Top 5 CCW dependable/reliable bargain handguns under $300. Your thoughts?


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40SW
August 7, 2007, 05:08 PM
As an NRA certified pistol instructor, I get alot of students who are on a budget. Being in Florida, I typically encounter young students (over 21, college, tech school, vocational) and also senior citizens who are on a fixed
income ( did I say Florida. lol). I have had hundreds of students who have taken the NRA First Steps handgun orientation course, handling basic topics like safety, technical aspects of different handguns, ammo, cleaning, etc.etc. A common denominator that arises is that many novice shooters are under the false impression that a handgun needs to be expensive in order to be reliable, or that they have to spend over $500 to get a prominent and nationally recognized brand like Smith & Wesson, Glock, or Colt, in order for the handgun to be dependable, shootable, and reliable. Nothing can be further from the truth. So I have taken the time to compile a list of handguns that I have encountered, personally own, have received personal testimonials from others, and extensive experience from a personal shooting perspective and others' feedback. Here is the list as follows.

1. Bersa Thunder .380ACP. Firmly under $300, respectable cartridge, dependable as heck, conceallable., shootable, accurate, and a BARGAIN. dozens of students have qualified with it. Overall feedback. A+++++
dominant features for a small pistol: dependable and accurate!

2. Russian or Bulgarian Makarovs 9x18. Firmly under $250 another decent and respectable cartridge. Controlled recoil. DEPENDABLE AS HELL!!!, shootable, compact, and available. Feedback from dozens of students. A++++++++
dominant features for a small pistol: dependable and accurate!

3. Rossi Revolvers in .38spcl or .357MAG. Firmly under $250, Great cartridge. Excellent concealment. Great feel. Not the best on accuracy, but great for inside 10 yards. Dozens of students praise the durability and nice grips.

overall A grade.

4. CZ52 in 7.62x25 : Firmly under $200: Devastating cartridge and very affordable. Drawbacks include heavy recoil, overpenetration potential and larger size , not the best for concealment, but a great nightstand gun, superb stopping power and very affordable, About 8 students out of hundreds have given me solid feedback.

Overall A-

5. Beretta Bobcat (.22LR, .22ACP). Firmly under $250.
Positivies:
Affordable. Very concealable. Tip up barrel for arthritis challenged folks who cant rack a slide. Women love these for the purse.

Negatives:
Poor stopping power, lower calibers only. Lack of accuracy outside 10 yards, (but not meant for it, so I explain politely).

overall B+++

Your thoughts on my top 5 for CCW

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Novus Collectus
August 7, 2007, 05:11 PM
Just got my first CZ82. Put that one on your list because it is reliable, very accurate, better built than many Makarovs I read, has a twelve round capacity and still only slightly thicker than some 8 shot Makarovs.

40SW
August 7, 2007, 05:27 PM
As I recal, the CZ82 is also chambered in 9x18. Have not seen too many.
,but I do have a CZ83 chambered in .380ACP. Great gun. Will add it for sure. The only drawback is that the CZ83 runs about $375 new, still a bargain if you ask me, especially if you can find a nice used one around $300

armed85
August 7, 2007, 06:00 PM
You can find a used Smith & Wesson Model 10/M&P revolver for $300 in excellent condition or the same gun for less than $300 in good condition. A newbie could search Gunbroker.com and get a good deal without an expert by his or her side. S&W Model 10s are great shooters and great values.

A more realistic budget for a new gun is $400 in my opinion. You could pick up a Smith & Wesson 442/642 snub nosed revolver, Ruger P-series, or CZ 75. The Ruger SP101, to my surprise, is over $400.

I'm afraid inflation has put an end to the $300 bargains.

MachIVshooter
August 7, 2007, 06:44 PM
Let's dissect these options a little:

1. Bersa Thunder .380ACP. Firmly under $300, respectable cartridge, dependable as heck, conceallable., shootable, accurate, and a BARGAIN. dozens of students have qualified with it. Overall feedback. A+++++
dominant features for a small pistol: dependable and accurate!

Lot's of folks have these and like them, but they are fairly bulky and heavy (and relatively light on ammunition capacity, given their weight). Lots of 9mm and .40 cal pistols with similar size/weight, though most are over $300.

2. Russian or Bulgarian Makarovs 9x18. Firmly under $250 another decent and respectable cartridge. Controlled recoil. DEPENDABLE AS HELL!!!, shootable, compact, and available. Feedback from dozens of students. A++++++++
dominant features for a small pistol: dependable and accurate!

The Mak's have the same attributes and detractors as the Bersa.

3. Rossi Revolvers in .38spcl or .357MAG. Firmly under $250, Great cartridge. Excellent concealment. Great feel. Not the best on accuracy, but great for inside 10 yards. Dozens of students praise the durability and nice grips.

overall A grade.

Rossi's are not known for long-term durabilty, but would probably be fine for the broke college kid.

4. CZ52 in 7.62x25 : Firmly under $200: Devastating cartridge and very affordable. Drawbacks include heavy recoil, overpenetration potential and larger size , not the best for concealment, but a great nightstand gun, superb stopping power and very affordable, About 8 students out of hundreds have given me solid feedback.

Overall A-

The CZ-52 is a very good pistol, but not for CCW. It is bulkier than most other full-size guns, and the design does not lend itself to quick mag changes. And while the cartridge is powerful, there is a lack of data (even anecdotal) regarding terminal perfomance of the 7.62x25.


5. Beretta Bobcat (.22LR, .22ACP). Firmly under $250.
Positivies:
Affordable. Very concealable. Tip up barrel for arthritis challenged folks who cant rack a slide. Women love these for the purse.

The Bobcat is a very high quality pistol, but I would never recommend anything smaller than a .380 for self or home defense. If one cannot manipulate the slide on a .380 or 9mm auto, get a revolver.


In summary, most of these are decent choices, but I can think of many firearms I've bought for under $300 that rank higher. Most were used, but not that difficult to find in similar shape for similar money. I've picked up used S&W model 19's for under $200, and no one will argue that a Rossi is better than a Smith.

kellyj00
August 7, 2007, 06:48 PM
+1 machIVshooter

brett30030
August 7, 2007, 08:29 PM
I'm not a caliber snob, but i have to agree to the .22 being small for SD. Although Ghandi may disagree!

modifiedbrowning
August 7, 2007, 09:12 PM
Lot's of folks have these and like them, but they are fairly bulky and heavy
MachIV, so what do you consider slender and light? I have a Firestorm .22 and it is in my opinion tiny. Is a revolver less bulky than a Bersa or simply shorter in length?

Durby
August 8, 2007, 01:13 AM
The CZ 82/83 is good, but all steel so a little heavy. Mine is a .380, paid 300 for it. My girlfriend can shoot all day, and be accurate with it (no flinching). She also has a Colt Police Positive 38 Spl, 4 inch barrel (and mother of pearl grips). Any of those small Colts, Agent, Detective Special etc. go for 200-300 bucks, depending on condition and location. She loves how simple the revolver is.
I would rather go the .25 Auto route before I went with a .22, we have a Berreta Panther 25 that we can both shoot pretty good, but wouldn't bother with for HD or self defense unless it was my only option, I see them at gun shows and on consignment, anywhere from 125-250 bucks, but changing mags is no fun, controls can be hard to manipulate, slide can bite hand, etc.

40SW
August 8, 2007, 09:15 AM
Excellent feedback!! I agree. Keep in my mind these are not necessarily my first choices but the most popular I have encountered in my geographic area in that price range. As far as a minimum of .380ACP for CCW, I agree 100%, but some of my students, especially senior citizens, are extremely recoil sensitive, ie arthritis, etc. Many choose lower calibers under the notion that a lower caliber is better than no gun at all, I agree, Although I do help them overcome their recoil and dexterity challenges the best I can, ie, better grips aka Pachmayr, Hogue,etc. I also agree that a 25ACP would be a better choice due to more reliable ignition. Obviously centerfire is more reliable than rimfire, but the .22LR in something like a CCI stinger is better than nothing, and a .22LR offers slightly more capacity. The tip up barrel semis like the Beretta Bobcat, Tomcat, and the Taurus clones are also very popular BUGS (backup guns). Alot of bargains to be had for sure, be they new or used, students have tremendous options under $350, my three main points are.
1. Don't have to spend a fortune for a reliable and dependable/accurate/shootable CCW.
2. A nationally recognized name brand is not necessarily superior to a milsupr/ slightly used/ less recognizable brand. Firearms models and makers should be evaluated on a case by case basis. ie. Both Smith and Wesson and Bersa make lemons every now and then, pick the model with the best track record and the one best for you.
3. For folks with recoil sensitive challenges, medical/dexterity issues, a compromise in caliber reduction is better than no gun, but my message to them is PICK THE HIGHEST CALIBER IN THE BEST GUN YOU CAN SHOOT MOST EFFECTIVELY AND GROW PROFICIENT WITH AND THAT YOU CAN CONCEAL WELL. DO YOUR HOMEWORK, DON'T LET GUNSHOP SALESMAN SELL A 75 YEAR OLD WIDOW WITH ARTHRITIS A 10MM GLOCK .

Feedback welcome.

kludge
August 8, 2007, 10:10 AM
1) Ruger Security/Speed/Sevice Six .357 Magnum
2) Kel-Tec P-11 9mm

40SW
August 8, 2007, 10:20 AM
I've had very positive personal experience with Rugers and excellent feedback from students accross the entire application spectrum.
Kel Tec is another story, its been a mixed bag. Never heard any complaints about Ruger from students, and my own personal experience has been positive. As far as Kel Tec, PLENTY OF COMPLAINTS from students and have had bad experiences with the first generation P11. Trigger and firing pin problems mostly. Students have had similar complaints. Not bashing Kel Tec, but will never purchase one again. Customer Service was rated as excellent, but reliability and quality suffered greatly. , and therefore my image of them.

El Tejon
August 8, 2007, 10:33 AM
Used Ruger Service Sixs. Last one I purchased (December '06) I pled down to $225. If you are lucky you can catch them for $200.

What's more a Ruger Service Six is the firearm that my own mother, age 68, uses.

Maj.Striker
August 8, 2007, 10:54 AM
MachIV, so what do you consider slender and light? I have a Firestorm .22 and it is in my opinion tiny.


I too have to ask that question...A Bersa Thunder .380 is not by any stretch of the imagination, "bulky." Ok, maybe if you compare it to a Deringer...

philbo
August 8, 2007, 11:20 AM
many novice shooters are under the false impression that a handgun needs to be expensive in order to be reliable

Not just novice shooters unfortunately. :uhoh:

The big disadvantage to the Bersa, Mak and Cz that I see is the cost of ammo making the most important aspect of CCW, PRACTICE, more unlikely.

Given the demographic you work with, I would find it interesting on how they chose the pistol they are using as well. (i.e., input from other family members, shooters, what they have read. etc.) Any info 40sw?

40SW
August 8, 2007, 11:21 AM
Regarding the Bersa .380ACP, I agree, not bulky at all. I carry mine inside the pocket (cargo), uncle mikes holster. Very comfortable. They also make a CCW version (low profile sites, thinner magazine baseplate, etc.).

GEM
August 8, 2007, 11:29 AM
My experience with the tip up 22 LRs is that they are prone to jamming. The guns may take work and tuning to get running. The 25s don't have those problems. As this is a solution for the arithritic, the stopping power rants aren't really relevant as the other choice is no gun.

40SW
August 8, 2007, 11:35 AM
Philbo:
Excellent question. My business cards are setup with several gunshops, I also get referals from former students, from range facilities that I have relationships with ,etc.
Many of the students already own firearms and are just interested in getting their CWP, many also have sufficient financial means to get what they want, aka Glock, Springfield, S&W, Taurus, etc. , but the category that started this thread refers to students that are under tighter financial means, aka fixed income seniors, college/vocational folks, etc. A referal situation may arise something like this.
Student calls me on the phone:
Student:
"Hello, this is Steve, I got one of your business cards from BLANK BLANK gunshop. I've been around guns before, but would like to get my CWP license so that I can carry concealed, can you help me. ? I am an student at BLANK BLANK vocational tech, money is tight, but I want something reliable and dependable, can you help me with a suggestion and can you help me get the permit? I can't spend more than $250 on a gun, whats my best choice in that category ?"

40SW:
" Glad that BLANK BLANK gun shop refered you, they are nice folks, I have the necessary paperwork and we can administer the NRA First Steps Course that is required for your CWP kit, and you will learn alot from the course, regardless of your proficiency level. As far as being within your budget, there are a number of choices, we will go over the advantages and dissadvantages of both revolvers and semi automatics during the course, but good options are the Russian & Bulgarian Makarovs, The Bersa Thunder, Taurus revolvers, etc,etc, You may want to browse the gunshop and examine the options that I have disscussed, I can bring several to the range where we will do the course, and you can actually experience shooting them. Whatever you decide, you will make an informed choice based on what suits your lifestyle, your wardrobe, your surroundings, etc. We can disscuss that in more detail when we meet, but the ones I mentioned above will fit your budget and are reliable. etc,etc
You get the idea.

baz
August 8, 2007, 11:49 AM
A new Taurus 85 can be had for just under $300. It lacks the versatility of a Rossi in 357, but might a bit better made (I know Rossi's are now made by Taurus, so maybe not), and a bit more accurate.

Redneck with a 40
August 8, 2007, 11:52 AM
Kel-Tec P-11, can be had for under $300 new in box. 10+1 in 9mm with the capability to shoot +P ammo, can't beat it.

slow944
August 8, 2007, 01:41 PM
I usually carry a KT P3AT in an Uncle Mike's pocket holster, but the recoil from it can be a little stout. I also had a P11, but because of the long trigger pull I sold it. I've found that the Taurus MILPRO series of guns work very well. I have both a PT140 and PT145. The PT140 has a very sharp recoil to me, but the PT145 has more of a push. I traded for the PT140 but I bought the PT145 new at a cost of $309+tax. Plus it comes with 2 10rd mags and a mag loader in the box. I recently requalified for my CHL with the PT145 and it was perfect. I would recommend to people on a tight budget the PT145 as the recoil is not like the PT140, and it's a larger caliber.

fletcher
August 8, 2007, 01:46 PM
After more people have a chance to shoot it and Kel-Tec tweaks it a little, I'd consider the PF-9 in this category. It's probably the smallest 9mm you can get for under $300.

JesseL
August 8, 2007, 02:41 PM
My Daewoo DH40 .40S&W that I carry everyday was $280.

My wife's Arcus 94 9mm was $230.

Both NIB.

MachIVshooter
August 8, 2007, 03:17 PM
so what do you consider slender and light?

The P3AT, at half the width and one third the weight of the Bersa, and the same magazine capacity with the one round extension.

Even the KT P-11 is lighter and slimmer than the Thunder, and it packs 3 more rounds of a much more potent cartridge. And the P-11 still comes in cheaper than the Bersa, also boasting a no questions lifetime warranty.

IMO, the P3AT set new standards for deep concealment .380s, one that no other manufacturer as come close to matching. The little Rorbaugh 9mm and the NAA/Seecamp .380's are close in size, but still considerably heavier and a bit thicker (as well as much more expensive).

40SW
August 8, 2007, 03:41 PM
All excellent points about Kel Tecs, but many students have expressed dissatisfaction with the triggers. The Bersas offer a decocker as well as DA/SA. Much better trigger as well, so in the end, what the Bersas offer more in shootability and trigger superiority, Kel Tecs offer more in weight reduction and conceallability. Pretty much a wash, but in the end, I would take a Bersa over a Kel Tec, personally.

mnrivrat
August 8, 2007, 04:15 PM
Taurus 85's

Hungarian PA-63 in 9X18

mballai
August 8, 2007, 04:22 PM
I think that those on a budget need to take the time to do some hunting. Summertime is best for this. You can get a good gun for under 300-400 if you look. There are scores of police trade in guns that would do very well and you get a well maintained lightly used gun for much less than a new one.

fletcher
August 8, 2007, 04:57 PM
There are scores of police trade in guns that would do very well

+1

Trade-in Beretta 92s and 96s can be had for low $300s around here.

strat81
August 8, 2007, 05:53 PM
As much as I like them, I'd keep away from oddball calibers like 9x18 and mil-surp handguns. Finding ammo, especially 7.62x25 (sometimes even 9x18), can be a pain. Also, parts can be more difficult to find too. A rule of thumb I'd use would be that if you can't find ammo at Wal-mart, it's not a good choice for a "casual" gun owner. Not everyone is ready, willing, and able to order off the Net, no matter how easy it is.

New, I'd recommend S&W Sigmas.
Used.... wow, big list. Some ideas: Used Taurus snubbies and mil-pros, used Rugers, used S&W metal-frame guns (5906, 1006, 4006, 3913, etc style). Even used Rossis and Charter snubs.

Geno
August 8, 2007, 06:29 PM
The P3AT is very reliable, but it also recoils heavily. So, for the elderly, who may or may not have a strong grip, I don't know. All the same, the .380 ACP is the smallest caliber allowed in our MCPL courses. I would never encourage anyone to carry a .22LR or .25 ACP, not even the .32...they are just too small for reliable stopping power.

Papaster
August 8, 2007, 06:48 PM
+1 on the PT145. It's my carry gun, and it ran me only slightly above 300 brand new. Also the RIA 1911 you can find at some gun shows new for just about 300, maybe a little more now. All kinds of bargains in the slightly-used revolver market. My S&W model 10 in good condition was a mere $160. And the Taurus 85 I picked up w/ less than 100 rnds through it was under 220. Saw a good but well used .38 spl Rossi 5 shot for 150. Passed, but still a good deal.

AZAndy
August 8, 2007, 08:21 PM
I'd have to recommend an FEG PA63. Lightweight, easy to conceal, 9x18, simple disassembly, reliable... and you can pick up a new one for $110-$120. What more could ya want?

Andy

Edit: Oops, just noticed that mnrivrat had the same suggestion. Didn't read carefully enough, sorry!

Schwebel
August 9, 2007, 04:56 AM
I would agree with some of your suggestions, but my top five for CC under $300 would be...

#1 Bersa Thunder 9mm ultra compact 10 +1. Decent capacity, great caliber , nice size and weight for a CCW. Can't think of a bad thing to say about it.

#2 Taurus 85 Ultralight .38+P. Very easy to conceal, and comfortable to wear all day. Decent stopping power. Simple to use in a high stress situation, just point and shoot. Fits in holsters designed for J-frame S&W's. Its only downside is its capacity.

#3 Kel-Tec P3AT .380acp 6+1, Everyone should own one of these. It is the easiest to conceal decent caliber gun. I usually carry one in the pocket as a back up to my S&W 442, and still both those guns together end up weighing less than a 1911!!!! You can say bad things about its trigger, and recoil,...blah blah. But it does exactly what it was designed to do, and it does it very well.

#4 Taurus PT145 Milpro 10+1 .45acp 3rd generation. It's compact and holds a whole lot of firepower, also holsters are readilly availible. Biggest downside is its spotty quality/history. I own a 3rd gen and have never had a problem, but I wouldn't buy a used one. The earlier ones were junk. It however does have a lifetime warranty.

#5 Police Trade-Ins. As mentioned before, you can find Beretta 92/96's, lots of S&W autos, and sometimes some decent Glocks for around $300. These guns may have some holster wear, but most were shot very little. They all come in nice calibers (9mm,.40S&W,.45acp) and alot of time with 3 magazines. However these guns are almost always medium to full size variants and may be hard to use as a EDC in the summer.

I tried to make a list that covers the gambit, from tiny to full size, and from small to large caliber. I really wouldn't trust one of those bobcat/tomcats you mentioned, as they have become known as jam-o-matics for a reason, and offer little stopping power. My girlfriend however carries a Taurus 941 revolver, which is a 8rd .22magnum revolver. She is 5"1' and 95lbs, and has a hard time with larger caliber weapons, also she can't conceal very well with her body type. A snubbie fits her well, and she doesn't mind practicing alot with her .22WMR.

Everyone should be able to afford a decent CCW, and there are alot of nice options out there. I try to stay away from used guns if possible, unless it's a "classic". If money is really tight, you could always get a High-Point until you can afford something better, and the nice thing is most gun shops offer a layaway program.

evan price
August 9, 2007, 06:29 AM
My top five picks for someone with a serious budget who would also be a casual user tend strongly towards the used brand-name type firearms, leaning towards wheelguns primarily. I am biasing my list towards a novice shooter who would not be as hands-on as someone who is used to safeties, cocked & locked, etc. and wants simple point & click interface. Also, there is no replacement for displacement, so carry a bigger caliber if possible. My list also biases for .36" or larger.

+1 on the Wal*Mart ammo selections. If you can't buy it at wallyworld think again.

#1. Used wheelguns in the .38/.357 range. I see snubs under $250 all day long. Ammo is 'cheap' and plentiful. Ruger Whatever-Sixes, S&W's, charter arms, Taurus.

#2. Traded-in plastic fantastics- you can deal shrewdly on a used Glock or XD and walk out with a holster worn well used but perfectly functional sidearm for about $300.

#3. Hi-Point pistols. Bash on them as much as you want, Hi-Point haters, but from personal experience, as ungainly and ugly and top heavy as they are, they shoot pretty good and are pretty reliable. Plus you can get a HP 9mm and a case of ammo and a good holster and still have enough cash left over to pay for range sessions or a CCW class. That big clunky topheavy slide also absorbs recoil surprisingly well making a 9mm Hi-Point a pretty good first gun.

#4. Police trade semiautos: Lots of departments are transitioning to M&Ps or Sigs or whatever is in vogue this year. I see S&W 3913's for under $275 here and there and lots at $299. Plus other S&W semis for that price too. I see Beretta 92 (as mentioned above) in there, too. Just be aware that they look beat on sometimes but shoot well, if you can field strip them before you buy, you can weed out the ones that got shot a lot and buy the Detective Sergeant's gun that sat in a drawer for ten years and only did annual qualifying.

#5: TIE! Budget-priced new semiautos: Kel-Tec, Bersa, etc. -OR-
Makarovs. Great little guns. Can get them used for under $200 and buy a half a case of surplus ammo and you're set.

40SW
August 9, 2007, 09:17 AM
Excellent suggestions folks. I will add them to my list. I have not recommended used guns to novice students much. The main reason is that novice shooters don't know what to look for in purchasing a used firearm. The pitfalls inherent are many for a new shooter, but its more difficult to get stuck with a junk Makarov, (not impossible, just more difficult), simply because they are built like tanks. So used ex Soviet Bloc pistols like Russian/Bulgarian Maks, CZs, etc, I have no problem recommending to novices, since its so hard to get stuck with a lemon, I own several Maks and many of my friends and students do as well, with thousands upon thousands of rounds through them, simply built under the Soviet premise of durability over aesthetics.

Deanimator
August 9, 2007, 09:36 AM
You can find a used Smith & Wesson Model 10/M&P revolver for $300 in excellent condition or the same gun for less than $300 in good condition.
Not that I've seen in NE Ohio, but that's apparently the case elsewhere.

Earlier this year, I bought an ex-NYPD S&W M&P from RM Vivas for $190, not counting shipping and FFL. It was far cheaper than any comparable effective self-defense firearm. It's missing a lot of finish, but is in mechanically excellent shape and shoots well.

hamourkiller
August 9, 2007, 09:44 AM
Used spasmatics are like used boat motors! you are buying some one elses problems.

Used police trade ins, M&P 10, mod 13, Mod 19. For under 300 you will have to put up with some surface wear but internal will be great and reliable.

DMZ
August 9, 2007, 12:05 PM
As I have always been wary of used guns, new:

Wheelies

Taurus 85
Taurus 605

Autos

Kel Tec PF-9
Kel Tec P3AT

Harry Paget Flashman
August 9, 2007, 04:40 PM
Add the Armscor Model 200 .38 Spcl revolver to the list.

http://www.centerfiresystems.com/ProductImages/handguns/AC-M200-T.jpg

They sell for $149 and are very nice.

Durby
August 9, 2007, 11:15 PM
I have bought two police trade-ins, and the advantage of a police trade-in over a used gun is that police have to keep their guns mostly original, or they will get sued for intending to kill someone, or some nonsense like that. This way you don't get guns that people have "improved" on their own. I have bought a Glock 22, with "San Antonio Police Department" on the slide, came with tritium sights on it, and a Smith and Wesson 411, also in .40 S&W, and it came with 3 mags. I questioned the dealer about round count, and he field stripped the pistols and let me examine them. So far I have hundreds of rounds through both guns, with no problems in either.

cstreu1026
August 10, 2007, 07:00 PM
I am not sure what they are going for now but the last time I considered buying a Taurus PT145 they were pretty cheap....$290 for a new one stands out in my mind. I know I have seen their .38 and .357 wheel guns for less than $300 locally when they are on sale. I would think those would probably be two of the best choices in the new and under $300 segment.

I use to have a Bersa .380 and found it fun and comfortable to shoot though I was surprised at how much recoil it had. It wasn't unpleasent I was just a little surprised at how much pop that little cartridge had. I also had a tough time finding a holster for it...there just aren't many choices.

I was pretty set on the a Taurus but I have found that locally a S&W wheel gun in .38 isn't that much more but sure seems like a lot nicer gun.

geekWithA.45
August 10, 2007, 07:54 PM
WRT used guns, police trade ins, and "factory inspecteds" are usually a good bet.

Re: the Bersa: I like it for a ppk style handgun, but being a lefty, it's one of the designs that's simply lefty hostile, and must reluctantly place the KT into that niche.

horge
August 10, 2007, 08:33 PM
Yes, the Thunder 380 is lefty hostile :)
I'm right handed, and I think it's a serious disadvantage:
like, what if my right hand is severely injured ?

As for Mach IV pointing out, that there are 9's and 40's in the same size/bulk
category as the Thunder 380, I'll counterpoint that one of the explicit
considerations in the OP was affordable price.

The Thunder 380 can't touch the KelTec P3AT for concealability, but I
simply can't shoot as accurately and rapidly with it, no matter how much
I practice (may be my fault, and not the pistol's).

:)
horge

jaholder1971
August 10, 2007, 10:23 PM
Around here the bottom is falling out of older Smith and Wesson revolvers. I know of one dealer right now who has an older Model 10 (no dashes) with a 5", yes that's 5" barrel for $320.00 Same dealer has an older 1917 in good condition for $350.00. I'm going back tomorrow to put both on a layaway plan.

Saw a S&W Victory .38 Special at a show last month for $225.00

seeker_two
August 11, 2007, 06:32 PM
Maybe, as well as teaching CCW, you could teach your students how to shop for used guns as well. THR & TFL have some good stickys on how to shop for used pistols & revolvers (as well as long guns), and you can sometimes get a phenomenal bargain at a gun store or pawn shop if you wave a little cash around.... ;)

If you teach a man to fish.... :D

SAG0282
August 11, 2007, 09:46 PM
Pretty much the only handgun I'd get under $300 is the Bersa. Had one, only don't have it now because I gave to a female friend that had had her apartment burglarized. It was an amazing little gun.

Nitrogen
August 11, 2007, 09:51 PM
Seconding the charter arms 2000 snubnoses. (NOT the older Charter Arms revolvers)

I've got one. I beat the crud out of it and she's still shooting well.
http://img120.imageshack.us/img120/2674/cheapwhorexr1.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
By nitrogen (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/nitrogen) at 2007-08-11

applekev
August 11, 2007, 10:09 PM
My bargains that I have purchased include a Taurus 85 UL for $269 brand new and a S&W model 15 for $239 in very good used condition. I am very happy with both. :cool:

Geronimo45
August 12, 2007, 03:04 AM
Lots of PPK-ish guns fit your price range: Astra Constable, Walther PPs, CZ 70...
Seen many Smith K-frames for a little above 300. Snubbies... tend to be higher in my part of the country.

TimboKhan
August 12, 2007, 04:27 AM
My bargain 5 are all guns that I have seen pretty regularly for under $300.00, used.

1. Taurus 92/99 - No less an authority than Massad Ayoob has endorsed them in the 5th edition of "Combat Handgunnery". Even if you are a Taurus hater, they really are fantastic pistols IF you happen to like the M9 design to begin with.

2. Ruger P Series - Yes they are blocky. Yes, a lot of people find them ugly. All that being considered, they are rugged, dependable and accurate. Also, despite their size, they actually carry fairly well.

3. Mak - I can't say anything different than anyone else here....

4. Bersa - Same as number 3

5. S&W Sigma - Strat81 and I apparently agree on this one. The older Sigmas, the so-called "Swocks", were not particularly impressive guns. The newer ones seem to be much, much better. The couple that I have handled were pretty straight-forward and functioned well. They weren't the greatest gun I have ever handled, but they were good guns, and I actually thought then that they would be a good gun for a person on a budget.

highfive
August 12, 2007, 10:39 AM
i have to agree on the rossi and the bersa. for me very dependable and both of them under $300 I like the bersa a lot more and so does my wife.

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