2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Stoeger Cougar 8000 9mm - Beretta on the Cheap!



Hey Shooters,

Picked up at Stoeger Cougar at Vance's last week. A Stoeger? What's a Stoeger you might ask. Well, a Stoeger Cougar is basically a Beretta Cougar produced in Turkey under by Stoeger Industries using THE EXACT SAME MACHINERY AS THE ORIGINAL PISTOL!! Wow! How'd that happen! Well, let me tell you. Back in the 90's, Beretta developed the Cougar to complement its 92 series 9mm pistols which were being used (and still are) by the US military and many other militaries and police forces. It's goal was to be a smaller, more compact and concealable pistol for undercover and security work. The LAPD issued a variant of the Cougar with a 4" barrel for a time. That's a good collectors piece if you can get your hand on one. This probably would of been a winning design and marketing plan for them except for one thing, GLOCK! About this time (late 90's) Glock was gaining by leaps and bounds inroads into agencies and organizations with its polymer frame goodness that traditionally had only used metal frame pistols. Unable to compete with Glock's momentum, Beretta slowed down and then eventually halted production. A short while later they won a contract with the military of Turkey for the Cougar as Turkey's standard service pistol. They were going full bore on the PX4 next-gen pistol and couldn't really afford to divert manufacturing to the Cougar. What they did next was pure genius. They acquired Stoeger Industries in 2000 and placed them under their joint venture company Benelli USA, where it remains to this day. They then shipped all of the original manufacturing equipment to Turkey where it is now manufactured by cheaper, but highly skilled, Turkish workers. Turkey got a service pistol made in their own country by the original equipment to the original specs; Beretta got to keep its contract with Turkey without having to deal with the day-to-day hassles of operating a manufacturing operation while working on their next new pistol; Stoeger got a stronger parent company (it had been owned by Finnish rifle company Sako) and new overseas markets; and thanks to cheaper Turkish labor you and I get to purchase one of these fine firearms for about half of what they went for under the Beretta name with no loss in quality. Talk about a Win-Win-Win-Win situation!!

I had read about the Cougar in a recent edition of On Target magazine and based on its review had done more research on the world wacky web. I was truly impressed by what I found others had to say about this pistol and decided that it would one day make it into my collection. that day turned out to be last Thursday when I went to Vance's Shooters Supply in Columbus for an R. Lee Ermey meet and greet. A pretty good guy and Glock celebrity spokesman. I went there early to make a return on some ammo for my WASR-10 and was looking at Glocks. I had wanted to look at possibly picking up a decent quality hi-cap 9mm for shooting, as .40 rounds are almost twice as much as 9mm. I kind of had my sights set on either a Glock 19 or 26. There was a "sale of sales" on Glocks with the supposedly lowest prices of the year going on. I found out that the discount price I could get for a Glock due to being retired military was still $50 dollars cheaper than the sale price. I also saw that the Stoeger Cougars were on sale for $379, down from their normal retail of about $450. You can pretty much figure out the rest!


Stoeger's Promotional Vid on the Cougar Series

Enough history, onto the Cougar. The Stoeger Cougar 8000 (Model F, or F action) is unique among most modern semi-automatic pistols in that it does not incorporate the tried and true Browning short recoil, locked-breech action. Instead it utilizes a rotating barrel action in where instead of traveling rearward with the slide during recoil and then unlocking, the barrel stays put while the slide travels backward, rotating approximately 30 degrees by means of a cam pin and tracked milled onto the barrel and frame that unlocks the barrel from the breech once a safe chamber pressure is reached. In theory, this should be more accurate as the barrel stays pointed on target and does not travel to the rear and then slightly tip up at the muzzle as in Browning's design. Also, it uses a all metal lower frame in stark contrast to the polymers used by most other modern defensive semi-auto handguns being sold today. If further incorporates an exposed hammer, Double action and single action (Double action on the first pull of the trigger, singe action for every shot after that), a manual safety/de-cocking lever, a take down lever, a reversible magazine catch, a 3 dot sighting system, and steel 15 round magazines. When purchased you receive the pistol, 2 magazines, a lockable plastic case (mine was broken at the hinges but no big loss, I have others to use), an above average users manual in multiple languages, a cable safety lock, a soft plastic bore brush, a stiff brass bore brush and a cleaning rod with a permanent swab jag for running patches down the barrel. Nice touch with the brushes! I got all of this for $379. Keep in mind that 10 years ago the same pistol from Beretta would of run me about $750 in 1990's money. Can you see bargain built into this pistol yet?


My Cougar new in the box. Note the provided cleaning brushes and rod, nice touches!


My first impressions was "WOW!!" as I pulled it out of its case at home. The fit and finish were much better than the best Beretta 92's I had seen in the military (of course those being beat on by the troops this may not be a fair comparison). The slide action was a bit tight, but that should loosen up after a few hundred rounds. The trigger, while a bit laborious, in double action is long but smooth. In single action it is short and crisp with a nice let off. The manual safety should be familiar to anyone who has ever used a 92, flip up to see the red dot and fire, lower to place the weapon on safe and decock the hammer. The sights are a white 3 dot affair and are easily acquired on target. They are fixed so any aftermarket sights will most likely need to be installed by a qualified gunsmith. At this time I do not believe that night sights are available from the factory. Loading the magazine was very tight, with the last 3 rounds being a royal pain. Inserting fully loaded mags on a closed slide was accomplished with some effort to seat the magazine (I like this option to carry with a full mag on any empty chamber and then racking the slide on the draw ala the Israeli Mosaad - thanks Greg for that tip). Just like the slide, I think that these both will be remedied after a bit of use. Mags dropped out without incident. I did have a bit of trouble getting the mag release to go on first attempts, but I think that this is just me needing to get used to it being smaller and more recessed than on my S&W M&P .40. Disassembly is accomplished by clearing the pistol and locking the slide to the rear, pushing a button on the right side of the frame which moves a corresponding catch on the left side that prevents the disassembly lever from moving, rotating this lever downwards, and slowly releasing the slide off of the frame. Now I guess I have been spoiled lately with Glocks and my S&W that initially disassemble into 2 main groups, upper and lower, and then removing the rocoil spring and barrel from the upper frame group. Not happening here. First time I took the slide off of the frame I was rewarded by the recoil spring and what it called the center block crashing to my basement floor. Doh!! Please read the manual before and during both disassembly and reassembly to avoid this mistake. Once I read the instructions and walked through it a few time, it is a piece of cake. Just a learning cure thing.

Disasembled Cougar, notice the take down lever and the center block beneath the trigger

Shooting

I found shooting the Cougar to be a breeze. It feels wonderful in my hand. The grip is nothing really remarkable with a straight front, checkered sides and a indented rear up towards the backstrap, but it worked for me. It pointed easily and while I had to do a bit of relearning with the safety, all controls are easily reached. Recoil was a bit different that on other pistols with the locked breach action, it seemed to (logically) come more back into the web of my hand. It was manageable and had a very reduced muzzle flip from what I am used to. I was, however, unable to make any good groups at about 7 - 10 yards. I think I may have been subconsciously compensating for muzzle flip when there was none, or just yanking the trigger. I will have to go back out and put a few more than 40 round through it I guess. Most other reviewers give it raving remarks on accuracy, so I am assuming that it is just me and my astigmatism! Video below!

Stoeger Cougar range video!
video

Link to the Stoeger Cougar at Stoeger's Official Website

http://www.stoegerindustries.com/firearms/stoeger_cougar.php

Until next post, Shoot often....SHOOT SAFE!!

~Huey

***Follow up - June 2008*** It was just me, after getting used to the pistol the Stoeger is giving me great groups!!

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

I bought one myself and I absolutely love it! It's both my duty and off duty weapon of choice. I've used many other brands, but I now use this one exclusively. You just can't beat it in my opinion!

Huey148 said...

you know, about a year after I did this article an old friend of mine contacted me about needing a pistol for protection in his home and I sold him that as a charity sale, I sorely miss it.

Anonymous said...

totally agree, the recoil and feel of shooting this pistol is great, very smooth, and quite accurate. love this gun, especially the price, if i remember right, beretta did the same with taurus.

Anonymous said...

totally agree, the recoil and feel of shooting this pistol is great, very smooth, and quite accurate. love this gun, especially the price, if i remember right, beretta did the same with taurus.

Anonymous said...

traded my glock 19 for it at gander mountain and i'm not sorry. everyone tells me i have huge hands and this gun feels great and shoots great. i never did care for the glock as it did not fit my grip as good.

Huey148 said...

glad you like it! The quality of this pistol is top notch and the price is still excellent over a year later. The only thing I do not like about this pistol is the slide mounted safety, but I don't like slide mounted safeties in general anyways.

For another affordable, quality pistol stay tuned for my review of the Ruger SR9 in the next week or so.

Anonymous said...

i have a couger 40 i love it but cant seem to find mags or sites for it does anybody know where to look

Huey148 said...

Try searching for a Beretta 8000 magazine, you may have better luck that way or by contacting stoeger directly..

doug said...

just purchased one in .45 acp. A special deal it came with 4 mags and the cleaning accessories.
Great pistol as it handles well, very accutate and reduced recoil compared to other .45's. I shoot it a lot.
Florida

Anonymous said...

Hi guys'. Bought a Stoeg 8000 F 9mil last december. Brand new. Right off the bat it wouldn't cycle through a full mag. FTE/FTFeed. Over and over with different ammo. Sent it back because of an obvious burr on the barrel lug impeading travel. They ended up sending me a new pistol over 2 months later. What a drag! Got one free mag out of it... thats it. I was pretty angry, but now I have shot about 6-800 rounds out of it and Love it. It feels great. Shoots great. Looks pretty good too. Only con would have to be it not liking PMC and a few other "bargain" brands. I started loading my own 9mm's couple months back and it's great. No more probs. ;)

Huey said...

glad to hear you are happy with the "final" pistol that works! I had no issues with mine but even Mercedes allows a lemon to roll off the assembly line once in a while...glad they made it right for you...

Anonymous said...

This was the second firearm I purchased after moving to the US. The first was a Seecamp. I love them both for pure quality and ability to do exactly what they are supposed to with no problems.

The only time I had any FTF/FTE problems was when I took it straight from the store to the range and put cheap factory reloads down it. Since that first good cleaning it has been perfect. I got it used for $300. I keep looking around at other pistols and want to buy another but the two I have do everything I need.

I got spare Beratta mags from CDNN for $20 each. Worked way better than the cheap aftermarket mag that came with it. That had a more rounded shape to the top that seemed to catch on some rounds. May have been the cause of the FTEs on the first range visit.

Joshua Haskins said...

I love this gun, no joke best handgun I've ever owned. You need to buy another one Huey148 I promise I haven't found a better 9mm and Ive shot a handful of them. I don't think I will ever sell this gun. - Josh

Huey said...

The Stoeger Cougar is a great gun, no doubt, my main reason for getting rid of it was that my friend really needed some protection and I was never really a fan of the Slide mounted safety/decocker ("F" style in Beretta parlance).

Over at Madogre.com, George has been having a renewed love interest in the Beretta 92 which has had me thinking about the Cougar again...I would still recommend this pistol as a good buy today, 4 years after I sold it.

Anonymous said...

I just picked up this gun this weekend. I was working with a small budget and thought I'd have to pick up a used gun. Not only did I get the Cougar new, but it was still $80 cheaper than a used glock that looked like crap.

I have big hands but this gun feels really nice - I can't wait to get to the range and put some rounds through it!

Anonymous said...

This is the first time I'm in the market to buy my own gun. I took the CCW course and have shot a variety of pistols, 9mm and .40.
I finally figured that what I wanted was a medium size 9mm but with a metal frame instead of the polycarbonate varieties. Having said that it seemed to narrow the choices down a lot. So today for the first time I was presented the Stoeger. Had never heard of it, and a major gun shop here in Cincinnati seemed to not even know they had it until I asked. Handling it at Bass Pro (worst customer service I've ever seen, and you can only look at one gun at a time) I fell in love with it in my hand, but couldn't shoot it or even remove the trigger lock.
By the way their policy is so ridiculous, that for me to compare it with the Beretta PX4, I had to place the Stoeger on the glass counter above the PX4. Fortunately the PX4 was on the top shelf.
Anyway, I'm glad I found your review. I'm curious though about all the extras. They said it only came with one mag, and didn't mention anything else. Neither one of the stores seemed to know the difference between the F and the FT models. After a long over the phone comparison we figured the FT has the rails for the laser.
Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

This is the first time I'm in the market to buy my own gun. I took the CCW course and have shot a variety of pistols, 9mm and .40.
I finally figured that what I wanted was a medium size 9mm but with a metal frame instead of the polycarbonate varieties. Having said that it seemed to narrow the choices down a lot. So today for the first time I was presented the Stoeger. Had never heard of it, and a major gun shop here in Cincinnati seemed to not even know they had it until I asked. Handling it at Bass Pro (worst customer service I've ever seen, and you can only look at one gun at a time) I fell in love with it in my hand, but couldn't shoot it or even remove the trigger lock.
By the way their policy is so ridiculous, that for me to compare it with the Beretta PX4, I had to place the Stoeger on the glass counter above the PX4. Fortunately the PX4 was on the top shelf.
Anyway, I'm glad I found your review. I'm curious though about all the extras. They said it only came with one mag, and didn't mention anything else. Neither one of the stores seemed to know the difference between the F and the FT models. After a long over the phone comparison we figured the FT has the rails for the laser.
Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Finally got a chance to shoot my new Cougar - put about 100 rounds through it and it was, unlike my aim, flawless.

At first I thought there was something wrong with the sights because I couldn't seem to hit the broad side of a barn. After my friend hit 5 consecutive bullseyes with it, I decided that I was the issue! (I improved after that - competition ya know!)

There was very little kick when firing on the 9mm model I have. Easy, accurate double-taps since the gun wasn't jumping around much.

I'm impressed, enough that I'm seriously considering making this my carry weapon when I'm on duty.

Anonymous said...

Got mine in November. I had read reviews and seen reviews on Youtube, so I had already decided on getting one. I went into my LGS just to look at and handle one. After I held it I had to get it. After I cleaned it I took it to the range and shot 100 rounds. Recoil felt like shooting my Ruger single action .22 Mag. Great gun thinking about getting another one. BTW mine has a rail an a stainless steel recoil spring guide. I can't get over the quality of this gun

Huey said...

alright all you guys posting are going to make me go out and get another now...

Anonymous said...

I've had my Stoeger Cougar 8000F 9mm for about a year now and liked it immediately and seemed to shoot it pretty well, although I had only taken it to the range a few times.

Over this last year, I have been on a bit of a handgun buying binge, purchasing several different guns and taking them to the range. Because of that, I hadn't shot my Cougar for well over six months. I recently picked up a CZ75 SP-01, a gun that I had been trying to find for 5-6 months since it is known to be a very accurate gun.

I went to the range today, planning on only taking my two CZ pistols (I also have a CZ75 B .40 S&W). But on a whim, I decided to take my Stoeger along with me too since I hadn't fired it in so long.

When I got to the range, I first shot my CZ SP-01 with moderate success. Even though I had shot my CZ SP-01 several times before, I always seem to have to find my point of aim with it before I start getting accurate shots downrange. After a few mags through the CZ, I was consistently within a few inches of the center of the target at 12 meters, which for me isn't too bad.

I then switched to my Stoeger Cougar and shot two mags at an identical distance of 12 meters. OH MY LORD! I was almost hitting the bulls-eye with every shot. The sights for this gun are dead on and the rounds were going right where I wanted them to without any correction on my part. Simply amazing. The most accurate shooting I've done that I can recall.

I'm kind of sad now, because I picked up the Stoeger more or less on a whim because it was in stock at the store, was inexpensive, and had the ergonomics of the Beretta 92, which I always sort of wanted to try. To find that this inexpensive gun out shot my long-sought-after CZ SP-01 is a real eye-opener.

All I can say now is that I will not be letting the Stoeger sit unused in the safe any longer. What a great gun!!

Anonymous said...

Sharp gun. Love it. Was going for a sig but the solid Stoeger frame fit my hand better. Only plastic was the grip. For the price I was floored. All others were over 500 but I got this for under 400. My father in law was jealous. Smooth craftsmanship and little recoil. Only gun I need. Reviews really helped seal the deal.

OTR Defense said...

My second pistol ever was a 92. Had 2, but over time sold them. Got Cougar as a training tool to demonstrate DA/SA semiautomatic. Was planning on getting a 92, but found this as an ecnomical alternative. Economical, however high quality with a great lineage.

Huey said...

Still amazed how many responses this post gets after all this time, truly a testament to this pistol...man really need to see if I can pick up another now (before its too late?)

Good luck on your new blog OTR!

Anonymous said...

I just picked my Cougar 9mm up last night. I have not been able to fire it yet but I am extremely excited by the feel and the fit and finish. There are no external tool marks or flaws I can find. I was also surprised that they are now coming with a picatinny rail on the 9mm, I thought that was only on the .45. I can't wait to get to the range.

adil said...

I love this gun its awesome very good weapon good piece of reliable machine no comparison it is safe weapon with loaded chamber indicator u can see directly wirh naked eye round case in chamber .

Anonymous said...

Just picked up a used one last night. It's probably one of the first stoeger models and has lots of wear on the slide finish from daily holstering or something. The action is smooth as silk. I only got it because the guy was selling 1000 rds of 9mm ammo and the gun for $500, with the scarcity of ammo right now i couldn't pass it up, can't wait to try it out, if I love it like everyone else does I may send it in to get cerakoated!

Huey said...

wow, pistol plus 20 boxes? thats a great deal!

Anonymous said...

Did a lot of research before buying this pistol. My very first handgun was a Beretta 92f my father gave me as a gift when I was 16. Hed let me shoot it just about anytime i wanted, which was often. I probably put 5000 rounds through that beretta before graduating high school. Hell i was a junior in college before it ever started jamming on me. Lots of fte/ftf's after 8k+ rounds. Bought a new recoil spring and some new mags and she fires like new again. Anyway, i just bought the stoeger cougar 8000 9mm with rail at gander mountain for $479. I couldve waited and found it at a gun show for $50 less but hell even the most expensive price tags on this piece are a steal. I freaking love it. Fit, feel, aim. Easy 3" groups at 7-10 yards. Great post. Re purchase soon youll regret it forever if you dont!

Anonymous said...

Huey, I live in Columbus too. I am actually walking distance from Vances. I can't remember when the sale ends, or if they still have them is stock, but they had the Cougar in their flier for $350. It's a great price and makes me a little sad. I bought mine about a year ago, from Vances of course, but I got it used because they had none in stock. At the time their normal price was about $429 and I got mine, in perfect condition, for $350. I don't regret it though. :)

Huey said...

And I am still amazed at how many reads and comments this post gets today after all this time...not amazed that people are loving this pistol...one of the ones I let slip away I wish I still had...

Anonymous said...

I bought a Cougar 8000 for my son for Christmas in 2011. When I picked it out I held many other competitor's pistols but this one felt so natural in my hand I had to buy it. It looks sleek unlike the box-top guns that look klunky and boring.

I am going to look for one in .45 for my collection.

Anonymous said...

Bought my Cougar 9mm middle of Feb.2013.I love it.Easy to handle and shot.Wouldn't have anything else!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I have a Beretta cougar 40, that I bought about 10 yrs ago, and I have to confess that it is the best hand gun I have ever owned. Love it even more than my beretta92f!!!! Ive been wanting to get a 9mm, and planning to get the Stoeger today.

Anonymous said...

I love my Stoeger Cougar in 9mm. The barrel system reminds me of the CZ52.