The Rohrbaugh R9 is a semi-automatic pocket pistol chambered in 9mm. Rohrbaugh Firearms is a gun manufacturer that specializes in pocket pistols. It was founded my Karl Rohrbaugh and located in Bayport, New York. The R9 is one of three pistols produced by Rohrbaugh, and shares near identical specifications with both the Robar and 380.
The R9 has a locked-breech design where the barrel and slide are locked together until a round is fired and then the move in tandem. The slide rides back, the barrel tilts and the recoil is absorbed by the slide instead of the frame.
Its internal components are constructed primarily from stainless steel and 7057 aircraft aluminum alloy, which puts its weight at slightly less than a pound. The R9 has a double-action only trigger, so the R9 omits the use of a safety. The R9 includes Wolff brand springs and G-10 brand grips, a laminated composite grip known for its durability. The magazine catch is located on the butt of the grip frame, a design sometimes called “European style.” A number of the gun’s interior components are miniaturized to facilitate the diminutive design.
The R9 is also available in the Stealth model, which includes a Titan Kote C12 brand protective slide coating.
Rohrbaugh recommends the R9 for conceal and carry and personal protection.
|Grip:||G-10 laminated composite|
|Features:||European style magazine catch; and locked-breech design|
|Slide Material:||Stainless steel|
7075 Aircraft aluminum alloy/black
|Twist:||1 in 10"|
Editor ReviewSo what do you use this for?
First things first: this is not a gun for the range. You don’t want to take it out for a day of plinking, ‘cause you’ll just hurt. You don’t want to take it to a match, ‘cause you’ll just be embarrassed.
But what this gun was designed for, it does exceedingly well. And that is to give you a nearly perfect pocket pistol with full 9mm power.
I have one of the earliest R9s - serial number in the low 200s. Got it years ago lightly used for a very good price. First trip to the range I ran a box of 115 grain ball ammo through it. By the end of that, I could barely use my hand for anything else. It basically felt like I had held just the cartridges in my bare hands, and squeezed ‘em until they fired.
Furthermore, I had a whole bunch of problems, mostly stove-pipes (where a spent casing isn’t fully ejected from the gun while the next round tries to load into the chamber, making a mess). And as if that weren’t bad enough, I couldn’t hit crap with the gun out to even 10 yards - it kept rotating in my hand such that anything after the first shot was impossible on those occasions when it would load correctly.
So why in tarnation do I give the gun 4.0 stars? A gun that retails new for well over $1,000???
Because after that trip to the range I came home, did some research, found the Rohrbaugh Forum and read up on the gun. I found out that you have to hold it very tightly, or it will stove-pipe due to ‘limp wristing’ (allowing your wrist to move too much absorbs some of the energy the slide needs to operate fully). Holding it tightly, and a little oval of ‘skateboard tape’ - the stuff which is almost like sandpaper - to the front and back strap of the grip make all the difference in the world for controllability.
My next trip to the range was a whole different experience. The recoil was still quite stout, but the gun functioned well, and once I understood what I was doing with it, hitting the black out to 10 yards was easy, even with the minimal sights.
And that’s the thing about the Rohrbaugh - it takes a little work to understand it. The design is impressive - there really is nothing to snag when drawing it from a holster/pocket. It weighs all of 13.5 ounces, unloaded, and is a size comparable to the smallest of the micro .380s. The quality is top-notch, like a fine watch. Disassembly and cleaning is simple enough.
It isn’t perfect. The gun won’t handle +P ammunition, and it can be a bit quirky on what it likes to eat (I’ve found mine seldom has any problems with GDHP in 115 grain). You should replace the recoil spring after every 200 rounds - but this is a $5 item that just drops in during routine cleaning.
I don’t carry my R9s as much as I used to. I found that for most situations, I can carry a J-frame revolver almost as easily - and I shoot that a whole lot better, with my large hands. But there are still situations where I need a really small pistol for proper concealment - and it is a comfort knowing that I have 6+1 rounds of full 9mm on tap when I do.