Boberg Arms XR9-L Long-Stroke, Rotating-Barrel Sub-Compact Semi-Auto 9mm Pistol for Concealed Carry (CCW): Big-Gun Ballistic Performance in a Small Package! (Video!)

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By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com

All photo and video content contained in this article was shot by, and is copyrighted, except for the photo of the Boberg XR9-L Onyx model (all Black). owns the copyright on all photo and video content, except for that one photo (courtesy of Boberg Arms). All DR photos and videos were shot with a Sony Cyber-shot RX100 (DSC-RX100/B) Digital Camera with 20.2 MP (20.2-megapixel) still camera and 1080p HD video camera capability. Click on the photos to view them full-size.

The following article is property of (DR) and is copyrighted material. If you are reading this article on another website other than, please email us the website address/URL (where the unauthorized DR article reprint is located) at defrev (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you.

February 28, 2013

Boberg Arms has a new version of their XR9-series pistols called the Boberg XR9-L (Long), which is a long-stroke sub-compact 9mm pistol (9mm Parabellum/9x19mm NATO) that, amazingly, offers equivalent or even superior muzzle velocity and terminal ballistics to a full-sized 9mm pistol (like a SIG Sauer P226, for example), according to company owner/CEO Arne Boberg. “I’ve taken a big gun and I’ve shrunk it way down”, he says. This is accomplished with a tight chamber, but Mr. Bober also told DefenseReview (DR) that Boberg Arms offers a barrel with slightly-larger-than-standard bore specs (as an option), which results in less bullet-to-bore friction when a round is fired. This further enhances muzzle velocity and terminal ballistics.

Understand that when a round is fired from any rifled-barrel gun, the bullet has to fight its way down the barrel. This isn't really a problem for semi-auto weapons, but it's a major problem for machine guns, since friction causes heat, and heat causes barrel problems.

But optimized muzzle velocity and ballistics aren't the only attributes of the XR9-L pistols. The guns also combine long-stroke (1.75") operation with a proprietary hour glass-shaped, flexing internal "mid-buffer" to lower felt recoil and increase weapon controllability. The XR9-L pistol's slide moves at about 1/3rd the speed of (i.e. 67% slower than) pistol's with conventional recoil systems. Also, the XR9-L uses a rotating barrel locked-breech locking mechanism instead of a Browning tilting-barrel lock-up. The pistol employs two extractors for additional reliability and rubustness. The XR9-L's rotating barrel is similar to the Beretta PX4 Storm pistol's rotating barrel system, except it's inverted. The strong rotating-barrel lockup and recoil- attenuation/mitigation mechanism enable the Boberg to handle +P ammo. A short-stroke trigger is available as an option.

Finally, the Bober XR9-L features a short Mil-Std-1913 "Picatinny" rail for mounting tactical accessories like a tactical white light or laser sight. One of the guns DR handled was outfitted with a Viridian C5 series laser sight made by Viridian Green Laser Sights, a subsidiary of Laser Aiming Systems Corporation.

All Boberg XR9-series pistols are single-stack and utilize a pull-push feeding mechanism, where the round is actually pulled rearward out of the magazine when the slide cycles back and then pushed forward into the chamber as the slide cycle's forward. This is very interesting, and unique to Boberg pistols. The XR9-L holds 7+1 rounds.

DefenseReview (DR) got to view and handle a bunch of Boberg Arms' XR9-series sub-compact pistols, including the Boberg XR9-L, at SHOT Show 2013. The versions we handled at the show were the Boberg XR9-L Long Two-Tone and Boberg XR9-L Long Platinum, but DR's favorite version is the all-black Boberg XR9-L Long Onyx. Once you go black, you never go back.

The Boberg XR9-L pistol is a mechanical work of art, and appears to be exquisitely made. In Defense Review's opinion, the Boberg XR9-L is one of the most important pistols ever made, from a mechanical design/operation perspective. If the gun lives up to the company's reliability, durability and accuracy claims, it's a winner and a gun collector's dream pistol. You have to disassemble it and look at the internal parts to really appreciate it. It's very cool.

DR hasn't run a Boberg pistol at the range or carried one, yet, but we hope to, soon. It's definitely on our wish list.

The following (slightly edited) information on the Boberg XR9-L Long Onyx Sub-Compact Pistol comes directly from the Boberg Arms website:

"XR9-L Long – Onyx

The XR9-L is truly the finest pocket pistol money can buy, representing the pinnacle of performance, accuracy and low recoil via an exclusive "mid-buffer" that absorbs the very harsh jarring normally caused by the barrel stopping against the frame. The pistol comes with an integrated Picatinny rail to support several commercial lasers and flashlights. Using select 9mm +P ammunition, this pistol generates over 500 Ft-Lbs of muzzle energy with felt recoil similar to .380 ACP. Using standard-pressure 9mm ammunition, the XR9-L produces felt recoil similar to .22 LR.

The Onyx Edition features an extremely durable, self-lubricating, matte-black tactical finish on the slide, barrel, hammer and all exposed parts. The aircraft-grade aluminum frame is finished in an extremely tough matte-black hardcoat-anodized stealthy finish. The trigger and transfer bar have a natural stainless steel finish. Black Zytel grips complete the Onyx's covert package.

Includes: 1 Pistol, 2 Magazines, Carry Case, Safety Lock

Pistol Specs:

Caliber: 9mm / 9mm+P
Length: 5.95”
Height: 4.2”
Width: 0.96”
Weight: 18.5 oz with magazine
Barrel Length: 4.2”
Capacity: 7+1 – Action: Rotating-Barrel Locked-Breech
Sights: Low-Profile, Dovetail Windage
Sight Radius: 5.25"
Trigger Pull: 7.5 lb DAO (standard)
Safeties: 2
MSRP: $1,399.00 USD

NOTE: The XR9-L's longer barrel is interchangeable with the XR9-S Shorty, but the slide and recoil spring/guide rod are not.

More Specs & Performance Data

The following optional accessories are sold separately:

– Tritium Night Sights
– Short-Stroke Trigger
– Red and Green Grips and Magazine Floorplates
– 6 LB and 9 LB Mainsprings (for lighter/heavier trigger pull)"

Additional Boberg XR9-L Photos:

Company Contact Info:

Boberg Arms Corporation
1755 Commerce Court
White Bear Lake, MN 55110
Phone: 651-287-0617
Fax: 651-209-4813
Email Contact Page:!contact/c19rm

Laser Aiming Systems Corporation
5475 Pioneer Creek Dr.
Maple Plain, MN 55359
Phone: 800-990-9390
Email Info:
Email Sales:


© Copyright 2013 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without receiving permission and providing proper credit and appropriate links.

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About David Crane

David Crane started publishing online in 2001. Since that time, governments, military organizations, Special Operators (i.e. professional trigger pullers), agencies, and civilian tactical shooters the world over have come to depend on Defense Review as the authoritative source of news and information on "the latest and greatest" in the field of military defense and tactical technology and hardware, including tactical firearms, ammunition, equipment, gear, and training.

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