Sunday, January 13, 2013

Boberg XR9-L Review - 2013 Wishlist Update

Early this week I picked up a demo Boberg XR9-L from my dealer.  All the technical specifications of the XR9-L were covered in THIS previous blog post so I won't go through them all again.  Arne Boberg shipped it to me so I could get some rounds through it and possibly help him explain the differences between the new XR9-L and the shorter XR9-S model from the independent shooter's perspective.  I started with a bench review of the differences between the two models and got that up on the YouTube channel last week.  That video follows below.

I was watching the weather all week with the hopes of getting out to the range several times this weekend and running a few hundred rounds through the new model.  Unfortunately, only Friday afternoon could be classified as "good" weather and even the warm sunny afternoon was spoiled by gusting winds that got so strong they actually blew my camera and tripod off their stand and down into the dirt.  Unfortunately, this happens frequently at the outdoor range where I shoot most of my videos.  Undaunted, I cleaned up the camera the best I could and did manage to get through the range portion of the review and comparison.  That video is shown below.

The high speed camera footage was really helpful in the recoil impulse/muzzle flip comparison between the two models.  Using the rear sight as the starting point of the horizontal line, I was able to run an angled line down the top of the slide from the same starting point.  When comparing the two lift angles it appears that the muzzle rise is indeed less with the XR9-L than with the XR9-S.  The XR9-L slide speed under recoil also appears to be less as we can still see the ejected brass in the still frame while the fired case from the XR9-S has run out of the picture by the time the pistol reaches maximum muzzle rise.  The last indication of reduced muzzle rise can be seen in the position of the trigger guard and the support hand thumb.  The XR9-S trigger guard completely clears the left thumb, while the XR9-L trigger guard is still partially obscured by the left thumb.  

I got back out to the range again on Saturday and managed to get a few more rounds through the pistol before the wind, rain, and cold sent me packing home for the day.  I was really disappointed that I didn't have the chance to shoot the pistol more, but my hands were getting numb from the cold.  The shooting I did do consisted of weak hand, strong hand, strong hand from retention, and some two hand shooting.  The XR9-L functioned flawlessly through all of this and by the end of the afternoon the final round count was:

Remington UMC 115 grain JHP                         100 Rounds
Federal Hydra-Shok 124 grain JHP                      15 Rounds
Sellier and Bellot 115 grain FMJ                          50 Rounds
Winchester Personal Protection 147 grain JHP     30 Rounds
Speer Gold Dot 124 grain GDHP                          15 Rounds
Total Rounds Fired                                            210 Rounds

Issues with feed, fire, or extraction                                None

With outdoor temperatures in the 20's, I tried to get back out to one of our local indoor ranges today, but there was literally a line of folks waiting to shoot.  I stayed for about 30 minutes to catch up with the range owner and the others working at the store, but decided to leave before my turn on the range came up.  As soon as we get another warmer day, I'll be back out at the outdoor range with several more varieties of ammunition to try in the XR9-L.

Returning from my aborted range trip and finding myself with more time behind the keyboard instead of the trigger, I started thinking more about where the XR9-L might fit in my personal carry rotation.  The XR9-L is longer than the XR9-S predecessor, but it's still a pocket gun.  In my opinion, it is about as large as you can go, but still pocket carry with the right holster and pants.  I decided to do a comparison between the largest pocket pistol in my carry rotation, which is the Glock 27.  The Glock 27 is dimensionally identical to the 9mm Glock 26.

Visually, the XR9-L is shorter, thinner, and slightly taller than the G26/27.  Using the specifications published by each manufacturer see the following stats for both pistols:

Pistol Glock 26 Boberg XR9-L
Length 6.49" 5.95"
Width 1.18" .96"
Height 4.17" 4.2"
Weight 21.4 oz.* 18.5 oz.*
 * weights include empty magazine
Overall Length and Height Comparison

Overall Width Comparison

Both Pistols In Their Pocket Holsters

Luckily, I had a Remora Size 4 holster on hand to use for the pictures and to try the XR9-L as a pocket carry pistol.  I found that it works just as well as the Glock for pocket carry and may actually be a bit more comfortable due to the reduced width of the Boberg.  I initially thought the Boberg would be too large to conceal in the pocket, but it appears to work well there and also as a waistband pistol.  That's pretty amazing when you consider there is now a pocket pistol with a 4.2" barrel that will literally deliver similar terminal performance as many of the full size 9mm pistols.

I really appreciate Arne and the rest of the folks at Boberg Arms for the opportunity to try their new XR9-L model.  As a fan of the XR9-S and also understanding the the difference an extra inch of barrel length makes in 9mm ballistic performance, I can see there may be a XR9-L in my future.  I've always thought the XR9-S was fun to shoot.  The XR9-L takes that fun to a higher level with reduced recoil and longer sight radius.

I'll leave you with this thought.

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