Boberg XR9-S Pocket Pistol – FAIL

By AWR Hawkins

Boberg XR9-S pocket Pistol
Boberg XR9-S pocket 9mm Pistol
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

Washington DC – -( 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.

AWR Hawkins writes for all the BIG sites, for Pajamas Media, for, for and now AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

His southern drawl is frequently heard discussing his take on current events on radio shows like America's Morning News, the G. Gordon Liddy Show, the Ken Pittman Show, and the NRA's Cam & Company, among others. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal (summer 2010), and he holds a PhD in military history from Texas Tech University.

If you have questions or comments, email him at [email protected] You can find him on facebook at

  • 10 thoughts on “Boberg XR9-S Pocket Pistol – FAIL

    1. Yeah, blame an ammo problem on the gun!

      Simple, follow the manufacture’s instructions!
      Do you use cheap non-spec oil in your truck?

    2. The boberg looks more like a collectors item than an everyday carry weapon. The weapon that I carry should fire everything I put through it . Nice concept but too ammo picky and way overpriced.

      1. Apparently it is now a collector’s item given that Bond Arms has not put any new ones on the market. However, my wife still carries hers every day, and shoots at least 500 rounds a week at the range with it.

        Her carry rounds are Hydra Shocks and they have functioned flawlessly for her. Her previous gun was a Glock and she much prefers the Boberg. We had the list of incompatible ammo before we ordered the gun and knew about the issues. Of course the same thing was true years before when a bought a Seecamp as a third backup gun, and as long as I used the single recommended ammo it functioned flawlessly.

        Why do we have unknown pretenders writing articles about guns that obviously are far from any kind of gun expert?

    3. As a novice I found out about this pistol being picky about the ammo it can and cannot fire only after the sale. As I had a great deal of 9mm ammo I was excited that I did’t need to buy a bunch of ammo. It’s up to the buyer to study and find out what the specifications are. The seller could have mentioned this to me at the time but he knew he would not get a sale if he did. I did ask about ammo, I was told Walmart ammo would be fine? I have gone down an expensive learning curve, buyer beware.

    4. What an idiotic review. Might as well post a negative review of a Ferrari because you fed it diesel.

      Run the Boberg with the right ammo and the XR9 (well, MY XR9) has been flawless (and it will handle a very nice array of commonly available, economy rounds). The design in inherently sound.

    5. I have had one for a couple of years, I got one of the first few hundred sold.
      It has been totally reliable, as long as you remember to pull the slide back all the way, when chambering your first round, or else it will not chamber. It runs fine on Winchester White Box round nose FMJ from Walmart, about as inexpensive American made ammo as you can get at Walmart. As for Self Defense Ammo, I’ve been using Hydra Shoks, and they work great. The longer barrel does increase FPS and FPE, not dramatically as we are talking about a 3.35″ barrel vs. 2 3/4 – 3″ barrels. But it does add some velocity and energy. As far as some ammo not working in it, not a big concern to me. Most well known brands of SD HP ammo works fine.

    6. If I use the correct ammunition, and like the idea of a small pistol with a long barrel, would the Boberg be a safe option?

      Also, does the longer barrel make much of a difference?

    7. I realize that a gun being picky with ammo is annoying but the manufacturer does state it on the website. You do not buy a racecar and then complain because it runs rough when you run it on 87 when the manufacturer says run it on race fuel. Expected a better review than “it wont run on cheap ammo” from ammoland honestly.

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