For 2017, Remington continues its drive into the pistol market with the RP9, the company’s first polymer-framed pistol. Full sized and striker fired, the 9MM RP9 holds an impressive 18 rounds in its double-stack magazine. It’s also very accurate, and an all-around solid performer.
I received an RP9 recently, new in the box and fresh off the production line at Remington’s Huntsville, Alabama, facility. My first impression was the RP9 looked a lot like the other poly-framed, striker-fired handguns available today. Actually, I’m not sure that’s a problem from a sales point of view. So many mid-sized cars on the market today, for example, look pretty much the same, at least in part because automotive consumers like the way these cars look. I suspect it’s the same for full-sized, poly-framed handguns.
Looks aside, the bigger questions for any firearm concern functionality. Here, the RP9 shined.
I evaluated the RP9 during three separate range sessions, with a variety of ammunition brands and loads. For accuracy testing I focused on three brands of 9MM: Aguila 9MM Luger, with a 124-grain FMJ bullet; American Eagle Syntech, 115-grain synthetic-jacketed bullet; and Browning Ammunition, firing a 147-grain FMJ.
I fired more 300 rounds through my RP9. Early on, I had several failures to eject the spent brass, and a number of times the slide would not hold open at the end of a magazine. I contacted Remington and we eventually figured out the problem: Me.
Me, as in, I had spent the weeks previous to my RP9 evaluation shooting a good number of 1911 platform pistols. Without really thinking about my grip, I held the RP9 just like I would a 1911 — hands high on the grip, with both thumbs positioned well up on the left side of the frame. My thumbs, it turned out, were pressing on the RP9’s slide stop, which led to the jams and the slide not staying open. Once I adjusted my grip down a bit and paid very close attention to my thumb placement, the problems mentioned above disappeared and were no more.
(FFL’s may want to let customers know of this potential situation. Several weeks after I completed my range work with the pistol, a friend who had purchased an RP9 contacted me. He asked if I had feeding and ejection problems with mine. His slide, he added, would not stay open. When I explained the 1911 grip situation I was experiencing, he changed up his grip and the “problems” went away.)
For accuracy, I able to put up 2- to 2½-inch groups at 25 yards, firing five shot groupings from a rest, and with bull’s-eye hits (usually) once or twice per group. All of the aforementioned ammunition brands did well. Best groupings occurred with the Syntech, followed by the Aguila and then the Browning. I had fliers as the pistol barrel heated up.
At 10 yards shooting offhand and standing, I cut two targets with 1½-inch groups of five shots, after some practice, of course. Here the Aguila 9MM Luger was the champ, punching three- and four-shot groups of an inch and under.
The polymer-framed RP9 has a 4½-inch stainless steel barrel and weighs in at just a bit over 26 ounces unloaded. A rail is built in beneath the barrel for attaching a light or a similar accessory. It can be had with 18- or 10-round magazines.
My Lyman Trigger Pull Gauge measured my RP9’s striker-fired trigger at 5 pounds, 10 ounces of pull. The trigger snapped off crisply and reset quickly. It is designed with the center-lever safety increasingly common on striker-fired handguns.
Recoil was minimal with the ammunition I used, as the RP9’s well-textured grips provide a firm hold. (I didn’t run any 9MM+P ammo through the pistol, though, which I would expect to have more pronounced recoil.)
The grip, I should add, is surprisingly comfortable, especially considering the double-stack nature of the magazine. I would rate my hand size as about medium, and some other double-stacks I have used in the past were a bit too bulky for a solid grip. I could feel the handguns twist somewhat from their recoil, but not so with the RP9. A tight grip, solid control, better accuracy.
The grips also come with inter-changeable backstraps in Small, Medium and Large configurations.
The RP9’s sights are easy to see, with a bright white dot on the front blade, and two white dots on the rear sight, but not so large to be a snag concern. The rear sights are drift adjustable.
The pistol is very easy to disassemble. Lock back the slide, unlock the takedown lever on the left side and return the pistol to battery. Pull the trigger and the slide pulls off the front. The spring and guide rod assembly can then be removed and the barrel slid out. You are ready for cleaning!
Given this pistol’s size, the RP9 is likely not going to be the first choice for your concealed carry customers.
“Although some folks are carrying bigger pistols for concealed carry, the RP9 is a full-size platform that best suits home defense, recreational shooting, law enforcement applications and even production class [handgun] competition,” noted Chip Klass, Director of Product Management for Remington’s handguns division.
He added, “The RP’s grip circumference fits the 95th percentile of shooters, and the pistol has amongst the highest standard mag capacity on the market. Throw in a great trigger and you have a pistol that suits most handgun applications, except perhaps CCW where a minimal printing profile is desired.”
However, if your state allows open carry? The RP9 would be a fine choice for customers who like to tote a large-capacity pistol outside the belt.
For selling the RP9 in-store, Klass recommended stressing the RP9’s high-standard magazine capacity, smooth trigger and the superior control created by the well-fitting grips.
Concerning larger marketing efforts, each Remington handgun line — including the RP9 — has its own product pages within the handgun portion of remington.com.
“In 2017, retailers and consumers can expect to see an increased Remington handgun presence, which will include television, print and digital media,” said Klass. “They will see a continuation of our highly successful ‘Live Ready’ campaign, which is a literal call for all Americans to take control of their personal safety, with Remington handguns, of course.”
At some point in 2017, Remington will also launch the RP9’s “big brother,” the RP45 chambered in 45 ACP. Magazine capacity for the RP45 will be an impressive 15+1 and 10+1. Once the RP45 is ready, Remington will launch a new promotional campaign for it, too.
“We are committed to becoming a market leader in handguns by utilizing our world-class R&D, manufacturing, marketing and distribution to provide innovative products that exceed customer expectations,” said Klass.