The R51 is/was a neat little single-stack 9mm pistol well targeted at the CCW community. It was announced with considerable fanfare just before this year's SHOT Show. Reaction from the shooting community was immediate and positive. Press releases and the first gun writer reviews indicated that Remington had hit the sweet spot of size, capacity, performance, shootability, style and price. Many (including your humbled scribe) expressed a barely suppressed desire for the pistol. It didn't hurt that the R51 was coming from one of the industry's icons.
Almost immediately, Remington stumbled badly. There were no R51s at the important SHOT Show Media Day shoot. Remington offered no official explanation. At SHOT, the display R51s were criticized for a "gritty - clunky" feel. And later, pistols sold over the counter had plenty of well YouTube'd problems.
Remington's problems seem much greater than the R51. They've serially fumbled the Marlin Rifle acquisition and the R700 recall remains a fiasco. Now there's concern that the iconic 870's quality is being short-cut, and some ammunition brands are having noticeable amounts of failures. Worse, Remington is apparently discounting the essential relationship with their customers by being largely silent or disingenuous about the many problems.
This is an absolute shame. Remington has a long, storied history as one of the World's preeminent firearm manufacturers. My safe is stuffed with Remingtons; many are the Clan's heritage firearms. it would be a tremendous loss if this American legend is driven into the ground -- and erased.
Fix the R51... and fix Remington.