Battle of the Budget nines!


May 13, 2005, 02:22 AM
Alright I need a pistol to live in my toolbox(ie trunk) Heres what I have sofar. It needs to be under 200 bucks, magazine fed 9mm of some flavor.

Makarov 9x18
Hi-pointe 9mm

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May 13, 2005, 02:53 AM
If you're willing to go up just a little bit in price you can get a brand new FN-HP/DA for a song.

A compact DA/SA is $300, and a DAO is $280.

If I was strapped for cash, I'd squeeze out the extra dollars, and go with one of those over your other choices.

Just my 2 cents. YMMV.

May 13, 2005, 08:02 AM
Definitely the Makarov. It's inexpensive (but not cheap), all-steel, rugged, extremely reliable, accurate & parts/mags/ammo are cheap & plentiful. What's not to like? With the Silver Bear 115gr JHP @1,000fps you have low-end 9mm performance.

May 13, 2005, 08:17 AM

On the other hand, a trunk is large enough for a cheap shotgun.

May 13, 2005, 08:26 AM
If you can afford a Makarov or decent used .38, there's no good reason to even mention a Hi-point.


May 13, 2005, 10:07 AM
Don't forget Europen American Arms Witness pistol line.
A basic 9mm Witness can be bought brand new for as little as $300.00.
I consider these guns to be a bargain.

The Bersa/Firestorm pistols from Argentina are another excellent buy for the budget minded shooter who wants a smaller 9mm handgun.
These can often be found for well under $300.00 brand new.

May 13, 2005, 12:02 PM
kel tecs are right around there. also cz-52's are well under, so far under you could get the 9mm barrel too and still be under 200. sigmas go for about that too i think. . .

Red Tornado
May 13, 2005, 01:02 PM
Trickasafox beat me to it, but the CZ-52 with a 9mm barrel should be under $200. That way, you get a bonus caliber to play with at the range. 7.62x25 is quite fun. OTOH, you might want the extra penetration power in your trunk.

May 13, 2005, 02:43 PM
I'd go for a used, hard-chromed, Kel-Tec p-11 myself. You should be able to find one for around that price.


May 13, 2005, 03:23 PM
No Hi-points. EVER.
Get the Mak.

May 13, 2005, 03:25 PM
If its going in your trunk, you might as well get a $200 shotgun.

May 13, 2005, 04:28 PM
its going in my toolbox, which lives in my trunk. Its an SUV which means clear glass over the trunk so somone strolling by can casually inspect its contents. Its not wide enough for my I doubt its gonna be wide enough for a 12gauge. Thus the pistola. Tell me biyt the CZ-52, how many rnds in the mag and where are the conversion kits?

May 14, 2005, 06:19 AM
Of the two, a Makarov. I would also think about spending another 40 or so dollars on an Arcus. It's a Browning HiPower clone and my nephew's seems to be a great little shooter. I'm thinking about one for myself.....

May 14, 2005, 09:49 AM
Fun gun or self-defense?

Fun gun then the CZ with the conversion barrel is ok.

Self-defense then I'd go with a Mak. Sometimes the CZ 9mm conversions aren't as reliable as they are in the original caliber.

Check around on the used market. You can probably find something in your price range that will suit your needs if you aren't too picky about appearance. I recently passed up a great deal on a pistol at a pawn shop. It was perfectly functional but it was badly beaten up. Dings, scratches, just all beat to heck. Looked like someone had left it in a toolbox full of tools for several years without any protection.

May 14, 2005, 10:05 AM
I know a few folks that use the P-11 for conditions such as this. After confirmation the gun and mags would run a minimum of 200 rds of WWB JHP ( the loads these all use) these are in lockable toolboxes, or under lock and key in horse trailers, boat houses, barns, sheds, tractors, work trucks and work sheds out back.

Using Car wax with Carnuba on the mags, some even the slides, others use RIG on slides and some use RIG ( light film) on internals. One does have the hard chrome.

Seem to hold up and work. Last one I used like this : you gotta know which hay bail the lock box is hidden and bolted to structure - but yep it worked after 3 months of being cold, damp, freezing temps during the winter-.all 4 mags fired without a hitch.

I still like the idea of a ugly Revo with a Park'd finish for this purpose more often if the truth was known.

Uncle Mike's holsters are a good idea to have handy too.

May 14, 2005, 10:56 AM
I have had a Hi-Point 9mm for about a 1 1/2 yrs. with no problems and I shoot CCI Blazers. I bought it at a Gun Show for $98 (before tax). I mainly bought it for a truck gun, but have been shooting it at the Range just to see peoples faces when I tell them what brand of gun it is and then let them shoot it....They are surprised....


Harry Paget Flashman
May 14, 2005, 06:20 PM
I saw some new Jimenez Arms .380's and a 9mm in a local gun store. They were on the shelf but hadn't been priced yet. If I had been the only customer there I might have asked the price. They looked stout enough for a toolbox, to be used for some light hammering. :barf:

larry starling
May 14, 2005, 08:17 PM
Jesus I would get the mak! But might I suggest you try and find a Norinco Tokarev in 9mm! so some at local store for $185! I have shot a Russian tok and found it reliable and accuarate! Also there is a ad in the latest shotgun news offering original russian ones with holster and other goodies for $250. :D

May 14, 2005, 09:24 PM
You can always pick up a Star BM 9mm and let us know what you think.
SOG ( is selling them for $139, just a thought.

May 14, 2005, 09:54 PM
Accurate, big enough for range work, light and small enough for carry, accurate, goes bang every time and parts abound.

May 15, 2005, 02:29 AM
"...Alright I need a pistol to live in my toolbox(ie trunk)..." What possible use could there be for any firearm that's out of your reach?

May 15, 2005, 02:35 AM
its going in my toolbox, which lives in my trunk. Its an SUV which means clear glass over the trunk so somone strolling by can casually inspect its contents.

This brings up the question.
Do you really want to be responsible for arming a gangpunk??
Why are you leaving valuable property in your SUV, anyway??
During the NYC garbage strike about 20 years ago, people used to put their trash in a box, then wrap it up and put a bow on it, and leave it on the seat of their car.
Their trash would always get picked up!!! ;)

Besides, anybody who would condem a Makarov to a trunk is just sick!! :p :evil:

If you are gunna arm a gangpunk, then, at least, give him a Hi-Point!!
Maybe it will KB when he tries to use it!!! :neener:

May 15, 2005, 02:38 AM
38 Mak or 357 a ro revol v er.

The Makarov is a great choice but I think a good used Ruger Service or Speed six is as good if not a better option.

My two cents.


May 15, 2005, 03:12 AM
Mak, Star 9mm, or Kel-tec (maybe). The Star would be my choice for what you're describing. The Mak's are just too cool to stuff in a tool box and the Kel-tec's are a crap shoot on quality. Haven't heard any complaints on the Star. Very inexpensive to shoot and own.

May 15, 2005, 09:05 AM
Why the need? My "workshop" where I've been teaching myself to weld is a cute little chunk've property out yonder. No Cell phone reception, not another soul for awhile. Seeing as I live in Missouri, I have to worry about Meth-labs when I head to more out've the way places that have any sort've road access.

I dont think I'll be able to get a Holster to fly really, I favor an old leather apron to keep myself from being burned and its got enough coverage on either side that holstering anything would be useless. Then I dont wanna just toss my poor CCW gun, that has to deal with me all day already in a toolbox (holstered of course) to slosh around and get scratched to heck. So, I get a beater pistol to live in a simple flap holster that I'll keep in the toolbox. Said toolbox is always at my side, and while still less than ideal its a convient solution to the problem.

Truth be told I'm probably being overly paranoid about this whole affair, but then again your only paranoid until your right. Anyway I've never seen another individual out yonder, but at times when the wind shifts I've gotten sweet scent in the air. Could be a clandestine still I suppose, but I dont care to deal with moonshiners anymore than meth-heads.

May 15, 2005, 09:26 AM
I think there have been some really good ideas here.

The MAK is a solid choice. Goes bang every time. VEry small/concealable and handy.

The CZ-52 is a great round, very zippy at >2700 fps, but mag change is a real crapper :cuss:

I am a fan of the Kel-Tec and just bought one for around $200.00 with extra mag and asHLET big dot Tritium front sight. I am familiar enough to make these run well, so reliability is a non-issue. Bonus here is High cap S7W mags increase round count to 12 or 15.

I would be interested to see if anyone owns one of the Star 9mm and how they run/range report.

Everyone disses the Hi-point as junk, but many defend them, so I wonder :confused:

happy old sailor
May 15, 2005, 10:28 AM
i understand your need and agree that you need a gun i also agree with other posters that it should be more handy than locked in the back. get it up front when you leave civilization, because, when you need a gun, you need it RIGHT NOW. the graveyards and praries of the west are full of slow draws. before CCW was avail, it was a misdemeanor and they (LEOs) would take the gun. i used inexpensive, but good guns similar to Maks and CZs, figuring i could always pay a small fine and get another gun for up front and at hand. thankfully, i never needed it, but oh what a comfort in case my area went to GQ. whoever said "judged by twelve or carried by six" was a real phylosopher and my kinda man.

May 16, 2005, 09:24 PM
Kel-tec P11, Bulgy Mak beater or, get the Hi Point. I have a buddy with a HP 9mm and 40cal. In several hundred rounds, they have never failed and he has never cleaned them. Both were dirt cheap and are now no cleaner. Plus, they'd make a hell of a club! :D

Red Tornado
May 17, 2005, 11:48 AM
In response to your question of a few days ago, the CZ-52 has an 8 round magazine. As ..spoon mentioned, it's not a really quick mag change, as the catch is on the bottom.

9mm barrels are available at among other places, but there might be some reliability issues. I don't have the conversion, so I can't attest personally, but I have read of some issues with the 9mm conversion, making me think the Mak would be more reliable in 9mm. However, my CZ-52 hasn't had any failures in the7.62x25. (It's actually around 1500fps, not the 2700 as previously stated.) I'm getting a Mak for Father's day, so I'll be able to give a first hand comparison then.

Just a thought:
Is there a secure place at your "workshop" where you could stash an SKS or shotgun, until you take off your carry piece, and then keep the longarm nearby? I'm down here in the heart of meth country, so I know what you're worrying about. If there's some crazed methhead who's been up for 5 days straight making bad batches of meth, be prepared to shoot more than once.
Good Luck,

P.S. BTW, what area is your workshop in?

May 17, 2005, 03:48 PM
Its quite unsecure, just empty property. As for where it is, I'd rather keep that to myself for the time being. I have no place to rest it and as far as keeping something there, at that point I might as well just bring my AK. I'd like something discreet and simple, better to have and not need than it is to need and not have right? I'm not going to have the chance to work there after this coming april anyway so I'm not terrifically bothered by the whole affair.

Does the CZ-52 kit convert it to 9x19 or 9x18 Makarov? Doesnt the Makarov have a mag release on the bottom of the pistol grip aswell?

Thanks for the thoughts guys!

May 17, 2005, 04:52 PM
Thanks for the explaination.
I'm a Makarov collector. So, I have "reservations" about carrying Pistolet Makarova in a tool box!! IMO, the Makarov, while inexpensive, is to good of a pistol to be consigned to such a fate!!

Southern Ohio Gun has Star BM's listed for $140.
I would recommend that, provided of course, it passed the 200 round test, first.

I still have reservations about the concept of the "truck", "tool box", "glove box", or "trunk" gun in the first place!!
However, if you have to go that route and are willing to take responsibility for possibly arming a crimminal, then, I suppose, you have to do what you have to do!!

May 17, 2005, 04:55 PM
Does the CZ-52 kit convert it to 9x19 or 9x18 Makarov? Doesnt the Makarov have a mag release on the bottom of the pistol grip aswell?



May 17, 2005, 08:30 PM
Another vote for Hi Point. I've had a compact 9mm for over 3 years and never had a problem with it. It's not pretty, but it goes bang every time I pull the trigger. I think you can also get a 40 or 45 and stay within your price range. I haven't checked prices lately, but it's something to think about.

May 17, 2005, 10:18 PM
I love all weapons from Russia...SKSs, AKs, SVDs, SVTs, M44s,M38s ect ect. The Makarov will not be let loose in the toolbox. Toolbox goes into the field. Pistol is removed from my range box, placed into toolbox..I'm done it goes back into the box. The box, is nondescript and doesnt look like a typical range choice.

I will not ruin a Perfectly good Makarov, Inexpensive does not equal cheap. Assuming I could find one, I'd take a double stack Ruskie mak as a CCW peice in a heartbeat. Local regs willing, I plan to use a Mak, A Saiga 12guage and a AK for 3-gun! It wont live in the toolbox, just rest there while I work.

May 18, 2005, 12:27 AM
A pistol gripped 8 shot Mossy 12 guage shorty is about 199$.

If you go to the sporting goods dept. of any Wal-Mart you can find full-length zippered bat bags for adult and little league sized bats for as cheap as 10$. Comes with shoulder straps and they are very colorful and loaded with sports logos so back and forth to the abode raises no interest from the neighbors. Plenty of room in the bat bag for other stuff also.

To the average thugster peeking in the back of you SUV it will look like it's empty if all you have in it is the Mossy and some shells. Not worth stealing.

I'd rather have the shotgun than any handgun.


May 18, 2005, 12:31 AM
Ill catch heat for this but what the heck.

S&W SIGMA (sw9ve) with 2 16round mags for $299
over 1000 rounds & no problems.

May 18, 2005, 09:41 AM
If you can spend a little more, the Steyr M-9 seems like a good choice. $279 from CDNN.

Can't beat the Mak though, but its 9x18, not 9x19.

May 18, 2005, 02:08 PM
.357 Mag GP-100 3".....$275.00

Description: About 95% condition, gun has a few nicks but is otherwise in fine condition. Comes with holster. 3-inch barrel. email for additional pics.

Link (

May 18, 2005, 04:19 PM
I have exactly 200 dollars for this project, I'm a professional student so under 200 would be ideal actually. I dont want a 12guage, or an SBR.

May 18, 2005, 07:51 PM
Star B 9mm ... a 1911 styke handgun that is super reliable and cheap to shoot. Very functional and willing covert partner. I like the one I had, but being a lefty it did not cock-lock-unlock quickly for me. traded it on a rifle to a good friend that still shoots it and CCW every so often when he wants something small. And he has much nicer 1911s to carry.

May 18, 2005, 10:31 PM
Under $200? Get the Mak, no question.

sigma 40ve
May 19, 2005, 04:34 AM
For under $200 I have the Mak, CZ and Star Bm. The Star feels the best IMO and has a great trigger. As far as replacement parts get a Mak. CZ is a BLAST to shoot.

For a few dollars more look at the Arcus 94, great HP clone. I really like mine, very little felt recoil.

Commissar Gribb
May 19, 2005, 05:22 AM
spending a little more...

those FM hi powers are great! so far I've had similar performance with one my friend owns and my browning.

It's no browning, but it's got a smooth trigger, good magazine cap, reliable HP features and takes all HP mags.

I'd also like to add that the FM seems to feed from aftermarket mags better than the real thing!

May 27, 2005, 09:50 AM
Go with the Mak, no question.

If you look around, you might be able to buy 2 Makarovs for ~$250. Finding one for less than $200 is not an issue.

But, while the Mak is inexpensive , it is not cheap. I carry mine when I know my CCW piece is going to get tossed around a bit (in a glove box, trunk, etc.) It is all steel, and at just over a $100 investment small "character" blemishes from use don't quite hurt as much as they do on a $600+ piece!

Best of luck.....

May 27, 2005, 08:02 PM
While the Makarov is the best buy of the bunch for both your described use and possible CCW in the future,take a look at this:Ruger GP100 stainless for $229.Now that's a toolbox gun...

May 27, 2005, 08:15 PM
Frist of all, a Mak is not really a 9mm. When people say 9mm they really mean 9mm Luger. I don't call my .380s 9mm anymore than I would call 9x18 a 9mm.

Second of all, a Mak is a poor choice for just about any use. Why get a 9 shot .380 when you can have a hi-cap 9mm Luger? Since it is going in your trunk, you don't need the smaller size of the Mak. A used Ruger auto can be found for about $200 if you look and they would be a better gun in every possible way. More power, more shots, cheaper ammo, better ammo choices, more comfortable grip, better sights, better trigger, probably more accurate or at least easier to shoot accuratly. Get a used Ruger P-95 in SS and it will be rust resistant as well as all of the above.

A Mak is a poor man's everything. It is one of those guns that really doesn't do anything well but it can do anything if needed. Not a bad gun but if you have other choices, there are better guns to pick. The Mak's main advantage is that it is reliable in a compact package. Since size is not a big deal, go with a Ruger. Rugers are great guns but the size and bulk are what keeps people from buying them.

larry starling
May 27, 2005, 08:19 PM
Every week its the same thing! Highpoint v/s this or that! You have to be kidding me! Don't ever trust your life or your familys life to a CHEAP POS like a high point! I would buy anything except a highpoint or the other cheap pot metal guns available on the market! jennings,bryco,lorcin etc! come on! save your money and buy somthing with some more quality! there are plenty of reliable affordable pistols available! You would be better off getting a hammer from Lowes and some wasp spray! there more reliable and made with better metals!!!! :banghead:

May 28, 2005, 12:03 PM
Start checking your local pawn shops. I picked up a lightly used CZ P-01 for $250 OTD. It didn't come with the case, extra mag, or paperwork but who cares? It was $200 less than a new one. ;)

May 28, 2005, 12:13 PM
Watched the slide from a HiPoint 9 get blown back off of the frame. Had the guy at the range been shooting in a standard style instead of the "Gangbanger Sideways Slant" he would have lost his right eye and ear. As it was, it just blew backwards about 12 feet and landed near me.

May 28, 2005, 09:47 PM
Star BM 9mm!

May 30, 2005, 06:20 AM
If I absolutely could not spend more than $200, I'd get an FEG 9mm or a used Ruger 9mm....something like that. I see no reason to downgrade to a Mak or .38 revolver when the prices are so close. If you absolutely cannot spend more than $100 for a pistol, you probably need the money for food and should not be buying a gun anyways! :)

May 30, 2005, 08:28 AM
Definately the Mak!

June 1, 2005, 04:09 AM

In order for the slide to have been blown back off the frame of the hi-point it would have had to have failed in two places at once.

The slide is held in place by the slide retainer pin. If this pin broke then the slide would still have the slide return spring to slow it down, even if the back of the slide did lift up away from the frame.

If someone had forgotten to put the rollpin that holds the slide retaining pin in place that could have cause the failure you mentioned.

I would hardly blame the hi-point for someone forgetting to put a critical part back on their weapon after it was cleaned.

Now, if the slide broke in two somewhere, then I would blame hi-point.

I have noticed that failures that would hardly raise an eye on $400.00 and up weapons are pointed at as confirmation that hi-points are pieces of junk.

So far you are the only person I have ever heard that said they saw a hi-point break in a way that would endanger the shooter.

A little more information would be nice for all of us who have used and shot hi-points.

My hi-point has broken. Once the firing pin broke, and once the slide broke so that that the slide return spring shot out the front. The metal tab on the slide that holds the return spring broke off and that was a valid failure.

Neither failures were dangerous to the shooter. The gun had over 1200 rounds though it at the time of the firing pin failure and over 1300 rounds though it at the time of the slide failure.

Hi-points are cheap, they wear out if you shoot them a lot. This I realize.

If you are only going to put a couple of hundred rounds though them they are very reliable, in my experience.

Most folks who buy a hi-point rarely put 50 rounds through them.

They are too big and clunky for a carry piece so the only valid use for them is for home defense or for target practice. They are mostly plastic and pot metal so they would resist moisture damage much better than steel frame models. I think they would make an excellent tool box gun.

And they do have a lifetime warranty from Beemiller. Both times my hi-point failed it was fixed free of charge. I also received two free magazines after they repaired the weapon after the slide broke.

So buy two, you still will be at $200.00. Then shoot one until it breaks, then send it in for repair and shoot the other one until it breaks. Then repeat.


June 1, 2005, 12:11 PM
I know you said mag-fed niner, but if a decent S&W Model 19 wheelgun in your neck of the woods is much more than $200, then get the Makarov. Then save up some more money, & trade the Mak & $$ for a CZ 75B.

March 14, 2009, 10:09 PM
I am looking too, no 9x18, no Hi-point. Surplus or budget 9MM. Star or FEG are the closest so far. Also Walther P-1. Any experience with those choices.
I want a steel or alloy frame, no plastic.

harmon rabb
March 15, 2009, 09:33 AM
here's a vote for a makarov or cz-82. $200 will get you either in very nice condition.

i really like my cz-82.

btw, i note that all my local gun stores stock 9x18 and it's cheaper than regular 9x19.

March 16, 2009, 08:37 PM
I agree CZ 82
Double Stack Magazine, 9x18 mak caliber and made in the late 80's

Kind of Blued
March 17, 2009, 01:58 AM
Four-year-old thread got my sad about the days of $300 FN handguns... :(

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