Alloy-Framed .40 S&W Compacts: We Pit SIGArms against Beretta
Two gems, the $620 SIGArms P239 and the $709 Beretta Mini Cougar, shine despite little fanfare.
Looking through the pages of the many different gun magazines, any shooter might be dizzied by the advertisements alone. New models seem to appear with every issue, while simple updates in the finish or style of an old design are trumpeted as well. In this test we will try out two pistols that get less than their share of press, the $620 SIGArms P239 and the $702 Beretta Mini Cougar 8040, both chambered for the stout .40 S&W round.
The P239, first issued in 9mm, has since been successfully chambered in much more powerful calibers such as the .357 SIG (see Gun Tests, August 2001) and the .40 S&W. The P239 is unusual among the SIGArms lineup. The P239 is one of few pistols in the Sigarms lineup that feed from a single-column magazine. Like the Beretta pistol in this test, most of the SIGArms pistols use a higher-capacity double-column magazine that results in a much wider and rounder profile at the grip. In terms of compact design we think of the P239 as a TDA variation of Colt’s Officer’s .45 ACP model. Both pistols share the advantages of being flat and easy to conceal while offering a natural point to the shooter’s hand.
Compared to the SIGArms P239, the Beretta 8040 Mini Cougar is a more sophisticated weapon. The decocker lever (found on both sides of the pistol) can also disconnect the trigger, rendering the gun completely safe. Hammer-back safety on, or cocked-and-locked carry is not an option, however.
We learned a lot more about these two pistols when we loaded magazines and went to the range. Here’s what we found out.