Coonan Classic .357 Magnum Automatic

by
posted on October 16, 2012
2012101684317-coonan357_f.jpg

10/16/2012

Dan Coonan designed the M1911-based, .357 Mag.-chambered Coonan pistol while still in college and started manufacturing it in the late 1970s. Coonan sold Coonan Arms to Bill Davis in 1985, and five years later he left the company. In 1994, Coonan Arms filed Chapter 11 and eventually was incorporated by JS Worldwide Distribution. Both Coonan Arms and JS Worldwide were dissolved in 1998.

Dan Coonan met Dave Neville when their daughters were going to school together, and in 2009 they joined forces with Gordy Davis to form Coonan, Inc. It reintroduced the Coonan .357 Magnum Automatic Pistol, calling it the Classic.

The stainless-steel Coonan Classic .357 Magnum Automatic has 18 parts that are interchangeable, six parts that require some modification from the original M1911 design and the remainder unique to Coonan’s design. For example, the barrel does not have a link, but does use a muzzle bushing. The barrel flares larger at the end for a smoother and tighter lockup. The sample pistol’s fit and finish were excellent with all parts well machined and devoid of tooling marks.

The gun features a large, full-length dust cover and while not actually much larger than a standard M1911, the gun gives the overall perception of being a large handgun. For example the grip, just below the grip safety, measures 2.2 inches wide compared to an S&W M1911 .45 ACP, which measures 1.95 inches. The distance from the grip safety in the collapsed position to the trigger is 2.83 inches, compared to the S&W’s 2.73 inches. The front of the trigger guard is about 1/4 inch farther from the back of the grip on the Coonan. Of course, the magazines are larger to accommodate the longer cartridge so the grip size reflects that. The magazine holds seven cartridges, giving the pistol an eight-round capacity overall.

The .357 Mag. cartridge was developed for a revolver where it could headspace off the rim. Traditionally, feeding of rimmed center-fire cartridges is problematic in box-magazine-fed firearms. That problem, however, has been addressed well with the Coonan. The cartridges are staggered, with the rim of each cartridge in front of the one below it in the magazine.

Although the Coonan’s gripframe is larger than that of a standard M1911, after having several shooters try the gun, there was a consensus that it was not an issue and that even those with average-size hands had no trouble reaching the trigger. Some shooters, however, may find it difficult to reach the magazine release button with the right thumb.

Both of the sights are dovetailed into the slide. The front sight on the sample gun was a serrated black ramp with a steep contour, while the black rear sight was adjustable for elevation with a single screw. Windage is controlled by drifting the sight in the dovetail. Trijicon night sights are also available as an option.

The safety is right-hand-only, but Neville says that most any aftermarket ambidextrous M1911 safety will fit. The extractor is the external style. The slide release is oversize for easy use.

The two-stage trigger is a pivoting design inspired, as was the linkless barrel, by the Browning Hi Power pistol. The break was clean and crisp at 3 pounds, 3 ounces, on our sample. The stocks are smooth black walnut with the Coonan logo laser engraved in the center.

We function tested the pistol with several different .357 Mag. loads, with bullet weights from 125 grains to 180 grains. It ran well with most, but did not function properly with reduced-power “personal defense” ammunition. When the gun was fed full-power .357 Mag. ammunition designed for handguns, it ran fine.

The Coonan could serve well as a dual-purpose pistol pressed into hunting and defensive roles. Company advertisements read, “Looking for your first pistol? Well this isn’t it!” They are right—the Coonan is a powerful, high-performance handgun, and like anything that’s high-performance it runs best within a narrow band and requires careful attention to detail. But with that attention comes the reward of ultra-high ballistic performance from the M1911 platform.

Manufacturer: Coonan Inc.; (763) 786-1720; www.coonaninc.com
Caliber: .357 Mag.
Action Type: recoil-operated, center-fire semi-automatic pistol
Barrel Length: 5"
Rifling: six-groove, 1:16" RH twist
Magazine:
seven-round, detachable box
Sights: black elevation-adjustable rear; black, serrated-ramp front (Trijicon Night Sights optional)
Trigger: two-stage; 3-lb., 3-oz. pull
Stocks: smooth black walnut; Coonan logo laser engraved.
Overall Length: 8.3"
Height: 5.6"
Width: 1.3"
Weight: 42 ozs.
Accessories: owner’s manual, carrying case, safety lock, 10-lb. recoil spring for .38 Spl.
Suggested Retail Price: $1,249

Latest

The Armed Citizen
The Armed Citizen

The Armed Citizen® May 23, 2022

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

2022 Rifle Of The Year: Ruger 10/22 Competition Rifle Left-Handed Model

Now in their 20th year, the Golden Bullseye Awards are chosen annually to recognize the firearm industry’s best new offerings. Here is this year’s winners as selected by the editors of “The World’s Oldest And Largest Firearm Authority.”

America’s Prototype 'Trench Guns' Of World War I

Arms of all sorts were in high demand at the onset of the Great War, including a new type of close-quarters combat firearm: the repeating shotgun. Though several designs were explored, only a few made it into the trenches before the Armistice was signed.

Preview: Hogue Knives Deka Manual Folder

Hogue, Inc. expanded its lineup of American-made knives with the Deka Manual Folder.

Reasons To Consider Sub-Gauge Shotguns

Shooting as often as you like with a shotgun sounds like fun, but high-volume shooting takes planning and preparation—and the right sub-gauge gun.

Preview: Apex Tactical Springfield Hellcat Threaded Barrel

Machined from cold-hammer-forged, stainless-steel blanks, the Apex Tactical Hellcat Threaded Barrel is a drop-in replacement for any Springfield Armory Hellcat.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.