Choosing a cheap gun...not by choice...


December 21, 2009, 01:26 AM
Let me start by saying that I am on clinical rotations right now and am working at pharmacies all over, hospitals, community, etc. I just received my CPL but have yet to buy a firearm due to costs, graduate school is very expensive and I can't afford the firearm, training, and holster at this time. I recently had a rotation at a walgreens in a bad area of town. During the rotation I noticed someone stealing something and I told the pharmacist. He told me that in this area of town, you shouldn't notice anything and just keep doing what I normally do. This was kinda disturbing to me and I always worried about walking out to my car at night if someone was going to be waiting or something like that. It made me reconsider getting a firearm right away.

So here's my dilemma. I only have about $300ish to spend on the firearm itself. I have already put aside money for training which I will not carry a firearm without as well as some money for a good holster and belt. This has only left me with $300 for a firearm, however, so my choices are pretty limited. Right now the only real carry guns I can find for that price are a taurus or a makarov. I was trying to find a springfield xd subcompact for about that price or a CZ but am having a hard time doing so. My question is...what would you rather carry, a taurus, or a makarov? I know taurus don't have a good rep around here for being dependable, but will a makarov be enough of a bullet seeing as it's only 9x18? I'm just torn trying to decide between these two.

I should also note that the firearm will be replaced as a carry gun in about 5 months when I graduate and get a nice sign on bonus. It's more of a temporary thing than anything. Any thoughts, recommendations, and comments are greatly appreciated.


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December 21, 2009, 02:05 AM
plenty of reliable options in that price range. If you do a bit of searching I'm sure you'd find a used .38 special in the price range. Other options include the Bersa line of firearms which have an excellent reputation and can be had for very reasonable prices. If DEEP concealment is a concern then perhaps a keltec, which again used or new are pretty reasonable. I'm no expert with the laws though, but I would probably very careful about where you are carrying. Hospitals as far as I understood were OFF LIMITS. I could be wrong on that, though I'd rather play it safe than sorry. Check your local laws before you carry anywhere!

December 21, 2009, 02:15 AM
Yup, hospitals are off limits and I probably won't be carrying while on my rotations seeing as how it's school related and I don't want to mess that up. But during that time...basically to and from as well as going to other places such as the convenience store at night I would like to have a firearm as a "life insurance policy". Thanks for the consideration on that though!

December 21, 2009, 02:21 AM
I think hospitals are a state-by-state thing.

Download the CDNN catalog, you might have to bust a few bucks out of your training budget for an FFL transfer with your price range, but that's not too major, not aas big a deal as getting the absolute most gun for your money is. Local establishments may not have anything satisfactory in your limit, while the internetz is a great place to find deals but then you gotta pay the transfer cost.

I think Bud's gun shop has new Glock 37 (full size .45 GAP, everyone I know of who OWNS a .45 GAP has nothing but good things to say about them) pistols for $379, that's a bit over your projected budget but there is no question that .45 GAP is an adequate defense round and there is no question that Glock makes an adequate defense pistol.

There are certainly other great guns out there, I got a pair of CZ 40Bs from CDNN a while back for $289 each, and an FNP-9M (probably perfect for what you need IMO) for $369 or so.

December 21, 2009, 02:24 AM
The only Taurus I've shot was a .22 revolver, and I've never fired a Makarov, so I can't really answer that part of the question.

The one time I shot my Dad's High-Point, I really liked it, and they tend to be really inexpensive. Its a full sized .45 for around $200. They make them in 9mm and .380, too, but I'm not sure how easy to carry they would be.

For another fifty or so bucks you might be able to pick up a Kel-Tec or a used Ruger LCP.

I know that your original question was about the Taurus and the Mak, but I hope this helps too.

December 21, 2009, 02:30 AM
I love my Bulgarian Mak - bought from Southern Ohio for $289 + shipping and FFL fees. Shoots well and very concealable.

As pointed out, you do have other choices. You can even get a 1911 for close to that price. A CZ in .40 or 9 mm is a good choice as well.

December 21, 2009, 02:32 AM
Smith and Wesson Sigma meets your criteria.

December 21, 2009, 02:34 AM
Kel-Tec P11 or PF9 as well.

December 21, 2009, 03:05 AM
I could probably scrounge up some money to like $350 give or take a few tens of dollars if that helps people give some recommendations at all.

The recommendations so far have been great and I GREATLY appreciate them. Thanks again everyone! I should mention that I"m not a big fan of the glock grip angle so I definitely would not be getting one of those.

December 21, 2009, 03:15 AM
Many of the Ruger's are in that price range.

December 21, 2009, 03:22 AM
Also, if you buy the Sigma by 12/31 you get $50 off or two free magazines your choice.

December 21, 2009, 03:40 AM
Yeah getting another pair of magazines or $50 back would certainly make it easier to justify the purchase. And the Sigma is definitely a reliable, useable firearm.

December 21, 2009, 03:48 AM

December 21, 2009, 04:13 AM
+1 for the Sigma

Not the greatest trigger in the world but I've shot more expensive guns with triggers worse than the Sigma. They are quite reliable and comfortable to shoot which is important and as far as value for your money goes they are hard to beat.

Another option to look at is the Ruger P/KP95. They are incredibly reliable, accurate and built like tanks. The only real problem most people have with them is that they are rather bulky. All things considered they are still one of the best guns for the money and most people who own them are extremely satisfied.

December 21, 2009, 04:53 AM
On a $300 budget, I could think of plenty of options besides a Taurus or Makarov.

Keltec P3AT
Bersa Thunder .380

Those are just a few of the most popular carry guns in your price range.

December 21, 2009, 05:13 AM
what kind of "training" do you think you'll need?

what it really boils down to is your ability to handle your firearm. Can you hit what you're aiming at in typical self-defense scenario distances? (we're talking close, 3-7 yards) Do you know how to operate the gun in its entirety? (loading/unloading, safeties if applicable, decocker if applicable, field stripping, clearing malfunctions).

If you can do all of that, you're fit for carry. It's not rocket science. All of the above-mentioned skills can be self-taught, or you can pick up helpful hints with a little reading. I think all of this advanced training stuff is a gimmick. You're not going to have to clear buildings, pursue active shooters, or have to take on a clan of bad guys in full tactical gear (in 99.999% of self defense situations). You might have to draw, perhaps even shoot at somebody who's danger-close. At that point, all that matters is that you can draw and fire as quickly as possible. You can learn that all by yourself.

I know that people on here are going to get riled up about what I've said. But that's the cold hard truth. Save your money and choose a gun that you're fully comfortable with carrying.

December 21, 2009, 06:08 AM
I agree with Craven,

How much is this training going to cost you? And you can get a decent holster for less than 50 bucks. Get the gun, go to the range, watch for more experienced shooters, and ask a few questins. Do you know anybody else who shoots? I have taught several people to shoot, and it didn't cost them a dime.

If you are very hesitant to carry a gun until you have been trained by some official NRA instructor, get yourself a used S&W or Ruger revolver. Point and shoot.

Big Bill
December 21, 2009, 02:42 PM
I also vote for the Sigma or the money. Shop for one like crazy, take the lowest price and then get the rebate. You'll still have two mags and a good reliable handgun with great customer support.

December 21, 2009, 02:47 PM
TopGunSupply has Sig P225 police trade-ins for $369 if that floats your boat.

December 21, 2009, 03:02 PM
I've had good luck with Taurus handguns. I've had several revolvers with no problems and my PT140 Millennium Pro has been a great gun.

In your range there are several great choices (many already covered):

-Bersa. May not be what you want for the rest of your life, but for an inexpensive, reliable, defensive pistol they are good choices. Most Bersas sold are probably the Thunder in .380, but you can also go 9mm, .40S&W and .45ACP.

-Several Taurus options (my choice would be, and was, one of the Millennium Pro series in 9mm, .40S&W or .45ACP).

-S&W Sigma. The first generation gave them a bad rep, but that was well over a decade ago. They are good, basic, defensive handguns. The trigger is the drawback, but if you need a reliable, inexpensive, carry pistol, it would be hard to go wrong with a SW9VE or SW40VE. The two free mags or $50 off would be nice as well (for a carry gun I think I'd go with the mags).

-A number of revolver choices. A new Taurus small frame or medium frame revolver in .38 or .357 would be a good $300ish choice. A Rossi would work as well. Used you can go S&W or Ruger.

-If you go up $50-100, or go used, a Ruger P95 may work. It may be a tad on the large side, but they are reliable and could hold you over until you have more money for something more suitable.

-Kel-tec. The PF9 or P11 are 9mm, they are highly concealable, have a decent rep for reliability (fit and finish, not so much), but won't be that much fun at the range.

For an inexpensive, but well made, holster I would recommend High Noon Holsters. They make a good holster, and several models are quite reasonable in price.

December 21, 2009, 03:11 PM
TopGunSupply has Sig P225 police trade-ins for $369 if that floats your boat.

European Mag release. I would not recommend it as a defense gun.

For the money it is hard to beat the Sigma if that is the max for your budget. They have gotten much better. The other thing to do is if you have a friend who is an experienced shooter have them help you pick out a used gun.

IMHO save your money until you have $400. At $400 the choice really open up. I see a FM hi power in the classifieds for $375 shipped. There are tons of used Glocks around for $400.

CDNN has the Sig P2022 for $399 + shipping and transfer so you might be able to score a used on for $400.

December 21, 2009, 03:18 PM
First things - does it have to be new?

Does it HAVE to be a semi?

$300 can buy some nice used guns, both semi and revolver.

And as mentioned, if you can wait a paycheck or two and make it $400, your choices start to blossom.

Remember, this isn't some fun gun - you're willing to stake your life on it. How much is that worth to you?

December 21, 2009, 03:25 PM
New options:
Add $25-$50 for the transfer.
Used obviously opens up your choices. Bumping up to a $400 budget will REALLY open up your options as well.

December 21, 2009, 03:37 PM
You can get a NEW Ruger P95 stainless for $299, shipping included.

December 21, 2009, 03:42 PM
I would go with a Sigma and make sure you have a total of at least three magazines. This brings you to about $330. Not bad for a very reliable/shootable pistol in a great caliber and easy to carry/shoot/maintain.

December 21, 2009, 03:57 PM
The Sigmas at $299 plus either the $50 rebate or the two free mags seems like a great deal. I don't need another full size semi auto right now, but that's hard to pass up.

December 21, 2009, 05:01 PM
I don't mind if it's used or not. The ruger and sigma seem pretty big for me to be carrying. I would wait a few paychecks, probably is I don't receive any. I am working 40-80 hours a week on clinical rotations which I don't get paid for and make it almost impossible to actually have a job. This gun will be just one to hold me over for 4 months for when I get my sign on bonus and make enough money that I can buy the springfield EMP I want! :-D

Great recommendations so far. I could probably go up to about 350-400ish if i took some money out of training. Thanks again everyone!

The Captain
December 21, 2009, 05:04 PM
I'd say Sigma, or Taurus Millenium pro, or 25/7compact.

December 21, 2009, 05:14 PM
I've owned a Sigma. If I was in your situation I would look for a used Glock.

Big Bill
December 21, 2009, 05:24 PM
Here's a Kel Tec PF9 for $259.99

Or, the Kel Tec P11 would be a good one...

December 21, 2009, 05:30 PM
Here's a Kel Tec PF9 for $259.99
+ $20 shipping.
The PF9 I posted above is $246 delivered ;)
EDIT: Well crap, it went out of stock since I posted the link just a couple of hours ago :(

December 21, 2009, 06:02 PM
I like Taurus I have four of them. I wouldn't call it a cheap or inexpensive gun but rather a less expensive handgun. There are some very nice choices in pistols but probably $350 & up. If you are looking at revolvers then $300 is probably about right. I know that others will disagree with me but if you are gitting something for just a few months I would get a Phoenix Arms .22 pistol that is around $100 or a cheap gun in a revolver. The only cheap pistols I would suggest would be Phoenix or High Point because I have shoot both & was inpressed for the price but I do hate High Point as a carry gun.

Best of luck with what you pick.

December 21, 2009, 06:23 PM
CZ-82's can still be had for under $300, or if you can find a Bulgarian Makarov that would be my choice. Walther P-1's can also still be had for around $300 I believe.

December 21, 2009, 06:25 PM
9X18 PA-63,$139.00! J&G,Aim Surplus,etc.

December 21, 2009, 06:38 PM
CZ-82's can still be had for under $300

CDNN has 'em for just over $150, plus S&H and FFL. Call it $200. Leaves you a good pile of cash for a holster and ammo.

Can get S&W .38 revolvers for $200-250, J&G sales, et. al. Cop/security trade ins - carried hard, shot little.

FWIW, if I had an extra $200 laying around, one of those "little" CZs would be on its way to my house.


December 22, 2009, 07:32 AM
I vote for the Sigma too.... I have one thats a year old thats accurate, reliable, and has fed any ammo I've tried to feed it. I carry it with confidence. Mine was actually only $200 by the time I collected the retailer's $50 discount and recieved my rebate check!! I've yet to regret the purchase in any way whatsoever.

December 22, 2009, 09:11 AM
I would suggest the ruger LCP, Kel-tec 380 or the Kel-tec p9-p11s. The Ruger is what I have for pocket carry in fact, I have two of them. The Kel-tec 380 is vitually identical and has a great rep amongst a lot of people whose opinions I trust. The p9 and p11 also have good reps and the ones I have handled seem like they are well made though I have never shot one. A good snub nosed revolver in 38 is also very reliable. Look into the Taurus 85 and the used smiths.

December 22, 2009, 09:41 AM
Hi, New to the Forum here. I just bought 3 days ago a HI-POINT .380 acp
I paid $140 new and it came with a trigger lock and plastic hard case. I have read positive and negative stuff on them but mine shoots true and heck if I miss all 9 times I can crown the guy with it. I see without the case it would have been $129 the 9mm is $139 the .40 is $160 and the .45 $170 respectivly. But I like mine, And it may be worth a look.

December 22, 2009, 01:09 PM
If the Sigmas and the P95s are too big for your CCW needs, you might look into a Bersa Thunder 380. It's a good gun and it's just over $200, new. I have one and like it a lot.

December 25, 2009, 08:51 AM
Oh, one consideration. You mention in your original post and later that you are going inexpensive this time but replacing it in a few months once you start working and are making some money. Still, I'd either get something fairly nice or that fits a niche. $300-400 is a lot of money to practically throw away after a few months. If you sell it you won't get what you paid for it, and if you keep it but don't use it that can be quite a waste.

Even after you own some expensive guns you may still have room for some less expensive guns. I own several S&Ws (check the pricing of the 1911SC, new revolvers, or even used, the S&W 65LS- they aren't cheap guns), a CZ (no longer an inexpensive gun), and I've owned SIGs. I also currently own two Taurus handguns, I have a Bersa (though I will be selling it), I just bought a Rossi, and I plan to buy more Taurus handguns and a Kel-tec in the future. I know I'm not the only one with room for both inexpensive and expensive guns in my collection. So, even though you are going inexpensive with this purchase, get something you'll like or that fits a niche.

Going with something like a J-frame or a Kel-tec will fill a nice niche, even after you buy your more expensive gun later. The J-frames are very concealable and in the right pants are easily pocketable (the lightweight alloy versions are pretty easy to pocket carry in pretty much any pants). The Kel-tecs, whether you go with the true pocket guns (P-32, P3AT) or the slightly larger 9mms (PF9 or P11) are also extremely concealable and quite pocketable. Similarly, the Ruger LCP is in .380 (barely acceptable as a defensive caliber IMO) and a true pocket gun. These should still serve you well in a carry capacity even after you can buy the gun/guns you want more in the future.

There are also guns that are pretty nice guns, or somewhat collectable, that people with more expensive guns often own as well, and several are quite concealable as well. These are either nice guns for the price or have some history, and they should also be reliable. Concealable options in this category include the Taurus Millennium Pro series, the Taurus 24/7, the Sigmas (concealable despite being mid-sized guns), the CZ-82, Makarovs, PA-63s, many used service pistols (some may be a tad large for CCW, but it is just 4 months you are talking about, though many may be over your $300-400 price range), Ruger, Bersa, just about any revolver (the S&W K-frames and Taurus medium frames in a 3" or 4" barrel are concealable OWB or IWB, the J-frames and other small framed revolvers were discussed above). Many people with "nicer" guns own and enjoy one or more "budget" brands, and of course the Maks, PA-63s, and revolvers also have a bit of a historical connection, and some of us just like the blued steel and wood as well.

December 25, 2009, 09:06 AM
+1 on the Bersa. Now there are numerous Bersas, the most popular being the Thunder 380. New, it's around $270. Reliable as all-get out, dead-on accurate, and extremely easy to takedown and reassemble. Problem is it fires a .380 round. Not that I think there is something wrong defensively with 380 in the right load (not a caliber snob), it's just so damn hard to find, and when you find it, it's expensive. Bersa also makes a 9mm and a 45, slightly different design than the Thunder, probably in the $370 range and I don't have any personal experience with it. If it is anything like it's younger brother though, it's hard to go wrong. Single action trigger pull, decocker so you can safely lower the hammer on a live round (still keep it in a safe direction!) I would have no qualms about carrying a Bersa.

December 25, 2009, 09:15 AM
I'd look around for a used Ruger P95. I've had very good luck with them. It's a good enough gun that you would feel good about keeping it even after you can afford something more expensive.

A Makarov is another good choice assuming you can find ammo in your area. They're solid little guns that can usually be had at very reasonable prices.

December 25, 2009, 11:04 AM
1. I'd be dubious of any 9x18mm gun for self-defense. I don't know if anybody makes a decent JHP load in 9x18mm Makarov and I wouldn't even THINK about carrying FMJs for self-defense. I'll defend a good shoot every day. There's NO defense to killing a kid on the far side of your assailant with a through and through.

2. Summit Gun Broker routinely has police surplus Glock 19s and Glock 23s for extremely attractive prices. My Glock 19 is an ex-VA Beach Sheriff's Dept. gun from Summit. They are a reputable dealer and very easy to work with.

3. Summit also frequently had deals on other police surplus handguns.

December 25, 2009, 11:14 AM
Does Summit have a web site?

December 25, 2009, 11:15 AM
Unless you need the training for your cwp i would ditch the training and put the money towards gun and ammo. Most gun stores will explain the functioning of the gun to you. Plenty of videos on youtube also explaining disassembly and cleaning of firearms.

December 25, 2009, 11:29 AM
Does Summit have a web site?
Summit Gun Broker (

December 25, 2009, 11:40 AM
Makes sense. :) Thanks, I'll check it out.

December 25, 2009, 02:10 PM
I think the RUGER LCP .380 ACP. is your best bet. :)

December 25, 2009, 05:06 PM
I see that Summit has police trade in Glock 22s for $330. That's a great price.

December 25, 2009, 06:20 PM
If I were looking for guns in your price range right now, I'd be looking hard at a used (police trade-in) S&W 15 ( or S&W 67 ( from J&G, for $220 and $240 respectively. They may have holster wear, but most police guns are in very good condition internally. The S&W 67 may wear better since they are stainless.

You should easily come in under $300 with shipping and FFL.

Ragnar Danneskjold
December 25, 2009, 06:36 PM
I also own a Taurus Millennium Pro PT140, and it has functioned flawlessly. Do a search around here for topics about Millennium Pros. I think you'll find they have a great reputation.

December 25, 2009, 10:31 PM
Hornady makes a XTP/JHP in 9x18mm:

I'll also vote for the CZ82 in 9x18mm, high quality guns at a good price:

Or, if you prefer a smaller, flatter 9x18mm:

December 25, 2009, 10:45 PM
CDNN has CZ-82's for $159.99 in good condition, $189.99 in excellent to like-new.

They have PA-63s for $139.99.

December 26, 2009, 01:26 AM
Great recommendations so far. I could probably go up to about 350-400ish if i took some money out of training. Thanks again everyone! I've gotten a lot out of formal defensive handgun training. Dollar for dollar, my class fees have been my best-spent gun money so far. Every time I go to the range, I see the clowns who have never trained. You are smart to have budgeted for training -- do not skip it. Saying that you can learn everything you need to know by asking at the gun counter (:what:) or watching randoms at the range is like saying you can learn everything you need to know about medicine by playing golf with doctors. At best, it will make you an armchair expert.

+1 for a sub-$150 PA-63 or a .380 or 9mm Bersa for ~$300. If you really want to carry this, avoid blocky full-size pistols especially at first. Tiny pocket pistols can be hard to manipulate for a first gun, but the Mak format is compact enough to carry and big enough to manipulate.

December 26, 2009, 01:41 AM
I'd probably go the CZ-82 route.
If not that, and you need a gun that you really can take anywhere, maybe a Kel-Tec. I'd like a P-32 but some prefer the P3AT.

December 26, 2009, 03:43 AM
IMO, It sounds like you are new to guns; sense you will be buying your first one. I would suggest a snubby. like the taurus 85 or possibly a charter arms are so (used). In your work environment I would say it would be easy to conceal and super reliable. I personally wouldnt recommend a makarov style weapon. Because at least in my area dicks sporting goods, sports authority, wal mart dont carry makarov ammo. Im not saying you cant get it at exclusive gun stores but its just not convienant.Also wouldnt suggest .380 caliber guns, ammo is scarce.

hi point - to big and heavy for everyday conceal , escpecially if you stand for 8 hours.
sigma - lighter but to big
makarov - ammo is a scavenger hunt
everything else "I" would trust my life to is probobaly over $300

December 26, 2009, 05:04 AM
Go Kel-Tec if small size is a very serious factor. Go Smith and Wesson Sigma or Ruger P95 if concealment isn't as big a deal.

December 26, 2009, 07:08 AM
another vote for the Bersa 380acp, very popular, affordable, very easily found
(I tried one, I liked it, but it didn't like me, happens that way sometimes for no particular good reason)
the 380s are "enough" for CCW defense, and anybody tells you 9mm ain't enough is simply not being objective
unless you are planning on starting a parking lot war (instead of avoiding such), one magazine is enough also

but... suggest skip the Ruger LCP or equivalent Keltec, these are really not beginner handguns, can be very difficult to shoot well for even very experienced shooters... that not about what "it is", but about what it "is not"
(no offense to LCP fans, I own one, often carry it, like it, etc... "7 shot derringer")

The Sigma excellent choice also, if you think size ok
a good used CZ, likewise

Full Metal Jacket
December 26, 2009, 07:13 AM
cz-83's are pretty cheap in most areas. fantastic little blasters too.

December 26, 2009, 07:20 AM
Personally, I'd look for a good, used K-frame S&W revolver. Those can be found for under $300, and you won't "outgrow" it...there's always a place in the collection for a solid K-frame .38 special.

And, I'm also a fan of the Makarov. It will get the job done if you get the job done.


December 26, 2009, 05:33 PM

December 26, 2009, 05:34 PM
Absolutely nothing wrong with the OP's original option of the Bulgie Mak. An extremely durable and reliable proven design, compact and inexpensive, treat it right and it will last a lifetime.

December 26, 2009, 07:23 PM
Cheap handguns,
Revolver: S&W model 10 4 inch 38 special, Ruger Security/Service/Speed six 4 inch 357 magnum. Most bang for your buck. The 357 round still beats just about everything for stopping two legged attackers.

Semi-Autos: Ruger P89, P95 9mm, S&W Sigma 9mm, Bersa Thunder 9mm and the High Point C9 9mm. These are all under $300.00 with the High Point being under $200.00. A note on the High Point. This semi-auto is very underated. Most gun writers say the gun shoots as well as guns costing $500.00. Its butt ugly but so is a Glock 17 and 19. The writers convinced me so much on the High Point I bought one. Waiting to get it. 9mm ammo is cheap and availiable.

Good luck,

December 26, 2009, 08:39 PM
I've been a pharmacist for over 30 years and I've only worked for 1 pharmacy that allowed on the job carry, and that was with an independent. All the chains that I have worked for and as far as I know all of them do not allow on the job carry. But if I worked in a bad part of town I did carry and I always have one in my vehicle. If you want a deep concealment gun go with a ruger lcp or a keltec p3at (380's) if you want a bit more power a keltec Pf9 is a good choice. I have both a p3at and a pf9 that if feel very comfortable with and neither require a holster (fit well in my back pocket). As far as training, read as much as you can find and put the money into range time and ammo. If you have a friend or relative that shoots get some pointers there, check with the local police departments some of them have cheap training courses, check with the NRA they have training in lots of places. Right now a .380 might be a bad choice due to ammo availibility, but on the bright side 9mm is easy to find and not to expensive. Good luck in your quest and be safe.

December 26, 2009, 09:26 PM
Stoeger Cougars are just a little north of $300 and get great reviews.

I don't know about you but I got friends that are all the time buying guns and then wanting something else and selling 'em off. One buddy picked up a SA Mil Spec .45 and and an XD 9 compact from two of my other buddies. Each gun maybe had 100 rounds though them...maybe 100 rounds between 'em. I know this fella got the very lightly used XD 9 compact for somewhere south of $400. Find a buddy that has "too many guns" and see what you can do. Everybody knows these guys and of course when you buy the gun from him...heck he'll just go out and buy another one and nobody is out a thing.

December 27, 2009, 12:00 AM
Unless you need the training for your cwp i would ditch the training and put the money towards gun and ammo.

If you plan to CCW this isn't good advice. Your idea to save separately for the gun and training is a great idea. Taking some money out of your training budget but still getting some good training, fine. Learning to take it apart, put it together, and some range time only, not so good. Just taking your CCW class in most states isn't really enough. If you weren't going to carry, a $20-50 afternoon of safety training would possibly be sufficient (for now).

I've had some rudimentary rifle training in basic training (Army). I've been shooting and owning guns for about a decade now. I took several safety classes over the years. I've done tons of reading and of course, shooting. And that isn't nearly "enough" (it's enough to be safe, it isn't nearly enough for me to be close to ready should I need to use a firearm in self defense). I plan to take some day courses soon, and this summer I hope to go away to one of the training academies/institutes out there for some serious self defense training (it took a while to have both the time and money, and depending upon how much work I have for grad school this summer I think I will finally make it). Having the clerk show you the basic operation of your gun (as one poster suggested being sufficient) and some range time isn't nearly enough. More is always better when it comes to training.

As for the guns, and prices, you have had several good suggestions that you could do for $300 and not having to touch your training budget, and several others that will only put you $20-50 over so hopefully you won't take too much (if any) out of your budget.

There have been quite a few suggestions for Bersa, K-frame/medium frame revolvers, J-frames (not a great first gun due to low weight to caliber and tough to master sights however, tends to be a bit much for new shooters), PT 140 Millennium Pros, Maks, CZ-82s, PA-63s, and all of these can be had for $300 or less used with some looking (some, quite easily). Some Kel-tecs can still be had for $300 new here in MD, and all are near it, so I doubt there is anywhere in the country where they can't be had for $300 or less. If you go .380 (I wouldn't suggest that due to ammo availability right now) you can easily get the Bersa Thunder .380 for under $300, and I'd bet the .40, .45 and 9mm wouldn't be much more than that. The Summit Guns suggestion someone gave is very interesting- looking over the website they currently have some Glock 22s for $330, that is a great gun for that price (you can probably be under $400 with shipping and FFL fees, maybe closer to $350 depending upon what FFLs in your area charge for transfers).

December 27, 2009, 11:20 AM
Another +1 on getting training. A pistol is not a talisman against an attacker, it only works if you are willing and able to use it.

In the mean time, there are a lot of things you can be doing now to reduce your exposure. Practice the Cooper Colour Code ( throughout the day. Start to mix up your routine so people can't lay in wait for you. Know where the exits are in any room or building.

December 27, 2009, 12:44 PM
Getting back to a common suggestion:

Assuming the seller is being honest about the state of the action and mechanics (no reason to think he isn't), I would not hesitate to carry this piece as a CCW until I could find something "better". Just be advised, you may not find anything better. ;) And it would always have a spot in your collection. Cosmetically it has faults, and that might get you a lower price, but cosmetics don't affect function.

And I concur about training. GET IT.


December 27, 2009, 12:47 PM
Taurus what? and my experiences with the taurus pistols has been quite positive!

December 28, 2009, 01:26 AM
Forget being a pharmacist, why don't you do what so many on here have suggested thus far. Join your local PD and try out for SWAT. That should be sufficient training to carry a concealed weapon.

December 28, 2009, 01:41 AM
You can get new Glock 37 .45 GAPs right now for $379 at Bud's.

December 28, 2009, 07:49 AM
After reading all the suggestions, I believe that the Bersa Thunder 380 or the Ruger LCP are your best bets followed by the Makarov. I have all of the 3 mentioned. The Bersa has tons of holsters available and is light, accurate, reliable, and unlike most 380's, a real pleasure to shoot. A pistol you probably won't want to replace.

The LCP will carry easier and is very reliable. It is NOT a range gun (something you will want to shoot a lot). But, it will fit unnoticed most anywhere.

The Makarov is just a great design and ammo is very inexpensive.

December 28, 2009, 08:20 AM
Bersa also makes a 9mm and a 45, slightly different design than the Thunder, probably in the $370 range and I don't have any personal experience with it. If it is anything like it's younger brother though, it's hard to go wrong. Single action trigger pull, decocker so you can safely lower the hammer on a live round (still keep it in a safe direction!) I would have no qualms about carrying a Bersa.

I have the Bersa Thunder 9mm, and it would be too big to conceal carry for me, but nice otherwise :)

I also have the S&W Sigma in 9mm, too big to conceal carry also.

I really think the kel-tec and Ruger LCP would be top choices for conceal carry, or a taurus snubby. I have (or should say the wife does) a taurus 605 .357 2" snubby and would not mind conceal carry it, IF it were stainless (I sweat too much for a blued gun).

December 28, 2009, 10:24 AM
I would also recommend the Kel-Tec P11 or PF9. I have had positive results with their cs and use my kel as an off duty bug. Would not recommend revolver, and the above pistols fit your price range. Have shot Hi Points, nothing bad to say about them. Kel-Tec just easier to conceal.

December 29, 2009, 10:54 AM
I've never owned a CZ-82 nor a PA-63, however, I have owned a FEG PMK-380 which is similar in size, form, and function. If you need a tough (though rough), inexpensive carry yesterday, get the CZ or PA. According to Ammoengine, Aimsurplus & Ammunitiontogo have 94-gr. HP in boxed of 50 for under $12 bucks. Otherwise, FMJ should be plentiful and similarly inexpensive.

You can even splurge on a Wolff Springs kit, to lighten up those rough triggers pulls, and keep under budget.

If you can wait and save, check out Stoeger Cougars on gunbroker, etc.

December 29, 2009, 01:52 PM
there are plenty of guns in the prcie range you're looking for.

Smith & Wesson Sigma series

Keltec P-11, PF9, P3AT

any Hi Point

Taurus guns are good, i own the PT1911, have put 100's of rounds through it, without a hitch.

if you're willing to carry a revolver, Rossi, Comanche, Charter Arms, EAA, and Taurus all make good wheelguns.

to be clear, i have shot and carried all of the guns i've suggested. i choose to carry a 1911, because i happen to love the platform. but, i won't tuen my nose down at a Hi Point. they're tough, reliable, and have a lifetime guarantee. the Sigma was my first gun; i carried it for years, until i got bit by the 1911 bug. my brother is a revolver nut, so i have regular access to them.

December 29, 2009, 10:46 PM
All I can say is if you are making a decision on a handgun to actually carry, make sure it is something you actually WILL carry. Many of the people that decide to carry a larger handgun end up not carrying it as often as they would a more concealable handgun. I currently carry a Glock 23 and I have been looking for a more concealable optionfor awhile and have not yet "pulled the trigger" yet. I have narrowed my choices down to either a Ruger LCP/ Kel Tec P3AT, Kel tec PF9, or a snubnose revolver. I am not sure if the Kel tec PF9 is as small as I would like to consider it a pocket pistol or not, even though many people seem to carry one in there pocket.

December 30, 2009, 04:37 AM

September 6, 2009, 05:10 PM #1

Join Date: July 24, 2009
Posts: 23 My First Firearm!


I just purchased my first firearm, a Walther PPS last week! I got it primarily for carry use. I have a couple of questions about the firearm though.

First, on the striker indicator on the back, I'm seeing a lot of websites have it colored red. Mine isn't red, it's just black. Is there a reasoning behind this?

Second, what type of ammunition does everyone use in their pps? I was looking at speer gold dots or Federal HST but I'm unsure whether to get 124 gr, 124+P, or 147 grain ammunition. I'm kind of worried about full expansion with such a short barrel (3.2'').

Otherwise, I only put 50 rounds through it so far, no jams or anything. I am finding it aims low and to the left, but I'm unsure if it's me or not. I'll take it out to the range one more time and see how I do with it then.

I did notice that while cleaning it, on the right side of the firearm where the rail is, there seems to be like a copper color wear or something, it's not black like the rest of the firearm. I'll take a picture of it later but I just thought it was weird.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated, thanks!

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So what's up Xyas?:scrutiny:

What happened to this gun?

January 25, 2010, 06:26 PM
It sounds like you'll only be carrying to/from and during your pharmacist job. Don't Y'all wear lab coats? You could conceal a colt peacemaker in there. Go for the Sigma, get the rebate. You'll never carry more than 1 reload, and with the $50 back you can get some good defense ammo (Federal HSTs!)

January 25, 2010, 09:53 PM
DO NOT buy a Keltec. I had two P-11's and they both wouldn't make it through a mag without jamming. Look at all the complaints about them on the net. You would be better off with a Makarov or a snubby, at least you can protect your life with one.

January 26, 2010, 01:00 AM
My Kel-Tecs have been flawless. I've got a P-11 and a Sub-2000, both fantastic and inexpensive guns.

January 26, 2010, 01:22 AM
There are quite a few choices in the $300 range. KelTec, Taurus, S&W Sigma, Ruger and my personal favorite, Bersa/Firestorm. Great guns for the money.

January 26, 2010, 11:37 AM
Buy a quality used gun.

January 26, 2010, 12:32 PM

January 26, 2010, 02:59 PM
Some of the options above are great. I just saw a nice Gen2 Glock 22 for $329.00 in our local Scheels recently. Easy to find decent cheap holsters for and like some have mentioned, just learn to handle, draw, shoot on your own. The duty size glocks can be concelaed pretty well. I used to carry a Glock 17 in a MiltSparks IWB with no prob. Good luck in your search.

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