April 23rd, 2010

Remington Releases 1911 R1 Pistol

Remington 1911 r1With the Cerberus-owned Freedom Group family of companies preparing for an IPO later this year, industry experts wondered: “Will Cerberus purchase a handgun manufacturer, or launch a line of Remington handguns?” With the announcement of the new Remington 1911 R1 pistol, Cerberus has showed its hand. The new 1911 R1 is the first pistol Remington has produced in decades, and the first 1911-design in 91 years.

Remington’s 1911 R1 is featured in the current issue of Shooting Times (left). A blued-steel retro design, the Remington 1911 R1 is faithful to the 1911 A1 with some modern upgrades. Like the original 1911, Remington’s R1 has a flat mainspring housing, internal extractor, short trigger and double diamond grips. Modern enhancements include a flared ejection port, beveled magazine well, loaded chamber indicator, tall single-dot front and two-dot rear sights, and a black-oxided stainless barrel. The 1911 R1 also has a Series 80-style firing pin block safety.

Remington 1911 r1Classic Lines with Some Modern Features
From a subjective standpoint, this Editor likes the looks of Remington’s 1911 R1 and I favor some of its design features. I personally can shoot 1911s better with the short trigger, and I prefer the clean look of a slide without forward serrations. However, I question the decision, based on styling, to use an internal extractor, and the tall blocky sights look somewhat out of place on a retro-styled 1911. However, the big sights will unquestionably help the gun’s shootability.

Remington’s 1911 R1 will be officially launched at the NRA Annual Meeting in NC in May. The gun, which is made in Remington’s Ilion, NY facility, should be available in June, 2010, and dealers are already taking advance orders. The Remington 1911 R1 will be shipped in a custom carry case with two 7-round magazines and a barrel bushing wrench (see photo below). Suggested retail price is $699.00.

Remington 1911 r1

Do We Need Yet Another 1911?
It’s easy to be cynical about Remington’s entry into the 21st-century handgun market. Rather than give us something new and really remarkable, Remington merely recycled the tried and trued 1911, a design that is already produced by dozens of companies. Do we really need yet another 1911? One clever gun writer joked: “‘1911′ is supposed to be the model name, not the number of companies building versions of it.” Does Remington bring anything to the marketplace that one can’t buy elsewhere? Well, 1911 fans like the pricing of Remington’s 1911, predicting it will sell very well at the $700.00 mark. And Remington does have a history of producing 1911 handguns for the U.S. Military — Remington-UMC built 21,677 1911s for the U.S. Ordnance Dept. in 1918.

But still, one wonders how much market share Remington will grab from Kimber, Springfield Armory, Smith & Wesson, Les Baer, STI, Wilson Combat, USFA and other proven 1911-makers. Is Remington too late to the party with its retro-styled 1911 R1? Would it have been better for Remington to launch an all-new pistol design that creates a whole new market segment, as did Glock and Keltec? If Remington wants to become a major player in the pistol market, wouldn’t it have been better to engineer a more modern pistol that could compete for lucrative LEO and military pistol markets? Perhaps the answer to these questions is that Remington simply took the cheap and easy route — producing a pistol that required minimal engineering and testing. As ToddG writes on the Pistol-training.com Blog: “Building a 1911 is just a lazy way to enter the handgun market. There is little design and testing needed compared to making something new from scratch. Pick a design, build some prototypes, do a little testing to make sure the CNC machines are set right, and start pumping out guns.”

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