Last month 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.