Obscure Object of Desire: Coonan Classic .357 Magnum Automatic

TTAG reported on the imminent return of Dan Coonan’s .357 automatic back in July. Since then, the gun has been officially released to the general public. As promised, it sells for $1199. Add a spare mag and some fancy sights and you can walk that up to $1479. Regardless of price, you’ve got to wonder: why? If a 1911-style .357 semi-automatic pistol was such a good idea—allegedly offering lower recoil and definitely providing seven-plus-one rounds of genuine man-stopping ammo—why hasn’t anyone else done it? You know, other than Dan Coonan for Magnum Research, back in the day. Frankly my dear . . .

I don’t give a damn. I’m one of those firearms enthusiasts who’s strangely attracted to odd guns. I can’t wait to add a Chiappa Rhino with a 4″ barrel to my collection. I’m currently embarking on a cowboy assault rifle project using an 1894c (Marlin’s .357 caliber lever gun). I almost bought a needle-nosed-bullet firing FN FiveseveN (couldn’t get past the typography and the fact that Mexican drug lords adore them).

The thing about obscure objects of desire: they’re obscure. There’s nothing quite like showing up at a gun range with a firearm fellow shootists have never seen before. Ask our Bone Collector friend Joe “Caps lock is my friend” Matafome; his Smith & Wesson 500s are all the rage at the range. The childlike look of wonder in their admirers’ eyes is well worth the price of admission.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all about bragging rights. Joe, myself and other collectors of obscure firearms don’t buy these guns to swathe ourselves in self-congratulatory glory. We get a huge kick from letting others fire a gun they’d never dream of buying (for a variety reasons). It’s a caring sharing kinda deal. A gun grok-fest celebrating ballistic diversity.

Equally, it’s the gun, stupid. There’s something deeply admirable about a weapon that will never find mainstream success. A firearm that marches to the beat of a different drummer represents a personal determination to follow a vision—no matter what the maker’s long-suffering wife and business partners have to say about it. Palm pistol? Bring it on! Smith & Wesson .500 lever action rifle? This summer.

Whether or not the Coonan Classic catches on, it’s already a hit with me. I’m not saying I’d carry one for personal defense. There are limits to this madness. But it may yet enjoy pride of place on my personal island of misfit toys. Anyway, I’ll let Dan the Man have the last word as to why one might want to add a Coonan Classic to one’s collection (lifted from the comments section below).

Ballistic versatility combined with in-expensive and easily available ammo!

Coonan’s can shoot some pretty light .38 loads AND some pretty heavy .357 loads. Try stuffing a 230 grain (yea, 230!!!) LRN in a .357 SIG case and see where it gets ya! That 230 gr. load (in .38 Special cases) was a GREAT bowling pin load! I have one gun set up for .38′s that my 3 daughters LOVE to shoot. They also like to shoot the “bad boys” (Federal .125 gr. JHP), but only a few of them.

Coonan’s are FUN, they are NEAT, they are ACCURATE and RELIABLE, they are made 100% in AMERICA! They are the FIRST choice fom SOME events/situations/games, and they are the LAST choice for SOME events/situations/games, and we DON’T recomend them for BEGINNERS!!