Coonan 357 Magnum 1911 Review | Impressive Velocity and Accuracy!

The Coonan 357 Magnum 1911 has a good reputation for accuracy and reliability. This gun is a bit pricey because it's handmade for silhouette and accuracy shooting. Let's look closely at the 357 magnums focusing on the Coonan 357 Classic 1911 Black.

In this Coonan 357 magnum 1911 review, we'll see the shooting experience, the problems we had while at the shooting range, the pros and cons, and much more.

Coonan 357 Magnum 1911 Review: Is there 1911 in 357 Magnum?

The Coonan Magnum 357 1911 is a classic semi-automatic pistol with a 1911 twist. The Coonan 357 isn't a light handgun, but it's far more compact than the 357 desert eagle or a 6-inch revolver.

I liked the Coonan compact self-loader in full power because of its excellent ballistics at the gunfire range. The Coonan classic offers ideal ballistics for personal defense, recreational shooting, and hunting.

While the 125-grain dot-357 Magnum provided excellent loading, penetration, and wound potential, it did strain the smaller revolver parts and had significant recoil.

However, the Coonan classic reliably and accurately accommodates 357 magnum cartridges. It is a great trail gun with faster shot recovery time compared to a revolver, a slimmer profile, and increased ammo capacity. The size is particularly suitable for individuals with large hands.

Recoil is generally manageable except when using 170-200gr rounds, although it still pales in comparison to my .480. The cylinder gap on the .357 revolver plays a significant role in mitigating the recoil of this high-pressure round, which happens to be my favorite.

However, in a semi-auto platform, the recoil is more noticeable due to the limited area for gas to escape through the ejection port.

All in all, it is a beautiful piece of gunsmithing art, and although it may be slightly larger and have a sharper recoil than desired, the cartridge itself remains the ultimate defense round.

Coonan 357 gun on the wooden surface

Coonan Classic 357 Magnum Gun Review Features

The Coonan Classic 357 has crisp 1911 controls, a magazine release, thumb safety, and a slide lock.

The gun's grip, grip safety, and sight picture supplemented the controls well. That's because the magazine has seven cartridges that give it a broad grip. It has a three-dot sight system with two dots for the rear sight and one for the front sight.

When depressing the grip safety, it releases the trigger hold halfway through its travel, similar to a Browning Hi-Power. This particular gun boasts a long port for ejection, enabling swift magazine changes during gunfire practice. Surprisingly, its velocity exceeded my expectations, thanks to the 5-inch barrel without a cylinder-barrel gap.

The increased velocity offered a unique experience, setting it apart from the typical revolver. Weighing five ounces more than the average 1911 pistol, it effectively reduces recoil. This firearm is a perfect blend, combining the power of a revolver caliber with the reloading advantages of a semi-automatic. 

It's a delight to shoot and impressively accurate. A truly awesome .357! Another fantastic aspect of this gun is its suitability for .357 rounds. It's the softest shooting .357 I've ever encountered, boasting excellent craftsmanship. The well-built sights contribute to its reliability during rapid shooting sessions.

While not particularly concealable, it's a novelty that I appreciate. However, due to its weight, individuals with smaller or less robust arms may find it challenging to handle. The gun is a force to be reckoned with when fired, surprising me with its speed and impact.

I fell in love instantly when all five shots hit the steel plates, and its polished frame gives it a cool appearance. The comfortable wooden grip adds to its appeal, providing a soft and pleasant feel when handling the gun.

Shooting Experience Gun Review With the Coonan Compact 1911

After extensive fire experience, I found the Coonan 1911 impressive with power, accuracy, and long-range ballistic reliability. The gun functioned well in a 25M yard using factory ammo, including 180-grain, 158-grain, and 125-grain.

We clocked 2-inch in the X-mark using five-shot groups.

Using the same bullet weight, the 357 Magnum showed higher velocity than the other 337 SIG capacity. And it almost outperformed the typical 357 magnum revolver with a six-inch barrel with the same loads and bullet weight. For instance, a standard 125-grain loading would break the 1250 fps of the 4-inch revolver. The 357 had a modest recoil in all velocities.

I also appreciated the fact that the handgun was quick to target when I took my first shot. However, the recoil was not as intense as that of the 45 ACPs during subsequent shots, which felt manageable and tolerable.

If you're dedicated to mastering it, the Coonan proves to be an excellent choice handgun for personal defense and hunting due to its efficient handling. All you need is to find the right holster.

A friend of mine owns one of these, and I believe the prominent toe on the barrel serves to enhance feeding. It prevents the longer .357 round from nosing up and causing a stovepipe malfunction. The ejection on these firearms is truly remarkable. It propels the brass casings a solid 30-40 feet away. We've even been at one end of the shooting range and managed to pelt people with brass at the other end.

As an Australian engineer, I'm fascinated by the exquisite design of this handgun. It boasts a beautiful, solid stainless steel construction, devoid of cheap plastic and aluminum that might warp under pressure.


  • The gun is an accurate shooter for long yards.
  • Higher velocity is ideal for hunting deer and boar
  • Pleasant gunfire. The gun keeps its colossal muzzle blast.
  • It has a Black Duracoat finish that complements the gun's aesthetics.
  • The Coonan fits the grip well, and big-handed handgun hunters would love it.


  • The gun is a good supplement for everyday carry, but the Coonan line didn't seem suitable for daily carry. But if you carry 1911 for self-defense, the Coonan compacts shouldn't be much of a problem.

Unique Specs Coonan Gun Review




357 magnum




5 inches


Fixed three-dot system: one white dot front and two-dot rear sights.

Mainspring casing


How Many Rounds Does a Coonan 357 Hold?

The Coonan 357 holds eight rounds, made possible by the seven cartridges that make the magazine. The initial design has a well-made magazine as the core of the entire project. Coonan pistol production is limited because getting a rimmed cartridge to feed in a semi-automatic pistol has always been a rather tricky engineering task.

Is Coonan 357 Still Made? Packing The Power

There are only a few self-loading pistols out there chambered for rimmed cartridges. Coonan Classic 357 is one of them.

Coonan handgun parts

Dan Coonan made the original model in the late 1970s. Coonan Arms Inc. still makes the gun with many standard 1911 parts. For instance, the recoil spring, retention plug, bushing, spring, and guide rod simulate standard 1911s.

Also, a Coonan 1911 has the same controls but is larger to accommodate the longer cartridge. As a result, it has a larger circumference that smaller hands would struggle with unless they had prior experience firing 1911s.

In full power, the gun broke 1450 fps with 120 grain. And with a heavier charge with medium-burning powder, the gun quickly broke 1550 fps.

For hunters, the 180-grain cartridge load breaks 1200 fps, which makes it ideal for deer-sized handgun hunting.

So for boars, you can use a 180-grain load for deeper penetration. And for personal defense, the gun is fast-action, similar to the 45 magnums. But you must have good firearm practice and select the loads carefully.

a person holding the gun

For hunters, the 180-grain cartridge load breaks 1200 fps, which makes it ideal for deer-sized handgun hunting. So for boars, you can use a 180-grain load for deeper penetration. And for personal defense, the gun is fast-action, similar to the 45 magnums. But you must have good firearm practice and select the loads carefully.

Where Are the Coonan Guns Made?

Coonan Arms Inc. makes Coonan 357 handguns in Minneapolis. You will not easily find these handguns in a gun store because they are engineered on order, and you'll have to wait 4-6 weeks before getting your price.

Amazingly, the gun is viable for concealed carry. The gun didn't feel that big and was comfortable to carry. Different holster makers are manufacturing discreet holsters that fit the Coonan classic.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Coonan 357 Reliable?

Yes, the Coonan compact 357 is a reliable firearm. Coonan Inc designs the 357 Magnum with the ability to accommodate the 357 ammo cartridge. It does that accurately and reliably.

Will a 357 Magnum Stop a Grizzly Bear?

Yes, a 357 magnum can stop a grizzly bear. 357 magnum and other identical caliber loads only require a well-placed shot. However, that's not in alignment with the animal code unless it's in a life-or-death circumstance.

Is a 357 More Powerful Than a 9MM?

Ballistically the 357 outperforms the 9mm while using 125-grain ammo. That's because the 125-grain reaches 1450-1500 FPS while a 9mm breaks between 990-1350 fps. And the foot-pounds of intensity hitting an object with a 357 will be 585.

Is a 357 SIG More Powerful Than a 9MM?

Yes, a 357 SIG is more powerful than a 9mm. Though a 357 SIG breaks less energy than the 357 magnum, the muzzle power of the 357 SIG is 57% more than the one of the 9mm. That makes the 357 SIG more potent than a 9mm.

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