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Old December 23, 2006, 06:42 PM   #1
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Stoeger Cougar 8000 - Range Report

First of all, my apologies, I'm no journalist, gunsmith, or photographer so you going to have to deal with my best efforts which may not be up to your standards. Having said that, here we go:

I sold my Sigs and was looking for another reliable home defense gun. I'd seen the Stoeger on the CDNN ads and read about it in Guns & Ammo like everyone else, decided to buy one and take a chance. I had handled a used Beretta Cougar at the local gunshop and thought the gun fit my hand nicely, was keeping my fingers crossed the Stoeger was as good. I really wanted the 9mm but everyone was out of them so I settled for the .40cal.

The gun arrived in a plastic case, wrapped in a piece of heavy wax paper and absolutely soaked in oil. Came with a trigger lock, a bronze and nylon brush and a plastic cleaning rod with permenantly attached cleaning jag. Was too wet to take to the range so took home, stripped, cleaned, lubed and then scheduled range time.

Disassembly is easy, simply flip the disassembly lever down 45-degrees and yank the slide off. After owning Sigs for years, I expected the slide to come off and everything stay intact but to my surprise, when removing the Cougar slide, the recoil spring and the block it rides inside of fall right out when you pull the slide. Disassambly is best done with the gun upside down so nothing drops out and gets lost and so you can see how things come apart. The block the recoil spring sits in has a big arrow on the side to assist in reassembly. The barrel needs to be rotated to be removed and reinstalled. First time I took it apart I thought "Wow, what a pain in the @ss!" but now that I've done it a few times, it only takes less than a minute longer to disassemble and reassemble and a little more attention to make sure things are in place correctly.

Machining inside the slide looked good. I didn't see any rough machine marks, barrel has a nice smooth finish and has also been carefully machined. The frame and slide have the serial number stamped on them and the barrel has matching number, appears to be laser etched, can faintly see it but can't really feel it.

After reassembly, started playing with the controls. Mag release is decent, not hard to get to, mags drop free. .40 cal came with two 10-round mags. Mag springs by the way are very stiff and loading them is a chore. I'll leave them loaded for a few weeks and hopefully they'll relax a little. Slide release lever is also easy to reach, works well. The action is DA/SA and the safety is also a decocker. I'm not a fan of Beretta-ish safeties that need to be flipped up in order to fire. Seems like an un-natural act and I prefer safeties that flip down so I'll probably never safety the gun, just decock and carry in DA, like my Sigs. I don't have a trigger pull gauge so I'm just winging it here...DA and SA felt a little heavier than my Sig P226. I read somewhere that the DA is 12lbs and the SA is 8 lbs but there's no way that they're that heavy. I'd guess 8 and 5 instead. SA has alot of slack before trigger is ready to fire but breaks cleany. DA is very smooth with no stacking, just a clean, consistant pull.

Function at the range today was flawless. Ran 100 rounds of Fiochi 170 grain flat-nose jacketed range ammo with no problem and threw 20 rounds of Winchester 180 grain subsonic JHP's as well. The gun does feel a little different with the rotating barrel and short stroke in comparison to other guns I've fired. The guns seems to cycle quickly. Spent brass was tossed a few feet to the side and for those of you looking to reload, you'll be happy to hear that the Cougar does not dent, ding, or deform in any way the brass it ejects. Recoil was surprisingly light for a .40cal. Was more than my Sig P226 9mm but less than my Sig P239 .40cal. The Cougar has nice checkering on the grip side panels and some stippling on the front and backstrap that make it easy to hang onto. Grip angle and shape make it easy to point.

Overall, I'm very happy with the purchase, an excellent gun for the $299 I paid for it. Looks like I'll be keeping it for a while. Pics attached, don't mock my target, was shot at 10 yards with my new-to-me gun.

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Old December 23, 2006, 07:10 PM   #2
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Thanks for the report. I've been looking into these and your report helped convince me I gotta have one.I think part of what appeals to me is the rotary barrell. Just because it is different. I hope they make one later in .45.
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Old December 23, 2006, 07:21 PM   #3
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Does the Cougar use the same mags as the Beretta 96?
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Old December 23, 2006, 09:30 PM   #4
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No, I had a Cougar when they 1st came out in the 1990s. The mags will theoritically fit, the mar release hole is in a different place. Unless U dremil your old mags, they will not work in the Cougar.

I got pretty good at removing the slide with the gun upside down.

U can get a Beretta "D" spring and lower the DA pull a bit more too...
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Old December 24, 2006, 06:36 AM   #5
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Kymasabe -- Thanks for the report. I just bought one in 9mm yesterday but it was dark by the time I got home. Must have field stripped it a dozen times in the shop before grinning at the owner and offering my credit card! I bought it based on the Guns & Ammo review and, frankly, the perfect ergonomics for me. Holding that pistol I got the same feeling as when I put on a old pair of comfy boots. Just felt right.

Now if the sun would just hurry up and rise!
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Old December 24, 2006, 07:43 AM   #6
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Thanks for the info. This is a gun that is on my list to check out next gun show. I myself would prefer the 40 cal over a 9mm and the target you posted is nothing to pick at it looks like you and this pistol are a good match. Congrats on a nice pistol and a awesome price.
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Old December 25, 2006, 12:27 AM   #7
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Also nothing to scoff about your reporting skills. I much prefer a "real person" report to a gun writer that gets paid by the company he is reporting on. I will be buying two. I would imagine that the original mags will fit in this new gun.

This, in my opinion, is one of the best deals out there. I have always liked the Cougar. I had issues with one of the .40s, but everything else I have heard about them has been good. This issue could have been very well a box of bad ammo, and that makes the most sense.

I will be picking up a couple of them!
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Old January 8, 2007, 11:07 AM   #8
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Appreciate the range report, have read a couple articles on the pistol. I am well towards saving up for one this year... now I have to figure out 9mm or .40...
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Old January 8, 2007, 04:58 PM   #9
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Do these have the same "locking block" design that the Beretta 92 has?
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Old January 8, 2007, 05:44 PM   #10
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No they do not.
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Old January 8, 2007, 08:13 PM   #11
James A. Mullins
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Range Report

Great report, thank you. Do they have anymore at that price?
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Old January 8, 2007, 09:19 PM   #12
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I have a .40 Cougar on order......Wish the thing would get here!
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Old January 9, 2007, 11:28 PM   #13
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I have shot one of the 9mm Cougars. Now that that Stoeger is producing them, this has to be one of the best deals, on a quality handgun, going today...Illini
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Old January 10, 2007, 03:10 PM   #14
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its a good looking gun..esp the price

is the new PX4 based on this model by chance?
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Old January 10, 2007, 04:42 PM   #15
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I have shot one of the 9mm Cougars. Now that that Stoeger is producing them, this has to be one of the best deals, on a quality handgun, going today...Illini
Stoeger, now owned by Beretta, is the importer. The gun, itself, is made in Turkey. Shooting Times had a big write up on it last month or so. They seem to be very well made as evidenced by this report. I may just have to break down and get one!!
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Old January 13, 2007, 07:02 PM   #16
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i live in cali and am going to get the 9mm 8000 as soon as i see one. I was in the gun shop and asked when cali would get 8000s i guess after a drop test. he said berreta cougars were an awful design and not to buy one from stoager. im getting one anyway.

Last edited by ryan_seth; January 14, 2007 at 12:02 AM.
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Old January 13, 2007, 11:57 PM   #17
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i think that last post came out wrong. i have been reading great things about the beretta cougar since i first heard of the stoeger. This man said the rotating barrel assem was as bad as the px storm. i think its px. the only other thing he told me was to stick with the browning style tilt guns. i am for sure going to get one. I guess he didnt know what he was talking about
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Old January 14, 2007, 10:24 AM   #18
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I sometimes go to a gun store in my area where the owner always acts like he's P.O.'d if your there to spend any less than $500.00. When I'm there for a $700.00 or higher gun he's your best friend. I guess when you have the police contract you don't have to be civil to us civilians. I stopped by a week ago to ask about a Stoeger Cougar and he said he didn't have any and probably won't. I don't think I'll be back. Maybe some day he'll learn.
Maybe the shop in Calif. has the same problem. He wants you to buy a $700.00 + gun over a Cougar.
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Old January 14, 2007, 09:17 PM   #19
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I noticed on the magazine in the picture,that it said 40CAL 357SIG,are the going to come out with a 357SIG version of this pistol?.If so that would be sweet and it would also prove how durable these guns really are.

Brian Craig
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Old January 14, 2007, 11:12 PM   #20
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At least so far, the mags coming with Stoeger Cougars seem to be actual Beretta mags. When Beretta made the Cougar there was a .357Sig version and I assume it used the same mag as the .40.
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Old August 10, 2007, 08:36 AM   #21
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Stoeger Cougar in CA?

Anybody heard if they'll be available in CA any time soon? I E-mailed Stoeger but haven't received a reply yet.
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Old September 17, 2010, 06:24 PM   #22
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Stoeger Cougar 8000

Looking into a Stoeger Cougar 8000 F and I found this old thread and the question is:

How's your cougar working so far? Any jamming or any other problem?

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Old September 17, 2010, 10:05 PM   #23
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I own the Stoeger Cougar in 9mm and .45 ACP. They've been flawless so far. After I bought the 8000 F I sold my Sr9 to a friend. The Cougar is a much better pistol. When I decided to get a .45, the Cougar was a natural fit. I highly recommend the Stoeger Cougar in you choice of caliber.
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Old September 17, 2010, 10:26 PM   #24
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Well, it's been years since I posted that range report. I had that .40cal Cougar for quite a while. Eventually got the 9mm Cougar I was looking for, then got in a serious cash crunch and sold them both. I stop into my local gunshop every week hoping to find another 9mm Cougar in the used rack but no luck so far. Everyone who has one seems to hang onto them. I recently picked up a new Ruger SR9c which seems to be a decent gun but sometimes wonder if I should have spent the cash on a new Cougar instead.
I can report that the COugars I owned were the most accurate guns I've ever fired, second only to my Sig p226.
If you can find one... BUY IT !!
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Old September 18, 2010, 08:16 AM   #25
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I bought one last month, and have been meaning to write a full range report, but in the meantime:

The pistol is a superb bargain. Unlike many entry-level pistols, it exudes luxury. Its slide and action have that "gliding on roller bearings" feel. I replaced the hammer spring with a lighter D spring, and it now has one of the smoothest triggers I have felt (albeit with some slack on both DA and SA). It is so smooth that even dry-firing is addictive! Keep in mind that it was a $700+ high-end pistol back in the day when it was produced directly by Beretta. It generally still feels like one, except that the finish on the slide is a bit rough. I don't mean the metal work (flawless), but rather the paint. The top surface of the slide is literally smooth as glass, but the sides have a grain to the paint that you wouldn't see on a more expensive pistol. I am in the process of buffing the grain out, and nearly have a mirror finish on the slide now. The frame is otherwise a perfect matte black.

It has fire controls identical to a Beretta 92FS and generally feels the same in the hand (but with a slight change for the better in the grip). No troubles with misfires, and accuracy is fine. Its recoil is very mild for a 9mm.

My only real gripe is lack of accessories. Specifically, I greatly prefer rubber grips but there are none currently in production. (Come on, Hogue--answer my prayers!!!)

Other than that rough paint on the slide, you get wayyyyy more pistol than what you pay for. There are certainly better pistols out there, but none anywhere near their price.
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