The Remington RP9 18+1 Striker-Fired Pistol, Part One

Remington Arms has distinguished itself with the release of this pistol as the only American arms manufacturer that is a major player in all three primary categories of firearms: shotguns, rifles, and pistols and also has the only premium high-performance bolt-action muzzleloader on the market as well. This is what Remington has to say about their RP9.

Features and Benefits:

  • Best-in-class accuracy

  • One of the highest magazine capacities in its class

  • Clean, smooth single action trigger with a short tactile reset

  • Less recoil/better control

  • Slimmest grip circumference - fits 95% of all shooter hands

  • Weight-balanced slide minimizes muzzle rise

  • Maximized slide profile for secure slide manipulation, even with gloves.


  • Barrel length, 4.5”

  • Twist Rate 1:10”

  • Overall Length 7.91”

  • Overall Height 5.56”

  • Weight Oz, 26.4

  • Trigger Pull Lbs 5.5-7

  • PVD-finished stainless steel match-grade Barrel

  • Slide Finish, PVD

  • Frame Material, Polymer

The RP9 pistol ships with two magazines along with small, medium, and large backstraps for custom fit and is offered at a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $489.00.

The weight of the Remington RP9 out of the box, just as supplied, with an empty magazine installed, is 1 lb. 11.1 oz. as measured by calibrated digital scale. That's 27.1 ounces. The lines of the Remington RP9 are reminiscent of the somewhat porky and heavy (40.7 oz.) Double Action / Single Action CZ 75 SP-01, which also has an 18 round capacity, that retails for $680.

What's in your wallet? Clockwise from the lower left, here's what I found in mine: Remington R51, Glock 19, North American Arms Guardian, Remington RP9, Baikal Makarov, Ruger SR9, and the Ruger LCR .38 Special.

The new Remington goes up against several other full-size 9mm pistols, such as the $579 Ruger American Pro Model that I reviewed last year. The Ruger is about a quarter pound heavier than the RP9 and a bit higher priced. Although bulkier and heavier, the Ruger American Pistol finally got rid of the nonsensical, worthless safeties of the SR-9, loses the magazine disconnect, the pop-up “loaded chamber indicator,” but does have a less obnoxious loaded chamber viewport. The Ruger American feels solid, doesn't rattle, and it is smoother to rack the slide on the American than on the SR-9. Although Ruger is poised to became a larger player in the “service pistol / combat pistol” market with the Ruger American, whether you find it to be the right choice for you, or not, is going to be contingent on how you feel about the current three-back strap system and how well it feels to you when you shoot it.

The Ruger American does not fit my hand particularly well and, according to my hands the Ruger American is not as comfortable to shoot as other models, including Ruger's own SR-9. The grip of the Ruger American is too wide and too uncomfortable to be appealing to me although in general, I could find no fault with it. We have lot of choices today in a full size 9mm handgun, from the Rugers, the prolific Glock 17, the Sig P320 Nitron, the new Smith and Wesson M&P 2.0, the Springfield Armory XD models, and many more.

Several things are attention-getting about the Remington RP9. For starters, the street price is as low as $370, surprisingly low. It does of course come with a written Lifetime Warranty, and the 18+1 capacity one-ups several competitors. The trigger on my example is particularly good, breaking at just under 6 lbs. shot after shot.

When you first take the RP9 out of the box, you might say, “What a nose-heavy pig! What's going on here?” That very quickly goes away, though, with the addition of 18 rounds of ammo in the magazine. My example is cleanly machined with no slide rattle. The RP9 is +P rated. As far as wearing parts, the owner's manual suggests a fresh recoil spring every 5000 rounds, that's it. Three backstraps are supplied: Remington says the RP9 will fit 95% of shooter's hands. I can't speak to that, but I can say it fits me beautifully. The very generous beaver-tail puts your hand high on the grip effortlessly and naturally.

The 18 round (18+1) capacity of the RP9 is a round more than many. What is more eyebrow-raising is the 15+1 capacity of the forthcoming RP45, as widely reported by the NRA staff in October, 2016. The envelope dimensions of the pistol itself and the weight of the unloaded gun appear to be about the same, whether 9mm or 45ACP.

Remington has very good distribution, so it easy to check one out for yourself at your local pro-shop and likely rent one as well. It isn't important that it fits my hand, it is far more important that it fits your hand and other family member's hands. This is a nightstand type gun, an all-around home defense type arm, too big for my version of concealed carry. The Remington RP9's trigger is quite good, virtually indistinguishable from the Glock 19 trigger, and far better than the mushy SR9 trigger. In the picture, you can see the aggressive beaver-tail of the RP9, eliminating any slide bite potential.

The price is quite appealing, the Remington written lifetime warranty is a very good one. I've assembled a goodly collection of 9mm ammo, so in Part Two we will report how well it runs, or how well it doesn't, with several types of ammo.


The Remington scores well in several of the right places. Take-down of the RP9 is pathetically easy, yes, easier than a Glock, requiring just the rotation of one take-down lever. It does away with the finger grooves on the grips that some find annoying and it is a better-looking gun than a Glock 17, but then again, what isn't? There is no such thing as a polymer framed handgun that leaves anyone completely mesmerized by its eternal stunning beauty. The RP9 does have good lines, through, and the grip is not a pin-cushiony blob of plastic, it is a better-looking blob of plastic with a rounded trigger guard.

The RP9 comes with three backstraps, the backstrap pinned into place. On similar models of other brands, the pin practically falls out. That's not the case here at all. I called Remington customer service and it was a call that was picked up in seconds. The pin holding in the backstrap is a roll pin, .100 inch in diameter, so you need a roll pin punch to easily knock it out.

As mentioned previously, for best function as far as wearing parts, the RP9 owner's manual suggests a fresh recoil spring every 5000 rounds, that's it. In terms of premium self-defense ammo, that means after every $3500 or so of ammunition expended, you might change a spring.

The next order of business was gathering a variety of 9mm ammo, something I've been going though a lot of lately. This includes the last of the “reduced recoil” 147 grain Winchester FMJ training rounds I have, some Remington 147 grain MCTC match ammo, 115 grain Federal Hi-Shok jacketed hollow points, some old UMC 115 grain metal case round nose ammo, Hornady Critical Defense 115 grain FTX rounds, and the flyweight Hornady Critical Defense Lite 100 grain FTX ammo. The function results from the ammo is as follows. I started off firing the Remington RP9 just exactly as supplied, right out of the box, no cleaning, no lubrication, no break-in. The no lubrication part was one of many tragic Wakeman mistakes.

I never said I was perpetually brilliant! The only ammunition that was completely reliable with my out-of-the-box unlubed RP9 was the Hornady Critical Defense 115 grain FTX rounds. This is some sort of testimony to how well the Hornady Critical Defense rounds are, for they did work flawlessly with an unlubed gun where no other round that I tried would.


What happened with most everything else intermittently is that sometimes the striker failed to cock, although the spent brass ejected and the next round fed. So, I lubed the slide with RemOil PRO3, not because I've had the chance to compare it to Breakfree CLP and other products, but just because a bottle of the new Remoil Pro3 is what I had with me. The RemOil Pro3 did the trick, instantly. After that, there were no problems of any kind with anything except the “Hornady Critical Defense Lite 100 grain FTX,” which is a flyweight bullet. Remington suggests 115 grain rounds or heavier.

It is hard not to like the RP9, considering its bargain price, for I've seen them for $350 or so. Anyone would guess that it is (at least) a $500 pistol. The generous, extended beaver-tail eliminates any concern about slide-bite. For a Made in the USA full-sized 9mm with a lifetime written warranty, with a trigger that is better than most striker-fired pistols, it is a true bargain.

For 9mm home defense ammunition, many folks have their favorites. I'm partial to the 115 grain Hornady Critical Defense rounds and the Barnes 115 grain X-TAC +P rounds. Lucky Gunner Labs, through a 3.5 inch barreled pistol, into 4 layer fabric covered Clear Ballistics synthetic gel, yields the following 5-shot averages. 115 grain Critical Defense: 13.1 inches of penetration, .50 inch deformation (expansion) diameter, 1143 fps. 115 grain Barnes X-TAC +P: 13.4 inch average penetration, .70 inch deformation diameter, 1043 fps. Expect slightly higher velocities with the 4.5 inch barrel of the RP9.

Some have speculated that the frame of the RP9 will be used in the forthcoming R45, and have further speculated that cost of the polymer frame isn't much. But, of course, that isn't true at all: it is the tooling that costs a small fortune, not the raw materials. Additionally, it cuts down on inventory of sub-assemblies: smart thinking by Remington. Commonality of frames would allow Remington to offer a better price to the consumer, for both models, than would otherwise be possible.

No full-sized pistol is my version of an ideal concealed carry piece, they are all too bulky for that. This is a nightstand gun, for you, your wife, or your daughter. Personally, I have no interest in bothering with quick changes of magazines and the like. The whole purpose of a 18-round capacity, full-sized 9mm is so that you would never have to bother with it. It is important as well for those, such as seniors or female heads of households that might have arthritis or reduced hand strength, so it is a “set it and forget it” home defense device. After all, with the Remington RP9, you already have the firepower of three .357 fully loaded revolvers, without doing anything, much less actually changing guns.

The Remington RP9 is well-machined, reliable, accurate, pleasant to shoot, and affordable. If the target of Remington Outdoors was to provide an outstandingly good value in the polymer-framed, striker-fired marketplace, Made in the United States, with a written lifetime warranty . . . they have decidedly hit their bargain-bulls-eye mark here with the RP9.


Copyright 2017 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.


Custom Search