A little less than a year ago Remington introduced the RP9, a pistol, that [if we are being honest] would have imagined until now. Historically Remington has specialized in the 1911 platform and a couple other models but never a polymer pistol. After a couple years of forging through the constant caricatures of the keyboard commandos and their circular reporting of the recall of the R51. Big Green was so bold to reinvigorate a concept pistol that has been in the works for a few years. We were introduced to the Remington Polymer [RP] line during a weekend of shooting, repelling and ziplining in West Virginia for the unveiling of the RP.
As the heavy hitters in the striker fired game flourished, Glock’s release of the 42/43 and all the MOS models. Springfield Armory with their Mod 2 XD and Smith released the M 2.0. Not to mention Sig Sauer and their P320, it is clear that striker fired pistols are here to stay and for good reason. Too many standards, Remington would be late to the table with injecting yet another plastic pistol into the market. Someone once said that good things come to those who wait…well, the RP9 could very well be an instance where the wait was worth it.
A Positive Grip
Such a cookie cutter term, isn’t it? It is one that many firearms instructors use daily when describing manipulation, of virtually any firearm. What is a negative grip? Anyway…with the RP being designed and redesigned at Remington, adequate grip surface for their customers was nonnegotiable throughout the process. There are few examples that top the “more annoying” scale than a janky grip of a pistol. All these factors included; would be considered janky…to our standards anyway.
- Absent ANY texture what so ever
- Slim profile
- Short grip surface
- Ergonomically disastrous [a rake so aggressive that abundant wrist “cant” is paramount for somewhat effective shooting]
Remington seemed to have the same opinion on what is adequate and what is overkill with this pistol. The evenly textured surface of the RP is not too aggressive where we carried it AIWB and was comfortable against a light undershirt or to the skin.
Across multiple uses, the RP’s grip is one that you can identify and establish while in the holster. Many pistols in its class often require a hand readjustment before shots break. Throughout our testing, the grip was always “there” and aided in follow-up shooting and multiple shot engagements. We found while drawing from our High Threat Concealment holster the tang [aka back strap] of the pistol was a bit more aggressive than typical poly handguns. To the eye, a turnoff, until we put the gun to use, in some instances the back of the RP reminded us a lot of the back of Smith & Wesson M&Ps. Often the tang of the pistol is an underappreciated feature, allowing the shooter to maintain a high and compressed grip throughout sequences of fire. We spoke with Jeremy Teets an engineer and Mike Keeney in R&D at Remington, they both echoed that a practical grip surface and recoil management were priority, throughout the development stages of the RP line.
Adopting what other striker companies have done with modularity, Remington includes three options for grip width adjustments (interchangeable back straps). Once we opened the box and started manipulating the RP, we found that the factory installed (small) back panel was all we needed for our hand size and shooting profile. If we chose to, a simple push of a roll-pin allows for quick removal and installation of the medium or large width panels. It is clear that they took what their customers liked about other pistols and applied them, and threw out what didn’t work. There is no sense in re-inventing a wheel, so long as the endstate is not infringing on anyone else’s designs…The RP is a prime example of that.
Aside from the width profile of the RP, its trigger guard undercut proved to be an added layer of comfort and practicality that set Remingtons newest product line apart from competitor pistols. The cut made it easier and more comfortable for us to achieve a higher hold on the pistol allowing for quick follow-up shots. Moving forward on the gun, people are getting more and more creative with cuts and added features. DIY stipplers will attest, that thumb index cuts at the front of the frame give pistols an added aesthetically pleasing look while serving as an anchor point for consistent grip, the RP comes out of the box with them!
Slow Squeeze; Surprised Break
Yet another term that firearms instructors have been conditioned to use throughout their daily interactions with seasoned or brand new shooters. If you will let us jump up on a box, just for a minute? Is any trigger squeezing actually a surprise? Whether it be training, sporting or real life, you are deliberately removing any slack from the trigger moving closer towards your desired end state of sending a round down range and into your intended target. Personally…we think the term is ridiculous, but we understand the idea behind it…purpose is for shooters to concentrate on the other fundamentals of shooting and not the trigger pull…greatly reducing the chance for anticipated shot breaks…[off of box]
Factory triggers, historically have been a single point of contention with us regarding take up and over travel. The felt resistance is what it is…anything less than a double action pull of 12 lbs is a plus in our book for tactical pistols anyway. Striker fired pistols luckily do not have to contend with the double action stuff so, now there is the over travel and reset that are commonly annoying feats…or have been up to this point.
We put 400 rounds through the RP9 at a decent pace, its trigger performed the same throughout and after we were finished for the day. Its trigger broke within Remington’s suggested specs of the 5.5-7lb threshold. Consistency is key with shooting, and Remington built and installed one of the more consistent “out of the box” triggers in its affordable striker fired platform. The trigger was one that is effective in our end-use needs. Would we replace it if there was an option…Probably not, but everyone has their preference? Remember, that the RP9 was designed and developed to fit the affordability bill that is hyper-functional and applicable to everyday shooters.
The RP is by no means an out of the box “perfect” pistol. It does, however, have all the makings to check a variety of practical boxes. The PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) coated slide makes for a sleek look with extra durability throughout the pistols lifespan. The PVD material adheres to the stainless-steel slide and barrel for an extra durable barrier between the elements and critical parts of the pistol. PVD has proven to be significantly lighter and stronger than other coatings and is quickly becoming the coating of choice above other coating options. PVD is available in various colors, but according to Remington, this is a process that can get expensive. For now, Remington products will be [for all intent and purpose] graphite black, but who knows, we may see some other practical colors soon!
Throughout our testing of the RP9, we were bound and determined to test this sorcery called PVD, we consistently drew and holstered the pistol, into and out of a bolteron, thermo-plastic rig from High Threat Concealment. No matter the method and ferocity, the plastic did not leave wear or marks on the pistol. Once we wrapped up our courses of fire, carbon build-up at the front of the pistol wiped off effortlessly. PVD is resistant to common solvents and lubricants as well…so long as they are used in the method in which they are designed…don’t leave your PVD coated products submerged in a corrosive solvent for a period of time…
Common sense is not always a common virtue.
With an ambidextrous slide lock/release, those who are wrong handed shooters will enjoy easy slide manipulation. Coming from an instructor background, watching a lefty fumble around with a striker pistol that does not offer ambi controls for the first time is invigorating by the unequivocal stretching of nerves. By proxy, the muzzle of the pistol swings around which commonly results in grabbing the gun to ensure the muzzle stays pointing in a direction where no one would be ventilated should it discharge. The RP has a little something for everyone!
Aside from its grip, slide coatings and trigger, another check in the proverbial box for the RP9 is the contour and shape of the slide. At its base, the RP9’s slide is of “standard” width of 1.2 inches and tapers to .80 at the sight bases. Remington cut contouring angles and can aid in comfort when wearing the RP9 in a concealed capacity. We often found ourselves using the contours and ample cocking serrations for press checking and manipulating the slide throughout live fire testing.
Remington developed a front and rear sight combo for the RP series that we had no issues finding while shooting. Both sights are drift adjustable to their end-user preference and the standard 3-dot design proved to be effective at 3, all the way back to 25 meters.
One of our first questions when speaking with the guys at Remington had to do with night sights. We could confirm that there will be an option for aftermarket or factory installed night sights and that Remington continues to work with reputable companies to make it happen! For the time being the single dot front sight post and fighting surface rear [2 dot] configuration is adequate in acquiring sights and conducting disabled shooter drills, but do not glow in the dark…yet!
Last and certainly not least, come the RP’s magazines. It seems these days, manufacturers are toeing the waters of how many bullets can they fit into a single mag. For us military guys…As we say in the “biz”, “how many people can we fit into an evacuation vehicle”? There’s always room for one more.
Well, The RP9 magazine capacity holds 18 plus one in the chamber so compared to similar pistols that house 17 rounds…Remington in fact…made room for one more. Unless you live in a communist state where its lawmakers think that you are less lethal with 10 rounds in a magazine, Remington does ship the RP with “compliant” mags. If you live in one of the free states, the RP9 ships from the factory with two magazines to house almost an entire box of ammo. Convenient for gun fighting…the magazines proved to be even more convenient when at the range. Less time at the loading table and more time ping-ing steel!
Though Remington is known for many things, up to this year, being a contender in the polymer pistol space was not one of them. The RP9 release seemed to have given Big Green the boost that they were after in the relevancy area. Introducing a very reliable striker fired pistol with a mid-range price point was exactly what Remington had envisioned some time ago and finally made it a reality!
Our initial outing with the RP9 was positive. Up to this point, I personally gauge striker pistols from the model that I carry for daily use in Afghanistan. It was a breath of fresh air not having to compare the RP9. The pistol is adequate in our range needs and one that we would have complete confidence in as a home defense or daily carry if our preference was to carry a full-sized pistol. We understand that for some; carrying full sized is the only option. If so, and you have not yet gotten a closer look at the RP, check it out, it may be what you need for your EDC.
Only time will tell if or when other facets will be added to the platform. Mike explained that out of the gate, the RP line was not intended for a specific demographic.
“It is simply an adequately priced striker fired pistol that Remington felt was a great addition to the line”
Who knows if there will be a threaded barrel option, or a trigger tweak available. One thing that is certain with Remington; they have done a great job of staying out in front of what the industry clamors for! The BrassTacs will be doing a couple follow-up, application articles in the not so distant future, head over and check them out!
RP9 Vital Data
|Barrel||4.5” Stainless Steel PVD|
|Weight||1lb 11 oz (unloaded)|
|Sights||3 Dot, Drift adjustment|
|Trigger Weight||6lb Tested|
|Manufacturer||Remington Arms Company|
|Hornady Critical Duty||115 gr||.49||2.31||1.31|
|Remington Ultimate Defense||124 gr||.99||1.97||1.4|