Scott W. Wagner, USCCA

October 2, 2015

With the right ammunition, the .357 Magnum still reigns as the ultimate conventional fight-stopping round, and it has held that distinction since its introduction 80 years ago this year. Pretty impressive considering that quite a few defensive handgun cartridges have been introduced since that time. What is more impressive is that the Coonan company has been able to harness the power of this long, rimmed revolver round and make it run reliably in a standard-sized semi-automatic handgun.

Like its older full-sized sibling, the Coonan Classic, the new Coonan Compact is constructed of stainless steel, and features a shortened barrel and frame to make it more carry friendly.

Controls of the Compact are all 1911 style: there is an extended grip safety above a flat backstrap, and the thumb safety is also extended—as is the slide release. The extended slide release is important in terms of providing leverage to drop the slide home across a long cartridge like the .357. The hammer is of the modern, skeletonized style, and the sights are fixed three-dot Novak style affairs from Kensight. Adjustable sights can be had, which I recommend. Weight is a recoil-absorbing 39 ounces, and barrel length is 4 inches. Grips are smooth walnut laser-etched with the Coonan logo. Unlike the full-size Coonan, there is no conversion spring to allow the firing of .38 Special rounds. But why mess with…

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