The Stoeger Cougar is a continuation of the Beretta Cougar. Beretta made the cougar from 1994 to 2004 when the PX4 was introduced. Production moved to Turkey where the Beretta subsidiary, Stoeger, produced the pistol from 2004 to 2017.
The Cougar is an alloy framed service pistol with a short recoil action with a rotating barrel. The full size Cougar in 9mm accepts 15 round magazines.
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The Cougar is currently out of production, although it remains on the Beretta website. This means finding a new example can be difficult. One thing you’ll notice when you pick up the cougar is the quality finish. Most of the Cougars have a Bruniton finish, later guns have a Nitride finish.
Nitride is an incredibly hard and durable finish, but Bruniton is also a great finish in its own right. Bruniton is a coating that has great protective properties.
The parts are well machined and tool marks are not visible. Fit and finish is excellent. The quality is exactly what you’d expect from Beretta. In my opinion the Stoeger packs all the quality of the Beretta without the pricetag.
The Heart of the Beast.
The barrel is the heart of any firearm. The cougar has a great barrel. It’s locking lugs require the cam action of the locking block to lock the barrel to the slide.
The Cougar has a chrome lined bore, fore durablity and longevity. While the barrel does move during the firing process it moves a lot less than the browning tilt barrel design. Many people tout this feature as increasing the pistol’s accuracy and recoil mitigation. While there are many accurate tilt barrel guns, having a barrel that doesn’t move drastically during the firing process certainly can’t hurt.
The Cougar is a Double/Single Action pistol. This means you carry it hammer down on a loaded chamber. The double action pull is smooth, and the single action pull short and crisp.
Running the Cougar
The cougar is a mid size service pistol. It points well. The 9mm recoil is very manageable. All the controls are easily reachable. The compact size is a plus for tactical movement and handling. The gun still has plenty of grip for the shooter.
The sight radius is on the shorter side but I felt the pistol’s pointablity makes up for this to some degree. If DA/SA is your jam, this gun is a great choice at a good price point. In my experience Cougar’s are reliable when appropriately lubricated. I do know one person who’s cougar experienced jamming after the completely stripped the gun of lube. Apparently they got some bad advice from someone about lube “attracting dirt.”
Early Cougars don’t have an accessory rail so that might be a deal breaker if you need to mount a light.
The Cougar 8000 built by Beretta or Stoeger is a great DA/SA gun that shoots well. The gun is reliable. At about half the price of the Beretta the Stoeger is a value without sacrificing the quality you need.