Cheap and reliable semi auto pistol?


January 16, 2008, 02:14 AM
What are some of the cheapest but still reliable semi auto pistols (from .380 on up)?
Thanks. :)

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January 16, 2008, 03:08 AM
Do you have a specific price range?

I'd say look at the Bersa Thunder .380 and the Ruger P-series.

AZ Husker
January 16, 2008, 05:23 AM
In my opinion, "Cheap" and "Reliable" don't cross paths!

January 16, 2008, 05:27 AM
CZ, Taurus, Chinese CF98, or Turkish Zigana.

BUT if you can get you hands on a good Makarov- nothing like it.

January 16, 2008, 06:42 AM
cobra, hi-point, keltec, charter arms, rossi.

January 16, 2008, 06:48 AM
Bersa .380 or Makarov.

January 16, 2008, 06:50 AM
Bersa or Hi-Point

January 16, 2008, 08:03 AM

January 16, 2008, 08:16 AM
Cant do any better than an old used metal framed s&w auto

January 16, 2008, 09:35 AM
Pistol, not revolver, I like Kel Tec (sub 300), Taurus, CZ, Ruger. Lots of people like Bersa, but I have no personal experience. These aren't what I'd call "cheap", but they're not 1K guns, either. They are affordable. I don't care for Glock's trigger system, but they're affordable and 100 percent reliable guns, normally accurate, too. I'd pass on ANY 1911, just don't trust a "cheap" 1911 anymore. RIA gets a lot of proponents, but that's okay, you can have 'em. I don't care for 1911s at all, been there, done that.

You want the cheapest of the cheap, yet 100 percent reliable, get a Makarov. I don't have one, but have fired a few. Don't really have a need for one or I'd certainly get one. Hi Point? I'll pass. I just don't care for striker fired fugly zinc guns no matter how many people tell me how good they are. They're probably reliable. I'll let the REALLY poor folks own 'em. LOL I ain't THAT broke!

January 16, 2008, 09:37 AM
It is not cheap, but well worth the money, GET A GLOCK 21 for the most reliable personal protection pistol on the market today.

January 16, 2008, 09:41 AM
Cheap and reliable semi-auto pistol , kinda falls into the statement, 'Jumbo Shrimp' ???


January 16, 2008, 09:42 AM
It is not cheap, but well worth the money, GET A GLOCK 21 for the most reliable personal protection pistol on the market today.

I'll challenge that with my Rugers. :D Don't get no more reliable than perfect.

January 16, 2008, 09:43 AM
Cheap and reliable.....Hipoint, hands down IMO.

January 16, 2008, 09:44 AM
I have a P90 as well. Great pistol without a doubt.

January 16, 2008, 09:57 AM
When you say cheap what is your price range?

January 16, 2008, 10:05 AM

Pick your poison, but you should be able to pick one about ~$400. I've been super impressed with all that I've held or fired. I'm thinking my next CCW will be a CZ PCR or P01.

January 16, 2008, 11:05 AM
For inexpensive and reliable. Hard to beat a Ruger Pseries.

I've owned a P89 and currently own P90/97/345. All have been 100% reliable.

The .45's in particular have also been insanely accurate. I think I paid $290.00 for my P97 used. The P90 and 345 I traded for.

January 16, 2008, 11:09 AM
Stoeger Couger. Goes for about $370 (MSRP). Comes in .40 and 9mm.


January 16, 2008, 11:12 AM
In my opinion, "Cheap" and "Reliable" don't cross paths!

Then you'd be wrong. Bersa Thunder .380.

January 16, 2008, 12:30 PM
Stoeger Cougar
Taurus 24/7
S&W 5906 (or other used 3rd gen metal frame gun)
CZ-75B (and variants)

Anonymous Coward
January 16, 2008, 12:42 PM

Can't beat military surplus for cheap and reliable.

January 16, 2008, 01:04 PM
I like the old milsurp guns, a CZ52 (Still can get them for 100-140) or a makarov are great choices IMHO.

January 16, 2008, 01:24 PM
Assuming by "cheap" you mean "inexpensive" and not "junky".

Kel-Tec, Hi-Point, Bersa, CZ, Makarov, Cobra, AMT are inexpensive and generally reliable. Of course, certain models and versions from these manufacturers can tend to be more reliable than others.

Taurus and Ruger are generally not quite as low cost, but are also inexpensive and reliable.


January 16, 2008, 01:48 PM
Ruger P-series can be great

Makarovs are good too but not cheap to shoot since ammo is close to $20/50rnds

My preference would be a Kel-Tec proboly the PF-9 of PF-11 since 9mm is cheaper to shoot than the .380

January 16, 2008, 01:52 PM
Where are you getting mak ammo at 20 bucks the most I have ever paid was $13, if you look around you can find a box of 50 for 8 bucks, has it at that price from time to time.

January 16, 2008, 01:56 PM
S&W Sigma VE models.

January 18, 2008, 03:27 AM
I just got a CZ82 in like new condition for $209. The pistol is C&R eligible. It fires the 9x18 round. It has 12 round magazines and ambi safety, can be carried cocked and locked or double action. Cheap and 100% reliable.

My cheapest reliable pistol is a Norinco Tokarev clone in 9mm. I paid $89 for it years ago. I'm looking at Clark's modification to convert it to 9x23. There are now military surplus Romanian Tokarevs in 7.62x25 for $189.

January 18, 2008, 05:52 AM
S&W Sigma VE - $300 new, plus $50 mail in rebate, plus 2 extra mags (total of four after rebate). They're reliable, US made, and backed by a lifetime warranty should and great service department should you have a problem. Ergos are great. Trigger is heavy & squishy is my only complaint, but if you're used to shooting DA revolvers it's not that bad.

The surplus CZ-82s (and Makarovs when you can find them), already mentioned are very reliable low cost guns.

2nd Generation Glocks are getting cheaper and cheaper on the used market.

New Kel-Tecs and Bersas are also great values new.

Metal frame Taurus pistols are very nice for the money, but I've seen too many poly frame Taurus pistols come back with problems to trust them.

New and used Ruger pistols are always great values, reliable, and built like tanks.

January 18, 2008, 07:19 AM
Cant do any better than an old used metal framed s&w auto

+1 on this. I recently bought a S&W 4006 for $299. It is now my favorite handgun out of a fairly large collection. I like it better than the plastic framed .40s I've owned and fired because it has the weight to soak up what can sometimes be considerable recoil from hot .40 loads.

January 18, 2008, 10:10 AM


Doug S
January 18, 2008, 07:11 PM
The cheapest, reliable semi that I've been able to find is a Glock. Every Taurus (9mm),Kel-Tec (32 & 9mm), Bersa (380 & 45), FEG (9mm Mak) I've tried has been something less than totally reliable.

January 19, 2008, 07:04 AM
I just got one recently and it's fantastic. Ammo (9X18) is cheap at $9-$10 box, it's a natural pointer, pleasant to shoot and it's built very well. It's simply and strongly made. It only takes 2 minutes to break down for cleaning and parts are cheap and very available. It's also very flat. It'd be a good carry piece. I went to the range with a friend who had a CZ 82 (same caliber) and, even though they felt like they weighed about the same, the CZ kicked a lot more than my Mak. I am totally impressed with this pistol.

Now, if you want something stronger, there's always the CZ 52. Just figure in an aftermarket firing pin as the originals are cast and break fairly easily. Good surplus ammo is $119 for 1224 rounds and Wolf now makes hollowpoints for it.

Communist pistols are great for their simplicity, easy to clean and break down.

January 19, 2008, 08:37 AM

Both in 9MM Makarov (9x18).

January 19, 2008, 08:59 AM
My Taurus PT145 has had over 1200 rounds through it without any trouble at all. I paid $360.00 for it new. My Carry gun is a Ruger P345. Picked it up for $350.00 used.

Both of these guns are every bit as reliable as my Glocks, my XD45C or my 1911's.

January 19, 2008, 01:35 PM
Makarov - VERY low cost, ammo is cheap and you can get a few for spare parts in the future. Its a very good choice. (200 for pistol)

Used Glock 9mm - This is a lifetime pistol, parts abound EVERYWHERE, realibilty is extreme (100,000 round weapon with care) and there is little you can do to really hurt it. (250-400 for pistol)

Sig P225 - cost a little more, parts aren't as readily available as the others, but you get sig quality, a VERY nice pistol for about 1/2 the cost of a new one.(300-450 for pistol)

Rock Island 1911 - 1911 type pistol, parts galore (this is the Chevy of guns). I dare you find a part NOT available. People have been working on this type of pistol for DECADES. Books exist, cd's exist, houses that modify 1911's EXCLUSIVELY exist for your pleasure.... Ammo is a non-issue. Anyways good luck and don't work too hard. (350-500 for pistol)


January 19, 2008, 01:54 PM

Remember, the poster stated:
Question Cheap and reliable semi auto pistol?
What are some of the cheapest but still reliable semi auto pistols (from .380 on up)?

IMHO Hi-Point is the only thing that really fits that description.

They did not say they wanted an investment or collectors item. Nor did they ask for an average/mid-ranged priced firearm.

If price is one of the main considerations. I would not get the .380 as ammo is more expensive than 9mm. The 9mm would be the most cost effective in ".380 on up"...

January 19, 2008, 02:10 PM
Bersa 380 or CZ-82 9mm Mak.

January 19, 2008, 03:00 PM
.380 - Bersa Thunder
9mm - .45 - Ruger P 89/90

January 19, 2008, 03:05 PM
I got a good deal (search on my username for the longer, more boring version ;)) on a Cz-75BD earlier this month; $375 (before taxes) for a brand new one. That's not "cheap" (at least not to this indebted student), but it's pretty darn OK to get the gun that Jeff Cooper called "the best double action autoloader available."

So far I've heard nothing but good things about the Stoeger Cougar, too, which you should be able to find (in the U.S., that is) for $350 or less. It's basically a rebadged Beretta, made on machines which Beretta shipped to its (quite respectable) Turkish subsidiary.

And as others have said, Ruger is well up there -- decently priced, high-quality. They tend toward chunkiness, but the SR9 is really quite elegantly shaped (IMO) and I saw them on special two weeks ago for just under $350.

I might one day join the ranks of people who've buught Hi-Point guns out of curiosity -- a Hi-Point .45 pistol and reloaded ammo is probably the dirt-cheapest way to shoot .45 :)


January 19, 2008, 05:47 PM
I have a P90 as well. Great pistol without a doubt.

+1 for the P90. I don't own any other Rugers, so I can't comment on Ruger as a whole, but the P90 is fantastic.

January 19, 2008, 06:04 PM
+1 for Ruger P series. My P95DPR15 was $300 (new - just delivered), which included a nice plastic case, mag loader & 2 15 round magazines ...

Never a problem and a current IWB EDC.


March 26, 2008, 07:46 PM
Tokarev, Tokarev and once again Tokarev.

March 27, 2008, 12:32 AM
Sig P6/225. 259.00 a copy from a bunch of different dealers. I have one, my daughter has one. Excellent buy.

March 27, 2008, 01:01 AM
Look for a used P6/P225 (Sig); very reliable pistol & they're available for $325 @ Bud's Gun Shop.

March 27, 2008, 01:02 AM
Holy old thread Batman! :what:

March 27, 2008, 01:27 AM
I like Teapot's comments. Like I said, I paid $89 for my Tok, a Norinco Model 213 in 9mm Luger. That was 15 years ago. Since then I've put more than 55,000 rounds through the pistol with no problems whatsoever. It is still going strong. I think that qualifies as both cheap and reliable. I'm not sure that it could be beaten for the "Cheap and Reliable" title.

March 27, 2008, 01:33 AM
One more vote for Ruger's P series...

You can find cheaper guns, and you can find nicer shooting/handling guns, but there is no more reliable semi-auto pistol at any price, period.

March 27, 2008, 02:58 AM
Polish P64 or Hungarian PA-63. Stiff double action triggers but reliable and beautiful. Add a wolff spring kit to improve double action and reduce recoil. True Makarovs cost a little more.

The Hi-Point are also good but I wouldn't carry one with a round in the chamber.

March 27, 2008, 03:05 AM
Ruger, Bersa, Makarov, CZ 82, charter and the various police trade ins.

March 27, 2008, 03:46 AM
Bersa Thunder .380...not badly priced and reliable.Dont get me wrong,I love my P94,wouldnt trade it,sell it,etc,but the Bersa seems to me a more likely choice for a 'reasonable' amount.

March 27, 2008, 09:31 AM
At least one other poster suggested the CZ 52. I'll go on to say that the CZ 52 is one reliable pistol and mine is 100% reliable.
I have at least 3500 rounds of Romanian 7.62x25 FMJ milsurp I got from from thru mine without a single gun related stoppage. I've had a few failure to fire because the ammo was bad but never a jam of any kind. I've also put 300 rounds of Wolf Gold hollow point thru it with no stoppages at all.
I'm thinking the bottle neck design of the 7.62x25 has much to do with how well it feeds. The 85 grain Wolf Gold hollow point expands well too.
I got my CZ 52 from a place called 'Black Bear Arms' in New Mexico. It's gray in color and came with a holster, 2 original 8 round CZ magazines, a lanyard and extra firing pin for $179 a few years ago.
I've heard about brittle firing pins but I havn't had any trouble with mine yet and it has been dry fired more than a few times.


March 27, 2008, 09:58 AM
I concur with the CZ, pick your flavor/caliber and enjoy. One of the best-kept secrets around. If you like 9mm and the Hi-Power design, look around for a used FM Hi-Power that was made in Argentina (under FN license preferably). Picked one up at a gunshop for under $225 a while back.

March 27, 2008, 02:20 PM
Tokarev pistols are still cheap and built like tanks. I should be a little wary of pushing the limits of the CZ-52 however. Clark, on this board has done a lot of research on them and the Tokarevs and concluded that the strength of the CZ-52 leaves a lot to be desired.
I am buying Tokarevs myself and shooting a lot of hot Czech smg ammo through it. Thinking of converting a barrel to 9x23 for fun and using it in the Tok. It is one strong pistol.
Have fun and be safe. What about posting a picture of your CZ-52?

Did I mention they were cheap? $179 for a new forged, not cast, pistol.

March 27, 2008, 02:27 PM
Bersa Thunder .380.

March 27, 2008, 02:34 PM
One for target, one for concealed carry.

Nice little guns, and very inexpensive.

March 27, 2008, 03:39 PM
Don't listen to the nay-sayers. There are inexpensive, yet reliable autoloaders out there!

The only semi-auto pistol I've ever owned that's never had a malfunction of any kind is a Polish P-64. I put new (and different) springs in it before I ever fired a round, but I've got a total of $180 wrapped up in it and I may have payed too much! Either way, it's VERY accurate, totally reliable, and affordable as well. Oh, and it's way more sexy than any GLOCK! :neener:

Also, I've got a FEG Hi-Power that's been the most reliable of my three HPs, including a FN and Inglis. Paid $250. Check out the FM HPs too...I hear they're quite good!

In my experience, the CZ 52 isn't a bad way to go either. Mine's been 100% reliable and ammo is cheap. I will say, however, that my buddy and I were shooting our '52s on the range one day and his chucked the extractor into the back 40, never to be seen again.

I hear the CZ-82s are exceptional as well, and right at $200!

So, you have quite a few options!

March 27, 2008, 04:28 PM
CZ, Makorv, Hi-Point----Problem is alot of people can't equate cheap as in good value.

March 28, 2008, 12:57 AM

Rod B
March 28, 2008, 09:16 PM
Another vote for the Tokarev TT33.

They are cheap & reliable, mine is more accurate than a pistol of this price has a right to be.

The 7.62 X 25 is a fun to shoot cartridge that packs a surprising wallop for it's size .

March 28, 2008, 09:50 PM
First, don't buy new.

Find a good, used S&W 659, 5906, 639, 645, or 4506—and you'll make out like a bandit. Don't know what people mean when they say pistols or revolvers. Some of the best pistols I ever had were revolvers!

If you went out today to buy a .357 mag revolver, you'd pay $500+ for a really decent one. But if you bought a good used (pristine) .357, you could get it for about $300. Autos are the same. Today's prices are outrageous when one considers what can be had on the used market.

Back in the 1980s, and before, there wasn't much difference between a new and used handgun if they were in great shape. And you could shoot a gun for a year or two and often sell it for more than you paid, depending on the demand.

Bersa has always made pistols that were a good value, but I'd rather have my S&W 645 auto than many of the $1K 1911s on the market. It's certainly more reliable than most 1911s out of the box.

I'd keep an eye out for a good 9mm or .45 auto. You can check,, or just your local gun store. Many of the Internet auction outlets include a listing of licensed gun dealers in your area and the price they'd charge for transferring the gun (usually $25 or so). At a gun store, you're likely to pay a premium, but sometimes you can get a real bargain, especially if the dealer stands behind the guns they sell. Uh...figuratively speaking that is.

March 28, 2008, 10:11 PM
The 9mm Tokarevs are a bargain.

March 28, 2008, 10:18 PM
I think there are a lot of guns that fit that bill... The most choices cost effective would be .380...

When you jump to 9 milimeter, price/reliability, the price can jump a bit unless Keltec is an acceptable option...

That Stoeger Cougar sounds like a deal as well..

High Planes Drifter
March 28, 2008, 10:28 PM
I have no experience with the Tokerov's, so I wont comment on them.

Ruger P series handguns are great be sure to stick with reputable mags.

Makarovs are also very reliable handguns. I have owned one for years and have ye tto have a jam.

March 28, 2008, 10:39 PM
Sig Sauer P6 9mm for 259.00. Hard to beat.

March 28, 2008, 11:11 PM
All metal- Ruger P-series
Plastic- New model S&W Sigma

March 28, 2008, 11:16 PM
You look around you can find a Taurus PT92 for @ $200 or so. Even Taurus bashers will admit this model gives excellent service. Older ones don't have the crummy-looking rail, giving it cleaner lines. Comes in 9mm (model 92 or 99) or .40 (model 100 or 101), blued or stainless. Big, all-steel, and a horse.


March 29, 2008, 01:30 PM
I have 3 Bersa's, A Thunder .380,...a .22 LR on the same platform,...and a Mini Thunder in 45 ACP....all shoot well for me, ....Would I buy another one?? Yup. Are they really pretty, well finished expensive guns?? Nope. Do I care if I scratch one up? Nope. Do they work and go bang when I pull the trigger?? Yes,...and they ALL have,... without fail. They hit where I point too, which is always a good thing......the ONLY complaint I have is that they come with ONE mag,...and spares are expensive.

March 29, 2008, 05:28 PM
All the P-Series Rugers are great guns. I think the P90 is the top of the line. :)

March 29, 2008, 09:38 PM
Websters defintion of reliable ----> Glock.

March 30, 2008, 08:26 AM
Aim is currently taking orders for the April shipment of P6 Sigs. I was in on the March order:

March 31, 2008, 08:30 AM
Nasty, how do you like that? is it thin enough for CCW? I've been eyeing those recently...

March 31, 2008, 08:52 AM
I would have to vouch for the ruger as well. Eats anything I put through it and never had one failure. I have the SR9 and it it wonderful. It's a **** to load the magazine by hand but once its full you have 17 rounds enough to make swiss cheese out of anything coming your way. Only 456.00 retail. For less than 500 bucks it cant be beat.

March 31, 2008, 10:24 AM
I'd say look around for a used, good condition P-series Ruger. Rock solid reliable,and tough enough to take abuse of the +P loads. I picked up a used P89 last week for $325 in mint condition with case and 2-15 round mags. I got out the door with a set of Hogue grips,the Ruger with 2 mags,a spare mag,and a box of CCI FMJ 115gr for under $400.

March 31, 2008, 10:38 AM
I second Soybomb - get a used steel framed S&W. Extremely reliable, and you can find them plenty cheap if you look around.

March 31, 2008, 07:50 PM
Nasty, how do you like that? is it thin enough for CCW? I've been eyeing those recently...

IMO, the P225/P6 Sigs are some of the finest handguns made--slim and compact, they are excellent for CCW. Hands down my favorite Sig and at 2 something they are a steal. Second only to the Browning Hi Power for me, but you wont find a HP that cheap unless you go with a Daly.

January 31, 2009, 07:33 PM
I also bought a Sig P6, which was a great deal on a super gun...have put about 1,000 rounds through it since Christmas, without a single problem, firing both FMJ and JHP ammo . Like it so much, I gave my S&W 908 personal carry weapon to my son, and replaced it with the Sig....I paid $399 each, the 908 in September and the P6 for Christmas. Although there has been many good suggestions on this thread, I believe you couldn't go wrong with either one, as they are both accurate and reliable as the sunset!! Good luck and Happy Hunting.

January 31, 2009, 07:52 PM
I don't think makarovs fall in the cheap range anymore. Most of them are going for like 250-300 easy.

But I would recommend a Tokarev

February 1, 2009, 08:08 AM
Consider the Ruger SR9. I picked up mine for $389.00. I like the way it shoots better than my friends Sigs, H&K, Kimber and M&P9. That's just my opinion of it's feel. Those are all great pistols. Loading the SR9 with an Uplula makes it a breeze. The Uplula sits on the magazine like it was designed for just it.

February 1, 2009, 08:08 AM
S&W Sigma.

February 1, 2009, 08:20 AM
All the Bersa 380 9mm 40 45acp are reasonable in price.

February 1, 2009, 09:03 AM
used Glock - 300-400.

wont get any more reliable than that.

February 1, 2009, 12:29 PM
I just bought a used, 250 rds, RIA Tactical for 375. shipped. I haven't got it yet, but from what I have read it should be worth it. Lifetime warranty plus good customer srevice. I'll risk it for that price.

Guns and more
February 1, 2009, 12:33 PM
Cheap and reliable? I'd jump on one of the German police trade in's of the Sig 225's

March 12, 2009, 09:25 PM
If you sign up for the forum you can see a guy who bought a $99 Norinco 213 pistol new, removed the safety and some other work. He has posted lots of pictures if anyone here is interested.Go to the link below but you'll need to sign up to see them just like in many other forums. His welding is so good you'd never know the pistol had had a safety on it. He did something with the mag well too.

March 13, 2009, 11:16 AM
There is a lot of really good advice on this post!:)

“Sig P6/225. 259.00 a copy from a bunch of different dealers.”

“Sig Sauer P6 9mm for 259.00. Hard to beat.”

“First, don't buy new…..Find a good, used S&W 659, 5906, 639, 645, or 4506—and you'll make out like a bandit. Don't know what people mean when they say pistols or revolvers. Some of the best pistols I ever had were revolvers!”

These guys know what they are talking about!

I recently paid $319.00 for a P225 that is one of the nicest shooters I've ever tried, much less owned. In fact I prefer single-stacks, and I think I like it slightly better than the P228 that I used to own (but I wish I still had anyway!). I had my new Springer Loaded 9mm at the range yesterday, and I checked out their gun store afterwords, and considering what a new Sig P22(0,6, or 9) is going for these days, $365.00 for that used S&W 5906 (probably what it cost new!) looks better than it ever did, and they were always d@mn fine!

March 13, 2009, 07:46 PM
Seem's to me you pay extra for higher capacity...if you hit what your aiming at you will save some money by sticking with a single stack mag.

March 13, 2009, 08:29 PM
Gander Mtn has Walther P1's for $299.00. They are alloy frame newer P38's.
Look for ones that have a hex pin through the frame. Also be wary of hot or +P loads. I would not go smaller than 9mm unless you need a concealed weapon.

March 14, 2009, 01:44 AM
Bersa .380

March 14, 2009, 02:45 AM
I got a SIG Sp 2022 9mm for 469....:cool:

March 14, 2009, 12:45 PM
Ruger or S&W Sigma

March 14, 2009, 05:03 PM
From the look of this particular thread, which is under way right now ...

... the answer might well be a CZ-82.

March 14, 2009, 09:26 PM
Ruger P95. They can be had for around $300 and will last a lifetime.

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