Coonan Compact Offers Shooters Scaled Down .357 Semi Auto

Coonan Compact Offers Shooters Scaled Down .357 Semi Auto
The Coonan Compact still throws magnum rounds down range, but in a smaller package.
The Coonan Compact still throws magnum rounds down range, but in a smaller package.
The Coonan Compact still throws magnum rounds down range, but in a smaller package.

Few handguns are as unique as the ones rolling out of Blaine, Minn. For decades now, Coonan has enthralled shooters by marrying the venerable .357 Magnum cartridge with the classic 1911 pistol.

Those who have handled or even taken a gander at theses beasts know they are a handful. But this year, the company has taken a crack at taming the size of their distinctive side arm.

The Coonan Compact Limited Edition is a trimmed down version of the company's original design, making it a bit friendlier to toting around. Perhaps in this arena the most notable modification is the shorter 4-inch barrel, which has a full inch cutoff from the company’s standard model.

The removal of this material, along with some on the slide, makes the model a bit lighter (39 ounces empty) than the original. But at the same time it leaves enough length for the .357 round to live up to its full ballistic potential.

The recoil wary are certain to start rubbing their wrists at the thought of a magnum with a shorter-barreled and lighter platform. But, in all likelihood, they need not be so head shy. Given it is a recoil-operated pistol, its kick is somewhat muted, compared to a revolver.

The Coonan Compact is also a bit shorter than the Classic, which does impact its capacity. The new pistol holds 6+1, one less than the original. But given the 1911 still shoots .357 cartridges, it does still have the thicker overall grip of all Coonan guns.

The pistol’s other features include linkless barrel and pivoting trigger. A slide catch and thumb safety situated on the left side of the gun. And the choice of stainless steel or with a black DuraCoat finish.

The pistol comes with a custom carry case and two magazines. Presently, the Coonan Compact has an MSRP ranging from $1,535-$1,975 depending on features.


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Elwood Shelton is the Digital Editor for Gun Digest. He lives in Colorado and has provided coverage on a vast spectrum of topics for GD for more than a decade. Before that, he was an award-winning sports and outdoors reporter for a number of newspapers across the Rocky Mountains. His experience has consisted of covering the spread of chronic wasting disease into the Western Slope of Colorado to the state’s ranching for wildlife programs. His passion for shooting began at a young age, fostered on pheasant hunts with his father. Since then, he has become an accomplished handloader, long-range shooter and avid hunter—particularly mule deer and any low-down, dirty varmint that comes into his crosshairs. He is a regular contributor to Gun Digest Magazine and has contributed to various books on guns and shooting, most recently Lever-Actions: A Tribute to the All-American Rifle.


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