Obviously, one of the bigger stories to come out of this year’s SHOT Show is the Ruger LCP, but it wasn’t alone in the line of new compact carry guns. Easily the most innovative new pistol I saw is the Boberg XR9, from Boberg Engineering. Right now, the XR9 is in prototype phase, the only functioning model is the one at SHOT. What makes the Boberg XR9 unique is the cartridge feeding system, the best way to explain is by showing you. Check out the cross-section picture below.
Look a little different? Something look different from your average semi-auto pistol? If it’s not quite clear, look at the cut-away video linked here. It took me a couple of runs to finally figure out exactly what was different about it, and then suddenly it hit me that the thing feeds from the rear.
That’s what different about the XR9; is that by using the rear-feeding mechanism and by locating the magazine under the barrel, the XR9 can shoehorn a 4 inch barrel in a package smaller than a sub-compact Glock. For less size than a 9mm Glock, you get an extra inch of barrel and the incumbent performance of the extra inch.
Because of the feeding mechanism, the magazine also loads a little differently. Instead of loading by putting rounds back end first into the front of the magazine, you load the XR9’s magazines by putting the rounds nose first into the back of the magazine. So when the slide cycles, it pulls the round out of the rear of the magazine, and then forward into the barrel.
We’ve also got live video of the XR9’s action being hand cycled (Quicktime required). I spoke with Arne Boberg, the president of Boberg Engineering about the pistol, and he said that he was looking for a way to get more performance out of a pocket pistol, and was inspired by the action on some of the heavy machine gun designs. According to Arne, they hope to be releasing the XR9 to the market in six months.
It’s definitely an innovative design, and it bears further investigation. I like new concepts, and I hope the XR9 is one that we end up seeing in production. The reverse feeding mechanism does allow you to get more barrel into an extremely compact package which does allow to deliver more terminal performance from the cartridge. Hopefully the XR9 will be one of those innovative ideas that does make it to the market.