July 2008

9mm Semi Shootout: DA or SA? We Like Stoeger’s Cougar 8000

The Charles Daly HP echoes some of the positive traits of the more expensive Browning Hi-Power—but also suffers from some dated design choices. The Cougar quietly does a lot very well.

We just learned that Charles Daly has discontinued its HP model ($550 MSRP), a close copy of the Browning Hi-Power. Used Browning Hi-Powers go for $750 or so. New, they’re $922 on up. The Daly HP commonly sells in the neighborhood of $350 on the street. So if you could get a decent version of the Hi-Power 9mm single action for that amount, it might well be all the Hi-Power you need. We’ve had a Charles Daly HP (Daly never calls it a Hi-Power on the gun’s markings or in the manual) on hand, waiting for a suitable test matchup. Because of its recent discontinuation, we thought you might like to know what it’s all about while the Daly HP is still somewhat available, so we quickly came up with another high-capacity 9mm to test against it.

The second test gun used to be made by Beretta as a smaller and lighter version of the 92, yet still is pretty much a full size DA/SA auto. It is now being made in Turkey, using Beretta’s machinery, and is sold under the Stoeger name (a Beretta subsidiary) as the Cougar Model 8000. As a Turkish gun, its price has come down drastically from around $650 to an MSRP of $449. Street price as we found it is $390. We didn’t much like running a DA against an SA, because we thought they’d never compete. We were surprised at the results.

We tested both guns with Fiocchi 115-grain JHP, with American Eagle 115-grain ball, with Black Hills 147-grain ball, and with 115-grain JHP by Ultramax. Loading the magazines for both guns was not easy. In fact we found it to be very painful on the fingers, from sharp edges and high forces needed against powerful springs, on both guns. We suspect many women will not like these two guns because of the extreme forces necessary to load their magazines by hand. A suitable loading aid would help immensely. Each magazine would fit the well of the other gun, but neither would latch properly.

Here’s what else we found.

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