Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Boberg XR9-L Sneak Peek From One of the Designers

It's not every day that I have an opportunity to voice an opinion about a pistol BEFORE it's made.  Over the last week, I've had the chance to sit in on a real-time pistol design session that was interesting, fun, and really quite amazing when I sat back and really looked at what had happened over the course of a week.

It all started when Arne Boberg posted this picture of the proposed new model XR9-L in a thread about muzzle velocities from the XR9-S.  You can follow the whole thread HERE on the Boberg Forum.  The L designates a long slide.  It's quite similar to the current XR9-S model, with the major difference being it has been lengthened to accommodate a 4.2" barrel.  Arne has been sitting on this design for some time, which can be seen by original name XR9F on the slide.  If I have my facts straight, this was supposed to be the first Boberg model to market with F designating it's full size profile.  Plans changed and the XR9-S or "Shortie" was the first pistol produced.
 Photo courtesy of BAC

After the picture went up on 8/7/2012 at about 5:00pm Central Time the most amazing things started to take place.  Forum followers started sharing their opinions with Arne about the design in a courteously questioning manner.  Arne fielded these questions with equal grace and courtesy.  By 10pm the same night it was suggested that a rail be added to the frame.  At 10am the next day, version 2 of the drawing was shared by Arne.  It looked like this.
 Photo courtesy of BAC

After that second picture went up on the thread, people started to "get it" that if they throw out an idea that's reasonable, Arne is listening and he's willing to incorporate their ideas into the design of the pistol.  Within two days of the thread starting, Arne posts another rendering and proclaims he's "almost done".  By August 9th at about 5pm, the XR9-L had morphed into this.
 Photo courtesy of BAC

Arne may have thought he was "almost done", but he only stirred the pot and triggered another wave of ideas flowing.  On 8/14 he added another picture to the thread that almost made me weep with joy.  I didn't get my carry melt, but I'm very happy to see that Arne made a chiseled muzzle style change as a compromise and included it in the final design.  It even works with the rail.
 Photo courtesy of BAC

About 8 hours ago, Arne posted another rendering of the above finalized design in a colorway more suitable to visualizing what the final pistol may look like.  I think it's dead sexy and quite a bit different now than when the process started.  Not bad for 8 calendar days of part-time participation from everyone involved.  Of course now everyone wants to know when it will be available.
 Photo courtesy of BAC

Arne is a pretty smart dude.  I don't think he planned on finalizing the design of the XR9-L this week, but the opportunity presented itself and he jumped on it.  He let his customers, and possibly future customers, have a voice in the design by reading and incorporating their suggestions throughout the week.  Looking back at the forum thread and how it developed though the week is really amazing.  I've been using the amazing word quite a bit in this article, but how often do you have a chance to offer design input on a pistol before it's made?  For me it was a first and it's made me look forward to the next model more now than ever before.

You must be wondering what's so compelling about this model.  I'll do my best to net that out for you.  Imagine having a barrel .2" inches longer than a Glock 19 in a pistol that's shorter than a Glock 26.  The unique Boberg feed design allows for a 4.2" barrel in a pistol with an overall length of less than 6".  The improved ballistics performance of the longer barrel in the shorter pistol make this model quite compelling.  The drawing below shows an overlay of the XR9-L with 4.2" barrel compared to the Glock 19 with 4.02" barrel.  It's amazing how Boberg can get a longer barrel in a much shorter pistol.

 Photo courtesy of BAC

I'm tracking this model now, so I'll keep you all up to date on its development.

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