How much can you afford?

There is still a market for cheap guns for SD and CC, and that’s a good thing. The 2A was never meant to separate the haves from the have nots even though obtaining the best and safest firearm for the purpose is most desirable (I would not compromise on safety, however although the best firearm safety is always located between your ears.)
But still, guns require ammunition (not cheap) and a place to practice (seldom cheap) training (actually quite a bargain with your USCCA membership) and whatever licenses and fees your State mandates you pay in order to exercise your Right (wait,it’s a Right, right?).

It used to be you could find pretty high quality used firearms such as police trade-ins, but that source for the most part seems to have dried up and used guns have skyrocketed in value.
That leaves the brand spankin’ new shooting irons to choose from.

You and I have our firearms, but what if we, say a young couple or single parent, were just starting out in today’s economy? Or you’re trapped living in a high crime inner city nightmare?
Or just scraping by on a measly pension?
Say you don’t come from a shooting family and haven’t been gifted or inherited a firearm.
Which model firearms and necessities would keep you within a severely modest budget— obviously not top of the line— for HD or EDC?


The Hi-Point 9mm pistol is serviceable.

Up from there most people would be able to find a used .38spl revolver or 9mm striker for probably $300-$400 (depending on state). Used 9mm Glocks, Springfields, M&P, etc, don’t go for that much (just ask anybody who is selling one lol)

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I remember in 2012 when I first looked at owning my first firearm, I seriously considered the Hi-Point 9mm because of its price.

Now that I know a bit more than before, I would start with some more established brands like Ruger (EC9S, MSRP $339) and S&W (SDVE 9 $406).


We are already on the same page here with regards to selecting a pistol, but, I will go into the reasoning I am only talking pistols.

IMO, for a person who is going to have 1 gun (for now, or ever) for self defense, a pistol is generally the place to start.

*Pistols can be pressed into carry service in the future, whether the purchaser currently foresees that possibility, it is always there and people/times/situations change
*Pistols are generally less expensive than rifles or semi auto shotguns
*Pistols can be transported very easily to or from a vehicle, other residence, range, wherever, without standing out and without there being any suspicion at all about “what’s in that bag”
*Pistols are more intuitive and simple to use (select them well, double action revolver, striker with no manual safety, etc) than most other firearm types. Just load them and then pull the trigger to fire, don’t pull the trigger and they don’t fire.
*Pistols, while weaker and more difficult to hit with than others, are so much more intuitive to understand, and have recoil that is much more manageable than, say, a 12 gauge pump shotgon…

…I really don’t like recommendations for somebody who doesn’t know what kind of gun to get, to get a shotgun…they are, relatively speaking, long, heavy, low capacity, with a complex user interface, and a very real chance to short stroke on a pump (and the GOOD semi autos are expensive, and not simple to use either, and still long and heavy and loud and high recoil)

So, the least expensive pistol that’s reliable, I think, generally, is the place to start


I have often found that “shooters” in general are a very gracious bunch and are not adverse to “lending a hand” when asked for information, assistance and general knowledge. I have on more than one occasion been asked to “Take me shooting” by folks that had no knowledge of firearms, laws or anything. Some were well to do and others didn’t have two dimes to rub together. After careful consideration of the party I have on occasion “lent” a spare hand gun/shot gun to a party. Fortunately my kindness has not been taken advantage of to date but I apply the same rules as I would lending money to a friend, never expect it back and be glad if it does come back. No your not getting my top shelf stuff but it will be a serviceable and defensible platform that we have worked with and you are sufficiently trained on to make ME comfortable with your having it. Having a gun is nice but knowing what to do with it and when to do it is paramount. In that we as knowledgeable shooters can help.



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I have always preferred new firearms. So the first attempt will be to look for any promotions.
Recently new SAR9 was priced $250. :slightly_smiling_face:
Second path would be reliable (that means whatever I believe in) handgun below $300.

  • Taurus G3C
  • Taurus GX4
  • Ruger EC9C
  • Bersa BP9

To save on ammo, I personally would stay with 9mm.


A friend on a budget asked me 8 million questions, visited 6 million websites, went to several dealers numerous times, and bought a CZ P10. I shot it, good gun.
I knock very few guns, though do knock some, but mention Glock if they plan on shooting a lot and it fits, as replacement and aftermarket parts are made by seemingly everyone, keeping costs competitive.


For home defense you can get a Mossberg Maverick 12-gauge for around $300 with tax and FFL fees.


I’ve shot a G2C and it’s a decent firearm. My only concern with the G2C is I’m not sure it would last for someone who puts high round counts in short periods of time through their gun, BUT if your on a strict budget you definitely won’t be doing this. The G2C is a surprisingly soft shooter and has shorter mags and larger mags to adjust for carry and home defense.

The 2nd hidden feature in this gun is the trigger resets itself without the slide having to be racked. So one can get really good quality dry fire with this gun.

I personally would go for the S&W SVD (I think that’s right). Gun is just a Glock clone, and there’s plenty of people who love it.

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I agree with Jersy on new Ruger’s and Taurus’. Taurus in my experience has been a bit less expensive than Ruger. I have never felt poorly armed with a Ruger firearm. Never shot a Bersa, however I do know some that like them. As for Taurus I have one, it is not bad, never have had a single failure out of 400 rds. I might also suggest Springfield Armory’s XD Series. They are typically about the same cost as Ruger, many come with a Holster and Mag Carrier for carry purposes, as well as a mag loader. So if you are looking for a firearm that presents a lot of value for your money but may be a stretch, add up the cost of a mag loader, spare magazine, holster and firearm. The included items actually may save you an additional $50 to $100 until you can buy a better Holster.


When I first got my CCW permit, I qualified with a SD9VE. I would trust my life to one.
Also, the Ruger Security 9/Max 9 line.
Last, the Smith and Wesson J-Frame revolver line has some guns in the 400-450 range, if you wanted to spend a little more.