looking for a handgun, what to get under 300?


December 23, 2006, 09:57 AM
Liek the title says, I'm looking for a handgun. I need something that is 300 or less(cheaper the better), has cheap ammo, and is a good defense weapon. Any ideas?

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Novus Collectus
December 23, 2006, 10:03 AM
Hi-Point can be had new for half that.
I have heard good and bad about them, but for the price and with the lifetime warranty I've been thinking about getting one myself.

1911 guy
December 23, 2006, 10:46 AM
Look for used guns. For sale ads and pawnshops, along with gunshops. Hi-points work, but they are some kind of clunky. Much better than a dirty look, though.

Personally. I'd go looking for a used RIA (1911), Ruger revolver, older S&W's are turning up in shops near me. SGN has ads for the S&W Sigma (auto) guns sold from police trade in for about 325 or 350.

Hey, a quick thought. Look for a Makarov. Relatively inexpensive and a few folks here have and like them. Ask around for opinions, I've never shot one.

December 23, 2006, 10:58 AM
My normal answer to this question is MAKAROV. Get a Mak and five magazines, 200 rounds, and a fobus paddle holster for $300. Then you'll have a great gun that's small enough to carry, big enough to shoot at the range, and power somewhere between .380 and 9mm. Ammo is cheap.

December 23, 2006, 11:01 AM


December 23, 2006, 11:29 AM
Taurus Millenium PRO 9mm can usually be found for $290 new at larger gunshows around here. The PRO model fixes the issues the older Millenium line had in certain serial number ranges. The Taurus lifetime warranty is good for a newbie, but I've heard mixed reviews on Taurus customer service, but I've never had a problem with any of my Taurus guns. You'll get no warranty buying used. I don't recommend used as a first gun unless you can shoot it before buying to be sure you're not getting someone else's problem.

Other than this, or the Kel-Tec P11 (lousy trigger) or the HiPoint (large and heavy) I think you are looking for used guns. Star BM (1911 style 9mm) "Spanish police surplus" can still be found ~$200 but parts and extra mags are not so easy to find.

For centerfire handgun ammo 9mm is your choice is you want "cheap" shooting. Ten cents a round is doing good for 9mm these days, about twice that or .40 & .45 ammo. Expect to pay $0.40-0.60 per round for SD JHP ammo.


Edit: Makarov are good pistols, but 9x18 ammo is now more expensive than 9mm, and 9mm is a much better choice for SD as 9x18 is much closer to .380 than it is to 9mm in power.
Maks were tough to beat when the guns were <$150 and 9x18 ammo $80/1000 but those days are gone :(

December 23, 2006, 11:38 AM
...15 year-olds can't own handguns...

lee n. field
December 23, 2006, 11:45 AM
My normal answer to this question is MAKAROV. Get a Mak and five magazines, 200 rounds, and a fobus paddle holster for $300. Then you'll have a great gun that's small enough to carry, big enough to shoot at the range, and power somewhere between .380 and 9mm. Ammo is cheap.

What he said.

There's more that you need to spend money on than just the gun. If you haven't taken a class, you ought to plan on it sometime.

December 23, 2006, 11:56 AM
Bersa Thunder .380 - Usually about $220 from Academy Sports. When I get my carry license, it's what I'll be using.

Military surplus guns are another good option. Southern Ohio Gun (http://www.southernohiogun.com/surplushandguns.html) has a good selection, and many of these would be 4-5 times as costly if they were new, commercial production.

Hi-Point. They are ugly, they are heavy, but they work. They come in .380 ACP, 9mm, .40, and .45 flavors, and are some of the best deals on new guns out there. Their only flaw, IMO, is a minor one--single-stack magazines only.

In the revolver arena, the selection's a bit more sparse. Rossi (built by Taurus) makes a solid, blue, snub-nose .357 that MSRPs for $325. Ideally, they're sold for less than that.

In the end, though, the most important thing is what feels best to you (and also fits your budget).

After picking out what you want, good practice (not practice, good practice) will do wonders. Take a class or two--they don't have to be fancy, Uber-Tactical-Assault-Defensive-1000yard-SWAT-Training classes, but any professional assistance from a certified instructor is a good thing.

Lastly, if you get an autoloader, make sure there are no gaps in your clothing. Hot brass is no fun. :uhoh: :D

Edit: Clipper: ...15 year-olds can't own handguns... Eh? :scrutiny:


December 23, 2006, 12:03 PM
I can't own a handgun, but my dad sure can. As long as I pay for it, it's mine. Just like I don't legally own my shotgun, it's in my dad's name, but it's mine. My little brother owns 3 guns, all in my dad's name, but they are is.
Makarov sounds cool, and are there really guns out there where you can buy 1000 rds for 80$? That's pretty cheap for bullets, IMO. I am going to talk to my grandfather today, he has a pair for 357s(nice, real nice), a 9mm, and I think a .45. I also plan to shop around at different shops and stores. Thanks guys. Any more opinions?

Dio- how many .380's are there out there? My dad has one, which I like, he wouldn't sell it, but it's something to check into. It's hsi carry gun, but I don't know what brand, model, or make it is. I think he paid 300-400 for it.

Also, all these talk about classes, what kidna class? I probably can't take it anyway, because I am 15. Couldn't my dad teach me? He has his CCL, and lots of experience in guns. If by class, you mean gun safety, then I know that, I have taken that.

December 23, 2006, 12:06 PM
... are there really guns out there where you can buy 1000 rds for $80? Used to be, but ammo prices have jumped up a lot lately. Although, if you were to go .22lr, 1000rds is about $20 for high-end competition stuff. :)

December 23, 2006, 12:15 PM
I know 22lr ammo is real cheap, but I mean ammo with a little more power. So 9mm is a cheap ammo for a defensive weapon?

December 23, 2006, 12:22 PM
Yes, 9mm Luger is going to be your most inexpensive centerfire cartridge well suited for personal protection.

But I'll be honest with you, if I could do it all over again, when I was 15 years old I'd have gotten a nice Ruger .22 autopistol and practiced like crazy.

December 23, 2006, 12:42 PM
A little less that than, but I know, it's cool. I'll also have a job in a couple years, and not such a budget. haha I'm actually 16 in April, but I mean, now, I don't have any bills or payments, and the random money i get from yard work, etc. goes to whatever I want. I still wish I had a job though. I thought about buying a .22, and if I can find everything I'm looking for cheap enough, I may buy two pistols. Here is what I am looking for (non specifically)-

Not in order-

Gun safe

Deer/shoot-around rifle

Pistol for defense/shoot around, nothing fancy, just somethign fun to shoot, an capable of killing a dog or medium-sized animal if need be, severly wounding a human, or atleast eliminating the threat of harm to me or my family

Possibly a .22 pistol for fun


I was gonna stock up on ammo while I have the cash. All the guns and stuff I am looking for are going ot more than likely be used, and in good shape (I won't buy unless it looks good) and relatively inexpensive.

Also, as far as a safe, I am thinking of buying this cheap 10-gun safe that is at Dick's Sporting Goods for about 80$. I don't need the near-thousand dollar safe my dad has.

P.S. For the people keeping up with this thread, my dad's .380 is a Browning.

December 23, 2006, 01:09 PM
Although, if you were to go .22lr, 1000rds is about $20 for high-end competition stuff

I'd sure like to know where, unless you meant $20/100.

Remington Golden Bullet bulk pak is up to ~$10/550 at Wal-Mart. Wolf low end target ammo is up to ~$30/500 (more accurate in my rifle than the ~$10/100 CCI Green Tag).


December 23, 2006, 01:11 PM
I can't own a handgun, but my dad sure can. As long as I pay for it, it's mine.

Be careful how you say that, and especially don't go saying that at any gun shop or place of sale. It could easily be considered a straw purchase, which is a big Federal no no. It should be a gift to you, you should not be giving anybody money to buy you a gun. That way everything is legal.


December 23, 2006, 01:21 PM
First, go here:
Your Dad sounds like a good man, but it's always good to get your first training from pros. Trust me, it's easier for your Dad and you. The NRA also has some good reading materials for those just starting out.

My suggestion would be to do what a lot of us did: get a .22 to learn your skills, and then purchase a centerfire down the road. If you dig semiautos, get a .22 semiauto like a Ruger Mk ll or lll, If you like revolvers, get a .22 revolver. You'll have a ball; it'll be cheap to shoot, accurate, and you'll have more time to decide just what centerfire you want while still getting in lots of shooting.

I have lots of guns, and the one gun that ALWAYS goes to the range is a .22. After we're done shooting the centerfires, I can continue to plink and sharpen my skills till the sun goes down. Which is fun.


December 23, 2006, 01:28 PM
You can get a Hi-Point 9mm and ~1200 rounds of WWB ammo for $300 :)

I would strongly consider the man's words above me. ESPECIALLY since you're young, are starting out in handguns, are a little tight on money, and can't carry your piece. A .22lr pistol/revolver will allow you to get started cheap, shoot as much as you want to each week, and learn the basics and get good form on a round that will not induce flinch or bad habits as easily.

Once you get older and well-practiced, you can sell your gun for a good sum and buy what you want. I didn't do this, but really wish I had.....my last purchase was a .22 pistol and I'm tryin to belatedly learn the things I never learned right in the first place!

December 23, 2006, 01:30 PM
Makarov all the way.

December 23, 2006, 01:39 PM
I've got a Hi-Point 9mm that I paid well less than $300.00 for. It's a good gun. Not great, but pretty darn good for the money.

The Makarov is a good choice if you can still find them for that money. I haven't seen one in a while, but I haven't been looking for them either. I think I paid about $175.00 for mine. (Bulgarian)

I've seen some Smith and Wesson 39-2's (used of course) for less than $300.00 lately. I really like that gun.

I hear there are all kinds of Smith and Wesson revolvers in that range, used.

After all that, I'd rather have a good 22. I shoot them a lot more than I do anything else.

December 23, 2006, 01:57 PM
Thanks for pointing that out, I will watch my wording. Also, I just had the idea, to drop the deer rifle idea, because I don't have any land, and wouldn't have consistent oppurtuniteis to deer hunt. Icoudl go sparingly, but not every other weekend. I might just invest in a nice pistol, a .22 pistol, and a .22 rifle, and practice my shooting. A .22 outfitted with a scope, would be good practice don't you think? I am a good shot, I know for sure, but I can always hone my shot. I also shoot trap with my shotgun, but .22lr bullets are abundant and cheap, and I am starting to think that the above idea may prove beneficial in the long run.

Also, does anyone know how often scopes need to be sighted in? And can I do it very easily without a gun rest, evne though I may look into one If I don't get a large rifle.

December 23, 2006, 02:54 PM
You could by a nice used SW357, or maybe a new Charter Arms in the 44 special..its fairly reliable and accurate at 15 yards

December 23, 2006, 03:12 PM
I would opt for a Ruger P-series (P89, P95, P90) for around $300 new at some gun shows, or a good used one in the $250-300 range. I would choose the 9mm for cheap shooting and defence, .45 if mostly for defence purposes.

I would also consider a Taurus revolver or Mil Pro handgun. Either will run you under $300. In the Taurus, you can get a new M605 .357 for around $300 new, and quite less used (I just bought one for $200 the other day, used but with only a box of ammo out of it). Then shoot the cheaper .38 loads out of it for range time. The M85 Taurus is a .38 Special only pistol and may be a little chaeaper, not sure...

Of course, Taurus also has the lifetime warranty.


December 23, 2006, 03:49 PM
If you're willing to go up $50 you could get a new Stoeger Cougar. 15-shot 9mm, less expensive copy of a Beretta design. Just as good. Also, Hi-points are 80-150$.
I know your situation. I'm 13.

December 23, 2006, 08:57 PM
When I first started shooting, I turned my back on the 22. Thought it was "below" me. I was an idiot, but at least I figured that out real quick. You are making a wise decision by at least considering a 22. Every gun guy or gal needs at least one! Quality semi auto 22s and Single Action (SA) revolvers are pretty easy to come by. On the semi auto side, a Browning Buck Mark or Ruger Mk I, II, II or 22/45 would all be excellent choices (given to you as gifts, in your case, because of you age). I hear S&W makes a good one too, the 22A I think?

SA revolvers are a lot of fun too, with the most popular being the Ruger Single Six. Often you can get them with a cylinder for cheap 22 LR and another for more powerful 22 Magnum. Used ones can be had in the $250 range. Or if you don't mind something new that is not finished so nice (but still reliable), the Heritage Rough Rider Combo (22 LR and 22 Mag cylinders) is a great value. I used to own one, bought it new for $150! Sold a short time later (:banghead: ). I still have a bit of idiot in me.

Double Action 22 revolvers are a little harder/more expensive to come by. However, for training, they are probably the most desireable 22 of all. If you can master the long, heavy pull of a double action revolver, you should be able to shoot anything very well. On the new market, the only affordable 22 DA is the Taurus 94. My particular gun was a lemon, got rid of it. The 94 seems to be hit or miss, you either get a good one or a junker. S&W makes their 317 and 617, very nice, but pricey. I don't think Ruger makes their SP101 in 22 LR anymore, but they can be found used for very reasonable prices. The two best DA 22s are probably the Colt Diamondback in 22LR and the S&W K-22 Masterpiece.

I own a S&W K-22 Masterpiece, specifically a Model 17-0 made in 1959. Of all my guns, this one is definitley my favorite!


December 23, 2006, 09:46 PM
Buy a pristine stainless steel Ruger Security-Six. It's tougher than the Smith & Wesson 66, has coiled springs rather than leaf springs, has a solid frame design rather than a sideplate, has a robust forcing cone and topstrap and is of modular design. So far, I don't know what's keeping the prices of these guns down, but get one while you can. The Speed-Six and Service-Six are great, too.

If you'd like a .22LR, the Ruger Mark II is a fine handgun. The first Standard Auto I ever got was less than a hundred bucks! They're a bit tough to get apart and put back together, but it's not so bad.

The K-22 (above) is a great gun, but you probably won't get anywhere near it for $300. Rugers are better for the price tag, I've found.


December 24, 2006, 10:52 AM
Thanks guys. I am getting more of an idea on what I want now.

Bill B.
December 24, 2006, 11:15 AM
Ditto on a used Makarov in an auto or a S&W M10 in a revolver. Either hard to beat in their price range.........:) .

December 24, 2006, 11:36 AM
My grandpa has a pair of Smith and Wesson .357 Model 19's, both I think 4 inch barrels. Too bad he won't sell them. But I am pretty sure I will get them eventually anyway.

My dad just sodl a nice little 22 pistol. I liked it, it was a 22 Beretta, and the model was a Bobcat, maybe. Something cat, bobcat, tomcat, lol, I am thinking bobcat. It was semi i believe. It was also lnib. he never used it, didn't need it, so he sold it.

December 24, 2006, 01:27 PM
I liked it, it was a 22 Beretta, and the model was a Bobcat, maybe.

If it was a 22, then it was a Bobcat. Great little guns, my wife was considering one if she decides to get her CCW. The Tomcat fires 32 ACP.

A lot of people have mentioned the S&W Model 10. Probably one of the best handguns for the money, period. They are capable of stellar accuracy and if well cared for, will last darn near forever. Used examples can be had in good condition for under $275, sometimes as low as $200.

Then again, you can't buy it because of your age, so it'd have to be a gift, so lucky you :) .

Halo is for Kids
December 24, 2006, 02:10 PM
Try this, only at budsgunshop.com for 298.72. It's a 40 slide on a slightly modified p-01 frame.



Halo is for Kids
December 24, 2006, 02:30 PM

I traded a used taurus mil pro for one of these about four years ago. now it's my primary range / home gun.

No failures of any kind in over 1000 rounds.

I shoot mostly UMC FMJ and WWB FMJ and Fedral Hydrashocks. For $30 at Wal-mart I can get 200rds and targets.

Only aftermarket parts added are the Houge grips ($30), and a wolf recoil spring ($7). I just added the spring so I went about 900 rds with the factory setup.

I just got some 20rd Mec-gar Mags and they have run flawlessly

December 27, 2006, 10:15 PM
Go into the pre-owned market...I see mod 19s, 66s, 60s, 686's plus the occassional Colt & Ruger wheelgun too.

December 31, 2006, 02:00 AM
Summit Gun Broker


Smith 5906 - $275


Smith & Wesson 5906 9mm with 2 15rd mags. and Novak sites. I just bought a big pile of these and they are nice. Some have Hogue grips. Most have the round trigger guard but some have squair. Price is $275 Also have some with the small rear site.


Smith 410 - $215


This is one the the low end Smith & Wessons in 40ca. Works off of the same mags and the parts interchange but it is a plan jane. Come with 2 mags, alloy frame and hammer drop safety. $215.

December 31, 2006, 03:27 AM
I have seen nice condition German P1's (think P-38 with alum. frame) locally for $269.

Thats what I would get, as 9mm luger is crazy cheap.

Rex B
December 31, 2006, 10:42 AM
Everyone needs a Ruger Single Six.
Be sure to get the Super with adjustable sights.
Don't pay extra fro the Magnum cylinder if you don't have to. .22 Mag is a rifle cartridge and doesn't work well in a pistol barrel.

I also have a Heritage .22 revolver. Lot of gun for the money - adjustable sights, 2 cylinders. I paid $100 used. Good plinker.

If you want a semi-auto .22, the S&W 22A is $200 brand new. Not as good as the Ruger semi-autos, but a good gun with a full-length scope rail.

S&W Model 10. I just bought a police trade-in for $180.

Ruger 10/22 semi-auto rifle. You can buy more accurate .22s. You can buy cheaper .22s that shoot well (Marlin 60. But nothing has more aftermarket accessories than a 10/22, if you like to tinker.

I have 3 Kel-tecs. You are too young for a CHL, otherwise I'd recommend a P3AT

Consider a SKS rifle. Pretty cool military rifle, ammo is fairly cheap, and you can buy new ones for under $150.

Marlin or Winchester levergun. You can buy Marlins new for $315 on sale, or used for $200.

Kind of like cars - too many good choices out there :)

December 31, 2006, 01:21 PM
A .22 outfitted with a scope, would be good practice don't you think?
I'd say no scope for practicing with a handgun.

Find a 5.5"-barrel .22 semi-auto (Ruger, Browning) with good open sights and go from there. If you want to add a scope for varmints or bullseye later on, you'll be set.

December 31, 2006, 02:18 PM
Under $300? Check out this Rossi .357 with 4 inch barrel. It's very accurate.


December 31, 2006, 10:45 PM
i am going to have to agree with RP86 - be careful how you say those things and know your local laws before trotting off to the gun range - I have seen more then one minor get in serious trouble because they had "dad's" gun in the car and were just coming home from the range - Now dont get me wrong - I am pro-gun all the way - have been forever and will always be - i am also an LEO - although i dont agree with all the gun laws on the books I do understand the reasons behind them - sadly there are not as many mature 15yr olds as there used to be - thats why we have the laws - so be careful when your out practicing - dont do anything that will get your rights to own a gun taken away - I suggest taking your dad or your grandpa with you - When I started shooting my dad wasn't into guns and I had to learn alot on my own - i made alot of mistakes and know I wasn't always safe or smart - dont make my mistake - if you can't always get your dad to go with - find a family friend who is gun savvy or see if any of your local hunting clubs have mentors. I wish I had the chance to do so when I was your age and now I try hard to find kids who need someone to take them to the range. ITs a great experience for them and it also helps keep me in the sport.

For whater its worth - use a nice .22 ( I suggest ruger) and practice alot - I made the mistake of jumping to the 9mm before I had learned positive shooting skills - when I got into police work i had to relearn alot of things and overcome alot of really really bad shooting habits. I took me about a year to overcome most of those bad habits. A year and a LOT of ammo. so start small and work your way up.

PS - i wouldn't go with the bobcat .22 from Beretta - nothing against Beretta - i have carried them and find them to be great guns - but the bobcat I had had a jam at least once every mag - everyone else I have talked to who owned one said the same.

January 2, 2007, 12:18 AM

Excellent Post.

SCFOOTBALLBEARS, consider coppers post very carefully. I'd be a shame to screw up your chances of being able to buy firearms legally once you turn 18 for long guns and 21 for handguns.

At least those are the ages in NC, your state may vary.

Green Lantern
January 2, 2007, 12:41 AM
Bersa Thunder .380, around $220 or so IIRC. GREAT little under-rated gun. Just stay away from Wolf .380 ammo, mine does NOT like it!

For the best deep-cover gun around, IMO, look into a Kel-Tec P3AT. SHOULD be had for under $300. Mine was around $269 after shipping and FFL transfer fees, I think. Not so great for extended "fun" shooting, or so they say! ;)

*glances at other replies* Though CCW is a few years away though, I see...;)

My first gun was a Taurus Model 94, a 9-shot .22 revolver. I don't know that I'd really reccomend it though. The DA trigger pull was MURDER!

Not sure about a Ruger .22 either. A good target gun, but both from a price and mechanical perspective, I don't know. It's one of the few machines on the planet that my brother had to get help to put back together after he took it apart! :D

If you aren't limiting it to a HANDgun, let me echo the reccomendation of an SKS rife! :cool:

January 2, 2007, 12:51 AM
Surprised nobody has brought up the Star BM yet...one of my favorites and nice used examples can be picked up both from wholesalers and at gun shows for sub-$200. An all-steel well-built 9x19 that has the look and feel of a baby 1911.

I have two of them, and like shooting them better than my 1911s.



James NM
January 4, 2007, 02:31 PM
I also like the Walther P-1 suggestion. I see them from $250 - $290. Great price on a great gun. 9MM offers great combo for plinking/SD.

January 4, 2007, 02:54 PM
I bought a Walther P1 last April. I don't think it was ever issued because it took hundreds of rounds to break it in. It came with two mags but one wouldn't feed. The Promag brand magazines work great.

The P1 was designed for use with ball ammo and they feed/fire just fine. JHP rounds won't feed reliably in my pistol except for Federal Hydra Shok, 124 grain, JHP ammo and that's my HD round.

Some Walther P1 owners have had success with various brands of JHP. YMMV!

Cheap ammo and it's fun to shoot.


January 4, 2007, 04:49 PM
look for a used Taurus model 85 38spl. revolver.

January 5, 2007, 12:12 AM
Look for a used gun; good deals can be found.

January 5, 2007, 01:49 AM
I would recommend following the advice of the several fellas suggesting .22 -- Ruger MkII if you can get one.

The MkII is still out there, even though it's been replaced by the MkIII in production. In the last year I've found four of them -- three new or unfired, and one used -- two with the heavy bull-barrel. The heavy barreled Ruger shoots like silk.

I paid less than $300 for two, over $300 for one, and the last one (NRA special edition) is still waiting for me at the store.

A good .22 is an excellent way to develop the pistol handling skills you will need. You can shoot 500+ rounds for 10 or 12 bucks.

Once you can hit everything you aim at, once you have pistol handling down so well it's like breathing, then move up to the next caliber.

There have been some excellent suggestions on 9mm pistols here -- including the one I got for my wife. There are several fine .357 revolvers out there, too.

Sadly, none of us has the money to run out and buy one of every gun we want. Man, that would be the quickest $50,000 I ever spent.

Patience sucks. We all go through that.

Pick something light enough to practice with -- practice a LOT with -- and build the habits you will use with every future pistol you buy.

Get some training. Sooner is better than later. It's no fun to finally get training and discover the technique you've practiced for 200 hours is the wrong one.

Learn right. Learn early. Shoot often.

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