What is a dependable yet affordable handgun for Concealed Carry.


February 17, 2007, 10:42 PM
I am looking into buying a handgun for protection. It would be a piece I would carry 24/7. I don't know a whole lot about handguns, as I have always been more of a rifle guy. I live in Las Vegas, Nevada. Every time I watch the news I want to carry more end more. I want something that has some decent stopping power, that isn't a burden to carry, easy to conceal, dependable, and affordable(couple hundred bucks). I don't need it to look like a pimp gun or anything like that, but I don't want to get laughed off of the range either. Bottom line, I need something practical. What would you guys recommend?

This is probably a VERY dumb question, and I don't want to direct anybody away form my initial question, but what is the 1911 that I see everywhere on these forums?
Thanks everybody.

If you enjoyed reading about "What is a dependable yet affordable handgun for Concealed Carry." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
February 17, 2007, 10:50 PM
I carry a Ruger sp101. It's a 5 shot .357 revolver. I bought mine for $325NIB (new in box). Very dependable, good stopping power and pretty easy to carry IWB (in waist band). I suggest you go to your local range and try out various pistols to see which feels good to you. The 1911 is a semiautomatic 45 caliber pistol carried by our military for the majority of the last century.

Car Knocker
February 17, 2007, 10:51 PM
Define "affordable".

February 17, 2007, 10:54 PM
affordable(couple hundred bucks).

I can only afford to spend a couple hundred bucks. 200$-300$ish.

February 17, 2007, 11:06 PM
9mm (9x18) Makarov.

February 17, 2007, 11:13 PM
Two inch S&W Model 10.....used.

lee n. field
February 17, 2007, 11:35 PM
I can only afford to spend a couple hundred bucks. 200$-300$ish.

Makarov, Bersa .380, used Ruger auto. Don't forget to budget for extra magazines and a holster, 'cause you're not gonna do "Carry de Mexico" (where the gun is stuck nekkid in you belt). Figure $15 for the cheapest Uncle Mikes, up.

See also Which gun for 300FRNs? (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=203828&highlight=affordable), Affordable, Reliable Pistol (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=249191&highlight=affordable). and Budget Arsenal (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=218289&highlight=affordable).

One thing you'll notice is that the string "Makarov" comes up a lot in these threads. :)

This is something that gets asked a lot. A regular Frequently Asked Question. Perhaps the most frequent suggestions should be consolidated into a writeup and stickied (not that anyone would read it).

What is this 1911 thing of which I hear?

That would be this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1911_Colt_pistol), still in production after a long human lifetime.

February 17, 2007, 11:41 PM
If you look around, you can probably find a nice used Glock for about 300 bucks. they are not my favorite guns in the world, but they are accurate, and super reliable.

if you look for used, and shop around, you can find some nice guns on the cheap.

the 1911 is the Colt government 45.

February 18, 2007, 12:12 AM
I would agree with Dog buy some combat tupperware (Glock) or a S&W 642 centennial (you will be able to wear it all day without feeling it).

February 18, 2007, 01:10 AM
Used Glock
Used Ruger Sp01
Used SW J frame

Go to the Revolver section of this thread and read the Revolver Check up sticky.

February 18, 2007, 01:19 AM
Almost any major name revolver or semi-auto in 38/9mm or better wouild work. .380 or 9mm Mak is as low as I would go. Try to find the deal you want and see what feels the best in your hand. Then practice a lot.

s&w 24
February 18, 2007, 01:50 AM
either a taurus 85 or a bersa 380 if you need a pocket gun but if you can carry something larger maybe a used S&W auto. Also take a look at PA-63 pistols and star model BM. If you don't mind milsurp guns and you shop around you can probably get both a PA-63 and a star BM for $300.

Whatever you get the second thing you do is get some good training. Local tarainers might run as much as the price of the pistol but it's the skills that pay the bills. Whithout a solid base of training your pistol becomes dead weight.

February 18, 2007, 02:47 AM
I'd say Kel-Tec P11. A bit under $300 if prices in your area are decent.

February 18, 2007, 02:47 AM



February 18, 2007, 02:54 AM
Hi, talleymonster. You really are a rifle guy if you don't know what a 1911 is. S'ok. The Colt 1911(a1) was the standard U.S. military pistol from 1911 until 1985.
"...I don't know a whole lot about handguns..." You need to get some handgun training. Pop into your local gun shop and ask 'em about it. Don't even think about buying any handgun until you do.
While you're doing the training, try as many handguns as you can. A handgun must fit your hand properly to be able to shoot it well enough. Join a shooting club too. Aside from the required practice, you'll meet lots of great people.
Once you're comfortable with handguns, look into a used handgun that fits your hand. A 4" barreled .357 magnum can be loaded with .38 Special Plus P ammo. Do the training first though. Then decide what you want. A good holster and belt covers the comfort and concealing issue.
Don't even think about carrying a handgun until you've done the training. It's no different than letting a non-rifle shooter hunt or shoot without it.

February 18, 2007, 02:59 AM
XavierBreath wrote:
Two inch S&W Model 10.....used.


February 18, 2007, 03:54 AM
i would recomend a used xd service model or sub compact. they are very practical, reliable and dependable, they don't cost that much anyway but you should be able to get a used one at a really good price.

This is probably a VERY dumb question, and I don't want to direct anybody away form my initial question, but what is the 1911 that I see everywhere on these forums?
Thanks everybody.

not dumb at all, we all have to learn somehow. i would reccomend that you use the search function and google and you will find more than you ever want to know about it.

just to paraphrase what you are gonna read, basically it is the best pistol design ever devised!:)

February 18, 2007, 04:28 AM
Pocket Carry 5 shot .38 Special:
S&W M442, M638 or M642

Inside Belt Carry 5 shot .357 Magnum:
S&W M640 or M649
Ruger SP101

Something a little bigger?
Belt Carry 6 shot .38 Special
S&W 3" M10, 2" M15 or 2"-3" M64

Belt Carry 6 shot .357 Magnum
S&W 2.5" M19 or 2.5" M66
Ruger 2.75" Security-Six, Speed-Six or Police Service-Six (outstanding revolvers)

February 18, 2007, 08:52 AM
Two inch S&W Model 10.....used.

Often quoted, but at least in my area, totally unrealistic. For maybe 300 bucks, you can get a wore out, out of time, sloppy POS M10 with 2" barrel. Four or 6" guns are possible in good shape for said $300. Believe me, I've looked. Don't ORDER a used gun sight unseen, good way to get screwed. Heck, I don't buy NEW guns sight unseen anymore. For less than that, you can get a Taurus M85 brand new. For even a little less, you can get a Rossi revolver, a very serviceable/affordable revolver. No, it won't make the snob's list of desirable handguns, some even go so far as to call it a POS while they buy worn out M10s thinking their the best thing since Belgian waffles. Whatever....:rolleyes: I've owned 7 Rossis and none were POSs, all were serviceable, all were well made if not finished to the extent that a higher priced gun is, and all were accurate and well timed. The Rossi is the lowest price revolver I'd recommend. The Taurus is higher quality fit and finish and out of the box trigger and not that much more expensive.

I quote revolvers here because for new shooters, revolvers are simpler and safer to learn on. they are very accurate and they have DA triggers so you can learn DA shooting. The 1911 is an expert's gun IMHO. I don't care for the cheap ones, had two which I rank as at best, mediocre. They both require work out of the box, and the high end ones, well, you can buy something to ride to work that gets good gas mileage for the same money. Forget 1911s until you get into the shooting thing for a while is MHO. Personally, I've been there, done that, and forgotten 'em forever. :D

February 18, 2007, 09:02 AM
Tally ~ there are some excellent recommendations here. If possible, go to a local range & try a few out. Determine what you like (fit, feel, function), then make your decision. Research on-line. After your purchase, get some training & practice.

February 18, 2007, 09:08 AM
Getting a reliable semi-automatic pistol with good stopping power (9mm Parabellum or better) for $200 - $300 is a crap shoot, no pun intended. "Cheap" guns often don't function, and used guns in this price range were often traded off because they didn't function well.

(The Makarov fits in this category, too . . . I know some people are fans of these low-priced pistols, no doubt because THEIR guns work well, but in my last CHL renewal class, BOTH people who showed up with Maks had problems.)

I'd look around - hard - for a used Ruger or S&W revolver. Revolvers can usually be evaluated for reliability with a fair degree of confidence without firing them - not so semi-autos.

February 18, 2007, 09:15 AM
A picture is worth... I will give you 2,000 words. How so? Look below. Regards, Richard:D

The Bersa Thunder 380 is a small compact carry handgun with the power of a 38 Special:
The Bersa Thunder 45 is a compact handgun in 45acp:

February 18, 2007, 09:35 AM
Go to cdnninvestments.com, download thier catalog, and see a rough idea what's available. They do have used CZ75s for under $300, but a little rough, more than likely, plus paying shipping andrecieve fees friom a dealer, but there are some interesting ideas in there.
Look at the used counter at your local gun shop, (take someone with you who is a handgun person to help), find a local range with a rental section, see what on the rental shelf fits, try it out, (far cheaper to rent and discover you can't stand it, than to buy and fin out.), then go from there.
I will echo several suggestions - any decent Smith/Ruger 38 revolver, but stay away from the 2" barrels, as they are more difficult for the tyro. 3 inch or 4 inch will conceal just as well, (get a good IWB rig, Bianchi M-100 runs about $50), and will give you more to hold down recoil, plus a little more accuracy.
Maks are good little pistols, ammo can be semi-hard to come by.

The choices are out there, everywhere. Good luck!

February 18, 2007, 01:04 PM
I'd go with a new versus used gun if you don't know a lot about handguns - kinda hard to evaluate the condition of one unless you know what to look for.

Here's a good deal on an underrated, affordable yet well made 9mm compact. . . http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/21_178/products_id/34017

That's a lot of gun for $300 new!

February 18, 2007, 01:19 PM
Check here"


They are a little more than you said that was affordable, but the SIG 225 (9mm) is a great price, or the Glock 22 (40 S&W) would also make a great sidearm.

February 18, 2007, 05:50 PM

February 18, 2007, 05:55 PM
I'm with Richard and ARTiger. The Bersas are great pistols, I have three 9mms and one is my carry gun. Check them out.

February 18, 2007, 05:59 PM
CDNN (http://www.cdnninvestments.com/dowournewcat.html) has Steyr M9-A1s and M40-A1s for $349 ... they will likely drop to $299 within the next month or so.

February 18, 2007, 06:13 PM
This'll likely cause me some grief but...

From short CCW guns I find the following:

9mm = substandard
.38 spl = sub substandard
.380 = expensive sub sub standard

.357 mag = reasonable expectation of one stop shot.
.45ACP = reasonable one stop shot without "magnum" moniker to reek havoc in court case resulting from justified shoot.
.44 special = everything that .38 special shooters wish it was in a larger bore that is sadly expensive to shoot.
.40 S&W = might be ok but it's not cheap to shoot.

Taurus revolvers are cheap enough to qualify for your price criteria whilst being offered with enough options to make it reasonable for you to pick what you like. A five shot .357 is mighty small in snubbie trim so CCWing is pretty easy. Also there are a quadrillion holster options availible for them. If you truly must have a 9mm then I'd suggest you buy a full frame sized gun and just try harder to conceal it. The shorter barrels really hurt the 9mm's performance. There is a reason that the .380 is marketed as a "backup" gun. It's better than a sharp stick but it's not something to rely on as a primary gun. I have a .45ACP for primary carry. My primary "alternate" is a snubbie .44 spl. Taurus that was discontinued and discounted to $250.00 NIB.

February 18, 2007, 07:27 PM
I just got a new S&W 642 for $400. Definately worth every penny. extend your budget another $100 and join the 642 Club. For $500-$600 an Auto I'd get a Glock 26. For $900 I'd get a Kimber ultra carry II in .45.

February 19, 2007, 06:06 AM
3rd generation Mil-Pro.

I'm tickled with mine and have seen it outfeed many guns twice it's value or more. Good guns for the price.

February 19, 2007, 06:09 AM
S&W J Frame. You can get a new 637 for about $315.

February 19, 2007, 07:45 AM

Ruger Sp101 .38special

East German Makarov 9x18mm

SiG P225 (P6) 9x19mm

Glock 26 9x19mm


February 19, 2007, 08:58 AM
Just like before buying a car it is wise to check the insurance premiums, something else to consider if you are on a budget is the price of ammo. 9mm is generally the cheapest center fire cartridge, though I can get 38 Special nearly as cheap in my area. 40 S&W is also pretty affordable. 45 ACP, 44 Spl, 357 Mag getting expensive (to me anyway) and 357 Sig and 10mm is just plain out-of-sight.

Others have mentioned that getting a semi auto that is less than $300 and is reliable will be tough. I tend to agree, but you'll find a number of people here who have gotten good ones for under $300. Not sure that I'd go down that road myself, as I shoot revolvers better anyway.

The problem is that with a semi, most people recommend that you shoot at least 100 rounds of your preferred carry ammo, if not 200 rounds to test for reliable feeding, ignition, and extraction. Especially in some of the smaller pocket autos in your price range. Depending upon the SD round you pick, that can get MIGHTY expensive :cuss:, running into the $100 - $200 range (depending on ammo and number of rounds tested).

A lot of people don't believe a revolver has to be tested in this way. That's sorta correct, IMO. You should still check your SD ammo out, but it should only take a cylinder full or three to ensure reliable ignition and spent case extraction. MUCH cheaper to do I might add :). The extraction test is pretty important; I fired some 357 Mag Winchester SuperX that had case extraction difficulties. Everything else I tried was fine except for that particular make, and I've avoided it ever since.

Good luck to you. See if you can't rent some different guns at a range and see what YOU like! :cool:

February 19, 2007, 11:33 AM
Taurus PT1911.

February 23, 2007, 12:35 PM
I can vouch for the Bersa Thunder 380. I had one for about two years and sold it last week. It became a closet firearm and I decided to sell it to someone who would use it. I actually sold it to a police officer that I know. I purchased mine from a pawn shop brand new for $209 plus tax. It's a fun gun to shoot and it has a life time warranty. It's plenty of gun for the money. If you would like to learn more about them, they have a forum. Go to: www.bersatalk.com. Good luck.

February 23, 2007, 12:39 PM
I like either the S&W 642 or the Kakr PM-9 depending on whether you prefer a revolver or semi-auto.

February 23, 2007, 03:03 PM
+1 for the Gen 3 Taurus MILPRO Pt145. I've had mine for about 3 weeks now and am so impressed with it I used it to renew my CHL this past weekend. There's something very comforting about carrying 10+1 in a very light package. I've had other 45's but I think I've finally found the best gun out there IMHO. Bought it NIB at Sportsman's warehouse for $309.99 + tax. I got the stainless steel but they make it in other configurations as well.

February 23, 2007, 03:10 PM
It gets kinda hot in Las Vegas.

Get your permit to carry, whatever suits your lifestyle, lots of practice/instruction, and figure out whatever means needed to have it accessable.


February 23, 2007, 03:55 PM
I own quite a few handguns in that price range, many I would trust my life with.

Smith and Wesson 637 - .38 special revolver - $315

KelTec P3AT - .380 semi-auto - $210

Taurus 605 - .357 magnum revolver - $315

Bulgarian Makarov - 9mm Mak semi-auto - $200

Smith and Wesson 6906 - 9mm semi-auto - $290 (has night sights too)

Bersa Thunder 380 - .380 semi-auto - $200

Smith and Wesson 10 - .38 special revolver - $175

February 23, 2007, 04:23 PM
Anyone mentioning Taurus or Ruger has you pointed in the right direction. Both brands have a plethora of gun models and calibers your going to find something you like.
Excellent models of either brand are
PT-92or99 9mm
P89 / P90 9mm / .45
If you want concealed get a Bersa .380 wonderful gun other Bersa's not so much.

Good luck

February 23, 2007, 04:24 PM
Kel-Tec would be right what you want!

February 24, 2007, 02:34 AM
Any of the 4 Kel-tec handguns. I have a P11 and P32 and carry both all the time. The P32 is in the pocket when ever I leave the house as a bug.

February 24, 2007, 02:43 AM
Taurus PT-111 Pro, Bersa in .380 or 9mm, Taurus Snub Nose in .38 Sp, S&W M637/M638

Any of the above will do the job. I don't recommend the Kel-Tec .380 because it is very hard to shoot. It wants to twist right out of your hand. The .32 Ket-Tec is a good very small pistol though.

February 24, 2007, 08:59 AM
Another vote for the Makarov. Look for a Bulgarian Makarov. About $200 and reliable every time, all the time. Go to---www.makarov.com---lotsa info about the Mak

February 24, 2007, 10:11 AM
Summitgunbroker.com Mark is a great guy to deal with andhis prices are hard to beat. I just checked out his current inventory and he has 3 or 4 smiths under the $300 mark. He also has some used Glocks in the $350 range. I am a Die Hard Glock fan but the smiths are extremely nice guns as well. I would be very tempted to pick up one of the 4006s with newer night sites for $325. If you are a revolver fan check out the 4" 686s. I like the ones with the Hogue grips for carry and recoil management but I might get the wood grips and buy the hogues later. I would only do this for the purposes of resale. Some people just have to have wood. The 686 is a great revolver.

February 24, 2007, 11:03 AM
makarov and j-frame r the best...

kel-tec is the most comfortable and good enough.

February 24, 2007, 11:40 AM
Go for the Kel-tecs. I've got a couple of them. They're good reliable guns for the money.

February 24, 2007, 03:06 PM
Practical & affordable???? Maybe a used Glock 19 or maybe a Ruger SP101 :D

February 24, 2007, 06:45 PM
Wheel guns r like AK's -- they always work when you tap one off. A .357 mag small enough to fit in your boot is serious, its a cal. you can hunt with!

Stainless is superior for a civillian carry gun, you sweat all over it...no rust! I can't think of any other pistol I would want to carry other than my S&W 60-10 3 in brl.. its the perfect handgun -- and 2 revolvers is even better than 1, no one ever expects you to have 2 handguns


February 24, 2007, 07:00 PM

Dan Wessons m-15 is maybe the best wheel gun I ever shot.

February 24, 2007, 07:18 PM
The best all around CCW I've found so far is the new Gen. # Taurus MILPRO PT145. Bought one a month ago at Sportsman's Warehouse for $309.99 +tax. Didn't clean it and went to the range with 100rds CCI Blazer ammo and it functioned flawlessly. I'v put another 250rds thru it without any type failure. Replace my Bersa T380 as my CCw and trust me nobody laughs at a 45.:evil:

February 24, 2007, 07:18 PM
Taurus PT145 milpro, super smooth double action, extremally lightweight, 10+1 capacity, external safty in case ya want the extra security, great sights.

We have 3 going on 12,000 rnds of super dirty (bullseye powder) cast lead handloads without a single failure all 3 went past 1500 rnds without cleaning one of them was totally degreased and went 800 rnds with zero lube the only effect was the finish on the slide rails started to vanish faster than the other two. Not many other calibers are as dependable as the .45 for stopping bad guys, these eat up Speer gold dots like candy...

If you enjoyed reading about "What is a dependable yet affordable handgun for Concealed Carry." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!