About a month ago, The Lovely Bride first expressed an odd desire. She had a craving for a Glock 42. Odd because she already has a Glock 43.
From that time on, every time we'd go to Gooseburg or our favorite LGS she'd have to stop and admire the Glock 42s in the display cases.
As usual, my more sensible inclinations were overwhelmed by a confluence of events. Christmas was just around the corner, I had just paid off the Gander card and I really wanted The Elfen Niece to have a respectable, functional carry gun.
When it happens in three's you might as well just surrender so, one night, while TLB was watching her dad (Alzheimer's) at his place on the river, TEN and I stole away to Goosburg to scope out what was there. I figured I was already in for the G42 so we might as well see if there was anything she liked.
I specifically wanted to try the R51 because I had heard their slides were easier to rack than most similarly sized 9mms and also that they attenuated the recoil better than most 9mms their size. Its based on a Pederson design instead of a Browning (PBUH) design but I'm a big tent kind of guy so I wasn't scared. Besides, I run into more than a few women and elderly folks who can't rack the slide on a traditional 9mm and more than you'd think who feel like the 9mm kicks them too much so I wanted to have some hands on experience with one that I could along to my next class.
We took a number and didn't have to wait long before a middle aged salesman came over to help. We checked out the R51 first. The slide was easy for me to rack
and TEN confirmed that it was easy for her too. My next concern was that the grip would be too big for her but it wasn't. It just looks bigger (back to front) than it really is because the gun has a grip safety that extends the full length of the backstrap. With that depressed, her finger fell right on the trigger. She really liked the idea of a grip safety instead of a switch that she'd have to remember to flip while drawing the gun in a life or death situation too.
I mentioned to the salesman that I was aware of the the problems with the initial run of R51s and that I thought that they'd probably have gotten it all ironed out with the reissue and he said something about Model 700 triggers and that left me wondering. He remarked that he had never had the gun out of the display.
We looked at a S&W but it wasn't as easy to rack and didn't have the grip safety .
Springfield XDs have grip safeties but she didn't like anything else about the guns so on we rolled. A Kimber Bel Air was just too gaudy and she doesn't want to carry cocked and locked. We looked at five to seven promising candidates and the salesman suggested we go to Beckwith's to shoot a few to see what we liked.
On the way back home, TEN offered her opinions of each gun that we had tried and said that she liked three things about the R51 and no more than one thing each about any of the others. Ease of slide-racking, grip safety and the way it fit her hand were all checked off in the R51 column.
Over dinner, she found several recent reviews of the R51 via google that said the problems were solved and it was definitely worth a look-see. I had to buy the G42 anyway so we got back in the car and headed back to Gooseburg.
We waited for the same salesman so he could get his whopping 1% commission and asked him to serve up one R51 and one G42. He was happy to do so and it wasn't long before I had passed the background check and we were leaving the store. Somewhere in the midst of that process, Johnny Bravo-Salesdude from our previous attempt to compare guns meandered down to our end of the counter to try to catch TEN's eye. Her indifference was stunning and he slithered away after three or four tries. Back home, I hid the G42 in the reloading room to wait for Christmas and TEN put the R51 on the desk in her bedroom.
On Thanksgiving, Gooseburg had a sale on Remington 9mm that left it about six bucks a box after a rebate so TLB and I went down and bought four boxes of 9mm. I also suggested we get a box of .380 since we were probably running a little low on that. She has a Sig P230 so she didn't suspect a thing.
The next day, we wound up at Rural King where they had little triangular gun cases on sale for about $2.50 and we bought two of those. TLB assumed the second one was for my Khar and I didn't tell her any different.
We had plenty of factory ammo and getting home early yesterday finally left some time before dark to test drive the R51 so TEN and I headed to my buddy's place on the river.
After letting the neighbor know that we'd be shooting a little and convincing his chickens that we hadn't brought them any food, we moved the little shooting table into position. TEN didn't want a full magazine in case it was uncomfortable to shoot so she just loaded five rounds.
TEN doesn't have a lot of experience with semi-automatics because she really likes the H&R .32 Magnum and mostly shoots that but she took to the R51 like a fish to water. Before I knew it she had the magazine locked in place and a round in the chamber. She fired her five shots and, when the slide locked back, she put the gun on the table to load some more.
What she did next almost made me tear up with pride. In one fluid motion, she inserted the magazine and dropped the slide by releasing the slide release. I mean she did it so fast I'm really wondering if she's been practicing when I'm not around. She fired a few more and pronounced it utterly and irredeemably awesome.
She insisted that I had to fire it so I loaded up a magazine and gave it a whirl. It definitely delivers a different, more comfortable recoil than TLB's G43, SCCY 9mm or even her S&W 6906. Its there but it isn't sharp. The R51 is very comfortable to shoot. All the way home TEN was texting her friends and raving about the R51. She was absolutely beaming and insisted that she would obsess about it for days.
Our little test run wasn't a grueling torture test. All total we only put 26 rounds through it but the little gun delivered in spades on the ease of manipulation and reduced felt recoil.
Finances dictate that I leave the 2,000 round torture test to someone like Ms. Keel but the first impression is that we have held pure awesomeness in our hands.