ugly. He also compared side by side the 18 round Remington magazine to 17 round Smith and Glock mags. It was longer. And most of his other criticisms were entirely valid, as compared to the guns in his video, the Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0, and his service Glock. Clay has had to rely on firearms in many life and death situations, and from that perspective, the RP9 does look like a Chinese knockoff Transformer that your alcoholic father bought the night before Christmas.
As I explained in the video, we got this piece in right before we were leaving for SHOT Show (some of us fly early to set up the GA Dealer Services booth). I thought it was funny. It seemed like Clay’s criticisms were unassailable, and personally for me, since Cerberus purchased Remington, especially after the R51 debacle, I figured that the “empty suits” at Remington wouldn’t even notice it. (more on that subject later in the week if I have time to get it together). There was no real reason to not run it, or to give Remington a chance to answer the criticisms before running the story.
The day after it went into the website, before the GunsAmerica Digest went out to 850,000 people on Monday, the PR lady for Remington got a message through to me, asking if we could kill the story, and come visit the factory before running it. To me it was surprising that we made the radar, and I figured it was just damage control on a crappy gun. We really had no other big stories to start out SHOT Show in the can, so we ran it.
Fast forward to now, and I can tell you that the folks at Remington have not disagreed with the fact that the Remington RP9 does not hold a candle to a Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0, or a Glock. Both are professional level firearms, and both have pricetags over $500 street price, generally closer to $600. The Remington RP9 was not meant to compete with these guns, and it currently has a street price under $400.
For Clay that is no excuse. He is a professional gunfighter, or at least he was for a long time. Equipment that is not on par for a professional is a complete waste of time for Clay. If you can’t afford an M&P or a Glock, use your fucking bare knuckles pussy.
For me, not so much. I’ve never been in a gunfight. And though I carry a gun every day and have since I was 18 years old, I don’t intend to seek out a gunfight ever. I love cheap guns that work, because it gives people who have nobody to stand up for them the power to stand up for themselves. G-d created man, but it wasn’t Sam Colt that made them equal as we all have repeated for almost 200 years. In today’s world, it was Kel-Tec that made them equal.
I’m also a fan of Remington, or at least I was before they were bought. Over the years I’ve been a cheerleader for Ruger, Colt, Smith & Wesson, and even Browning and Winchester (which are really both just marketing names on guns made wherever these days, and owned by FN), because I just love guns. I love the history. I love the gadgetry. I love old stories. I love new stories. The pillars of American firearms mean a ton to me.
So it was a huge hit for me when Remington released the R51 and it turned out to be a dog. Then they bought the Rorbaugh, which I knew was a piece of junk (and which I later learned that they had to completely re-engineer because I was correct). I have an original Remington Rolling block, and I used ’58 Remington revolvers for SASS cowboy shooting for many years. It was hard for me to accept that perhaps Cerberus had bought the most recognized name in American firearms to destroy it.
For Clay, not so much. He has owned very few guns made of steel and wood, and if you gave him a ’58 Remington, he’d probably ask you how the shells go in it (it is a cap & ball pistol). But unlike most of the ex-military guys who have invaded online gun reviews, Clay was actually an avid shooter before he went in the military, and he also has some engineering bonafides, so he can appreciate what it takes to make guns work properly. Clay is a really smart dude who loves guns, but he doesn’t have a connection to the history of guns.
That’s a long explanation that translated means that if a gun is a piece of shit, Clay doesn’t care who made it or what it costs, and he isn’t going to stamp his name on it and tell you to buy it. He would never buy it. End of story. No highway option. From that perspective, Clay’s review is valid and there is nothing wrong with it. Well, mostly nothing.
The only thing that I was shaking my head at when it came to Clay’s review was the comparison of the magazines and the grip. Why would you compare magazines side by side, and the gun without the magazine side by side, but not the gun with the mag side by side? If you watch my video, the length is exactly the same on all the guns (I don’t have an M&P – but I wish I did!). I also didn’t get the grip is too small feeling on the gun. I have fat hands with short fingers, and it fits me a heck of a lot better than a Glock. I can’t shoot more than 10 rounds through a Glock without my hands shaking, which is why I have been an adherent to the Springfield XD guns for over a decade. I hate Glocks. I shot the Remington pretty ok. Note that I mistakenly compared capacities of a 9, 40 and 45 in a massive brain fart. The Remington has one extra round over other guns of the same size.
The rest of Clay’s criticisms are also mostly a matter of preference. The slide is larger than a 45 Glock slide, so the the fact that they just wanted to make a .45 out of it doesn’t even make sense. It’s over-engineered. It’s too damn thick, for a 9, for a 45, maybe for a 50BMG. But if you read the Lee reloading manual, they’ll tell you that the RCBS Rockchucker is over-engineered and too damn thick. In the case of the press, it’s considered a plus. In the case of the gun, somehow it turns into a fatal negative in Clay’s estimation. To me, big deal. If you don’t like it don’t buy it.
I’m not going to chase down every detail from Clay’s video, but I addressed the core point in my video. This gun was created to compete with the Ruger American Pistol. Right now they are on GunsAmerica for almost exactly the same price as the RP9, and Ruger is selling a bucketload of them. After meeting with some of those “empty suits” in the development team at Remington, I can tell you that they see Remington as a Ruger’esque workingman’s brand, and they feel that they have some game to compete. At the lower end of the spectrum, the most important thing is that the gun runs, and that it doesn’t break down over time. That is why it was crushing to them to see bad reviews when they knew that the gun ran well, Clay’s criticisms aside.
And indeed, Clay’s gun did run well. He just didn’t show that on camera. In his defense, this was the 3rd gun we sent him to review before SHOT that he absolutely despised, and by then he had pretty much had enough.
The Military Arms Channel Videos
In my video I went over some of the details of another internet reviewer who trashed the RP9, the Military Arms Channel on Youtube. And I really only took that on because Remington said that he refused to send them the gun and the ammo he used to check out, even though they contacted him immediately after his review got some attention and sent him a new gun. He had actually purchased an RP9 at a gunshop, and in the video there is a repeated behavior where the gun jams, and the next round gets caught on the bottom of the feed ramp.
These are the details that leads me to believe that the review was unfair:
1. The first gun fails with 124 grain reloads repeatedly. You can call reloads “remanufactured” all you want, but they are still reloads, and they were probably reloaded on a standard Dillon 1050 with a GSI bullet feeder, both products I covered for SHOT this year. Anyone who has reloaded knows that it is very easy for things to get a few thousandths out of whack and the bullets don’t look any different, but they don’t even chamber. He could have held the review to try other ammo, even if every single round failed, and they didn’t.
2. He then runs 119 grain ZQI that he happened to have in the truck, and it works flawlessly. But he attributes this to “hollow points” and claims that “ball ammo” doesn’t work. Then he manages to get it to repeat the same jam with one magazine of ZQI 123 grain (I thought it was 124 in the video). Then after he says he’s done shooting, he goes and shoots the RP9 again, and it runs the original reloads perfectly. Yet there is a printed panel in the video saying that the gun was unpredictable. This was made after his tests. Could it be that some of that case of reloads was not the correct length?
3. At no point do we seem him tap the mags, or take the mag out to try to figure it out. Any normal guy at the range would be taking apart the mags to see if there were burs in there, but he does not even tap them, which should be standard practice.
4. The second gun does not fail at all. But rather than use some of the ammo Remington sent him to re-test the first gun, he burns it all to “make sure” he was getting it right in the second gun.
5. At that point, for a second video with no deadline, wouldn’t you go out and buy some ammo at Walmart to try to get both guns to fail on camera? If only for the buzz it’ll make after Remington personally sent him a gun?
That last point I alluded to in the video, but in the Youtube comments when I put up my video, before writing this article, nobody seemed to get that, so I will spell it out.
The MAC video is a hit piece, plain and simple, from someone who has an anti-capitalist attitude about what they perceive is a behemoth company putting out shitty products just to make more money that they already have too much of and way more than him. The innocence is false. He is a just another Youtuber who knows very little about guns trying to make a living from the eyeballs of the un and underemployed masses who have time to sit and watch Youtube all day. In person, the guys from our crew who have met him say he’s a nice guy, but in this case he was not fair to Remington, and he could have done a much better job.
As for me, I don’t think the Remington RP9 holds a candle to the Ruger American Pistol in looks, feel and ergonomics, but it does run, and it runs all weighs and types of ammo, as you can see in my video. At a street price under $400, I don’t think the RP9 will break any records, but it certainly is not a piece of shit either.
I am actually going to leave the comments on for this article, just to bath in the profundity of Prosac on Monday. Let’s see how clueless and ignorant they get. Oh and wait till you see what I’ve got coming for Friday.