Chad Perrin: SOB

14 April 2009

I want a Boberg XR9.

Filed under: Geek,Liberty — apotheon @ 03:08

I was meandering around online, looking at dimensions on “pocket pistols” — handguns that are, with relative comfort, suitable to concealed carry even when not wearing a jacket. In the process, I stumbled across a prototype for a new semi-auto pistol from Boberg Engineering, the XR9.

The Boberg site describes it as “the world’s most powerful 9mm pocket-sized pistol”. The claim seems to be well-founded, surprisingly. It uses a feed mechanism that looks like it was borrowed from machine gun design, which allows the chamber for the weapon to sit directly above the magazine rather than a full cartridge-length (or more) ahead of the magazine. The round is extracted from the magazine by being pulled backward when the slide pulls back, where it pops up in line with the chamber, then is pushed forward into the chamber by slide when it slides back into place.

As a result of all that, the XR9 can fit a longer barrel into a smaller overall weapon length. A longer barrel means more powder burns before the round exits the weapon, providing more time for it to accelerate — producing a higher muzzle velocity. Thus, the “most powerful 9mm pocket-sized pistol”. It is, in essence, the first bullpup-configuration 9mm pocket pistol.

This configuration grants significant size benefits. The Rohrbaugh R9 is basically the smallest 9mm auto available — until the actual release date of the XR9, of course. In order to cram a 9mm into such a small package, with a 5.2 inch length overall, Rohrbaugh made the thing with a 2.9 inch barrel. While the standard XR9 is 5.8 inches long overall (0.6 inches longer than the Rohrbaugh), Boberg is talking about two smaller models: the Shorty and the Micro, both 4.99 inches long with a 3.3 inch barrel (the difference between them is grip size and magazine capacity). This results in something 0.21 inches shorter than the Rohrbaugh R9, but with a barrel 0.4 inches longer.

Boberg XR9

Overall length of the XR9 Micro and Short will even be a smidgen less than that of the Kel-Tec P3AT, a .380 ACP pocket pistol (though even the Micro will be a smidgen thicker and taller than the P3AT). Because of the longer effective barrel length and the larger caliber, the XR9 will deliver roughly twice the energy of the P3AT, which translates into a lot more stopping power. If you’re the type that winces at the notion of carrying a .380 or a .32, but you need a pocket pistol, it looks like the Boberg may be the hardware you need.

It’s also a sleek, beautiful piece of hardware, judging by the prototypes.

I signed up for email updates from Boberg Engineering, and this is what they had to say:

The XR9S (Shorty) will be released first with likely shipments starting in July. Our new website, will go live in about 5 weeks and will be accepting pre-orders. You will be notified of this event. We will be offering these pistols at an introductory price of $849.

Thanks for your interest!

Unfortunately, I don’t think I can justify $849 for one of these things by July, but I’m glad it won’t cost as much as the Rohrbaugh R9 — which tends to run upwards of $1100. The Kel-Tec P3AT (.380) and P32 (.32) are much cheaper at around $350ish. Still, I really would like to get my hands on an XR9 or XR9S.


  1. My wife just told me she wants to start carrying, this looks like a nice option, but I wonder how well it would fit in her hands. The trigger appears to be more forward of the grip than many of the other compacts.

    Comment by Mad Brew — 14 April 2009 @ 03:20

  2. I wonder how it’d feel in my hands, too. This is the kind of thing I’d be glad to have even if I didn’t end up carrying it, though — just to be able to say I have one.

    Comment by apotheon — 14 April 2009 @ 03:22

  3. That is nice, thanks for the heads up.

    Comment by Joseph A Nagy Jr — 15 April 2009 @ 02:34

  4. If anyone’s interested, the “pull back and then chamber” action has been in use for over 100 years — in machine guns. The Maxim, the Browning…pretty much any belt-fed machine gun operates this way. The upside to this system is that it offers complete controlled-round feeding from extraction from the magazine to chambering, which should, if manufactured correctly, eliminate anything resembling feeding problems. Hollowpoints? No problem. Weird projectile configurations? No problem. Semi-WADCUTTERS? Still, no problem! For a pocket pistol, whose reliability is what will determine life or death for the user, I find it an excellent choice.

    Comment by Scott S. — 15 April 2009 @ 11:13

  5. Welcome to SOB, Scott S., and thanks for commenting. I agree — as long as quality control is good, the feed mechanism should provide excellent reliability.

    I’m still in contact with Boberg Engineering, pestering ’em with questions. It looks like they’re considering a version with a manual safety to comply with California law. Plans are for the Shorty to be available in July, with the “full-size” pocket version quickly following, and the Micro waiting until enough capital has been collected to pay for the retooling needed to make the shorter grips and frame (so don’t hold your breath yet).

    I think I may want the XR9S — the Shorty — when it comes time to pick one. Of course, that’s all a pipe dream at the moment. $849 still feels like a lot of money to spend on something I can’t even pick up and fondle before purchase.

    Comment by apotheon — 15 April 2009 @ 02:17

  6. I think you should start a new series of blog posts, “pistol reviews from the pocket book”

    Comment by faustusnotes — 18 April 2009 @ 03:42

  7. If I could afford to go through pistols anywhere near as quickly as books — or even just once a month — I most certainly would. I’m probably going to get to my first new pistol in a few years soon, though. That’s not nearly often enough for a series.

    Comment by apotheon — 18 April 2009 @ 10:56

  8. repaint it every month?

    Comment by faustusnotes — 19 April 2009 @ 01:45

  9. Good idea!

    Comment by apotheon — 19 April 2009 @ 04:13

  10. Ya know, bro…if you could afford to come down once a month, you could review the new Kel-Tec PF-9 I just bought, and maybe the Glock 26 for comparison, and ya know, you just MIGHT talk me into getting a Kahr Arms 9mm, though I don’t think any of us could afford a Rohrbaugh…but the Boberg might definitely be an option.

    Seriously, dude. Sampling guns is merely a matter of knowing people who HAVE them.

    Like me. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.


    Comment by Scott S. — 25 April 2009 @ 10:08

  11. If I could afford to come down there once a month, I’d save the money and buy a Boberg and a Rohrbaugh instead.

    As soon as you move a bit closer to me (like, maybe 1100 miles closer, or so), I’ll start sampling your collection of guns a bit more.

    Comment by apotheon — 25 April 2009 @ 12:16

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All original content Copyright Chad Perrin: Distributed under the terms of the Open Works License