Review: Stoeger Cougar Compact

Review: Stoeger Cougar Compact

firing the stoeger cougar compactStoeger has enjoyed some success with its Cougar, offering it in both 9mm, .40 S&W and, more recently, .45 ACP. The company has now introduced a compact version. Currently offered only in 9mm, it's a traditional DA/SA semiauto that holds 13+1 rounds.

The Cougar Compact is a medium-size pistol, roughly the size of a Glock 19, with an aluminum alloy frame and a slide coated with the durable matte black Bruniton finish. Weighing in at 32 ounces, the pistol is chunky but feels good in the hand. The grip is just long enough for me to get my entire hand on it comfortably. The pistol has an ambidextrous safety/decocker that was harder to put on than to disengage and simple three-dot sights.

The safety can be left on (it isn't spring loaded) and drops the hammer all the way down. The hammer has a half-cock notch, which does shorten the trigger pull slightly. The trigger pull was smooth with no stacking and felt lighter than it was, possibly because of the wide, smooth trigger.


The pistol is provided with two 13-round magazines with aluminum base pads with modest finger extensions on them. I like aluminum magazine base plates better than plastic, as it's a lot harder to break them when you drop them on concrete during mag changes. While I can get my full hand on the pistol, the frame is just short enough that if I wasn't careful I could pinch my hand with the base pad when seating a new magazine.


Cougars feature rotary barrels that turn about 30 degrees counterclockwise to unlock. Between the frame and the barrel is a block with a tab, and that tab indexes in a curved slot in the underside of the barrel. As the barrel moves back under recoil the tab forces the barrel to rotate. It's just that simple.

The front and back of the frame are vertically serrated to aid in gripping, and while the serrations are better than nothing (but not as good as checkering), I really think horizontal serrations would be more functional. Shooters have issues keeping a pistol in their hand during recoil, when it wants to pull up, and vertical serrations don't prevent that. The front of the Cougar's trigger guard is horizontally serrated for just that reason.

My only other complaint is that due to its profile the slide is a little hard to rack except by using the gripping both sides of the safety, which thankfully had smooth edges.


I took a couple volunteers with me to the range, and I brought along the Cougar and an expensive custom 1911. While my buddies marveled at the 1911, they spent much more time shooting the Cougar Compact. So did I. Why? Because it was fun.

The double-action trigger pull was smooth and felt relatively light, the pistol feels good in the hand, and even with full-power factory ammo the felt recoil and muzzle rise were surprisingly mild. With some of the soft


handloaded match ammo we had on hand (150-grain plated Berry bullets at 875 fps) the Cougar felt like shooting a .22, and it was the gun everybody was waiting in line to hammer the falling steel plates with, not the custom 1911. That says it all.

Fast Specs

  • Type: DA/SA semiauto
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 13+1
  • Barrel: 3.6 in.
  • OAL/Width/Height: 7.0/1.5/4.9 in.
  • Weight: 32 oz.
  • Finish: matte black
  • Sights: 3-dot
  • Trigger: 10 lb. DA, 6 lb. SA
  • Price: $449

Accuracy

  • Smallest group: 2.4 in.
  • Largest group: 3.0 in.
  • Avg. of all ammo tested: 2.7 in.
  • Accuracy results are the averages of four five-shot groups at 25 yards from a sandbag rest.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

The New Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun Load

The New Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun Load

Speer's Jared Hinton shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun load.

Taurus G3c

Taurus G3c

Taurus introduces the compact version of their wildly successful 9mm pistol; the G3.

All About Handgun Ammo

All About Handgun Ammo

Rich and Jim get into the nitty gritty of the FBI ammo protocol, firing into various barriers to illustrate what can happen to a bullet.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer SKU # 180023) is an easy-racking, soft-shooting pistol. Compact

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 Review

James Tarr - November 06, 2018

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer...

Eliphalet Remington's world initially revolved around flintlock rifles at the time, and while early 1911

Remington Timeline: 2011 - R1 Pistol Is Introduced

Handguns Online Staff - September 09, 2016

Eliphalet Remington's world initially revolved around flintlock rifles at the time, and while...

Available in .38 Super, 9mm and .45 ACP, the Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander offers a terrific balance of weight, power and shootability. 1911

Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander 9mm Review

J. Scott Rupp - May 08, 2019

Available in .38 Super, 9mm and .45 ACP, the Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander offers a...

The number of accessories and aftermarket upgrades for the SIG P320 is only going to increase. Accessories

SIG P320 Accessories and Upgrades

James Tarr - December 14, 2017

The number of accessories and aftermarket upgrades for the SIG P320 is only going to increase.

See More Trending Articles

More Semi-Auto

The special edition 45th anniversary CZ 75 B is intended as a celebration of the manufacture and distribution of a pistol that has been embraced by civilian, military and law enforcement shooters around the globe. Semi-Auto

CZ 75 B 45th Anniversary Special Edition Pistol

Stan Trzoniec - May 14, 2020

The special edition 45th anniversary CZ 75 B is intended as a celebration of the manufacture...

Stoeger is entering uncharted territory for the brand with the STR 9, but it's obvious this gun was well thought out and engineered. It manages to maintain a reasonable price and yet still performs and functions the way most shooters demand. Semi-Auto

Stoeger STR 9 Review

Brad Fitzpatrick - October 16, 2019

Stoeger is entering uncharted territory for the brand with the STR 9, but it's obvious this...

The Springfield XD-M Elite 9mm pistol series upgrades the XD platform with four models and a number of significant new features. Semi-Auto

Springfield XD-M Elite Series – Four New 9mm Pistols for 2020

J. Scott Rupp - January 15, 2020

The Springfield XD-M Elite 9mm pistol series upgrades the XD platform with four models and a...

The lines of the SIG P210 Target are clean, smooth and classic, and the finish is impeccable. Semi-Auto

SIG P210 Target

Stan Trzoniec - June 07, 2019

The lines of the SIG P210 Target are clean, smooth and classic, and the finish is impeccable.

See More Semi-Auto

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Handguns subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now