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Beretta Cougar 8040 Review

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Jbabbler, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. Jbabbler

    Jbabbler Well-Known Member

    Ok, I have to be real honest here. Two weeks ago I took a huge gamble and purchased a Beretta 8040F online. I've bought guns online before but they were all well known guns that I had handled in local stores or shot at the range before. I mean honestly, if you handle a Glock 19 you know what 90% of all other Glocks feel like. This purchase was different though. I wanted something different, unique and uncommon. I had my carry rotation split evenly between my G23 and CW/PM40 hybrid so I didn't really care if the gun was large. Immediately Sigs, CZ's and Berettas came to mind. I have a Sig P225 and like it but find it to be large for caliber/capacity. The Cougar intrigued me so I ordered Police trade-in 8040. When I opened it my first thought was "oh crap, I screwed up". The grip on this gun was thicker and the gun itself was heavier than I imagined. The controls were oddly placed and I hated the safety.


    Well, after a little research I figured out that I could make the gun into a "G" model which is a decocker-only setup with no safety. After making the mod to the gun it seems to be much more familiar to me now and remonds me very much of my Sig. I played around with the gun some this week and really began to appreciate how it sits in my hand and how well balanced it is. Keep in mind that at this point, I still hadn't shot it. I stripped it down, cleaned/lubed it per the manual then I hand cycled 3 or 4 mags through the gun. It fed smooth and would chamber any JHP I fed it without complaint. The Cougar uses a rotating barrel rather than a the standard tilting barrel of most recoil operated autos. This leaves the barrel straight and true throughout cycling.


    Friday, I went over to my property with a box of 180gr flat-nosed FMJ to see if it would even shoot. I had tried the pencil trick and it would shoot a #2 4-5' into the air in SA or DA so I "assumed" it would fire OK. All I had to compare it to was my Glock 23 so I decided to shoot a few mags through each. I started with my G23 and pumped 27 rounds into a target at 10 & 12 yards. The results were predictable as always. I made a nice jagged hole with a few dots around the perimeter. Satisfied with my firearms prowess I reholstered the Glock and felt pretty good about myself. Then I tried the Cougar. I toyed with different grips a little until I felt comfortable. The gun is wider in the grip than any gun I own so it was strange not having my fingernails digging in to my palm.


    When I chambered the first round I could really tell the difference between my Glock and the Beretta. My Glock is smooth but the Beretta feels like it is riding on bearings. I slowly lowered the slide to see if the round had any spots that it might catch on. It popped right in and locked into battery without issue.

    Time to fire... The first thing I noticed was that the trigger, while stout, was smooth and broke clean. Even though I had dry fired it at home the sensitivity changes when its time to actually hold your point of aim. Trigger pull in DA mode was pretty long but there is no stacking or gritty spots. The muzzle didn't pull right or left. I squeezed off the first round and, aside from the sound, was unsure if it had actually fired. I actually thought it might have been a squib. There was almost zero recoil. This was an eye opener. My first shot was low. Real low. I shot two more and realized that I was anticipating recoil and muzzle flilp like I feel with my Glocks and had already compensated for it. I was the problem. It took me a few shots to get used to the SA trigger as well. While crisp and clean, the trigger comes back almost all the way to the front which leaves a lot of takeup for SA shots. I found that if I just released the trigger until it reset that I could pop off rounds quickly. The next 20 rounds hit exactly where I aimed and all that was left was a silver dollar sized hole with no fliers or orbiting holes. This left me a bit perplexed. I had just outshot my off/on EDC gun of 5+ years with a used gun of a brand that I had never even held before. I had enough ammo for 10 more rounds so I loaded 5 in the Glock and 5 in the Cougar. The Cougar put every round in the existing hole while my EDC G23 made the hole a little bigger.


    To say that the gun impressed me was an understatement. If she wasn't so darn thick I would definitely start looking for an IWB carry rig. As it stands now I think I'll grab a paddle holster and carry it when concealment isn't an issue. Since mine was a Police Trade-in it came with Night Sights. They still have some life left and have been glowing brightly on my night stand for the past few nights. I really like DA/SA and may start looking at some others such as the FNP 40.
  2. Wishoot

    Wishoot Well-Known Member

    Great review. Although I'm not in the market for a .40, I may just need to give one of these a spin. The price is almost too good to pass up.
  3. harmon rabb

    harmon rabb Well-Known Member

    Where'd you get it from?
  4. Jbabbler

    Jbabbler Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Oct 24, 2010
  5. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Well-Known Member

    The same gun is made in Turkey now by Stoeger, using Beretta machinery that was shipped there.
    It's almost exactly identical.
    From the picture the only diffence I can detect is that Beretta might have a slightly nicer finish.
  6. bannockburn

    bannockburn Well-Known Member


    Nice review; well written and very straightforward. I really like the design of these pistols, with quality construction and their unique rotating barrel system. My only negative comment on the gun is as you said; it's frame is just a little too thick, especially for someone with small hands like myself.
  7. SuperNaut

    SuperNaut Well-Known Member

    The Stoeger Cougars have the angled slides like the later model Beretta Cougars. It doesn't affect function and the Stoegers are definitely an incredible value, but they do look a little different from the one in the OP's review.

    Just FYI.
  8. Jbabbler

    Jbabbler Well-Known Member

    I don't know if the angled slide is accurate. My understanding is that the angled slides are on the 9mm only. My Beretta 8040 should just like the Stoeger 8040.
  9. SuperNaut

    SuperNaut Well-Known Member

    Hey, you're right! I just checked the Stoeger site and it is only the 9mm that has the angled slide.

    Man, that new railed 8045 is really calling my name...
  10. labhound

    labhound Well-Known Member

    I own the Stoeger Cougar 8000 F and the 8045. Both are excellent pistols and the grip fits my hand better than any other gun I own. Cougars stamped Beretta or Stoeger are hard to beat!
  11. Jbabbler

    Jbabbler Well-Known Member

    Yeah, that 8045 is a nice looking gun. I would like to see them start making the mini Cougar again.
  12. BP Hunter

    BP Hunter Well-Known Member

    Great review!! I purcahsed the Cougar in .40 a few months ago and have been very happy with it. This is my first .40 and do jnot have any other .40 to compare it with. I was told that the it would have a "snappier" recoil vs the 9mm and the .45. The recoil actually was very light.
  13. wbwanzer

    wbwanzer Well-Known Member

    Here's the Stoeger version in 9mm since it had come up in the discussion above. A great value for the money. BTW, I added the Beretta grips.

  14. Jbabbler

    Jbabbler Well-Known Member

    Great looking gun, looks nice with the wood grips. I see that yours is a 9mm. One thing I like about the Cougar is that is was designed as a 40cal first so the barrel has full support inlike a lot of guns that began life as 9mm.

    Thanks for posting.
  15. Gunny010

    Gunny010 New Member

    Good overview of the 8040F Jbabber. Interesting that you were pleased by your shooting of the 8040. I have had an 8045 Cougar for about 20 years and have enjoyed it tremedously. Nice recoil characteristics and centers well for successive shots. I have a small hand so your comments on the grips were noted but for this gun I seem to do very well. I also have an H&K .40 and the Cougar handles comparably even thought it is a 45. Yes, trigger has a longer pull but releases smoothly and handles well when one gets used to it. It is not exactly a great conceal/carry gun and I usually carry it in either a pancake or shoulder holster. Beretta makes a nice shoulder holster for this gun and it is easy to access.
  16. Soldiernurse

    Soldiernurse Well-Known Member

    I have a Stoeger Cougar 8040F. Not an EDC but the rotating barrel almost eliminates recoil, compared to other .40 S&W caliber handguns. I have a Paddle & IWB Blade-Tech holsters for my Cougar.




  17. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Well-Known Member

    I had one in 40 S&W. It was a good gun. It was extremely accurate. The ergos were great. I have a little bit bigger hands, so it fit me well.

    I did sell it though. I realized I just didn't care for the 40 cartridge. I also was not real impressed with how the finish held up. I did carry it a bit in a Galco IWB holster, but yeah, it is thick.

    If they came out with an all stainless version in 45, I'd probably buy one.

    I wish my FNP-45 had the magazine release the Cougar does.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  18. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

    Did we not notice the zombie thread??? :D

    At least Jbabbler is still here and might respond to questions...
  19. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Well-Known Member

    Nope :banghead:
  20. Shipwreck

    Shipwreck Well-Known Member

    Sho nuff...


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