Remington Arms Company put out a statement today that addresses issues with the Remington R51 and initiates what appears to be a voluntary recall of the troubled pistol. The company acknowledges performance issues and explains that the problems customers may have experienced resulted from the process of transitioning the pistol from a prototype into mass production.
"These problems have been identified and solutions are being implemented," reads the press release, "with an expected production restart in October."
Remington says anyone who purchased an R51 may return it and receive a new R51 pistol, along with two additional magazines and a custom Pelican case, by calling Remington at (800) 243-9700.
But that's not all.
moreIn a confidential document sent to Remington Outdoor Company employees earlier in the day, and leaked to GearScout by a green blooded source, the company's chief executive officer, George Kollitides, took his share of the blame and offered employees that purchased an R51 the same remedy given to their customers with the added inclusion of a written apology from Kollitides himself.
"That's where the buck stops," says Kollitides in the memo.
Although the buck does stop at the top, Kollitides reassuringly pointed out that all of ROC's employees are responsible for doing right by their customers and safeguarding the companies legacy.
"What matters is how we react to adversity and what we learn from it, so we don't repeat our mistakes," he wrote, "everyone is empowered and encouraged to speak up when they see something wrong, or they identify an opportunity to improve or innovate."
One of the most anticipated handgun releases at SHOT 2014, the Remington R51 was the first new handgun to come out of Remington in a while. It's based on a unique, historic action that combines a hesitation locked breech, non-tilting barrel and integral safeties that combine to make an accurate, intuitive and concealable pistol, ideal for concealed carry.
The initial redesign of John Pedersen's late 1910 era Model 51 .32 and .380 ACP pistol into a modern 9mm action was performed by engineers at Advanced Armament Corporation. According to a former employee, AAC was in the process of designing an integrally suppressed pistol and the stationary barrel, among other features, made the Model 51 an ideal host action for the project.
Engineering drawings of the original Model 51 in the Remington archive were incomplete, but drawings of the pistol's .45 caliber brother, the Model 53 were present and used to fill in the gaps. This allowed AAC to produce prototypes that were shown to ROC (then Freedom Group) executives in early 2011. Big green recognized the opportunity to bring the reduced recoil, lightweight, and inherently accurate design to market in a modern caliber.
Transitioning the product's development from AAC to Remington occurred in mid- to late-2011; and not everyone involved was happy about it. This was just as things were getting ugly between parent company Freedom Group and AAC's leadership. According to another former AAC employee, the senior AAC R51 project engineer left the company at this point, forcing Remington engineers to pick up the work in progress and translate AAC's prototypes and drawings into a mass-production ready pistol.
Though not apparent to the masses at the time of its unveiling, Remington was experiencing teething issues with the R51 even as the pistol was offered for sale to commercial buyers at the show. Writers noted the curious absence of the pistol at Remington's lane at the SHOT show media demo day. This is when media attending the show get a chance to develop an initial impression of a new product by putting a few rounds through it. Rumors flew, but Remington had nothing to say about the R51's Media Day stage fright.
Fast forward to the first batches of pistols making it to ranges in new owner's hands in late winter 2014 and things got pretty ugly for the R51. Users reported issues ranging from shoddy manufacturing to operating failures on the range. That leads us to today's announcement of a voluntary recall and replacement program as described in the following press release:
July 25, 2014
Remington R51 Pistol Product Update
Earlier this year, we launched the innovative R51 subcompact pistol to critical acclaim. During testing, numerous experts found the pistol to function flawlessly. In fact, they found it to have lower felt recoil, lower muzzle rise and better accuracy and concealability than other products in its class.
However, after initial commercial sales, our loyal customers notified us that some R51 pistols had performance issues. We immediately ceased production to re-test the product. While we determined the pistols were safe, certain units did not meet Remington's performance criteria. The performance problems resulted from complications during our transition from prototype to mass production. These problems have been identified and solutions are being implemented, with an expected production restart in October.
Anyone who purchased an R51 may return it and receive a new R51 pistol, along with two additional magazines and a custom Pelican case, by calling Remington at (800) 243-9700.
The new R51 will be of the same exceptional quality as our test pistols, which performed flawlessly.
We appreciate your patience and support.