Coonan Compact 1911 in .357 Magnum

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Coonan, Inc. was on my list of stops for SHOT this year and also came recommended by a friend whose opinion I trust. As I had written in an earlier review, my irrational view is that a 1911 should be chambered in .45 ACP. Coonan’s evolution of the platform is a 1911 in .357 Magnum.

They have been making them for a number of years and have a very limited number of variations, and I’ve heard that they do them very well (I can’t attest to that as I’ve never fired one). What I can confirm is that the appearance and feel of the weapons on display in their booth was impressive. Everything just fit together well–the machining was superb. And the models that I handled fit very well in my hand (of course that is a personal thing though, YMMV).

The new item they were showing off was their Compact version.

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Specifications:
* Caliber: .357 Magnum (will chamber and fire .38 Spc; may be some cycling sensitivity)
* Barrel Length: 4″
* Construction: Stainless Steel
* Magazine Capacity: 6 Rounds + 1
* Weight: 39 oz (empty)/ 45.5 oz loaded
* Length: 7.7″
* Height: 5.4″
* Width: 1.3″
* Sights: Dovetail Front and Rear, Fixed White Dot Sights
* Grips: Smooth Black Walnut

Options:
* Black DuraCoat with Fixed Serrated Night Sights and Fully Checkered Black Aluminum Grips
* Additional Magazines
* Grip Options

I would definitely be interested in firing one sometime. Does anyone here have experience with one? I’d love to hear some “in the field” feedback.



Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Prior to that he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he has embraced his inner “Warrior Hippie” and assaults 14er in his sandals and beard, or engages in rucking adventure challenges while consuming craft beer. To fund these adventures, he writes medical software and builds websites and mobile apps. His latest venture is as one of the founders of IronSights.com; a search engine for all things gun related. He hopes that his posts will help you find solid gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it–he is known (in certain circles) for his curse…ahem, ability…to find the breaking point of anything.


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  • FourString

    Whoa, didn’t know they were still making these

  • JSmath

    Coonans have long been one of those if-I-ever-got-rich purchases, as FourString’s response tends to imply. Pretty much the only 1911 I’ve own, personally. Maybe the RIA 22TCM, but that’s about it.

  • 300BlackoutDrunk

    I have the full size Coonan. Highly recommend it.

    • Nandor

      I just got one and it’s fantastic. It’s a huge boom and a real experience to shoot it.

    • I always imagined the grip would be somewhat 2×4 ish. How is it?

      • 300blackoutdrunk

        very comfortable. obviously bigger than the standard 1911 but not excessive

        • Hyok Kim

          Definitely not for short fingers or small hands.

  • AaronW

    Had the pleasure of firing a fellow range-goer’s Coonan a couple of times. Excellent, accurate gun.

  • Firehand

    Relative has one, and I’ve fired it. Finely-made, accurate, wish I had one.

    And everyone who’s fired his wants it.

  • Agent00J

    I have a good friend with a full sized Coonan and it’s a great shooter. I have a couple of nit picks about them though. The big one is that the corners are very sharp everywhere. The other is very minor, and in my opinion funny. When you swap the spring for .38 special we haven’t been able to find a round that will cycle the gun (can’t remember if we tried +P ammo, but i think we did), so you have manually rack the slide after each shot. The recoil is so light with them it’s laughable.
    The gun is super precise though, and it’s on my wish list.

    • Adam aka eddie d.

      It looks quite sharp, that’s for sure. In both senses of the word.
      If I had the money this gun will cost, I wouldn’t be worried about those sharp corners though, a talented gunsmith with a knack for good aesthetics can easily remedy that.

      What’s more problematic in my opinion is that it has that meaty, full frame too.
      On top of that it’s a stainless steel frame.
      Maybe it’s a nice fun gun/collector’s piece (which are perfectly good reasons for owning it, I would too), but with that weight not much more, realistically.
      Alright, I’m ready for the stones, 1911 and revolver fans! 🙂

      • Agent00J

        I agree that a good gunsmith could take care of the edges. But it’s a shame when you spend “Coonan money” and need to send it off to a smith stray away. If rather pay the extra cost upfront.

        It is a heavy gun, and not one i’d look forward to carrying all day. However, the fun factor wins out if you’re looking for a cool piece in your collection.

  • iksnilol

    Seems a bit pointless if it only has a 6+1 capacity.

    I guess the advantage is you can put a suppressor on it. That’s nice I guess.

    • Laserbait

      Are revolvers pointless if they only have a 6 round capacity? Are they pointless if they only have a 5 round capacity? How about Derringers, are they pointless?

      • Don Ward

        Cross-dressing ninja biker gangs. You’ll want the higher capacity when one attacks you.

      • iksnilol

        No. I just don’t see much advantage of a .357 pistol if it has the same/less capacity than a revolver.

        That’s what I meant.

        • Laserbait

          Faster reloads, great single action trigger (without having to pull the hammer back each time), and because there is no barrel/cylinder gap it has slightly better ballistics. Just a few advantages that pop into my mind. 🙂

          • iksnilol

            But the revolver can use both .38 and .357 (without having trouble to cycle them and all). For the money, the revolver has a higher capacity (8 shot revolvers are common now) and is more flexible).

            Note: I am a pistol guy and the only reason I would go with it is because I have easy access to suppressors. Even then, they should have made some 8 round mags or something. They could have made the frame thinner and used a staggered column magazine to increase the capacity without increasing the length much.

          • Giolli Joker

            Reliably feeding rimmed rounds in a staggered column magazine? Good luck.
            22LR is tiny but most pistol have 10rds single stack magazines; reason: rimmed case.

          • iksnilol

            Eh, the SMLE and the Dragunuov both use a staggered column magazine and an rimmed cartridge. I doubt anyone would say those two aren’t successfull.

          • Giolli Joker

            Quite possibly bottleneck cartridges can be oriented in a way that reduces the risks of having the rims interlocking… 22LR, 357Mag, 12Ga… all straight walled cases.

          • iksnilol

            OOH, I forgot: The PMR 30 works reliably with a doublestack magazine in spite of using a rimmed round (.22 WMR). .22 WMR is more comparable to .22 LR than 7.62x54mmR.

          • Giolli Joker

            Good. And Kel-Tec just patented a 33rds 22LR magazine.
            We’ve proven it’s not impossible, fine.
            Is it easy? No.
            You say: “They could have made the frame thinner and used a staggered column
            magazine to increase the capacity without increasing the length much.”
            As it was easily done.
            Apparently that would have required at least several months of additional R&D that would have raised the price of an already expensive product probably with the final effect of reducing sales.

          • BaconLovingInfidel

            No, it doesn’t. The PMR is notoriously unreliable. You have to take extra care loading mags, and some still jam like crazy. If I hadn’t seen multiple malfunctions out of the 3 I’ve seen at the range and owned by friends, I might’ve bought one as a range toy.

            It would be great for practicing clearance drills.

          • iksnilol

            The majority of people have found it to work. And besides, good design=/= quality production. So if the Kel-Tecs are bad doesn’t mean that the design itself is bad.

          • The Brigadier

            Good point. Maybe they need the same non-pinched crimp as the .38 Super and go with a rimless cartridge. There is enough room in a .38 case to hold a magnum load. The only reason the magnum case was longer was to avoid blowing up the spindly S&W .38 Special revolvers cops used in the ’30s. I sure would like to see a 1911 design in a .357 rimless cartridge. The .357 Sig is not a .357, but in actuality its a .355 making it a 9mm magnum. That’s why I sold sold my Sig 229 when I found that out. I dislike misrepresentation and Sig is now on my Do Not Buy list.

          • M.D.

            Really?

            You definitely shouldn’t buy a .223 Remington nor a 5.7x28mm, then.

        • The Brigadier

          I too was a bit surprised that it has the same mag capacity as a GI 1911. I would think that it should hold a few more rounds anyway in comparison to the width of a .45 cartridge. Is the grip shorter than a Colt?

    • Chris

      But if you can’t hit your target in 6+1 rounds you don’t need to be shooting a gun.

      • iksnilol

        By that logic we shouldn’t have 30 round mags in our rifles. Limiting capacity is stupid since you won’t be attacked by only one target that will go down in one shot.

        Short version: Grow up!

        • mitch c

          It’s called SHOT PLACEMENT. Down with 1 round…

          • The Brigadier

            That’s a nice homily that does not translate to a pitched gun battle. Most of us are able to hit a bullseye or close to it at a range, but try it against several armed opponents all blasting away at you. You shoot as many rounds as you need to for suppression fire to get them to duck. That’s why modern firearms hold a bazillion rounds in the first place.

          • iksnilol

            Okay, lets follow that train of thought: Why bother carrying anything except a derringer? Like you said, you only need one round.

          • Hanzo

            Derp. Perhaps your opponent is more than 5 feet away from you. Once again your flip remarks while attempting to sound informed only serve to make you look stupid.

          • iksnilol

            If my remarks are stupid then why do more people agree with me than with you.

            + a derringer isn’t inaccurate, it is just that the sights are usually bad on them.

          • Hanzo

            Wah wah wah. Who agreed with you? The many voices that reside in your head? Wow.Just.Wow. A derringer is , indeed, VERY inaccurate. How many rifles have you seen with a barrel as short as a derringer?
            “The sights are usually bad on them”? Are you entirely kidding me? A derringer isn’t even supposed to be aimed with the sights (and plenty were never even made with sights. Derringers were designed to point and shoot at very close range. One reason is because they are very concealable and retrievable and the other being they are inaccurate as hell.

          • iksnilol

            The whole “long barrel=accuracy” myth you keep regurgitating proves to me you know very little about guns. Good day, I have better things to do. Things such as; work, homework and of course breathing.

          • Hanzo

            Haha. The bullet will not engage the lands for an amount of time to ensure efficient levels of twist to be accurate for truly any space much beyond your arms length. Derringers were mass produced and most are cheap and woefully inaccurate. Please read a book, preferably a book on the history of the Derringer.
            I do hope you’re not confused enough to mix modern short barrel revolvers with derringers, they are 2 different animals. There, I gave you an out.
            I also must leave, I feel an iksnilol moving through my bowels and I have to deposit it in the toilet. Good day.

          • iksnilol

            Ah, I see. When your views are challenged since you can’t defend them you resort to ad hominem attacks. And if you have seen various tests and experiments, you will see that barrel length doesn’t have much to do with accuracy.

          • Hanzo

            Hahaha. Pseudo-intellectual. Whew!
            I didn’t defend my argument? Seriously? The length of barrel and twist most certainly do affect accuracy. You were the geniass that stated “long barrel=accuracy myth”.
            Try shooting a .300 Winchester from a 28″ barrel vs. a 2″ barrel. See how that affects your accuracy, perfesser.
            The only negative a long barrel has is the bullet will actually begin to slow down before it leaves the muzzle. Perhaps you should actually read my posts before attempting to slander them, old man.
            Ad Homs are fun when one, such as yourself, is a pompous self-assuming bore.

          • BaconLovingInfidel

            Barney Fife only needed one cartridge to keep the peace.

      • tfb Guest

        The gun grabbers would love to cite you as an expert.

      • Hanzo

        Chris>> Soak your head awhile.

    • 300blackoutdrunk

      I contacted coonan and they do not recommend using suppressors.

  • Rob

    This chambering made more sense before the 10mm. The .357 cartridge is long (requiring a deeper grip) and you have to feed a rimmed case . I’ll stick with my S&W 1006.

    • Hanzo

      I agree. The gun looks like nice, but the .357 in Auto has been rendered useless with the advent of the 10MM.

      • The Brigadier

        The .357 revolver cartridge was not rendered useless by the .41 magnum that is now a dead cartridge for all practical purposes. The 10mm that is a .41 caliber is not popular in the U.S. and until some kickass pistol comes along for it will die in America like the .41 magnum. No one has made a true .357 auto yet so your statement has no weight Coonan’s is not a .357 auto and its limited capacity keeps its appeal very low.

        • Hanzo

          Hah, “Connan’s is not a .357 auto”, huh?!?! Looks like an autoloader to me. Are you saying it’s a single shot?
          Well, since you’re an imbecile, your statement has less credence than any post in this thread. You’re trying to “connect the dots” of why the .357, which has ALWAYS been a miserable Auto cartridge in order to appear intelligent (that’s a stretch) and in order to malign my comment.
          “The 10mm that is a .41 caliber(sic) blah, blah, blah”, really? What a retarded statement, the .40 is a 10MM with the case shortened. Hyperbole much? You don’t know what the hell is going to happen in the future. The 10mm has been pronounced dead by supposedly knowledgeable people, as well as morons such as yourself, long ago.
          Try to form a sentient statement from the thin veneer you call your brain before posting next time. Derp.

          Btw, do your research, there have been more .357 Auto’s attempted than 10MM Autos. Virtually all .357’s in Auto configuration are jam-o-matics.

          • The Brigadier

            You resort to cheap ad hominem attacks. I simply suggested they change over to .38 auto cases used in Brownings .38 Super so they can shrink the size of their magazines and the grips. This would make it more easily gripped by all users and also increase the capacity of the mags. Since 9mm cartridges are .355, .357 auto cartridges would have the same capacities in double stacked mags.

            The 10mm IS almost dead in this country. When was the last time you saw anyone offer 10mm ammo in any email ammo offers? You don’t. The only buyers are Europeans where the caliber is popular. Probably because its a metric caliber and Europeans can’t think in any other math base other than base 10.

            You obviously have a screw loose when you resort to your personal attacks. Next time read a post carefully before you do this again. And by the way the ballistics of the 10mm are almost the same as the .41 magnum. I am on firm ground here. Look it up. You already look foolish enough with your ill informed attack.

          • Hanzo

            You’re a pompous, daft old windbag. I read your other comments, you’re a troll. If you actually possessed half the knowledge you feign you’d almost be to the level of idiot. “Read a post carefully”? Don’t tell me what to do, it sounds like you’re a narcissist with an authority complex.
            Ever heard of Lucky Gunner, Natchez, Brownells, CTD? They all offer 10MM in their emails consistently.
            Don’t get your panties in a wad, just acquire a few books and read them. I look foolish? Heh heh, this is the internet, try to come to grips with that, Private.
            I didn’t address all of your inanities because I didn’t bother to read your entire post. Yawn.

          • The Brigadier

            You are a young, uneducated idiot with a non-logical thinking brain. Your admittance that you didn’t read my entire post shows you are a fool. I don’t suffer fools lightly. Your failure to understand that 10mm and .41 magnum are basically the same caliber with similar ballistics and yet you flamed me for that. It proves your are uneducated about firearms. Go eff yourself you little halfwit and stuff your ad hominem slurs.

          • Hanzo

            What are you talking about? Dementia setting in? I never said anywhere that .41 and 10MM don’t share many characteristics (ballistics), but they AREN’T the same cartridge. “It proves blah blah blah”. Please get back on your old timey meds posthaste.
            You know it’s funny, your ego riles when you think someone hasn’t read your entire post, yet you obviously didn’t read my posts completely either.

            I guess I was hard on you but your pious attitude makes you an easy target.

            Oh yeah, the Moderator wants us to stop bickering, if you look below he called us out, so I’m done out of respect for said Mod, as this did get out of hand.

          • Ok guys keep it civil. If you disagree fine but flying insults add nothing to the discussion. The insults need to stop. I really don’t like to delete comments or ban people.

          • Hanzo

            Hmm. I thought everyone knew the .41 and 10MM are almost identical, with the .41 having a slight edge. Your “knowledge” of firearms is very narrow. You also come off as being very pretentious. Just sayin’.
            Bark up some other tree, Private.

    • me ohmy

      I shot a 1911 in 10 mill and I swear it cycles and double taps way faster then the 45ACP version.. love the caliber.

      • The Brigadier

        10 mil is a magnum round. Its not popular in the U.S., but the Europeans love it. It might be a winner here in a 1911 package.

        • Hanzo

          Ever hear of the Delta Elite or the Omega? Oy vey. Kindergarten gun class is in session.
          The only reason the FBI gave up on the Delta Elite was political correctness. The influx of women demanded they go to a less powerful cartridge. Get in the 21st century, Private.

        • M.D.

          * Many 10x25mm M1911-pattern pistols have been made; I have one.
          * 10mm Auto isn’t popular in Europe, where the M1911 also isn’t overwhelmingly popular.
          * Since you’re a fan of .38 Super, you should look up 9x23mm Winchester: a thicker-brass high-powered standardization of the latter, without the semi-rim of the .38 Super.

    • tfb Guest

      I’ve seen 357 readily available at your average sporting goods department. 10mm, just about never. 10mm costs a tad more too. So, there is that.

    • The Brigadier

      Again you can load .38 auto cartridges used in the .38 Super with magnum loads. There is plenty of room in any .38 cartridge, pistol or revolver for this. That would also shorten the forward length of Coonan’s grip and increase the capacity to 9+1. That is a modern capacity and you could get 14 or 15 rounds with staggered stacking. I don’t recommend using them in the Super, but the beefier Coonan should be able to easily handle the increased pressures. As soon as I get my new business started and my finances permit it I am going to open an armory and make some new weapons. I think this one would be a winner. It would satisfy the light and fast crowd with the slow and heavy pistol design. The 1911 is the best one for the latter category.

  • me ohmy

    never forget the a-hole that owns the company enabled leftists and gave them aid to ban certain weapons.. THEN tried to lie his way out of it when caught by good internet detective work.. f**k him

    • the ammo addict

      I was not aware of this, could you cite a source or two? I’m, genuinely curious.

  • testiculous.

    .357 magnum, out of a 4 inch barrel?
    ouch, muzzle flash/blast is gonna hurt in an actual SD situation.

    • iksnilol

      Not really, 10 cm barrel is pretty common for .357 magnum. Pretty much the most practical barrel length for it. At least that’s what many police officers went with when they used revolvers.

    • The Brigadier

      A lot of .357 revolvers have 4 inch barrels and can shoot rounds 150 lbs of pressure higher than the pistol can. I do find them unpleasant to shoot and my two .357s have six inch barrels. Imagine those people who carry .44 magnums in those tiny, but beefy 3 inch barreled revolvers. Ouch!

      • Hanzo

        Only if you’re a sissy with soft hands and a weak grip.

  • Adam aka eddie d.

    Compact, 39 oz. empty, 4″ barrel. Well, haha, I guess? 🙂
    It’s still nice though, I’d try the 1911 platform for this.

  • maddmedic

    I have had the opportunity to fire a Coonan, a couple of times…
    Sweet..
    Want…
    Badly..

  • Jack

    I’ll stick with my 10mm…

  • Swampy

    As I read these discussions after almost every article that comes out, I find it courious that almost every new product/ gun that comes out is automatically judged and picked apart based on some sort of tactical/self defense usage. Does no one just shoot anymore for the joy of shooting? Or does everything absolutely have to fill a special tactical purpose?

    • Certainly not for myself. I shoot some guns for the joy of shooting while others have a specific purpose. There is certainly no need to mark a gun as not useful because it doesn’t have a tactical use.