Fail: Boberg XR9-S Pocket Pistol

Fail: Boberg XR9-S Pocket Pistol

I recently shot a Boberg XR9-S pocket 9mm for the first time.

Bobergs are American made, and they are unlike any other semi-automatic in the world inasmuch their slide pulls a round from the magazine as it moves back on recoil instead of grabbing the round on the way forward after recoil is finished.

Holding one that had never been fired, outside of factory testing, I broke the gun down to see how the mechanism worked and what I saw differed so greatly from the mechanism of other semi-autos that I was intrigued, to say the least. So I took the pistol to the range and brought along a hodge-podge of 9mm full metal jacket ammo.

That’s when the let down of let downs took place–standing there with my eye and ear protection on and the target approx. 12 feet away, I pulled the trigger only to fire one round while simultaneously getting sprayed in the face with a sand-like substance. I actually thought that part of the gun had disintegrated in my hand. Then I looked and realized the slide had not come all the forward after the shot, so I re-racked the slide and pulled the trigger again, and once more I fired one round and was simultaneously sprayed in the face with a sand-like substance.

I removed the magazine, pulled the slide back, and out fell a shell casing AND a bullet. Suddenly it dawned on me that in the process of firing one round, the recoil action of the slide was bringing back the next round with such force that inertia was separating the shell casing from actual bullet. This dumped the gun powder into the gun, which was subsequently being sprayed into my face when the gun fired one round, then jammed.

The gun jammed after one shot every time I pulled the trigger. In every instance it fired the first round in the magazine while pulling the second round apart–separating the casing from the bullet.

After spending about 20 minutes trying to get the gun to function properly, I called Arne Boberg and described my experience with the XR9-S to him. He then told me that there are certain varieties of 9mm that can be used with the pistol and certain that can’t. 

He sent me a link from the website which lists ammo known to be “incompatible” and ammo that is known to be “compatible” with Boberg pistols. It lists 69 varieties of ammo, showing 55 to be compatible with Boberg and 14 to be incompatible.

One problem with this is that the cheapest, most affordable plinking ammo is on the list of 14 that can’t be used. 

The other problem is for around half the price of the Boberg pistol, firearm enthusiasts can buy a Glock model 19, a Springfield XD, or a Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm. All of which hold more rounds than the XR9-S and all of which will shoot any of the 69 varieties of 9mm listed on Boberg’s site without forcing the gun owner to memorize a list of what is or isn’t compatible.

The XR9-S is compact and light, which is great for concealed carry. But if it can’t be trusted to shoot more than one shot without jamming or pulling another round apart, it’s defensive applications are limited, to say the least.