I have reviewed several pistols in the Coonan line up, the .357 Magnum Classic.357 Magnum Classic factory comp, .45 Automatic, and 10mm Automatic so I am somewhat familiar with the platform.  The Compact is a bit of a different animal so I thought it warranted a separate review.

Range Time 

First Impressions 


Standard three dot sights, the rear being dovetailed in and is drift adjustable for windage.  The steel mainspring housing is textured and the traditional 1911 grip safety has a deep beavertail.

Here you see the external extractor, one of the features that differentiates this pistol from a traditional “1911”. The pivoting trigger, another Browning Hi Power feature, breaks clean at just over four pounds with very little take up and some over travel.

Extended traditional 1911 thumb safety and slide stop worked flawlessly. This is a newer finish from Coonan, their IonBond Duracoat. During some 350 rounds and over three months of usage, the finish held up well. If you are looking for a more muted look over the stainless you now have a factory option.

Closely examining the pistol’s insides showed no signs of premature wear or breakage. I understand 350 rounds is not a lot of ammo through the gun, but I am sure if something was ill fit or substandard it would have shown up by now.


3 shot group shot from a rest at 25 yards

The 1911/Browning Hi Power hybrid Coonan pistol has proven to be a solid platform to feed the rimmed .357 Magnum cartridge, due to some magazine and pistol innovations. There is little arguing the .357 Magnum is a potent round for self-defense or even medium game hunting, and I believe the autoloader has some advantages over the revolver. With a similar sized revolver, you are going to have one or two more round capacity with the Compact and the speed of reloading from a magazine. With an autoloader and the reciprocating mass of the slide working against the recoil spring, you will have some diminished perceived recoil.  While the Coonan Classic is a fine pistol, being full-sized it is not as conducive for concealed carry as the Compact. After some 350 rounds downrange from standard ball to defensive rounds, the Compact gave no problems and was plenty accurate for its purpose.  I would see this pistol serving very well as a concealed carry pistol for the town or the trail.


  • Caliber: .357 Magnum
  • Barrel Length: 4” Stainless Steel
  • Magazine Capacity: 6 rounds +1
  • Weight: 39 oz. empty / 45.5 oz. loaded
  • Length: 7.7” overall
  • Height: 5.4”
  • Width: 1.3”
  • Finish: Stainless Steel or Blued
  • Full length Guide Rod
  • 24 lbs Recoil Spring
  • Link-less Bull Barrel
  • MSRP $2.025



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Rebel Son 

By Hunter Elliott

I spent much of my youth involved with firearms and felt the call early on to the United States Marine Corps, following in my father's and his brother's footsteps. Just after high school I enlisted and felt most at home on the rifle range, where I qualified expert with several firearms and spent some time as a rifle coach to my fellow Marines. After being honorably discharged I continued teaching firearm safety, rifle and pistol marksmanship, and began teaching metallic cartridge reloading. In the late 1990s I became a life member to the National Rifle Association and worked with the Friends of the NRA. Around that time my father and I became involved with IDPA and competed together up until he passed away. I began reviewing firearms for publications in the mid 2000s and have been fortunate to make many friends in the industry. Continuing to improve my firearms skills and knowledge is a never ending journey in which we should all be committed. I am also credited as weapons master on a few independent films.

One thought on “Coonan Compact .357 Magnum, pocket powerhouse.”
  1. Hunter,
    I enjoyed your write up on the Coonan Compact. I have envyed the full size “Nothing Left To Envy” Series since it’s inception am glad to see Coonan continued the 357 linage continued with the Coonan Compact 357. Great review, I appreciate your continued interest and reviews of the Coonan weapons. I am left to wonder what he will call the compact in keeping with the “Nothing Left To Envy.” I’ve tried but it doesn’t come. This has to fit into his “Envy” line somehow. Son of Envy ??????

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