Photo: Rich Grassi
A number of industry media personnel traveled to the Remington Defense/Tactical Products Seminar located at Gunsite Academy last week. The Seminar covered a number of different topics: new products for 2014 that are confidential until we're allowed to release information, products introduced early in 2013 that are now being produced (it was a hectic production year) and new products from parts of the conglomerate that are just now coming on line.
Of the items we can discuss -- ammunition for defense and the 1911 product lines from Remington and Para.
Remington's Ultimate Defense Home Defense has now been re-branded as Ultimate Defense. That product is unchanged but new packaging is being phased in. New to the line is Ultimate Defense - Compact Handgun. Loads available will include 9mm, .380 Auto, .40 S&W, .45 ACP and .38 Special +P. The 9mm UDCH has a 124 grain hollow-point bullet and will being availability after the first of the year. The other calibers will follow.
The .380 load will have a 102 grain bullet, a 180 grain will top the .40 round, the .45 Auto will have a 230 grain bullet and the .38 is a 125 grain +P - the only +P load so far envisioned in the line.
The Ultimate Defense Compact Handgun will have a somewhat familiar brass jacketed hollow point. The new bullet has spiral nose cuts and a "hex-punch" hollow-point cavity in the soft lead core. Low flash propellants are used and the case mouth and primer are water-proofed.
Will the round perform? The 9mm Ultimate Defense Compact Handgun load was fired in a ballistics demo from a ca. 3 1/4" barrel compact pistol into calibrated ballistic gelatin and "heavy denim." The bullets expanded nicely and gave 15" of penetration. The velocity reading was 1072 feet-per-second. Note this load is not
Photo courtesy of Barnes Bullets
In other ammo news, Barnes will be releasing a 125 grain TAC-XP .357 Magnum load, projected availability in May 2014. The round features low flash powder and the bullet has chrome-moly nickel plating. In the VOR-TX line, Barnes will be shipping a 155 grain XPD bullet 10mm load that will be shipping in May 2014.
As to the 1911 "line extensions" in the coming year, we had the opportunity to shoot a number of these guns at Gunsite. Two that have particular appeal to me are the R1 Commanders - one is simply the R1 Commander, the other the 1911 R1 Carry Commander.
Photo courtesy Remington
The R1 Commander is an "actual" Commander format pistol: 4 1/4" barrel and slide, GI-style barrel, bushing, spring plug and NON-extended recoil spring guide rod. A carbon steel frame and slide, match-grade barrel, high fixed sights, a short trigger and flat mainspring housing, and a pair of seven round magazines round out the features. With an MSRP under $800, I found the R1 Commander to be a solid performer. Speaking with a Freedom Group associate who is not part of the handgun line - but has the opportunity to work extensively with the R1 line of Remington 1911s - I found out that he has yet to have any reliability problems with any of them.
Photo of R1 Carry full-size pistol, courtesy Remington
If you trick the R1 Commander up with dovetailed sights - the rear is a Novak and there's tritium up front only (my preferred set-up), dehorn the slide and frame, put an enhanced ambidextrous safety and beavertail grip safety, as well as add checkering to front strap and MSH - you have the Remington Model 1911 R1 Carry Commander.
The sample had semi-checkered stocks, a crisp trigger and a pair of 8-round magazines. Like the simple R1 Commander, it was almost tediously accurate and reliable, with hollow-point and ball ammo. If you like the 4.25" 1911 format as I do, you could do worse than buying the R1 Commander for regular concealed carry and keeping the R1 Carry Commander for home defense and barbecue duty. I think it could be a good plan.
I shot a few wild guns from the Para operation. Upon getting Para under the FG operation, they had to go through the line and document the specifics of each gun in the line. They were making around 25 guns per day in a truncated product line. Now they're on track to be up to 35 SKUs by the end of January and are set to increase production as the market demands.
The market will likely demand. We shot a long-slide 10mm - quite a thumper - and the Para LDA Officer .45. Both functioned without problems. The 10mm had nice adjustable sights and a crisp trigger. The LDA trigger was smooth and easily managed. Short as the LDA Officer was, it was easy to shoot accurately.
Photo by Para
The Para Pro Comp 9mm was remarkable. The ramped match barrel, adjustable rear sight with fiber optic front and crisp trigger made it very popular. I suspect some orders will be written from the media contingent on the Pro Comp.
Space constraints prevent covering the entire line extension, but guns with Crimson Trace upgrades, the new Expert 9mm Para - with an MSRP of $633 - and Pro Custom 18.9 (18-shot 9mm), all bode well for the newly reinvigorated Para brand.
2014 is shaping up to be a big year for new and enhanced products from Remington and this is just a preview.
-- Rich Grassi