Admittedly Remington messed up when they originally introduced the R 51. Speculation was rampant and included suggestions that the pistol was just a bad concept and even that Remington had paid firearms journalists to lie about how well it performed.
The “truth” was very different and was not found on a website claiming to purvey that particular commodity. The fact is initial R51s worked well. I have one of the first and have used it and carried it for two years. The problem came when production ramped up to meet the high demand. (The R 51 after all has very appealing features.) With production running at full speed, Remington’s customers and engineers discovered the pistol – as designed – could not be produced at that velocity, with the protocols currently in place.
I think Remington’s biggest mistake was not admitting this sooner. Now, this might seem covertly subversive on their part but trust me on this one, being on the side of the industry I am, I know almost every firearms manufacture has experienced similar problems. Most correct the few thousand guns issued and the problem before it becomes news. Remington could not.
Finally, Remington pulled the plug and found a smart guy to sort out this roller coaster ride. (Watch the video to appreciate the metaphor.) This took time, particularly because they also moved the manufacturing location and instituted stringent manufacturing and quality control techniques to prevent this from occurring again. I just returned from a visit at the new facility in Huntsville, Alabama and was very impressed with the mechanics and the mindset.
As I never doubted, Remington went above and beyond to make the few thousand unsatisfied R 51 owners happy. But, the real story might be that Remington invested more money in fixing the R 51 – and their procedures – than they will ever recoup from the sales of this pistol.
At breakfast over biscuits and gravy I asked Remington’s new CEO that exact question. His answer was exactly as it should have been from America’s oldest gun maker.
“It was a matter of pride. We messed up and needed to make it right.”
A full-length feature article including my 1000 round test of the newly engineered Remington R 51 will appear in an upcoming issue of Gun Digest.