Subcompact 9mm budget gun

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by filby, Oct 3, 2021.

  1. filby

    filby Member

    Sep 30, 2008
    1. Looking for a 9mm subcompact that sometimes goes on sale around $200-250. Which ones have highest capacity in both single and double stack categories? Also would want there to be at least some aftermarket parts sold for it, like a light or laser sight. Also, not necessary but I think I prefer a manual safety ,since a trigger safety seems (to me) a risky thing if against your chest or on the front of your pants?
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2021
    jstert likes this.
  2. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

    Mar 28, 2009
    Yakutsk, Sakha Republic
    Skip the lights and lasers and use that money for a better pistol.

    FN had Glock-like copies get discontinued a while ago. They were clearing out for just $250.
  3. chamokaneman

    chamokaneman Member

    Feb 19, 2020
    Spokane, WA
    I have a couple Taurus pistols. An older G2 and a newer full size G3, which I believe also comes in a compact version. They're routinely in the price range you stated. There are certainly better guns out there but I feel like mine have been a good value.
  4. CodeSection

    CodeSection Member

    Jul 2, 2011
    I'm sure you will receive many suggestions. I personally do not believe in a manual safety that you must flick off with your thumb and have seen a manual safety get people killed because under their immense pressure of the incident, even with their muscle memory, they did not disengage the manual safety or it wasn't disengaged quick enough. Though, there are those that are a lot more proficient than I am that carry a weapon with a manual safety.....

    Possible solutions instead of a manual safety are: a DA/SA pistol, a striker-fired pistol like Springfield XD Series that have both a trigger and a grip safety, or buy a striker-fired pistol that has a trigger safety but have it holstered in a holster that has a hardcase trigger guard on both sides of the trigger. With any of the mentioned three, all you need to do is pull the trigger to go thought of disengaging a manual muscle memory practice and practice and practice and practice....

    Think about saving up a little more or if something is needed right away, find other solutions to buy what will last and do the job it is intended for rather than buying something cheap and wishing later you had not acted so quickly.

    Good luck!
    filby likes this.
  5. armoredman

    armoredman Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    proud to be in AZ
    Only thing I can think of with what you want are the little Star BM surplus guns from J&G Sales. It's a little bit more than you want to spend at $299, single action 1911 style with manual safety. Spre parts ARE available as well as spare mags, 8 round capacity.,-9mm-luger,-compact-semi-auto-pistol,-vg,-blued,-used.-p-85501.html?osCsid=6928cfd81b40516132eebadec3a6496f

    You don't really define HOW big you want it, as there are some truly tiny guns out there. In your price range, I don't know - makers don't need to put anything on sale to move stock right now. Perhaps the dinky little Ruger EC9 might be good for you?

    MSRP is much higher than you want, but I rarely see any guns actually AT the MSRP, you might find it right around your price range, 7+1 capacity. I think I remember seeing some of these when they came at at right around $250 at local area gunshops. That was a while ago, though.

    One subcompact I just tried which is really neat to me is the CZ P-10M, aso a 7+1,

    P-10M with CZC holster.jpg

    Accurate, reliable and fun, but MSRP is well above where you want to go at $499 MSRP, but it's worth it to me. Can you save up a bit more?
    filby and armedwalleye like this.
  6. Hugger-4641

    Hugger-4641 Member

    Jan 21, 2021
    West TN
    The G3c has a manual safety and 10rds. It's not a range gun, but you asked about budget guns and in that price range it's the only one with a manual safety that I'd buy.
    I bought mine just for a back up, but I 've put a couple hundred rounds through it with no problems so far.
    Autodidactic, jstert and filby like this.
  7. ms6852

    ms6852 Member

    Oct 19, 2009
  8. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

    Feb 1, 2016
    The Diamond Back DB9 just about hits your price range. I have owned a Gen3 for about 4 years now and it has never once had a failure to feed. It is my most carried pistol due to its size and effective 9mm chambering.

    My Kahr CM9 is a much nicer pistol but still reasonably priced. It is too big for me to pocket carry like I do my DB9. For IWB carry though it is excellent pistol. When I do carry IWB I almost always carry my XDs in .45acp so my Kahr doesn't get a lot of carry time.

    For me the most important things in a carry gun are:
    1) Having one on me at all times!
    2) Reliability
    3) Caliber
    4) Capacity

    These are just my priorities but I haven't left the house in 10 years without a carry pistol on me. When I prioritized lots of big bullets for a carry gun I found that I didn't actually have a carry gun on me all that often.

    The sub-compact double stacks (P365 and Hellcat) look like REALLY cool little guns but for the size I will carry my XDs in .45 acp. If I can't repel a perp with 6 rounds of .45acp I probably won't be still standing so more rounds wouldn't do me much good anyway. At this point everyone seems to like to raise a multiple perp scenario but if I were ever to actually find myself in that situation I still doubt I would have a chance to get off all 6 rounds anyway. I live in the country, on the occasions I do go to the big city I often carry my XD mod 2 in .45acp with 11 rounds and one of the little NAA 22wmr revolvers as a backup.


    When I first started carrying 25+ years ago I too did not feel comfortable with one in the chamber and no safety. All I can say is that it took a while but I got over it. Your carry holster should completely cover the trigger which is your first line of defense against accidental discharges. All of my carry guns have a heavy enough trigger with a long enough pull that I feel very comfortable in not accidentally discharging my weapon.

    Bottom line is you have to choose a carry gun that you feel comfortable with! A carry gun that you rarely carry is not a very effective weapon!
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2021
  9. LeftyRed

    LeftyRed Member

    Feb 11, 2013
    WCH OH
    Probably the worst timing ever in trying to find an inexpensive pistol!

    A realistic price range would be about $375-$450, and then buy use.

    But at your price range, I have suggested SCCY pistols. They are DAO and work. They have recoil, they have crappy mags at times, but their CS takes care of you. They do not need it, but they have versions with safeties.

    Another pistol is a Taurus, but only the G2C fits your price range. Has safety, works great when they do, mags are from MecGar so they are top notch. Seen them NIB for $250. The G3 series is better, but about $100 more in my AO.

    I would also skip the lasers and lights, for now. I’m a big fan of them, but wouldn’t sacrifice getting a quality handgun over having one. Especially a cheap one. Would be better off taking that money and putting into the gun pile.

    Good luck, you are need it!
  10. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

    May 26, 2007
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  11. Rexster

    Rexster Member

    Mar 25, 2007
    SE Texas
    First, I will mention the ammunition. A meaningful sample size of ammo needs to be run through the weapon, to determine reliability. This makes it very difficult to stay within your stated budget.

    Secondly, I will join the chorus recommending against compromising on the weapon quality, in order to fit a light and/or laser into the budget. Personally, I spent about as much on my most-recent weapon-mounted light, than your entire maximum stated budget, but, notably, do not mount lights on compact pistols. I do not use lasers on pistols. I may, someday, use a laser on a pistol, but have no plan to do so, at this time. (I am looking at lasers for defensive long guns, but that is a different kettle of fish.)

    I am a believer in lights, but hand-held lights are fundamental. A light on a weapon is supplemental, and optional. Using a light, in a tactically-sound way, is NOT intuitive. Proper instruction/guidance is a good investment in time and money.

    A safety, on the face of a trigger, is more of a drop-safe mechanism, to prevent inertia fire, than a “carry” safety. A proper holster is important, to ensure safe carry.

    I will not comment on specific 9mm sub-compacts, because these guns became painful for me to shoot right-handed, several years ago, so I stopped paying attention to them. I do have a Gen3 Glock G26, because it fills a niche, as a supplemental lefty gun. I doubt that an older G26 fits your stated budget, considering that the panic-demic has increased the asking prices of pre-owned guns, but, as new “blue label” Glocks were selling for little more than $400, not so long ago, such guns may be within reach, on the pre-owned market, by saving money for a somewhat longer time.
    filby likes this.
  12. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

    Apr 24, 2007

    A quick look on Gunbroker has a new Ruger EC9S with one 7 round mag with a Buy-It-Now price of $241.16.

    If you wanted to move up a little bit in terms of size, mag capacity, and price, there's a Ruger Security 9 with two 10 round mags for $299.

    And for $324.85 you can get the same gun with two 15 round mags.
    twarr1, Autodidactic, Jimbo80 and 2 others like this.
  13. Hugger-4641

    Hugger-4641 Member

    Jan 21, 2021
    West TN
    Cornhusker77, filby and CapnMac like this.
  14. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

    Nov 20, 2017
    McKinney, TX
    I carry either a CM9... or a CW9, the CM's bigger brother. Depending on how you plan on carrying it, I normally just recommend the 1 round bigger CW9... you can get your entire hand on the grip, because of that I have better draw and presentation, let alone accuracy vs the shorter CM grip. I've drilled with both pistols until I was blue in the face... and the CW just works better... for me... so the CM9 generally stays home in lieu of the CW9. If you are actually going to carry it in your pocket... well, the CW9 won't work for that, and unless you are a big guy, neither will the CM9, really.

    Unless you are absolutely limited to pocket or IWB carry, nothing beats a good, well-fitting belt holster, even with today's smaller 9mm subcompacts. My IWB holsters are gathering dust in the drawer now that I've found a good belt holster.
  15. Tirod

    Tirod Member

    May 24, 2008
    SW MO
    Taurus is about the only choice in NEW guns.

    Used, look around online in pawn shops etc. While they aren't filling the shelves like they were two years ago, people are selling guns and they are moving along.

    Keep in mind you can find revolvers in that price range, I picked up a Taurus Ultralite for $200 on auction two years back. Its serviceable and a 7 yards it will do the job.

    As for a safety, most military sidearms have used one since 1911, and the Army has never worried it would get men killed in combat. The reality is that in combat you have rules of engagement where you may already have safety off and finger on the trigger. No issues there.

    In civilian life, not so much. It does go to 2 things: First, awareness. If you are walking into a risky situation, then why are you not prepared ahead of time? Second, if it does come down to a split second, then why were you behind the curve? Both awareness and proficiency with the gun are lacking. Recognizing that someone who does own a gun with safety and they may not be able to operate correctly is a good thing - but blaming the gun for their lack of skill?

    Practice until you can't do it wrong is what the pros tell us.

    The likely risk of being ambushed and even getting your gun out is actually low, first, only 30% of carriers have actually drawn, and of that number, only 20% actually fired. Now add that you were completely unaware of a confrontation and that the perp got the drop on face to face? Lets compare that number to those simply shot in the back and left for dead.

    The idea a safety can get you killed was almost unknown before the internet, and I have a suspicion it's really promoted by those who don't want people who are knowledgeable about their use, because a pistol with no thumb safety has actually demonstrated more negligent shootings than those with one. My personal safety is also important - I don't want or need a long scar down my right hip and guns without a thumb safety demonstrate a known tendency to do that.

    Lack of skill and disregard for ones own health and welfare are a poor choice to make.
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  16. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

    Jan 26, 2010
    There are lots of cheap (inexpensive) guns out there. There is no shortage of those. It's ammo that is the problem

    Sky ??

    Lots of Turkish imports

    Look for a good USED gun
  17. lee n. field

    lee n. field Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    Taurus G2C and G3C, and G2S. (The G2S doesn't make much sense to me, as it's almost as big as the double stack guns.)

    Of those, I'd go with the G3C. The G2C's adjustable rear sight is cheezy and fragile.

    Standard mounting rail. BUT, adding anything to that rail drops your holster options way down.

    Those Tauri have a manual safety.
    filby and entropy like this.
  18. CodeSection

    CodeSection Member

    Jul 2, 2011
    Umm, perhaps with others, but in my case, both a bad guy and a good guy in separate incidences had their safeties on when they were killed....both weapons were drawn. While situation awareness comes into play, it is just too convenient to think that will be the end-all and that you will have the manual safety off to get the edge in a potential confrontation where a weapon is needed. Matter-of-fact, one could argue that action could put you into your posted fearful situation of potentially shooting yourself in the hip or leg.

    Yep, accidental/negligent discharges happen and I suspect happen quite often with weapons having only a trigger safety. In our town, decades ago when the PD issued their first Glocks, an officer sitting in his car trying to show his wife his duty weapon, created a negligent discharge and put a round into his calf.....Um, why was his finger in the trigger when he was pulling his Glock from the holster? Another officer had a suspect pinned against his squad car while holding his Glock in his right hand with his finger in the trigger. When he applied force to the suspect with his left hand, he ended up shooting the suspect in the head because his right hand reacted as well. Why was his finger in the trigger at that point?

    I find your last statement interesting....."Lack of skill and disregard for ones (sic) own health and welfare are a poor choice to make." That general statement can apply to many things in life, not just with weapons. But if you are having your finger in the trigger when pulling from the holster....oh well.

    While repetitive training and muscle memory certainly have their place, one should be aware of what limitations they have. Personally, I like to remove any unnecessary step(s) in any equation when possible. My suggestions to the OP at least let the OP research and evaluate possible solutions that may be applied to their situation. After all, all the suggestions are standard items that are being successfully used daily.....
    filby likes this.
  19. Jonesy814

    Jonesy814 Member

    Mar 31, 2016
    NW PA
    A shop in my area is advertising the Taurus G2c for $254.
    WisBorn likes this.
  20. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Jan 3, 2003
    0 hrs east of TN
    Looks like you've limited yourself to the SCCY or the Ruger (and that's only after tossing out the light/laser criteria). I've had both and they both go bang consistently.
  21. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

    Jun 14, 2008
    SouthEastern FL
    Smaller, lighter, and flatter than my G2C is the Kel-Tec PF9 I've carried for eleven years now, and it has a bit of a rail for a lamp or laser if you want. No trigger-dingus, and no manual safety. The seven-round magazine one-ups the DB9's standard six-rounder.
    The Ruger LC9 is similar. Both are hammer-fired (the LC9s is striker-fired, and has a trigger-dingus safety.)
    filby likes this.
  22. jimbo555

    jimbo555 Member

    Dec 11, 2011
    I agree with the ec9s. Mine has been very reliable.
    filby and Armored farmer like this.
  23. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

    Feb 27, 2009
    DFW (formerly Brazos County), Texas
    Palmetto State is showing G2C as low as $230.
    SCCY at $280
    Price point is a hard one to cope with in the present market situation.
    Bud's is showing SCCY at $209

    Now, for me--sample size of me alone--the answer to the riddle was a SIG 365. Those are starting in around $500, so, well out of the stated price range.
    These things are complicated, and from the above, it's clear everyone has their own preference--no one solution really exists.
    WisBorn, DustyGmt and filby like this.
  24. mark mobley

    mark mobley Member

    Sep 16, 2011
    The Ruger Security 9 which is available in 15 to 17 rounds or 10 and 15 rounds in the Compact version would be my choice. Has a manual safety and can be found on sale for $300.
    WisBorn, twarr1, filby and 1 other person like this.
  25. ClaymoreAKM

    ClaymoreAKM Member

    Jan 2, 2017
    South of the Mason Dixon - SC
    Get a M&P shield if you can swing it. I've had mine for 8 years and it goes bang every time the trigger is pulled.
    Hangingrock, Jimbo80, filby and 2 others like this.
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