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Best Handgun Under $400

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by nksmfamjp, Mar 8, 2009.

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  1. nksmfamjp

    nksmfamjp Member

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    I have a friend who is a newb to guns in general, but would like to get a handgun and have me teach him to be proficient with it. I'm thinking 9mm(or other with cheap ammo), but a 22 might also be of interest. He seems to really want an autoloader. I'm thinking 9mm because I can see him getting comfortable with it and wanting it for home defense. The issue is he is really setting a budget of $400. . .

    So, in your opinion, what is the best handgun for under $400?
     
  2. Bill2e

    Bill2e Member

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    S&W Sigma 9mm.

    I don't care what others say, the gun goes bang every time and is a good gun for under $300.00

    Yes the trigger is heavy, but that is not neccesarily a bad thing for a defense pistol.

    That's my 2 cents. Good luck in your search.
     
  3. Harve Curry

    Harve Curry Member

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    I don't beleive in a auto loader for a first handgun or long gun. To much to go wrong and to much to learn.

    Plenty of excellent used S&W, Colt and Rugers double action revolvers out there in the -$400 catagory. Get one in 22 or a 38/357 and shoot light 38's in it.
     
  4. ThrottleJockey

    ThrottleJockey member

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    Bersa Thunder .380 or 9mm. Fantastic gun, amazing trigger, compact, $300 leaving money for an extra mag and a few boxes of ammo provided you can find it.
     
  5. searcher451

    searcher451 Member

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    +1 on Harve's comments. A lot of great used guns are available on the market at excellent prices that far outweigh some of the newer models selling for under the magic $400 mark listed here. Were it up to me, I'd head over to SOG and pick up a 1980s German police-issued Walther P5 for $379. These guns were often-carried, seldom-fired, and they are as good as anything you'll find on the market today at any price ... and are better than most of it.
     
  6. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    We operate motor vehicles and digital devices with dozens if not hundreds of functions. To suggest that an autoloading handgun is overcomplicated for a new shooter is rather insulting. I have yet to teach someone who couldn't learn the manual of arms and basic jam clearing procedures in a matter of minutes. Same goes for field stripping the unit.

    To the OP-

    If he must go new, there are not a ton of options in the sub-$400 range that I would recommend. If he can do used, such fine weapons as the CZ-75 and S&W 5906 become available. You can even find the occasional Glock 17/19 or Beretta 92 in that price range.
     
  7. Ed Ames

    Ed Ames Member

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    Probably the Browning Buck Mark or Ruger MkIII.

    That said, the SW9VE Bill2e mentioned isn't bad. Stiff trigger but totally serviceable and plenty accurate.
     
  8. Milkmaster

    Milkmaster Member

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    I vote for the Ruger Mark I, II, III series. durable, accurate, and cheap to shoot for a newbie. They are a keeper for practice even after you get something bigger.
     
  9. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    Colt Troopers are plentiful as well as Ruger Security Sixes.
     
  10. Arby238

    Arby238 Member

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    I would go with a Bersa UC9. Great gun for under $400. Extra mag prices are high.
     
  11. doubs43

    doubs43 Member

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    For less than $250 total, you can buy a slightly used Czech police CZ-82 in 9x18mm. Double-action or single-action, they come with a holster and two 12-round mags. Quality and reliability are both excellent and most places sell the ammo. Good self-defense loads are available from US manufacturers.

    The only consideration is how sensitive to recoil is your friend. Like the Makarov pistols, the CZ-82 has a rather sharp recoil but certainly not heavy or too much to handle. Strip-down for cleaning is simple and easy.
     
  12. stonecutter2

    stonecutter2 Member

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    I second this. It was my first gun and I still love the thing. Has never failed to fire anytime I've tried to make it go bang.
     
  13. c5_nc

    c5_nc Member

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    #1 Glock - I would say a new or used Glock. You probably have a wide selection if you look around, but they qualify for LE discount (Police, Fire, EMS, etc wide range that falls under those) they are mostly $398 new. Police Surplus Glocks are usually $349-379. A lot are Glock 22s (40cal). Some other dealers sale new glocks for as little as $429 (our cheapest local source) that is not much over your budget.

    #2 Keltec P11 $279 Street price- Easy to carry but not as fun to shoot.

    #3 Taurus M Pro $299-350 Street price - I have not shot one, but looks like a decent compromise between in size between a full size piece and a carry piece.
     
  14. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Member

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  15. Fburgtx

    Fburgtx Member

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    Yes, Ruger P95.
     
  16. Phydeaux642

    Phydeaux642 Member

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    I really like my wheelguns, but an auto was my first handgun and I had no trouble whatsoever.

    For a .22 - Ruger MK III.
    For a 9mm - CZ 75B. I bought one new last year for $425. I don't know if they are still that inexpensive, though. And, I know $425 isn't "under $400" but a used one probably would be.
     
  17. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

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    I am fond of the Smith and Wesson 410
     
  18. makarovnik

    makarovnik Member

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    RIA 1911A1 can still be found for about $399. With rising gun costs this probably won't be the case for long.

    I also like my Ruger P95 except the thing is fat and has a mushy trigger. The Sigma is still a good deal if you can get past the trigger and the same goes for the Kel-Tecs.

    Also check out the Bersa and Firestorm series of pistols and makarovs are still decent pistols although they are well over $200 now even for a beater.
     
  19. ZO6Vettever

    ZO6Vettever Member

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    I have a S&W 9VE, under $350. now. I paid $289. and got $50. rebate. It's a great gun. Very accurate if you are willing to adapt to the DAO trigger. Pull the dame thing, sqeeeeezzze is for 1911's! I'm serious, try pulling it just like a revolver, it works!
     
  20. jad0110

    jad0110 Member

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    Is this gun going to be used for home protection only (not concealed carry)? If so, then I'd recommend a used pump shotgun over a handgun. You still have to aim a shotgun, but it is much easier to hit a BG with a long gun than a handgun. Used Remington 870s can be found for under $225, and used Mossberg 500s or Maverick 88s can be had for as little as $150. Very inexpensive, very reliable and a heck of a lot better at stopping an intruder than a puny handgun.

    Yes, I like my S&W 686 loaded with 38+P at my bedside for quick access (I keep it in a GunVault - I've got a 2 yr old). But if I'm able, I'll be making my way to my closet to grab my 12 gauge. I feel much more confident in its ability to stop an attacker than my S&W, even if it were loaded with 357s. Nothing quite like hurtling nine 33 caliber lead balls at a BG with a single trigger pull.

    That said, I agree with others who suggested a used S&W 9mm auto. Doesn't even have to be a Sigma, I've saw a ?5906? in ?9mm? recently for $199, though most I've seen are in the $250 range. I saw a used Glock 17 a few months back for $375, and a Ruger P95 for $350.

    A semi auto will work for a beginner, but keep in mind that many a gun noob (and even some more experienced) have unloaded a semi auto "backwards" ... racking the slide then dropping the mag. Just be sure he knows in his sleep to do it the other way around!

    In the end though, the 22 would be a very good place to start. My sister recently acquired a Ruger Mk II for $199. This way he can build solid shooting techniques without concern for recoil. On the other hand, for home protection my sister got a VERY sweet 4" S&W 681-3 in .357 Mag last year for only $350 ... and proceeded to shoot 2" groups at 7 yds in double action all day long with it! :cool:
     
  21. PT1911

    PT1911 Member

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    bersa thunder .380 or walther p-22


    both good guns, semi-auto (mag fed) and both can be carried easily if that is what he chooses to do...
     
  22. akodo

    akodo Member

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    #1 Ruger p95
    #2 S&W sigma
     
  23. Big Bill

    Big Bill Member

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  24. Merkelman

    Merkelman Member

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    Simple answer. NONE!!!
     
  25. mongo4567

    mongo4567 Member

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    I vote for a used revolver like a S&W model 10
     
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