Remington R51 — The New Sub-Compact Pistol Standard

Remington R51 Right Side
Remington R51 Right Side
Remington R51

The gun world is far from national security; wait… The NSA has not been keeping its secrets all that well lately either. Several new models will be released in the next couple of weeks, but here is the first one to pique our interest here at Cheaper Than Dirt! Remington broke new ground when it introduced the R1 1911. It was a new direction, and one the firearm community enthusiastically embraced.

Building on that success, Remington has introduced the R51. The R51 is a subcompact pistol. The design leans heavily on Remington’s original Model 51—a design originating in 1915, considered revolutionary and ahead of its time.

Time changes all. The .40 S&W is a complete youngster compared to some cartridges and hopefully the R51 will one day be offered as a .40 cal. Factors such as this had to be taken into account when designing the R51. While Remington’s engineers were busy designing the R51, the decision was made to chamber it in 9mm, but to ensure it was beefy enough to handle +P ammunition. Both cartridges enjoy unparalleled popularity and the dimensions are inline with Remington’s goal of staying true to the original Model 51’s size, characteristics and attitude—in a sub compact.

Remington R51 Ambidextrous Safety
Remington R51 Ambidextrous Safety

Early details lead me to believe that Remington did it right. The R51 is hammer-fired and uses the Pedersen action—including a locked breech and 416 stainless steel barrel. Sub compact—yes; built tough—most definitely! The R51 is rated for +P ammo and ready to handle the rigors of an EDC gun. However, Remington did not stop there. The R51 features drift adjustable sights, aluminum frame and checkering on the front strap.

Other notable features include an ambidextrous safety to better accommodate southpaws and a flush-fitting, seven-round single-stack magazine. Still not convinced? Remington has two more carrots to dangle. The R51 Sub-compact line will include models with threaded barrels for suppressor enthusiasts and a model with a built-in Crimson Trace Laserguard.

Remington’s R1 is a fine gun and commands a fair price. I have no problem paying for quality and craftsmanship, but nonetheless I was ready to cringe when Remington got to the MSRP portion of the conversation. To my—and everyone else’s in the room—surprise, the new for 2014 R51 is set to debut at $420! Check back at Rumor has it… CTD will be carrying the new R51s soon!

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (29)


  2. Will the new Remington R51 be capable of being purchased legally in California? If so, when might it become available there?

  3. I think I will get in line for one of these. Size-wise, I don’t think it’s too much different than my M&P 40 Shield. Specs I’ve read state 20 oz, 6″ OAL, 3.4″ bbl, and SA. They also have a skeletonized trigger, not solid like shown here. I saw on another blog people saying they were DA, but with the trigger positioned in the rear 1/3 of the trigger guard like it is, I doubt that…

  4. I think I will stick to my original 1920’s vintage Remington Model 51 even if it is only a .380. I think it’s shameful that Remington referenced their original Model PA 51 and eluded to the R51 as the next evolution to it. The original .380’s and .32 caliber Model 51’s were all steel feats of engineering well advanced for their time. Remington would have been better served sticking to the original design and upsizing it to handle the 9mm cartridge.

  5. This might be well made, and hopefully it looks better in person, but to me it’s horribly ugly. We need to connect on different levels and this one is completely flat. I think this will appeal more to the nostalgic crowd, read retirees.

  6. The R51 is ssomewhat similar in size to the Kel-tec PF-9.

    But the R51 is somewhat longer, thicker, more expensive, and (!!!) nearly 2X the weight of the PF-9.

  7. How about put something in the picture that can be related to size? Is it bigger than a breadbox? Does it weigh as much as 12-pak? Help us out here!

  8. We might have to swap our S&W Bodyguard .380s. We also have the Browning HiPower, but it is a bit much for my wife.My favorite is still the F.M.A.P. 1911 that I paid $13.20 for, while I was attached to the Argentine Military. 13 dollars was the 1966 cost of materials. But the R51 (at 22oz?) bears serious scrutiny for a CCW.

  9. Does anyone know any specs on the gun? How much does it weigh? You’d think they would at least have some specifications such as weight–which is critical in a concealed carry gun.

    I ask because normally when someone says: “plus P rated,” That is a red flag that the gun is beefed up to handle the higher pressures.

  10. Re the R-51, I can’t wait for Gun Tests to run the pistol through its own gauntlet. I’m sure that their report will be interesting.

  11. @TRob ARob

    I don’t know why the blog posted it as .40, but it is going to be released in 9mm+p and there are no plans to make a .380 at this time. A .40 would be awesome, but I think its only 9mm for now.

  12. Mr Mouser, I have been carrying my walther ppk for over 20 years, i have been waiting for the day a company could figure out a way to make one in 9mm. It likes this handgun will be as close as its going to get. My ppk may get retired if the R5 can pull it off. Glock was asleep at the wheel on this one. Big green filled the void on the small single stack 9mm. It looks to be the same size as the ppk, only a half inch taller. I think i could like with that. Happy Shooting

  13. I’ve long had, carried, and shot a Remington Model PA51 in .380 acp. I’ve just recently retired the circa 1926 pistol to the gun safe because of the rising value and collectors interest. I’ll definitely be looking at the new 9mm R51

  14. Early deliveries of this handgun will sell out quickly, and then it will be a slow process to purchase one. Watch the gunblast video on the R-51

  15. Follow Up— It Is A Hammer Fired Design with an Internal hammer (at least according to a graphic I saw) and word is still Single Action.

  16. This pistol intrigues me, I like the grip safety and the ambi mag release is nice as well.
    Other reports say it’s striker fired and not hammer fired (and from the looks of it, that would be right) and also single action.
    I like the price point as well, it will be interesting to see how many are available and how widely available they are when released .

  17. Remington, you’ve outdone yourselves with this one. I can hardly wait until they arrive at a dealer near me. Now, my only decision is .380 or .40, or both.

  18. Oh man.. I’m so excited for this pistol!
    @NamVet71 The hammer is inside the slide/frame. It’s a single action. You cock the hammer simply by chambering a round.

  19. @NamVet71: It’s single action.

    @Duray: I think they meant to say ambidextrous magazine release. Grip safeties are, of course ambidextrous.

  20. WOW ! Way to go remington. Combining old technology with new,and its not another plastic handgun. I never thought any company could beat out my walther ppk design wise.It looks like gig green may have done it with this design. I always said old designs were better. Its looks like the perfect ccw weapon,and it looks like a great shooter.I bet general patton would proud to carry one.Made by americans in america ! I hope remington makes a lot of them,im going to be in the front of the line. L.T.

  21. Ambidextrous safety? While technically correct, that’s a pretty misleading phrase to use in place of “grip safety.”

  22. Single or double action? Where is the hammer? Why the scalloping above the trigger? Price looks good as long as they don’t overcharge for the laser.

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