Cheapest handgun currently on the market?


November 23, 2006, 10:19 PM
Okay. Here is a question for the forum. I also have been threatening to buy my wife a gun as a Christmas or birthday present for the last 7 years. So requirements for the gun would be sub $50 because she doesn't really want it and it would be for 99% laugh factor and about 1% shooting.

The .25 ACP has always intrigued me. I don't know why, it just has. Something about actually having recipes in reloading manuals.

I realize that the .25ACP leaves quite a bit to be desired in terms of ballistics, platform which uses them, stopping power, etc. etc. I mean we could debate the inefficiencies and lack of effectiveness of the caliber all night.

Regardless, or maybe even because of this, I kind of want one. Purely for novelty purposes and time at the range once in a while.
Perhaps the .25 ACP doesn't fit the bill though, so while I know that caliber has some cheap (inexpensive) guns produced for it, I certainly won't limit my search to that.

What does THR have to say? What is the cheapest handgun currently on the market? New market? Used market (at a relatively stable price, like all gun XXX go for $65 dollars not I got a deal on a mint Colt Python for $50 because the lady was getting divorced...)

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November 23, 2006, 11:17 PM
Why not just buy yourself a .22LR auto for a range toy and let her shoot it every now and then if she wants to? If she is unwilling to carry it or even practice with it and you can't or won't try to change her mind on the issue, I fail to see why you would throw away $50 on a handgun that simply will not work (unless you luck out and find someone selling a half-decent .38 revolver for fifty bucks - any autos in that price point are going to be junk, used junk at that) or $500 on a defensive arm that works, but won't ever be used for its intended purpose.

Since, for all intents and purposes, it's going to be yours anyway - get something you'll shoot, in a caliber that she'll be able to shoot without much difficulty should she ever choose to. if she's game to coming along to the gunshop with you, let her hold the different guns and get the one that feels most comfortable to her.

If you're going to start her out properly, it'll be on a .22 anyway, and she'll be able to shoot it without being turned off to the noise and recoil. In the meantime, it'll be a good soda-can/varmint killer for you.

November 23, 2006, 11:24 PM
The Nagant M95 is the only one I know of that's safe to fire and within that price range. Even those are getting hard to find for under $75. But the down side is a box of ammo will run close to that :D

November 23, 2006, 11:54 PM
The point is more for novelty sake. She doesn't really care one way or the other for shooting and is perfectly fine to shoot the Glock 17.

Don't really care if it doesn't work great. Once borrowed a .22LR for a camping trip (about 7 years ago) that didn't reset the trigger, so my wife and I had to manually reset the trigger after each shot (just push forward). So it really isn't an issue if it is finicky, the gun will probably only see 400-500 rounds a year, if that.

Maybe $50 is fantasy land. That happens to be the limit for any sort of off the wall purchase. Anything higher and I would rather just buy something good.

Tell you the sick part - I have always liked those little .25 ACP pocket guns. The FUGLY little Ravens or the nice looking tip-up barrel guns by Taurus or Beretta.

Thanks for the Nagant tip Cosmoline, a 50 round box of ammo is about $30. I should check the C&R usual places online. Didn't you just buy a little Beretta Tomcat?

November 24, 2006, 12:20 AM
Keep in mind that the Nagant revolver can also fire .32 S&W Long IIRC - a .32 of some sort, anyway. Sorry I can't recall for sure. :o

If you're going for novelty, there's plenty out there if you don't mind spending good money on questionable quality guns. You've got the Nagant revolver (to which the questionable-quality comment doesn't apply), whatever used Bryco/Jennings/Lorcin/Phoenix (I've actually heard a few decent opinions of the Phoenix HP-22) guns you can find locally (though they may run closer to $100), and various Leinad guns (, although they're in the $100+ range. Scroll through the entire Handguns page as there are some cheapo revolvers too, including a $70 manually-revolving Leinad .22.

I can't help but wonder about the double-barrel .410 as a snake gun and cool-factor range toy.

You may also be able to find a used Hi-Point for under $100, but there's not much novel about them except for the whole ergonomics-of-a-brick thing.

November 24, 2006, 12:56 AM
The Nagants can fire .32 H&R mag as well, though some chambers may have split cases and it throws back a lot of crud. The .32 ACP cylinders run about $60 and require some hand fitting in most cases. The good news is Wolf is going to be producing 7.62 Nagant ammo for its gold line that should be considerably cheaper than the Fiocchi. Not sure when it's hitting the stores, though. Nagants are very tough sidearms that survived multiple world wars. A zinc .25 or .32 isn't in the same league durability wise.

Didn't you just buy a little Beretta Tomcat?

Yeah, but those run considerably more $$ than your range. Little mouse guns are actually tricky beasts to make. There are some good .32 ACP's on the surplus market, such as the Zastava's, Walther PP's. and those little VZ's, but they run over two bills. The CZ-52's run $150 or so, but are not for a beginner.

November 24, 2006, 01:12 AM
.32 H&R mag

Doh. :o

I forgot to mention the CZ-52s, yes, and the Zastava .32ACPs are being sold all over, last I checked.

It's going to run you significantly more than $50, but there are plenty of good, stout (and unusual/uncommon) milsurp handguns you can buy for under two bills. There's nothing neater than holding 50+ years of history in the palm of your hand.

November 24, 2006, 01:28 AM
It's tough to say what you may find in your area. Why not dedicate a morning to running around the local gun shops and pawn shops, and see for yourself what they happen to have at the counter that fits your price range?

November 24, 2006, 01:35 AM
Since it's a joke anyways, why don't you get her like a cap gun? Like they sell at Wally-World in the toy section. That way you got her a "gun" and y'all can laugh at it.

November 24, 2006, 09:14 AM
Thanks for the comments. I think I will check out some pawn shops and see what I can see. There are a many in my area so that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Cosmoline - yeah, I think the Tomcat is nearly $300 isn't it? At least over $200. And the .22/.25 versions are over $200.

I'll check some gun shops today as I am official driver for my wife and her sister on shopping day - so basically a couple of detours so I can look at some stuff I want. Since I look at guns all the time she won't be too surprised. But I haven't looked at the sub-$100 range at all.

iiibdsiil - probably the best decision. Even a realistic looking airsoft like gun can be purchased for under $50.

I don't know why I got this idea in my head.

November 24, 2006, 10:47 AM
Ya know, the airsoft gun might be the best idea. If you unwrap it and everything, it might take her a second to realize it's not a real gun.

November 24, 2006, 12:14 PM
Since this is to be a toy, I'd suggest the little Phoenix Arms HP25, the 25ACP version of the HP22. I think they still make it in .25, maybe not, not real sure since I never pay attention to 'em other than my .22 version. I prefer the .22 of course being as it's a lot cheaper to shoot and the little HP almost always goes bang, at least at the range. Don't leave the magazines loaded too long or they'll "set" on you. I wouldn't use it for self defense in .22, but .25 may at least be reliable enough. It is a hammer gun, which is really neat. I don't care for striker fired cheap guns. This is a safe gun to carry condition two, just cock the hammer. It's also very accurate for such a small, cheap gun which is a lot more than I can say for other pot metal blow backs. My .22 is amazingly accurate, the short 3" barrel shooting about 3" at 25 yards. That's accurate enough to be useful in the field and, in fact, it has been very useful on several occasions and is a true pocket gun.

Again, I would NEVER carry this thing for self defense, but for what you describe, fun at the range plinker, even outdoor uses, hey, it's neat even if it's cheap. I don't know of another gun as compact that is as accurate as this little thing is for only a C note. It's a great toy, fun outdoor gun, not a self defense tool, though. Unlike the Hi Point, the HP won't hurt your eyes, either, LOL.

November 24, 2006, 12:22 PM
I can't think of anything for $50, but the Hi-Point.380 or 9mm should be available for $125-150. Ugly as sin but they work, can't say the same for anything else out there until you get to $200-250. The Nagant revolver tends to have a horrible trigger pull and the CZ 52 has way too much flash and bang for what you are describing IMHO, it also has decocker and firing pin problems.

November 24, 2006, 01:08 PM
You can get a Makarov around here for two bills, but I thought the premise was a .25 auto fun gun? The Mak is big and impractical to me, but reliable, decently made, all steel, and I've thought about getting one just because. But, I really have no use for it other than fun, which is justification enough I reckon. I have better carry choices, though.

November 24, 2006, 04:40 PM
MCgunner you hit the nail on the head. Anything over $50 (maybe $100) is getting close enough that I would just buy a real gun. A .25 ACP fun gun is kind of what I am thinking of. Something of a novelty/conversation piece/fun at the range (imagine trying to hit the 25 yard target or something). Being .25ACP just adds to the novelty of it. Who knows I could even get some dies for it!

This is definitely not a "what gun should I get my wife" or "what is the best carry piece". It also isn't, what is the "best gun on a budget". It is "what is the cheapest gun out there for a laugh and a quirky range piece".

I think the pawn shops will be the only place I could find a Phoenix Arms HP25 though, none of the gun shops I go to have anything in that price range or level of quality.

Yeah, I have though about getting a Mak, but other than fun I really can't justify it. It is somewhat unique but low on my list and at the $200 range I would rather get a used .38 or spend a little more on a .22LR auto loader.

I hesitated to call it a toy since no guns are toys (there is my father drilling that into my head from a very young age) - so I'll just call it a fun range gun.

November 24, 2006, 05:29 PM
I have found small caliber pistols such as the Berreta 22lr tip up to be unreliable because it uses rimfire ammo. The center fire 25ACP is much more reliable and would come in handy if attacked by a bunch of sparrows. I would highly recommend the S & W model 642 38 special +P revolver with the internal hammer. It has good stopping power and you can still have fun at the range with it. Very safe weapon to carry and always ready to go.

November 24, 2006, 07:26 PM
Already have a G17 for range and carry. This isn't a serious gun for my wife. She likes the G17 fine on the very rare occasions when she comes to the range.

This would be for fun only. .25ACP because it is a ridiculous caliber (better than nothing...) but a bit expensive at $13/50.

I was at Wal-mart and they had a cheap Sig P228 airsoft-like for $12. I think that might be the winner.

Everything else I saw while out today started at $200 for a S&W .22LR autoloader.

Cosmoline - the Tomcat I saw today was $300. The Taurus PT-22 I saw was about $215ish and was a bit larger than I pictured from the pictures.

Still might see if I can find something really cheap at a pawn shop though.

November 24, 2006, 07:39 PM
Not cheap, but if you want a novelty .25 ACP that's actually really nice you could look for an old Baby Browning. Pistols like the NAA Guardians in .32 & .380 ACP, and the Kel-Tec P3AT & P-32 at mass market prices pretty much made the .25 ACP pocket pistol obsolete, but those little Brownings just have something about them. They're very neat little pistols strictly from a fun gun perspective.

I think for the sub $50 gag gift the Airsoft is the way to go. Otherwise, as has already been said, a good used .38 service revolver or even 9mm service pistol is far more practical if you want a $200-300 range plinker / utility gun.

November 24, 2006, 08:48 PM
MCgunner you hit the nail on the head. Anything over $50 (maybe $100) is getting close enough that I would just buy a real gun. A .25 ACP fun gun is kind of what I am thinking of. Something of a novelty/conversation piece/fun at the range (imagine trying to hit the 25 yard target or something). Being .25ACP just adds to the novelty of it. Who knows I could even get some dies for it!

Well, then, I'll stick to the HP as the gun you might wanna consider. The amazing and almost logic defying accuracy of the little gun would add to the novelty factor. Imagine being at the range with a couple of buddies and out-shooting their Smith and Wesson snubbie 38s with your HP25. ROFLMAO! But, my .22 is accurate enough that you could do that!

You might just wait for a gun show. You'll see all sorts of cheap stuff at gun shows. Dealers that hit all the shows like to stock such guns cause they're cheap and they sell a lot of 'em to guys that don't wanna spend much, but wanna buy something.

There used to be a pawn shop here that carried all the little cheapos. I don't know, the HP25 is pretty high quality for some of these places that do a big business in stuff like Ravens and Jennings. LOL.

Oh, one other thing, if you get one, PM me and I'll tell you how to make the trigger sweet. :D No joke, it's simple and effective. Phoenix Arms offers a finger extension magazine and drop in 5""target" :rolleyes: barrel that I bought for the .22. It shoots into about 2" at 25 yards (knocks an inch off the short barrel groups) and feels like a real gun in your hands with that conversion. I don't think that's offered in the .25, though.

Oh, another thing I thought about, the lever on the firing pin block gets loose and won't stay off. I superglued mine in the shoot position and haven't had a problem with it since. How's that for a "novelty gun". :D

November 24, 2006, 10:39 PM
If you are looking for a cheap but not complete crap .25 pocket gun, pick up one of the old FIE Titan .25. I bought one from a preacher twenty years ago who used it as his "vest gun." In twenty years, I've only shot maybe 300 rounds out of it but it has been flawless. Absolutely no FTF/FTE at all.

There are a couple on GB. One for $75, one with a Buy It Now of $109.

I believe (but am not sure) that they are made by Tanfoglio. The same guys who made the EAA Witness and the Baby Desert Eagles.

Since these pics, I stripped it abd reblued it. I doubt many FIE Titans have felt some loving care. ;) And, "yes," that is part of an bicycle inner tube around the grip to perform the same function as a Handall Jr but in a smaller form factor. The first pic is from gunbroker; the second pic is mine.

(Also check Summit Gun Broker online for the selection of used pocket pistols. It changes quickly, so you might just want to give them a call.)

November 24, 2006, 10:43 PM
And, while it's not much, this is better than nothing if shooting thru light clothes. It feeds perfectly, just like the FMJ.

November 25, 2006, 12:32 AM
You could aways buy online. THE GUN SOURCE ( carries High Point, Phoenix, Heritage and a few other inexpensive makes of guns.

November 25, 2006, 02:22 AM
Well, you aren't going to find anything that cheap online. Transfer fee is usually $20-25, shipping on a handgun $20 minimum. You'd need to find a gun for $5-10 to stay in your price range. Your best bet is to just go through all the gun stores in whatever radius you're willing to drive, and ask around if they have any Ravens, Phoenix Arms, etc.

A local store here has a little Sundance .25 for $50 plus tax. One of the only cheap zinc pocket .25s that has a 1908 style grip safety. Just look around for bargains.

Jeff Timm
November 25, 2006, 09:47 AM
Try an Airsoft 3mm plastic pellet gun. Preferably one that looks and functions like a common pistol. Meets the price with ammo and a target useable in the Garage or basement. (Move the car outside first as the thin metal on modern vehicles will dent from a ricochet, Jeep (TM) CJ series excepted.)

Who figures any practice is good practice. :cool:

November 25, 2006, 10:42 AM
Just reading this thread has me thinking of buying an HP25 just to match my .22 and they're cheap. The .22 occasionally misfires on Federal bulk pack, does much better on stinger and it groups stinger well with the short barrel, but a .25 would be more likely to be 100 percent feed reliability and would go bang everytime unlike cheap rimfire ammo. Of course, the ammo ain't cheap and I have NO intention of getting dies in .25. :rolleyes: LOL! I mean, I wouldn't carry it for defense either so it'd be a novelty to me, too. But, they work and they're cheap.

November 25, 2006, 11:28 AM
I think shooting custom handloads for your HP25 would just be the funniest thing. But the dies would cost $20...and I would probably crush my fingers trying to get the bullet seated!

November 26, 2006, 03:17 AM
Heritage sells some .22 caliber single action revolvers for $125 - alot of places have them at that price.

Heres a pic of mine:

November 26, 2006, 03:46 AM
You may want to see what this place has.

November 26, 2006, 02:15 PM
Talk to Martinez. He sells out of the back of his truck, and you can probably get a good deal on a TV while you're at it :D.

November 26, 2006, 04:10 PM
get her a nice S&W Model 19, and borrow it from her.

Brian Williams
November 26, 2006, 04:30 PM
Joke or not, looking for cheap to shoot 400 to 500 rounds a year ain't cheap or a joke.
Make it worth something,

Other wise it is stupid or unsafe.

November 26, 2006, 06:55 PM
What about one of those pretty tacky Taurus PT22 with Gold everything on it?
It's cheap, cheap to shoot and, if reliable, could even be useful.
Also a Davis/Cobra chrome derringer in .22
They also make 'em in other calibers but I would be afraid they might blow up. :what:

Gaucho Gringo
November 26, 2006, 11:19 PM
I find this thread on buying a gun as a joke somewhat upsetting. In my mind the purchase of a firearm that could end the life of another human being is not something to joke about, it is serious business. In my opinion this thread gives the anti's an opening to use against responsible gun owners. I am not a humorless person and I laught at good jokes all the time but in my opinion this not a joking matter. Just my personal opinion.

November 27, 2006, 02:21 AM
So if someone bought a baseball bat, a deadly implement capable of killing another human being, as a joke, would you be just as disapproving? Kitchen cutlery? A car?

Actually, I know some people for whom a $50 car would be a great gag gift. And then two months later they'd have a car that looks brand new.

November 27, 2006, 06:54 AM
Gaucho Gringo To me you sound like a "anti gun" person

You have the frame of mind that a pistol is only to be used to kill someone :banghead:


A few years back I picked up a Raven .25acp that was chrome with pearl grips for $35 bucks at a flea market :D

I think a flea market or pawn shop will be your best bet for an under $50 pistol ;)

November 27, 2006, 07:13 AM
You might find a Lorcin .22 for that price. I paid $55 OTD, for the one I bought, brand new, almost 10 years ago. (I'v since sold it, for $30, and didn't even feel guilty.)

My first wife wouldn't let me spend money on guns or ammo. A $55 gun that fired $0.02 ammo was about the only compromise I was going to get out of her. That litle POS stayed around a lot longer than she did.

When I sold it, I took it to a gunshow and put a sign on it that read: "For Sale POS Lorcin, Only the most ridiculous offers refused." I sold it within an hour of the show opening, to a guy who knew exactly what he was getting. I saw him an hour later, sans Lorcin. He probably turned it around for a small profit.

November 27, 2006, 07:33 AM
Saw this one in a shop NEW for $99.

Twice your budget, but perhaps a better idea than a used/abused one.

November 27, 2006, 07:12 PM
Okay. It would be a "joke" but still used at the range. My buddies had planned but backed out of buying me a .357 Mag as a "joke" gift that they knew I wanted. (their wives told them that a .357 as a wedding present would not go over well with the bride).

The reason for an obscure caliber is just that. There is more out there than just .357, 9mm and .45 ACP.

Brian, don't worry I wouldn't be buying one and using it if unsafe. I like my hands, fingers, eyes, etc. and so does my wife. I know that the cost of consumables adds up pretty fast.

Heck, 500 rounds of .25ACP would cost right around $250 dollars...I doubt that a little raven would even last 500 rounds and it would probably be more like a magazine every couple of months...

Still need to hit the pawn shops.

Brian Williams
November 27, 2006, 07:30 PM
Wedge, Thanks for your polite reply, an I hope that this works out for you, ditto looking for a lorcin 22 or a "Phoenix"(I think).

November 27, 2006, 07:32 PM
I'd buy a Glock plastic case, add a fake "gunshop" tag and some baggies of sand for weight, and then put a nice piece of jewelry in it. ;)

November 27, 2006, 10:37 PM
Looks to be an exercise in futility...

Perhaps I will find one, but likely I will not. I decided to spend the $50 for the "gift" as follows.

$30 for my C&R FFL
$15 for a SiG P228 (clear plastic cheap airsoft like gun)
$5 for chocolates

Don't worry jewelry will also be there, otherwise I stand the chance of getting beating with the plastic SiG P228.

For some reason I still like those little ravenesque guns, I don't know why. And I can't do math, 500 rounds of ammo for .25ACP would cost about $125 NOT $250. Not a completely ridiculous amount of cash. Still that is double the cost of 9mm and is more than what it costs for me to reload my .45 Colt. Though factory ammo in anything except for 9mm, 40S&W or 45ACP is too expensive IMHO, and I think the affordability of 45ACP is right on the hairy edge (obviously talking plinking/target ammo not personal protection ammo and then it is all pretty expensive).

Another advantage I seem to the mythical $50 handgun (maybe even $30 in the case of OEF_VET) would be a chance to practice some gunsmithing, specifically cold blueing. I have a Remington Model 11 (humpback) that is completely bare metal and needs a new stock. Would like a little practice before I go to town on that gun.

I had also researched some of the various BP handguns but couldn't find any that were cheaper than $150, even some of the flintlock single shots. One of those she would actually enjoy to have, though just to have on display - and not as a present, and certainly not as a $200 present.

I think that the Nagant M95 goes as the winner for cheapest handgun on the market. Too bad it will be about 10 weeks before I have my type 03 (I just ordered the application packet today). I think $100 is the absolute lowest price that anything is available with the M95 the loan exception and sure to change soon.

I may yet get some sort of .25ACP but doesn't look to be in the cards, and once the cruffling starts I think a 7.62x25 will probably be higher on the aquistition list. Thanks to everyone for their comments and participation in this little thought experiment.


November 27, 2006, 10:45 PM
SOG has a black powder derringer listed at $50....

Here is the website, its about 3/4 way down.

November 27, 2006, 10:51 PM
aaronrkelly. you are awesome!

November 27, 2006, 11:05 PM
Here's one on Gunbroker ( $40 + $25 shipping, looks a little beat up, but still.

edit to add:
Here are a couple more
Raven 25 (

P-25 (

November 28, 2006, 01:21 AM
rotorflyr... that looks like the same Raven I picked up :D

November 28, 2006, 10:02 AM
I find this thread on buying a gun as a joke somewhat upsetting. In my mind the purchase of a firearm that could end the life of another human being is not something to joke about, it is serious business. In my opinion this thread gives the anti's an opening to use against responsible gun owners. I am not a humorless person and I laught at good jokes all the time but in my opinion this not a joking matter. Just my personal opinion.

My car, my motorcycle, my kitchen utensils, my screw driver collection can ALL be used to terminate a human life. Sounds like you don't have a sense of humor, to me. I have been a "gun nut" for all my 54 years, I grew up with 'em, they're tools! Sure, some of 'em are made for self defense, but not all. I have shotguns, rifles, even HANDguns that are made for putting food on the table, not for self defense. My Contender is a handgun, but I have never carried it for self defense. I did not buy my Savage 110 in 7mm Remington Magnum with killing humans in mind and I didn't buy my HP22 with that in mind either! It's just a friggin' firearm! If I kill someone with it, I did the killin', not the gun. Humans kill people using guns as tools, or screw drivers. The gun or the screwdriver killed no one. Sure, they can be used to kill, but that's not necessarily why we buy 'em or why they're built!

If I have to kill someone and I happen to use a firearm, I wonder if the grand jury will leave me alone and put the gun on trial? Hope so, cause if they put my Kel Tec in prison for life, I can buy a new one for under three hundred bucks. Beats lawyer fees! :D

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