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One New Owner's
| ''FJC'' (Frank) on
the Rohrbaugh Forum has just aquired his R9 (at last),
October 22nd 2004. He has written a well detailed and
lengthy report which might be of interest for others
to read. It follows in its entirety but has had been
re-formatted a bit. Thank you Frank.
| I've only had my
R9s for a little over 24 hours so far, but here's
my first review with a range report. No pictures as
of yet, I didn't have time to set up the camera. Soon,
Taking the R9s out of it's nice little black plastic
case, the first thing I noticed was that this pistol
is SOLID. It just feels like one solid piece of steel
- no rattles, nothing loose-feeling, it's just SOLID.
It did feel heavier than I expected, but I think that
was just an illusion caused by how rock solid it felt.
The finish is impeccable, there's not a blemish anywhere
on it. The action of the slide is smooth as glass,
and feels as high-quality as any $2000+ custom 1911
pistol I've ever tried.
I will state, though, that the slot milled into the
top of the rear sight is slightly off-center, a bit
to the left of the pistol. This is identical-looking
to another person's R9s that was shown on Rohrbaughforums.com.
I also viewed another R9s that my dealer owns, which
was also cut slight off-center in exactly the same
way. Rohrbaugh apparently needs to check the settings
on their CNC machine.
The pistol came with two magazines, an instruction
manual, and a spare recoil spring (Rohrbaugh recommends
it be changed every 500 rounds, so it's nice they
included a spare). The magazines appear to be very
high quality, with the Rohrbaugh logo nicely engraved
on the floorplate.
The trigger is simply amazing, very smooth and relatively
light feeling. It does "stack" somewhat, with the
trigger pull becoming progressively heavier (but not
extensively so) in the last part of the pull. The
break at the end is clean. It rivals the DA pull on
some of my pistols that have had trigger action jobs
- then again, for the price, it should have a hand-tuned,
Magazine insertion is a bit trickier than I expected,
as with the heel release one needs to angle the magazine
in slightly to help push the magazine catch to the
rear. I'll admit this is the first pistol I've owned
with a heel release, so maybe it's just my inexperience.
With only a bit of practice I found I was able to
insert magazines fairly quickly, though certainly
not as fast as on a side-release based pistol.
| Range Report:
Usually when I get a new pistol, the first thing
I do upon getting it home is field strip it , clean
off all of the factory lube/grease, give it a thorough
cleaning, and lube it myself (usually using FP-10
on moving parts, and TW-25B grease on the rails).
With most new pistols you simply don't know how
long they've sat on a dealer's shelf, and often
such pistols are shipped with more of a preservative
grease than a functional one (SIG pistols often
ship with a thick, brown, sticky grease, for example).
However, on Rohrbaughforums.com
a couple (and really, only a couple) of owners have
run into some malfunctions that the factory has
claimed are due to improper lubrication (either
the wrong lube, or not enough). Most of the comments
have claimed that not enough lubrication was the
issue, though it is interesting to note that the
manual specifically states that the R9 should only
be LIGHTLY lubricated, and even warns against over-lubrication.
As a result, I decided to fire the R9 while it was
still lubed from the factory. And, heck, I new from
my dealer that this pistol had only shipped from
Rohrbaugh three days ago!
Off I went to my nearby indoor range. I took 150
rounds of standard-pressure 9mm with me - 100 rounds
of 115gr Speer Gold Dot, and 50 rounds of Winchester
White Box. Another comment from the factory is that
the Rohrbaugh R9 is a very tight-fitting, precision
pocket pistol, and that failing to keep it clean
can result in malfunctions. The Rohrbaughs recommend
cleaning after 50-80 rounds to avoid problems. My
goal with 150 rounds was to see just how quickly
I'd run into problems.
I started off with the Gold Dots, as those are my
planned carry round. I must say that hand-chambering
a round in the R9 is a joy - I've never had a pistol
that felt sooo butter-smooth when hand chambering.
My Kel-Tec P-3AT is very difficult to hand chamber
due to the stiff spring, and often will only partially
chamber, requiring an extra push on the slide to
get the pistol fully into battery.
I set up a simple target with some 2" Shoot N'c
dots, and did some careful slow-fire shots to see
just where they'd land, and to get a feel for aiming.
At 7 yards I found I was able to keep all rounds
easily within a 2" group during careful slow fire
offhand. I was able to shrink that to 1.5" at 10
yards when I braced against the table at the range
and fired shots as carefully as I could.
Recoil was quite stout, with visible muzzle flash
with the Gold Dots. It was, however, quite controllable.
I do think that this pistol could be improved by
the addition of checkering on the front of the grip.
I may have to pick up some of the 3M grip tape and
see if that improves the grip, though I hate to
do that to such a beautiful piece of functional
After 50 rounds
I switched to a silhouette target, my plan now being
to test more rapidly firing. I set the target at
7 yards. I put 30 rounds into the target, firing
fairly rapidly (my indoor range doesn't allow rapid-fire,
so I kept it to slightly less than one round per
second). All rounds landed on the target, most of
them in the orange center-of-mass area. By now my
right hand was getting a bit tired and slightly
shaky from the recoil. I decided, though, to try
some one-handed firing. I loaded up six more Gold
Dots, and commenced firing. Muzzle flip was, as
expected, much more pronounced one-handed. On the
second shot (number 81 for the day), I experienced
a failure to feed. The round was still in the magazine,
with the nose jammed against the bottom of the feed
ramp, and the rear of the slide pressing into the
rear of the round. The nose of the round was down
slightly in the magazine. A slight pull back on
the slide allowed the magazine spring to pop the
nose up into the proper position - releasing the
slide then fed the round normally. This did not
appear to me to be a failure due to the gun being
dirty (though by the time the pistol did appear
to be very dirty). I blame this failure on limp-wristing,
as I definitely felt my hand/wrist were sore and
tired. Eighty rounds gave my hand a bit of a beating
- but another thing to point out is between the
first 50 rounds and these I also fired 120 full
.45 ACP loads out of a SIG P245 compact that I also
took to the range to function test.
I fired the rest of the magazine one-handed, as
well as a second magazine full, being careful to
keep a good, solid grip on the pistol and my wrist
locked. I had no additional failures. I finished
up the Gold Dot ammo - I had now gone 100 rounds,
with only the one failure.
At this point the pistol was absolutely filthy,
as well as my hand. The R9 seems to expell a lot
of grime during firing. All I had left was a box
of 50 rounds of Winchester White Box . The recoil
from the WWB didn't seem much less than that of
the Gold Dots. I continued my semi-rapid-fire at
the silhouette target, with a few head shots thrown
in as well. At round number 143, I had a failure
to feed - this time, the empty case was jammed horizontally
between the slide and the top of the chamber hood.
The next round was partially fed into the chamber.
I was able to simply grasp the empty case with my
left hand fingers and pull - it popped out and the
slide continued forward, feeding the round successfully.
This struck me as possibly being a failure caused
by how absolutely filthy the pistol was by this
point (the factory grease oozing out of the rear
of the slide rails looked like mud). I continued
firing, and at round 147 I had another identical
failure, though the case was further down and I
was unable to simply pull it out - I had to retract
the slide and do the "flipping" motion to expel
it. The final three rounds fired without incident.
Now, 3 failures in 150 rounds is nothing to brag
about - however, I do truely feel that the first
failure was due to limp-wristing, and the second
two were due to the pistol needing a good cleaning
and relube. I honestly think that if instead of
firing 150 rounds in one session I had broken it
into 3 sessions of 50 rounds, with a cleaning in
between sessions, I would have only seen the one
At the end of the session I noted that I had fired
100 rounds into the silhouette target, 99 of which
were hits that would have ruined any bad guy's day
(alas, one of my head shots hit just under the ear,
as you'll see once I get the pictures taken). A
few shots showed some odd paper rips, which had
me concerned that I was seeing some keyholing -
however, I saw the exact same paper rips while testing
the SIG P245 .45 ACP with factory loads, so I think
it was just the type of paper used for the targets.
Cleaning, and Re-assembly:
Once back home, I wiped down the exterior of the
R9s, and prepared to disassemble it for cleaning.
As others have stated, this is not the easiest pistol
to disassemble. The slide must be retracted a small
amount (approximately 1/4 inch) to line up the disassembly
holes on the slide with a pin on the frame - that
pin must then be pushed out with a pin punch. The
trick is to find something that can be inserted
in the ejection port to hold the slide back just
EXACTLY the right amount. After much experimentation,
I found I could use a plastic scraping tool I use
for cleaning (others have found a plastic tapered
chop-stick can be inserted to just the right depth).
I pushed out the pin and the slide came off easily.
The factory ships the R9 with a good amount of SuperLube
on it, which has the appearance of clear vaseline.
After 150 rounds, this looked more like that gray
liquid steel goop.
Cleaning went quickly and easily. I lubed the pistol
with my grease of choice, TW-25B, applying a thin
coat to the barrel "bushing" area, and the contact
surfaces inside the slide and top of the frame.
I applied it more liberally on the barrel lockup
areas and the rails. I will state, though, that
I was unable to get either of the included magazines
disassembled. They have the common dimple on the
bottom that must be pushed prior to sliding off
the floorplate. After pushing that in, I was only
able to get the floorplate to move about 1/8th of
an inch, even when pushing so hard on the floorplate
with a pin punch that i was seriously in fear of
damaging the magazine.
Reassembly didn't qo quickly or easily.
The R9 uses a double-spring recoil system, with
a separate steel cap. By far the hardest part of
reassembly for me was getting the darned recoil
system back in place (and trust me, "darn" was by
far NOT the most significant expletive I used during
this time). The problem I had was that the end of
the recoil guide rod just wouldn't line up properly
with both the cap AND the retaining hole in the
end of the slide. The difficulty came in that it
was hard to get it lined up when having to insert
it at a slight angle, since the barrel was in place.
After a good five minutes of screwing around with
it I took a different approach - I removed the barrel,
and inserted the recoil system. Now, to get the
barrel back into place, I had to push the spring
system in quite a bit to give the barrel room to
clear it. That worked quite well - the barrel dropped
into place, and the recoil system seated against
the barrel lug as it was designed to do. Now I simply
put the slide back on the frame, used the plastic
scraper again to line up the holes, and pushed the
pin back into place. Reassembly was complete. Whew.
At least I know some "tricks" now, so it'll be easier
I'm very pleased so far with this pistol. It's small,
it's slim, it's powerful, it's lightweight. After
cleaning it all up I loaded it and carried it most
of the afternoon while running errands. It was incredibly
unobtrusive in my RJ Hedley pocket holster. With
my S&W 340PD, there would be a significant bulge
in that pocket, but with the R9s you could hardly
tell anything was in my pocket, due to the slim
Disassembly and reassembly could be easier, but
I'm willing to put up with that slight hassle (a
dedicated tool to position the slide would do wonders
for improving this). Is it worth the high price?
It is in my opinion, and after all it will likely
replace my 340pd and my Kel-tec P-3AT, so I can
recoup quite a bit of the cost by selling those
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