Stoeger Cougar

Description

The Stoeger Cougar is a semi-automatic large-frame pistol chambered in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. The history behind the Cougar is a little complicated. Originally manufactured by Beretta, but because of production changes Beretta dropped the model and replaced it with the PX4 Storm. At the time of the change Beretta owned Stoeger and, in a nutshell, gave Stoeger the design. Although the Cougar’s manufacturer has changed, the design is still relatively intact.

Features include a rotating-locking system, which means the barrel stays straight and actually spirals as the slide pulls back. On other systems the barrel just sort of sits and, as the slide pulls back, dips down in turn lifts the front. The Cougar has an ambidextrous safety that works as a de-cocking lever, so shooters can change between double and single-action. Its Bruniton finish doesn’t glare, is corrosion resistant and comes in black, silver, and silver and black. Its ergonomically friendly grip is a very popular feature. Most ergo-grips have finger grooves, but the Cougar’s is bigger and round. And, its most popular quality is its price—less than $500.

The .45 caliber Cougar is the newest edition to the series and it is only available in black, but it has a Picatinny rail for easy mounting of a light or laser.

Stoeger recommends the Cougar for home defense and law enforcement.

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Specifications

9mm
Caliber:9mm
Capacity:15
Sights:Three-dot fixed sights
Features:Rotating-barrel locked system; combat style trigger guard; ambidextrous safety; safety acts as de-cocker; and cold-hammer forged barrel
Action:Semi-auto
Material/Finish:Bruniton matte black Bruniton matte black, anodized silver frame Bruniton silver slide, anodized silver frame
Size:Large
Trigger:Double-action/single-action
Website:http://www.stoegerin…
Weight:2.0375 pounds
Barrel Length:3.6"
Length:7"
.40 S&W
Caliber:.40 S&W
Capacity:11
Sights:Three-dot fixed sights
Features:Rotating-barrel locked system; combat style trigger guard; ambidextrous safety; safety acts as de-cocker; and cold-hammer forged barrel
Action:Semi-auto
Material/Finish:Bruniton matte black Bruniton matte black, anodized silver frame Bruniton silver slide, anodized silver frame
Size:Large
Trigger:Double-action/single-action
Website:http://www.stoegerin…
Weight:2.025 pounds
Barrel Length:3.6"
Length:7"
.45 ACP
Caliber:.45 ACP
Capacity:8
Sights:Three-dot fixed sights
Features:Rotating-barrel locked system; combat style trigger guard; ambidextrous safety; safety acts as de-cocker; Picatinny rail; and cold-hammer forged barrel
Action:Semi-auto
Material/Finish:Bruniton matte black
Size:Large
Trigger:Double-action/single-action
Website:http://www.stoegerin…
Weight:2 pounds
Barrel Length:3.6"
Length:7"
MSRP$449.00

Editor Review

Beretta Dethrones an Icon, Raises a Cougar

Back in the 1980s, Beretta won an epic contract with the US military that dethroned the Model 1911 .45.  The Beretta M9, and the civilian version--the 92FS, formed the foundation of Beretta’s handguns. The M9 established brand loyalty for Beretta and brought customers into gun stores looking for other pistols from the company they’d grown to trust--myself included.

Beretta made the most of this with an evolving line of semi-automatics that echoed the features of the M9 while staying current with their innovative competitors like Glock and SIG Sauer. One of the first of these new additions was the Beretta 8000--the Cougar.

The Cougar line was popular.  They were adopted by police departments, including the LAPD.  That speaks to a balance of reliability, function, and affordability.  So why did Beretta turn over production to their subsidiary, Stoeger, who builds the guns in Turkey?

Does that matter?  It does to some.  They are built from the same materials and on the same machines.  Yet, they are not built by Americans--or Italians, so that brings the price down.  And the guns have Stoeger stamped on the slide.

Features

Still, the Cougars have some nice features.  Beretta designed a rotating barrel that employs what they call the “rotary locking principle.”  This keeps the barrel pointed in the same direction while the spent shell is ejected.  Most barrels tip up a bit, or a lot, during ejection.  The other option, a fixed barrel, increases felt recoil.  The Cougar’s barrel absorbs some of the energy while twisting to eject the shell.  I understand the physics, but I can’t really tell all that much of a difference.

I have often wondered why folks weren’t satisfied with the M9.  I think the answer is the ubiquitous call for more firepower, and the Cougars offer options.   The 9mm, .357 SIG, and .40 caliber Cougars all have high capacity double-stack magazines.  The .45 has a single-stack magazine, but it’s a .45, so firepower enthusiasts are happy.

What attracted me was the ergonomic feel of the pistol.  I have a hard time reaching all of the levers on big semi-automatics.  I can release the slide, drop the magazine, and work the safety without modifying my grip.  The Cougars also have ambidextrous safeties and decockers.  While this increases functionality, the pistols still spit shells out to the right.  Not a big deal, but it could be annoying for left-handed shooters.

Final Thoughts

I think that Beretta offered the best review of their product by outsourcing production, distribution and marketing.  That’s a sign, right?  The gun is worth making?--but the market for this particular pistol is not worth Beretta’s time. 

After all, the Beretta Cougar was a reliable and innovative pistol from a trusted, established company and a pistol that couldn’t compete with the similar offerings from SIG, Glock, Smith & Wesson, FN, Ruger, Kahr, and Beretta. 

Beretta?  Oops.   Maybe that’s why they outsourced.  The Beretta PX series.  You have to make room for the new.