The Remington RP9 18+1 Striker-Fired Pistol

By Randy Wakeman

Remington RP9 Pistol
Photo by Randy Wakeman.

Remington Arms has distinguished itself as the only American arms manufacturer that is a major player in all three primary categories of firearms: shotguns, rifles and pistols. Remington also has the only high-performance bolt-action muzzleloading rifle on the market.

The RP9 is their autoloading service pistol entry. Here are the features and benefits Remington publishes about their RP9, followed by the specifications.

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 in.
  • Twist Rate: 1:10 in.
  • Overall Length: 7.91 in.
  • Overall Height: 5.56 in.
  • Weight: 26.4 oz. (empty)
  • Trigger Pull: 5.5-7.0 lbs.
  • Barrel Finish: PVD-finished stainless steel, match-grade
  • Slide Finish: PVD
  • Frame Material: Polymer
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • 2017 MSRP: $489

This is a service pistol and an all-around home defense type arm. It is too big for my version of concealed carry.

The RP9 ships with two magazines and it is +P ammo rated. My example is cleanly machined with no slide rattle.

I measured the weight of the Remington RP9 with an empty magazine installed at 1 pound 11.1 ounces measured by calibrated digital scale. This is 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, which also has an 18 round capacity and retails for $680. The new Remington goes up against several other full-size 9mm pistols, such as the $579 Ruger American that I reviewed last year, the Glock 17, Sig P320, Smith and Wesson M&P 2.0, Springfield Armory XD models, and many more.

Several things are attention getting about the Remington RP9. For starters, the very appealing discount retail price is as low as $370. It comes with a written Lifetime Warranty and the 18+1 capacity one-ups several competitors.

When you first take the RP9 out of the box, you might say, "What a nose-heavy pig! What's going on here?" That goes away, though, with the addition of 18 rounds of ammo in the magazine.

Small, medium and large back straps are supplied for a custom fit. The back strap is pinned in place. On similar models of other brands, the pin practically falls out. That is not the case here. The pin holding in the back strap is a roll pin, .100 inch in diameter, so you need a roll pin punch to knock it out.

The grip does away with the finger grooves that some find annoying. The generous beavertail puts your hand high on the grip and eliminates slide bite potential.

Remington claims the RP9 will fit 95% of shooter hands. I cannot speak to that, but I can say it fits me beautifully. Of course, it isn't important that it fits my hand, what matters is how it fits your hand.

The Remington RP9's trigger is pretty good, virtually indistinguishable from a Glock 19 trigger and far better than the mushy SR9 trigger. The trigger on my example breaks at just under six pounds, shot after shot.

Take down of the RP9 is pathetically easy; yes, even easier than a Glock. It requires just the rotation of the take down lever.

As far as parts wear, the owner's manual suggests a fresh recoil spring every 5000 rounds, and 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 RP9 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 mesmerized by its 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 rounded trigger guard corners. Remington has very good distribution, so it is easy to check-out an RP9 for yourself.

Shooting the RP9

The next order of business was gathering a variety of 9mm ammunition for testing, something I have been doing a lot lately. This included the last of my reduced recoil 147 grain Winchester FMJ training rounds, Remington 147 grain MCTC match, Federal Hi-Shok 115 grain JHP, Remington/UMC 115 grain metal case round nose, Hornady Critical Defense 115 grain FTX and Hornady Critical Defense Lite 100 grain FTX ammo.

Having assembled a goodly collection of 9mm ammo it was time to find out how well the Remington RP9 runs, or doesn't. I started off firing the RP9 exactly as supplied, right out of the box, no cleaning, no lubrication and no break-in. The no lubrication part was one of many Wakeman mistakes.

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

What happened with everything else, intermittently, is that sometimes the striker failed to cock, although the spent brass ejected and the next round fed. I lubed the slide with RemOil PRO3, which did the trick.

After that there were no problems of any kind with anything, except the Hornady Critical Defense Lite 100 grain FTX, which uses a flyweight bullet. Remington suggests using 115 grain, or heavier, bullets.

In 9mm home defense ammunition, many folks have their favorites. I am partial to the Hornady Critical Defense 115 grain FTX and the Barnes X-TAC +P 115 grain loads. Lucky Gunner Labs, shooting with a 3.5 inch barreled pistol into four layer fabric covered Clear Ballistics synthetic gel, recorded the following 5-shot terminal performance averages:

  • Hornady Critical Defense 115 grain FTX: 1143 fps velocity, 13.1 inches of penetration, .50 inch deformation (expansion) diameter.
  • Barnes X-TAC +P 115 grain: 1043 fps velocity, 13.4 inch average penetration, .70 inch deformation diameter.

Expect somewhat higher velocities and consequently increased expansion with the 4.5 inch barrel of the RP9.


Personally, I have no interest in bothering with quick magazine changes and the like in a critical situation. The whole purpose of a full size, 18 round capacity, 9mm pistol is you would never have to bother with changing magazines. After all, with the Remington RP9 you already have the firepower of three fully loaded .38 revolvers without doing anything, much less changing guns.

It is hard not to like the RP9, considering its bargain price. Anyone would guess it is, at least, a $500 pistol. For a made in the USA, full size, 9mm pistol with a lifetime written warranty and a trigger that is better than most striker fired pistols, it is a true bargain.

The Remington RP9 is well machined, accurate, pleasant to shoot and affordable. If the target of Remington Outdoors was to provide an outstanding value in the polymer framed, striker fired marketplace, they have decidedly hit the bulls-eye with the RP9.

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Copyright 2017 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.