For all its recent struggles, Remington might fit well into a modern parable entitled, “The Gun Company Who Cried Success.” Vocal displeasure surrounding its products led to an understandable conclusion: firearm enthusiasts simply stopped responding favorably to new releases from “Big Green.” However, in the case of Remington’s recent launches, notably the Remington RP45, success emerged.
Surprisingly, the Remington RP45 and RP9 (reviewed here on Shooting Illustrated) came in a rather ubiquitous format for the firearm industry: the polymer-frame, striker-fired, duty-size handgun. Options abound in this market segment, with nearly every major manufacturer and many smaller U.S. companies and importers jockeying for position and attempting to dethrone the undisputed king of the market: Glock. In fact, until the launch of the RP Series, Remington was notable for its absence.
So, when the company released the RP series, starting with the RP9, the response was subdued, to say the least. After all, with the array of choices available from less-troubled manufacturers, why take the chance? What many missed is that Remington recognized its position and, in an effort to beat the pack, loaded its RP guns with a host of features not found on competitors.
The Remington RP45 is a great vehicle to examine some of these enhanced elements. Of course, the pistol shares much in common with its smaller-caliber sibling, the RP9, incorporating the distinctive “R” emblazoned on both sides of the textured grip and the large, deep, forward-slanting serrations that provide plenty of slide-racking gripping surface. A slightly undercut trigger guard and generous beavertail offer an opportunity to bear higher on the pistol frame, enabling the recoil axis to fall closer in line with the strong-side arm.
Like its 9 mm brethren, the RP45 is gifted with a generous magazine capacity. This element sets the RP series apart from other options on the market, particularly in the big-bore .45 ACP offering. In fact, most double-stack .45 ACP handguns on the market top off at 13 rounds. For consumers on the hunt for today’s largest-capacity, polymer-framed .45, they’re left with two current options: the FN America FNX-45 or the Remington RP45, both of which feed from 15-round magazines.
A double-stack design, the RP45 magazine is only slightly longer than other double-stack .45 ACP mags. Compared to a Glock G21 magazine, the RP45 mag stands exactly .25-inch taller when measured from the bottom of the floorplate to the top of the feed lips. Ultimately, the benefit of this added length is more rounds, as evidenced by the RP45’s 15-round magazine capacity versus the G21’s 13-round maximum.
Even with such an enhanced capacity, the gun doesn’t appear bulky. In the hand, the grip feels slim, and interchangeable backstraps allow owners to customize the grip to fit their needs. The Remington RP45 ships with small, medium and large backstraps, which add a maximum of .1-inch to the size of the grip measured from the frontstrap to the highest point of the arched backstrap. Each interchangeable component is molded with vertical striations, which work to prevent lateral movement of the grip during firing.
At the top of the frame, slight scallops provide natural pathways to the trigger on both sides of the gun for use with either hand, and a mirrored slide-stop lever also allows for ambidextrous use. These features are a benefit for those wrong-handed among us (myself included), but the lack of a reversible magazine release makes it ill-suited for use as a truly ambidextrous platform.
Pulling the trigger on the Remington RP45 wasn’t a great experience, though the gun isn’t alone among striker-fired guns in having a sub-par trigger. A spongy, mushy feel emerges in both pre-travel and overtravel, and the trigger’s breaking point isn’t as discernible as other striker-fired triggers found on the market. One bright spot is the trigger’s short reset point, which emerges as a sharp, tactile click during the release.
Since the RP45 is primarily aimed at the personal-defense market, though, we can forgive some play in the trigger, particularly since the gun’s range reliability more than made up for it. Three different self-defense loads from Hornady, Remington and Speer fueled it through more than 300 rounds. Only one issue arose when a single Speer Gold Dot round hung up on the base of the feedramp at the beginning of the range test. Multiple shooters also experienced occasional blowback from the chamber end of the gun during firing, but this issue disappeared on a second trip to the range.
Together with the fact that the gun ships with steel sights and two 15-round magazines in a package that retails for less than $420, it appears that Remington has a success story in the Remington RP45, maybe more so than its flagship RP9. To me, it seems that Remington buried the lead with the launch of the RP45. There are plenty of double-stack nines in today’s world, but Remington holds the only 16-round .45 priced well below many of today’s popular polymer pistols.