Coonan Arms Classic .357 Magnum 1911 Pistol

The Coonan Classic .357 is a handful of a firearm and not for the light of heart, but overall I think it is a practical self defense pistol and that it shouldn’t be considered just a novelty. The .357 Magnum cartridge is a very effective round, and Coonan has eliminated all of the variables that have prevented it from being widely adopted in the semi-auto pistol.

I shot the Coonan primarily with Hornady Critical Defense. It clocked just over 1500 feet per second and my average group with the gun rested on a bag at 10 yards were about an inch. With the stock sights it shot to nearly exactly point of aim. What else do you need?

The $1,249 list on this gun is for the black grips (or possibly the wooden ones) and standard finish, but you can also get it in black or digital camo for additional cost.

This is our test gun. It came with an extra mag in this custom made and embroidered Coonan Arms case.

The keychain looking thing you see in the case is a pin to load the magazines. This makes the very steep angle of the mags easy to manage. You can just drop the rounds in.

There may be a lot of mystique around the sheer power of the .357 Magnum, but I found this gun very manageable, and with the Hornady Critical Defense loads that are tailored to avoid excessive muzzle flash in handguns, there was no overwhelming ball of fire. Followup shots were no more difficult than a standard 1911, and easier than a .357 revolver.

The grip circumference overall is no larger than many common double stack pistols on the market, even this 9mm S&W. It is long and thin, and I think will adapt to all but the smallest hands.

The dovetail fixed sights on the base model can be upgraded from Coonan, or you can put other sights on yourself. It shot to point of aim, so as a carry weapon the rounded sight is just fine out of the box.

The barrel does not have the hinged link like on a standard 1911, but it does come out of the front of the slide the same way with the front barrel bushing.

My test gun didn’t cycle .38 Special reliably even with the replacement thinner spring, but I am sure this is something that Coonan will be working on. Make sure to put the heavy spring back when you return to shooting .357 Magnum or you will put undue wear and tear on your gun.

The Coonan Classic .357 is a high quality extremely good looking piece of firearm machinery that reflects the love of its makers. You will be proud to own one, and you will feel that you got a lot more for your money than you paid for. It is a really nice gun that works fantastic.

Coonan Arms

What do you call a giant stainless steel .357 Magnum 1911 pistol? Well, if you listen to Coonan Arms, maker of this righteous beast called the Coonan Classic .357, the answer is that it may be many things, but it is for sure…

Not Your First Pistol!

The .357 Magnum is considered by many to be the most effective handgun round for human sized targets. But unfortunately the cartridge was created for revolvers, not pistols. So for fans of 1911 and other auto pistols, the .357 Magnum isn’t practical. It has a rim around the back of the case, unlike a .45ACP or 9mm that are flat and don’t. The extra lip that sticks out of the .357 Magnum and other rimmed cases creates trouble in semi-auto pistol magazines, and the .357 Magnum case itself is very long to fit lengthwise in the grip of a pistol as well.

This leaves 1911 fans who are also devotees of the .357 Magnum in a lurch, because though you can carry several guns at one time, you can only shoot one gun effectively at a time. Until now you had to choose between a 1911 and a .357 Magnum revolver. The Coonan Classic .357 seeks to combine these two choices, and they have done a really great job of it. If you are fan of both the 1911 and the .357 Magnum, you will be pleasantly surprised with this gun. It definitely isn’t for the uninitiated, but with a proper understanding of how the gun works and why, it isn’t a gun to be afraid of as a novice shooter . It works really well and is also a lot of gun for the money.

The Coonan Classic .357 features a linkless barrel in a 1911 frame. That means it field strips more like a modern auto-pistol than like a 1911. The barrel still comes out the front like a standard 1911, with the front barrel bushing that turns so you can slide the barrel out, but the link you have to line up when you reassemble the gun is not there. This is a pure recoil operated gun, like a standard 1911, and I think that Coonan stresses this because the only other .357 Mag. pistol on the market is the Desert Eagle, and that is gas operated in part, as we explained recently in our review of the .44 Mag. version of the gun. A recoil operated gun is cleaner than a gas gun, and it is subject to less maintenance.

If you look in the pictures, you will notice the steep incline of the rounds in the specialized magazine for this gun. This is so that the rims of the .357 Mag. cases will absolutely not bind up by overlapping each other. For other gunmakers out there, I’m sure this was a case of “why didn’t I think of that,” because it does 100% solve the rim problem with the .357 Mag. case. The Coonan Classic .357 feeds flawlessly, as long as you use real .357 Mag. ammo, which I’ll get into in a bit.

The grip on the Coonan Classic .357 is big, but though most of the circumference is lengthwise, it overall is not really bigger than my Para P-14, and I even compared it to an old Smith & Wesson 659, which is a double stack 9mm from the 80s, and it is about the same size. At a circumference of just over 5 5/8ths inches, it fits my stubby fingered hand just fine. In fact I would argue that the design of the grip is made specifically so that finger length is not an issue. Your hand isn’t going to go all the way around unless you have Eddie Van Halen freakishly long fingers, so wherever the fingers rest is where they rest, regardless of your size hands. I was able to shoot it comfortably.

Physically the gun is flawless. Coonan sells the Classic .357 for $1,249 as you see it in the pictures with black grips and fixed sights, and they offer upgrades on sights, grips, Duracoat, and extra mags above that. But the appearance and function of the gun is that of a much more expensive 1911. The action is butter smooth, the trigger crisp and light, and after hundreds of rounds of .357 Mag. and .38 Special the breech face and internals of the gun were about as dirty as a most guns I shoot after 20 rounds. This is a well made, close tolerance gun that will last you a lifetime. You can buy several brands of 1911 off the shelf for more money than this Coonan and they will not be this clean and tight in their manufacturing and performance.

The ad campaign about the Coonan Classic .357 not being your first pistol is just that, an ad campaign. You do have to read the directions on this gun. It comes with a pin to help you load the magazine effortlessly, and as I was loading the magazine I did envision bumbleheaded posts to the gun forums about how much of a “thumbuster” the Coonan .357 magazines were, when you were never supposed to load them with just your thumb to begin with. There is no accounting for stupid, and I think this is part of why Coonan adopted the “not your first pistol” approach, to steer the gun away from people who wouldn’t use it properly. It is definitely a gun geek gun, but you shouldn’t let that scare you off if you are new to shooting but comfortable with the guns you already shoot.

To me the gun wasn’t punishing whatsoever. It is 42 oz. empty, and this is plenty of weight to offset the recoil of a full snot .357 Mag. I shot it with Hornady Critical defense, and though you will see a huge fireball on the Coonan Arms webpage, I didn’t note this at all in my tests of the gun. Critical Defense utilizes the same powder blending technology that you find in Hornady Superformance. The .357 Mag. Critical Defense is engineered to not produce a big fireball with even a 2″ Ruger LCR, and the Coonan Classic 5″ barrel is more than enough burn time to optimize the most velocity with the least muzzle flash. The 125 grain Critical Defense clocked at just over 1500 feet per second, and it shot easily into about an inch at ten yards.

Some may find the romance of a huge kick and brilliant muzzle flash a great reason to buy a .357 Mag. pistol, but as a certifiable gun geek, I think this pistol stands on its own merits very well as a really functional and high quality pistol for a reasonable price.

The only thing I didn’t find as promised in the Coonan Classic .357 was that it is supposed to be able to shoot .38 Special with a second spring that comes with the gun. I installed the spring and tried it with Hornady Critical Defense in both regular .38 Special and the +P loads, as well as some Fiocchi .38 Special I was out testing a cowboy gun with, and none of it cycled reliably even with the lighter spring. I don’t think that people buy a gun like this in hopes that they will be able to punch paper with the .38s, but each to his own. Though it was disappointing from a nerd perspective, I don’t feel this hurts the viability of the Coonan Arms Classic .357 as probably the nicest .357 semi-auto pistol ever made.

If you try your own pistol with the .38 Special spring, make sure to swap the spring back when you switch back to .357 Mag. The gun will work fine with the lighter spring and the more powerful ammunition, but the heavy spring was installed as the default to protect the frame of the gun from unnecessary battering. This is yet another reason why I’m sure Coonan had the idea to advertise the Classic .357 as “not your first pistol.” If you don’t follow the directions you will only frustrate yourself, and you may damage your gun over time.

It holds 7+1 rounds of .357 Mag. (or .38 if you can get it to shoot), so as a carry gun the firepower is about the same as a standard .45ACP 1911. Our test gun came with two mags, but on the website it appears that for the $1,249 base price you only get one. It also comes with a bottle of FP-10 lubricant, and a nicely made custom soft zipper case, as well as a lock and the pin to help load the magazines.

“Nothing Left to Envy” is the Coonan Arms tag line, and I think it fits this gun a lot better than “not your first pistol.” Side by side with just about any other 1911, there is nothing left to envy, and as long as you understand that you have to slow down and follow the directions with the Coonan Classic .357, there is no reason it couldn’t be your first pistol. Devotees of both the 1911 and the .357 Magnum will find a nice blend in this gun, and I can pretty much assure you that nobody else at the range will have one.

{ 82 comments… add one }
  • Mark K. May 9, 2020, 11:51 pm

    Wonderfully written article, on a wonderfully built handgun. After seeking one out since the early 80’s, I finally got mine. The classic, better made, and more functional than the original. I put black tiger walnut grips on her with a Miami Classic Galco shoulder rig I hot water fit to the pistol, and it is a dream to shoot and wear. Very accurate, powerful, and easy to carry comfortably. Thanks for the article.

  • Sean September 20, 2015, 11:28 pm

    Can I just get the slide, barrel, mags and parts to finish the slide? I have been building from 80% lowers and I think it would be a fun build.

  • jeff July 23, 2014, 12:38 pm

    I have owned a classic for several years now and it has become my favorite pistol in my collection- fyi after several 100 rds. I can shoot .38s quite reliably[ but not wcs!

  • Rohaven February 25, 2014, 11:07 am

    Own a model B since ’98. And just bought some new black almn. grips for her. Always a headturner at the range along with my LAR Mk 1 45win. mag. Are my pride of joy. My mdl B likes American Eagle 357, and not Winchester. Never any fails to function owned since new, also with .38spl conversion. If the new ones are as good, no reason not to buy one.

  • Gerld December 7, 2013, 12:20 pm

    I like this ideal because I use a .357 mag lever action rifle and it would allow me to use the same ammo.

  • Phil August 6, 2013, 2:44 pm

    this is one of my bucket list guns

  • vern January 26, 2013, 7:56 pm

    I have a pre 1970 Coonan -B , and the fireing pin has lost it’s temper how can i get a new one ??

  • Donald September 21, 2012, 8:10 pm

    oh my god. i bought one in 1979. i paid 600.00 for it. god i loved it.i sold it in the late 90’s and i kicked my azz ever since then for sale in it.but i had financial problems and sold 7 of my hand guns. now omg i want to buy a new one. i got to have another one and on top of it. a new much for the cheapest one……and how and where can i buy one.

  • Freedom1Man July 31, 2012, 5:10 am

    The Russians had semi-auto rifles that took rimmed cases AND a bolt action that takes rimmed cases.

    I fail to see the AWW factor when these guys did it for a pistol.. A magazine is a magazine they hold ammo to make firing the next round easier and faster.

  • Garyss357 July 4, 2012, 5:19 am

    I have been packing my Dan Wesson 4″ vented barrel (Monson) 357 CTG for nearly thirty years and it’ is a straight shooting weapon with very good weight and balance to keep it easy recoil and on target. My Colt SAAs and SANFs which I started collecting in the 60s, 70.s and early 80s along with the original Winchesters with matching ammonition are now retired long ago as my cowboy days. After working with the DoD with many WTRs (weapons testing ranges), it was an eye opener for super bad A.. bang and the big boom stuff. I am recalling the old days and way off the point, just good memories for me.

    Well, now back into the good custom bang stuff and John Law who posted a comment does not seem to like change, and from my perspective, it is much about what it takes to be a master of weapons development/technology. Heck, why do we have such damn good weapons systems today, change! When I saw this Coonan and read the reviews on this weapon as well as spoke a few times with their gunsmiths and other high level FFLl/SOT and GSA weapons experts etc., many thought this weapon was well designed and reliable and a game changer. They know there is always room for improvement, but anyone who says they are an expert, knows think they can stop learning. The great weapons makers know the term expert is a bone head way to quit thinking. The true “experts” know there the only real reality, keep on on changing, changing and more changing until their last breath. Heck I am long winded. Well I had some nice tricked out useful items put on this beauty and it should be here this Friday. Dan W will have to go rest a spell, but not forgotten. I am going to put it through hell and document my findings and HAVE FUN. God Bless America and the 2nd Amendment!

  • Paul T. Sharp April 17, 2012, 9:34 pm

    I just love the way your Model B. 1911 357 Magnum looks.Can I have it custom with a compensator??Please give a way to send you an attachment so you can get an idea of what I would want in a compensator for this lovely pistol you’ve invented.Send me a link so I can send that attachment at the above email (

    Thank you.

  • Dorian Jones March 26, 2012, 10:41 pm


    The 38 Super was the answer for those wanting .357 power in a 1911.

    Let’s reinvent the wheel.

    • Mongo November 6, 2012, 3:50 pm

      The 38 Super is not 357 magnum power in a 1911, or any other platform. The 38 Super is more coparable with the 45ACP, with some disadvantages. First and foremost, the 38 Super is lower caliber. In the world of handguns, large calibers win gunfights. This is not just my opinion. This fact is backed up by Don Mann, former Navy SEAL, in his book entitled “The Modern Day Gunslinger”. The 45ACP 230gr hardball round is a more devastating round than a of the Super 38 loads. The 38 Super was, in fact, re-inventing the wheel… since the 45ACP/1911 platform pre-existed it and was capable of comparable ballistics to the 38 Super. This fact is why the 38 Super has been around since 1920, yet hasn’t really taken off as a viable, preferable alternative to the 45ACP.

      Nobody reinvented the wheel with the 38 Super round. The 38 Super round itself attempted to re-invent the 45ACP, but without the devastating stopping power.

      The 38 Super is a boutique round. Few people will ever use it. Like the 10mm, ammunition will usually be scarce locally, and expensive locally.

  • Clair January 22, 2012, 11:42 am

    that is a funny story. Coonans are very loud guns. I have never shot a louder pistol in my life. The only thing close to it is my Glock 33 in 357 sig

  • Deja vu January 18, 2012, 10:47 am

    Once I was shooting my BFR (45/70 Govt) at the local pistol range when this guy takes the spot next to me and starts plinking with his 9mm glock after he had been there for a while it was clear that my shooting was making him flinch. I oppoligised and moved as far from him as I could. After a short time he scowled at me and then complained to the range officer about my gun. They (the range officer and the guy complaining) said that it shot a rifle bullet so I had to take it to the rifle range. Instead I put the BFR away and pulled out my Coonan Classic (357 magnum automatic) with some special 110 grain bullets loaded over a hot load of H110. That gun spewed fire like a dragon and roared like a F15 Eagle. I did 21 rounds of fast fire (3 mags)

    When the same guy complained to the range officer again the range officer came over to me and looked at my gun and asked if he could shoot it. He shot 1 round and gave it back to me! He said its an interesting gun and I was welcome to shoot “this” gun at the pistol range! The other guy left after giving me some dirty looks.

  • John D. HEACOCK January 15, 2012, 9:30 pm

    I carried a Model B Coonan 357 Mag for my duty weapon from Jan 1987 until Oct of 2009. I have been a Pierce County Deputy Sheriff since 1984. I found out what my Coonan was worth, so I had to retire it; but it was the best handgun I have ever owned and even fired. I may be buying one of the new ones in the near future. Thanks DAN, Great firearm!!! John HEACOCK

    • Ron January 27, 2012, 8:39 pm

      Deputy Heacock,
      I watch COPS and when I saw you with your Coonan, I just about fell out of my chair. No mistaking that it was a Coonan. I saw that same episode several times before I was able to get your name, dept. and state. I always wanted to contact you to find out how you liked your Coonan. I was working at Coonan Arms at that time, and worked on that gun, so I had an interest in your experience with it.

  • JSW January 14, 2012, 11:42 am

    I wonder what my CC company is going to say when they see that purchase…

  • Larry Brown January 13, 2012, 5:58 pm

    Picked up my new Coonan yesterday from my dealer first impressions are I like the trigger pull, it is a good looking gun, quality material, fit and finish is very nice except for the slide to frame fit which is very loose (big disappointment there) I will shoot it the first chance I get, busy working to pay for the toys!!!!!! I will let you know how the pistol function and its accuracy. I like the pistol but wish it had a better slide to frame fit how was the frame to slide fit on your test gun.


    • Administrator January 14, 2012, 10:23 pm

      No play whatsoever.

  • FAS January 12, 2012, 3:05 pm

    The author said to read the manual. He should take his own advice. On page 3 or 4 of the manual it says do not fire .38 Specials until the gun is broke in. Below that it says the brake in is 200 to 500 rounds. After the break in it will fire .38s with no problems.

    • Administrator January 12, 2012, 6:50 pm

      See that there you go lol.

  • John January 12, 2012, 2:16 pm

    Why not the .357 Sig round. It’s not a revolver cartridge like the magnum.

    • Mike January 12, 2012, 8:01 pm

      Why, every Tom,Dick, and Harry makes a 357 sig. Only Coonan make a 1911 in .357 magnum! If you fire a clip of 125 gr Hornardy xtp’s with 22grs of Win 296 out of this fire breather all the shooting at the range will stop…Try that with a 357 sig…There is nothing left to envy….Coonan .357 MAGNUM….

    • Sean January 13, 2012, 8:38 am

      the 357 sig is a fine round but its no 357 magnum. With lighter ammo it comes close to the power of the magnum but when you start shooting 158, 180 or 200 grain ammo the 357 sig struggles. I have shot some 180 grain ammo from my Coonan and if functions just fine. I have a box of Corbon hunter 200 grain ammo on order. I don’t think you could stuff that in a 357 sig. I recently found these which is a 230 grain bullet for the 357 magnum. I don’t know if it would function or not in a Coonan.

    • Bruce Harrison April 9, 2013, 5:29 pm

      The .357 Sig could have been named the 9mm Sig, or the 38 Sig. The fact that the bore size shares nomenclature with the .357 magnum is about the only similarity. A .30-30 Winchester 150 gr. is not completely out classed by a 150 gr. .30-’06. They will “do” for about the same sized game. But you won’t get them anywhere near each other in performance if you try to load a 220 gr. in a .30-30. It’s a question of case capacity.

  • D Carter January 11, 2012, 9:27 pm

    I have a Taurus 357 mag revolver with 7 shots that cost me about $329 that is easier to handle and small enough for concealed carry with it’s 2″ barrel. It can take 180 grain jhp at 1400 fps or so and is compensated/ported. Save yourself a grand. I admit I’ve never paid over $400 for a firearm and think the $1200 plus is crazy. That’s more than I paid for my 1st car or my current mortgage.

    • undeRGRound January 21, 2015, 6:30 pm

      Some people are just cheap, and short-sighted. 😀

  • Jwh1956 January 11, 2012, 7:39 pm

    I will have one eventuaally

  • Mike January 10, 2012, 7:41 pm

    I have been a big 45ACP fan for many years and have shot thousands of rounds. I even tried a 40 S&W Glock for a while but not for me. I have a snoopy target in my back yard that I shot for several years with no denting at all. I bought a Coonan Classic .357 magnum and fired 50 rounds at poor snoopy and he was badly dented and 3 holes completely though the steel. Thanks kick ass power from a 1911 style handgun. Plus I can beat my best shooting I ever did with my Colt 45 with the Coonan. I got the night sights on my Coonan because I carry it concealed in my Crossbread Supertuck I bought for my Colt 1911. I don’t really notice any difference in weight between the Coonan and the Colt. The Coonan is a GREAT gun and well worth the price…Buy One and you too will be converted….

  • blue6770 January 10, 2012, 6:10 pm

    I would really like to see the coonan in the defunct 9mm win mag cartridge. 357 power in a rimless case. Yes

  • james walker January 10, 2012, 2:53 am

    I own a S&W mod. 28 hiwaypatrole .357, and it’s a handfull with garcia grips and handloads, I think coonan would have a much more reliable, handelable, pistole if they made one chambered for .30carbine. That way they would have a weapon that shoots a rimless cartrige, and could be made more like a 1911 without the angled clip and outher issues with this gun.

  • Sean January 10, 2012, 12:35 am

    The Coonan is a great gun for people that like to keep there bullets down. I own many 357 magnums, Infact it is one of only 4 rounds I shoot even though I have nearly 20 guns now. This gun allows me to have a semiautomatic and not have to add a new round to my collection.

    I love it! I hope they release a 6 inch barrel for hunting with it. I would take a 357 magnum over a 10mm for hunting because of the Sectional density. Giving it a 6 inch barrel would make it legal here to hunt with! Extended mags would be great too!

  • Graham S January 9, 2012, 10:16 pm

    Bought a used Model B before the floodgates opened!!
    Now waiting for my new Classic.
    Great pistols,loads of fun to shoot.
    And it can be concealed, heavy but concealed.
    Next year comes the compact cadet model.

  • Mark Wynn January 9, 2012, 8:10 pm

    One question: Why? … put this cartridge in a 1911 designed for a fat, short, auto cartridge with proven effectiveness.
    * Smaller, lighter bullet with longer cartridge that doesn’t effectively burn its powder within the 1911 barrel.
    * Workarounds required to make the lipped cartridge work in auto.
    * 1911 has long grip already. Although my favorite (a Mark IV Series 70 Gold Cup), still, Berettas and Glocks feel more natural to my hand, a men’s large glove.
    If one wanted a hot, smaller, lighter round, Colt made one — the 38 Super … without the need for workarounds, loading nails and grip that author says can’t get his fingers around.

    • Deja vu January 10, 2012, 10:38 am

      All so I reload all ready for the 357 magnum and I have a large quantity of ammo. My father was one of those survival nuts. His main advise as far as guns was to keep it simple. He said you only need 4 rounds in your collection. He said you need 1 big game hunting round, 1 self defense hand gun ammo, 1 plinking ammo and 1 type of shot gun.

      In my case it is 45/70 govt, 357 magnum, 17HMR and 12 ga. I don’t buy guns in any other caliber. The Coonan allows me to have a semiautomatic (I don’t like the Desert Eagle)

      All so the 357 magnum has better ballistics than a 38 super from a semi automatic. The ballistics from a 5 inch Coonan is slightly than the ballistics of a 6 inch revolver. I would say the top end 357 magnum ammo in a semiautomatic is at least as good as a 10mm from semiautomatics with the same length barrel.

  • terry darnell January 9, 2012, 8:01 pm

    i have a springfield 1911 with ten round mags.i think coonan Will eventually produce higher cap. mags,if they want to sell more pistols.maybe they’ll be like ruger; i bought a mini-14 6.8cal. and really 9yr. old grandson loves it.i e-mailed ruger and ask if they could make 20rnd.mags for it,(it would make jt more fun when shooting at two or three coyotes running away ) they e-mailed back and said SORRY we’ve discontinued that rifle.they said they have them in there sr556.I DON’T want anything that reminds me of that worthless m-16 that replaced my M-14 during the 1968 tet offensive. sorry ,didn’t mean to carryon! better go for now. TD.

    • Marvin H. Floyd January 10, 2012, 12:08 pm

      I wanted to help you with your 9yr old grandson. I’m 36years old and there is absolutley nothing better than going hunting with your Dad or Grandfather. I unfortunatley never got this opportunatly to hunt with my Grampa! I know how to make a 30rd – 40rd 6.8 Mini-14 mag. They will have to be made by taking a couple 6.8 Mini-14 mags by taking out all of there internal parts which is very simple. Especially being in Vietnam you should know how to take apart clips at the bottom of the mag the spring and the follower and then simply weld on the other 6.8 magazine housing to the existing magazine creating a bigger maggazine. Repeat this proccess until you are happy with how many rds can fit in the new magazine. Somtimes it’s helpful to use a heat torch to be able to bend the metal to make it all look like one solide piece. Then take a spring out of another 30rd .308 AR10 magazine or even a 30rd AR-15 magazine. Whatever will work better! Probably the AR-15 Spring for a 40rd magazine. You will have to determine this. After welding your bigger and better Magazine housing together, sand down all ruff edges making it look good for paint. I would have it DuraCoated! This should only cost 20 bucks. Plus the Dura coat guy can probably help you with the project by putting the follower back in with the New spring from the 30rd AR-10 mag or AR-15 Mag. After all this put the bottom back on holding the new spring and follower inside and Walla!!! You got your self a 30-40rd mag for a 6.8SPC or 6.5 Grendel. I hope this was of help.

      Marvin H. Floyd

    • Richard Moss January 10, 2012, 7:46 pm

      I smell that!

  • John Law January 9, 2012, 6:19 pm

    The external extractor kills it for me. 1911’s are not supposed to have external extractors (can you hear me Para?)
    You start screwing with John Browning’s design you are inviting a multitude of gremlins to invade your abode.

    • Bruce Harrison April 9, 2013, 11:24 am

      In several details the Coonan is sort of a Browning High Power in 1911 clothes. It has a link-less barrel, an external extractor and a pivoting trigger. The Browning High Power with its external extractor was accepted as reliable enough for many armed forces to adopt it worldwide. It is a John Browning design that supersedes (in time) his earlier 1911 design. So, the external extractor is not screwing with Browning’s design, it is adopting Browning’s design.

  • Marco January 9, 2012, 5:15 pm

    .357sig doesn’t quite hold up to .357mag especially when .357mag is fired from semi auto.

    While Sig does have it merits it’s doesn’t do anything 9mm+p+, .38super or 40SW can’t do, other than exit the barrel with slightly lower presuure, 9mm/38super can/do have a higher capacity.

    I wouldn’t go hunting deer or larger game with .357Sig but ethical hunters have been do so with .357mag since 1935.
    Historically looking at firearm prices the Coonan will hold and increase in value while the XD won’t be worth more than $400 once you fire it.

    I found that the .38spl spring required about 500rds to break in, after that my Coonan’s were reliable with .38spl+p (remington125gr+p), the .357mag was reliable out of the box.

    While some folks are happy using third world Euro junk, some of us prefer the craftsmanship of American made products.

  • BRASS January 9, 2012, 3:55 pm

    This is an intriguing gun and affords the owner of .357 revolvers the option of revolver or semi-auto with the same ammo, especially now that Hornady and others make ammo directly for personal defense. This removes the need for different loads or fine tuning your handguns. Two guns, one load. For peace officers and those inclined to carry small backups, this could be particularly useful for carrying the Coonan as a service semi-auto and a short barrel revolver as a backup, again, both using the same ammo.

    I have a Colt Delta Elite I bought for pin shooting in the early nineties so I already enjoy this same commonality although 10MM revolvers are much harder to come buy than .357. I like the power of the 10MM, approximately the same as .41 Mag depending on the load, but many don’t like the recoil and muzzle blast of the 10. Today, revolver/semi-auto combos are easy to achieve in any useful defense or hunting combo. From this .38/.357 up to 10MM and even larger, combos and ammo are the way to go for many.

    The Coonan looks like a good base for a ‘BBQ’ gun. Customized and dressed to the owners likes this would make a nice open or concealed piece for those well heeled social occasions. With some furniture to match my boots and tie this could be fun and practical.

  • Smith January 9, 2012, 1:20 pm

    Springfield XD 357 Sig, 4 Inch, Black 2006 package, 12rd+1 Mag **S @ $453.00 is a much better buy,Plus it comes with extras,like a 2 mag belt clip,a 1 mag holder,and a clip on holster,,all for less than half that Coonan,,Check out Buds Gun sales on-line if you dont believe me @ Ohh the Springfield doesn’t come in SS or Camo,but at a savings of $796.00,,I’d think NO one would care,,It’s the Bullet that matters,,not the fricking looks..”Smithy”

    • Shufeng Ton January 9, 2012, 7:48 pm

      The .357 sig is not as powerful of a cartridge. I purchased the original Coonan 357mag back in 91. Very accurate and reliable gun. Always got other people’s attention at the range. Paid $600 back then, wood grips and 2 mags. There was one other pistol besides the Desert Eagle that was chambered in 357mag. I think it was a Detonics or automag.

      • Sean January 10, 2012, 12:49 am

        a 357 magnum gains a fair amount of speed from a semiautomatic. I would say that a Coonan would be on even footing to any 10mm with the same 5 inch barrel in terms of energy.

        • Deja vu January 12, 2012, 10:51 am

          The 357 sig is a good round. It is a necked down .40 to accept a 9mm bullet. While the 357 diameter is smaller than the 357 magnum the difference is very small, I doubt anything shot with it could tell the difference.

          The 357 sig comes “close” to the power of the 357 magnum in the lighter bullets. Where the 357 sig has problems is with the heavier bullets. I frequently shoot 180 grain bullets from my Coonan, I have shot a few 200 grain bullets and I have seen 230 grain bullets (for bowling pin matches) but have never shot one. I doubt you could stuff a 200 grain bullet in a 357 sig much less a 230 grain bullet. The 357 magnum all so pulls ahead in

  • Deja vu January 9, 2012, 11:49 am

    I own a Coonan Classic. I bought mine last year. At first I was a little intimidated by the longer (front to back) grips. But after holding it, it felt good in the hands. Before getting it I had been saving 357 magnum ammo for several months, I tried to get a box of everything I could find. I don’t remember every kind of ammo I had but I can tell you that I only found one type of ammo that that my Coonan Classic would not eat. It does not like the CCI shot shells (I did mention I tried lots of different ammo).

    Off of the top of my head I can tall you it shot S&B 158 grain, Hornady leverevolution, Hornady PD, Felochi 158 grain, Buffalo bore 180 grain, buffalo bore 125 grain, Winchester white box 110 grain, Remington UMC 125 grain, Cor-Bon 125 grain, CCI shot shells. I all so had a few boxes of 38+P but I cant remember what brand.

    Reliability was great on everything outside of the shot shells. Accuracy was decent at first but once my hands adjusted to the grip size I was shooting it better than I shoot any other gun I own. The recoil is not as bad as any other 357 magnum I own (other than my Marlin lever actions).

    It is really a fun gun.

    • Bobby January 9, 2012, 5:40 pm

      Bought mine somewhere around ’96 and haven’t found anything it doesn’t like to cycle EXCEPT Winchester!!! The lip of the casing just isnt’ sturdy enough for the extractor to grip and flip. I’ve tried it with other ammo, (what ever is cheapest, cause I like to shoot a lot) and winchester remains the only thing it doesn’t like. No problem….I got lots to choose from. Great piece. Glad they’re back in production.

  • Frank January 9, 2012, 11:45 am

    Kind of reminds me of a ole 38 Super, on a wee bit of steroids. The Super was a fun gun, hit pretty hard and for long time was “357” of the 1911 lines. Had both Super and ACPs at one time, now wish I had not sold them, but am kind of a wheel gun guy. Interesting how close Super/357 can get, also when mentioning “feed it 38 specials, am reminded of wheel gun issues where 44/38 Special would not be greatest treatment for 44/357 Mag as they could leave “ridge” in chamber, if serious enough could make ejection a issue when using Mags. Never see that mentioned much any more.

  • Mitchell Bay Mad Man January 9, 2012, 11:42 am

    What is the difference between this NEW Coonan and the ones manufactured back in the 1980″s?

  • Lee January 9, 2012, 11:33 am

    There is one of the original Coonan’s in my families collection. To shoot 38 special you have to swap the recoil spring and use magazines with a spacer in the back to account for the shorter length of the 38 round. I have found it to be very reliable. I think it is a great handgun, the Coonan manages to makes it way into the carry rotation every once in a while.

  • S. De Sena January 9, 2012, 11:29 am

    I have an original from the 8o’s. Great gun, acurate easy enough to carry as a back up when hunting, or as a primay.
    I’m surprised that they didn’t mention there is a .38 spl kit for the coonan. A blocked mag, with a reduced spring. It is fun to shoot and reliable.

  • John January 9, 2012, 11:15 am

    When I was in the corrections academy many years ago, one of my classmates had an original Coonan that he let me try out. I was surprised at how accurate and controllable it was considering how powerful the cartridge was. It did, however, have a tremendous fireball, with the Federal 125 grain loads he used. To me at the time, that was not surprising considering that revolvers chambering the same cartridge had the same problem. All in all, I would give the gun top marks if the new ones are as good as the old ones were. My friend never had an issue with reliability throughout the academy shooting class of more than 500 rounds fired. The same could not be said of some of my other classmates, who had name brand pistols like Sig Sauer and Smith and Wesson that had problems and required repair/adjustments or simply were not that reliable with the duty load they used.

  • Brian D Suggs January 9, 2012, 11:13 am

    Appears to be a nice looking semi-auto. I happened to prefer wheel guns but semi-auto are fun and have their place in my line up. I think everyone should have at the very least a 45acp. I happened to be quite fond of the 357 mag round, including the fact that one can shoot 38spl in them. But like most I seem to like, I doubt this one as the many others will not make the Republic of California’s Roster. Darn shame.

  • Irish-7 January 9, 2012, 11:02 am

    I think it is a great idea, as .45 ACP & .357 MAG are my 2 favorite pistols. But, it is unlikely that I will ever purchase one, in that I could buy new Ruger P345 and GP100 for the price of this Coonan.

  • R Brock Watkins January 9, 2012, 10:43 am

    I’m surprised that the write-up didn’t mention that this isn’t a newly developed pistol. I have one that’s over twenty years old that I bought in St Louis, Mo. around 1989/1990.

    It has smooth wooden grips, an over-the-slide Wilson, frame mounted scope mount with a red dot scope. It’s a great gun, reliable, feeds almost any thing but likes 110 gr jacketed HP best and the hotter the better. To date I’ve taken four (4) deer with mine the longest at about 80 yards. It’s also a fun steel “Man-sized” silhouette gun in that a low shot on the front target many times will slam the silhouette down so fast that it will also take out the second target with the same shot. Lastly, ringing the steel gongs at 100 yards is childs play with this gun using about a 12 in hold over.

  • Andrew from West Haven, CT January 9, 2012, 10:34 am

    Here’s to hoping they can perfect an 8 round mag. The diffference between this pistol and the DE’s mag capacity shouldn’t be two. The mags aren’t that different in length.

    But the Coonan has it over the DE in every other category. And because of that superiority, I’m still saving up for a Coonan. Just keeping my fingers crossed that they manage the 8 round mags someday.

  • Jeff January 9, 2012, 10:23 am

    I think the price is reasonable for a well built .357 autoloader. My only question is, it really well built? Considering that many 1911 manufacturers are pricing their offerings as though they were the “end all, be all” of the 1911 platform when clearly some are not, I think the price of the new Coonan .357 is more than fair provided that it has no real problems in the coming months. I do question why they would have released and included the .38 spl spring if it didn’t funtion 100% right out of the box. I think I’ll just wait and monitor more user reviews and perhaps weather or not the company addresses this issue or not.

    • Administrator January 9, 2012, 10:32 am

      I don’t think the .38 issue is that big of a deal. This gun has been on the market long enough that you would see people immediately putting in bad comments it had problems down the road. Over 5,000 people have already read this article in the last few hours. All of the comments have been very positive and it is as I suspect, a great gun.

      • Sean January 10, 2012, 12:46 am

        Mine ran 38+p right out of the box. I never tried any standard pressure 38s.

  • RICHARD MORVILLO January 9, 2012, 9:52 am


  • Marco January 9, 2012, 9:42 am

    The Coonan isn’t the first semi auto to fire rimmed cases but it is the only truly practical semi auto to be chambered for .357 magnum, as the S&W 52 was for .38spl Wadcutters only if I remember correctly and the Desert Eagle makes the Coonan look small in comparison.
    Also the Coonan does ship with an extra mag as this article states and which I can attest to.

    Having been a 1911 owner/carrier since the early 80’s I fell in with the looks and idea of the Coonan when it first hit the market. Fortunately I was able to acquire a 6″bbl Model B yrs ago but held it as a collectible, recently added a Classic and after test firing to insure functioning it was retired for range, backup duty and as a BBQ gun. The 6″ bbl Model B has become my carry sidearm replacing my Colt Delta Elite.

    When firing Remington/Federal 125gr JHP the Coonan Classic is easy to shoot, and switching to heavier loads like Hornady 142gr FTX or Buffalo Bore 158gr JHP doesn’t change that. The trigger on my Classic is clean, crisp with no creep and broke at 4.5lbs. The adjustable NS that came on my Classic were Kensights that are as little different. The rear sight is similar to a Navak but has dashes rather than dots and the front is a standard dot all glow green, I find the setup very easy to use during the day or low light.

    If you’re familiar with 1911’s the Coonan will feel like an old friend with a new look. I personally find the longer grip more comfortable than that of the standard 1911 and I don’t have larger hands.

    As for velocity one can expect higher velocity compared to a 4″ bbl revolver. I find the velocity from the 5″ bbl Classic duplicates what one can expect from a 6″ bbl revolver.

    Can’t what till I get a chance to try it out on the White tails in my area.

  • Dave Maynard January 9, 2012, 9:33 am

    I’d like to have one as a target pistol toy. At 42 ounces (empty) and the size of a 45acp it is not a concealed carry firearm unless you are a practicing Hasidic Jew or Dominican nun. And at $1,249 (plus tax and maybe shipping) with one magazine there are a lot of other conceal carry options to choose from at a lot less money.

    I think this is going to be like the Delorean automobile – a collector’s item.

    • Administrator January 9, 2012, 10:29 am

      How did you know I was a dominican nun?

      • Jim Hanson January 9, 2012, 9:45 pm

        damn, i woulda had you pegged as a Hasidic Jew! this thing would suck up my entire 2011 tax refund, my company annual bonus might be the same, gonna require some noodling…

    • PavePusher April 17, 2014, 5:07 pm

      I live in Arizona. What is this “concealed carry” you speak of? 8>)

  • Gman January 9, 2012, 8:38 am

    I fondled a Coonan at a local gun shop, and here are my impressions. It is a very big gun, with as you can imagine, a very large grip. I don’t have large hands, but it did feel comfortable to hold. However, there is no checking on either the front or back straps. The fit and finish were excellent. I don’t know how they finish the gun, but it a pale gold, not barbecue gun gold, but a very pale satin. The photos above don’t do it justice. It looks very cool. There was some creep in the trigger, which felt like it was in the 4 lb range. What surprised me was that it was easy to rack the slide. I’ve picked some new 1911s that a gorilla would have trouble racking, but not the Coonan. I don’t know if this is good or bad. My first thought was, I really want this gun.

  • jeff January 9, 2012, 8:21 am

    Nice gun but not the first to shoot rimmed 38 specials. I have a Smith 52 .38 master that is an awesome gun as well. As to the Coonan, I would like to save up some bucks for one. I would think though, the magazines are probably not inexpensive and at $1,200. dollars or so,the gun should come with an extra mag as you know you are going to need one more at least. The above review was really great. jeff

  • Jon doe January 9, 2012, 7:43 am

    That shit hella dope

  • HAZMAN January 9, 2012, 6:24 am

    Me too !!!

  • James Farrar January 9, 2012, 1:53 am

    Got to have a Coonan 357.

    • DAVID BARNES March 2, 2013, 4:47 pm


      • Robert Johnson April 11, 2013, 2:38 am

        Is this still for sale and if so for how much, and where are you located.

      • undeRGRound January 21, 2015, 6:31 pm

        Still available???

        • Ted Horn January 22, 2015, 3:50 pm

          Are you still looking for a Coonan 357? I have one for sale, New in Box, never fired.
          Has original case, 2 springs (one for .38 cal).
          Inludes 2 bxs 357 ammo (100 rnds).

          I am located in NW Wisconsin.

          • Abe Solomon January 28, 2015, 10:16 pm

            Do you still have the Coonan 357 for sale?

          • Mark January 29, 2015, 9:02 am

            Do you still have the Coonan for sale for 1100? I have a close Friend with and FFL here in St. Louis that you could ship it to and he can do the transfer for me. How would we do the payment, cashier check?

          • GReg k June 17, 2015, 11:20 pm

            Still for sale

      • doug February 9, 2015, 3:54 pm

        Is the the compensated stainless model

    • Dave Weber March 9, 2013, 11:27 am

      how much and what do you want in trade ? please let me know thanks

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend