A center-fire pistol is one item that every homesteader should consider owning.
Sure, shotguns and rifles may pack a greater punch, but they are larger and significantly heavier than a pistol. Unfortunately, pistols also can be fairly expensive, and not everyone has the disposable income to spend $600 on a new Glock, Sig Sauer or Springfield.
While buying a used gun is always an option, pricing and availability of used pistols are wildly inconsistent. Besides, you never truly know if a used gun will work until you take it to the range for the first time. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that there is nothing more disheartening than pulling the trigger on the used pistol you just bought and hearing “click” instead of “bang.”
If you buy a new gun, you can be much more certain that it will function properly out of the box. Sure, there will be a “break-in” period of several hundred rounds before it reaches peak performance, but that timeframe is essential for you to familiarize yourself with each nuance.
In this article, we will look at some pistols that you can purchase new-in-box for $300 or less. Note that this price does not factor in shipping, tax and transfer fees, so you’ll want to consider those items in your budget. You also will want to pick up a holster, spare magazines, and (of course) ammunition.
Taurus 800 series
Taurus’ 800 series are full-sized, polymer-framed pistols chambered in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP with 17-, 15- and 12-round capacities, respectively. They feature a “strike two” capability, which allows you to pull the trigger again to fire if the chambered round’s primer fails to ignite. These pistols have recently been discontinued by Taurus, but can still be purchased either online or at your local gun store.
1. Sarsilmaz CM9
The Turkish-made SAR CM9 is a full-sized, polymer-framed, double-action/single-action pistol chambered in 9mm. Based on the design of the CZ-75, it has an ambidextrous manual safety, adjustable sights, and a 17-round capacity, making it an excellent option to consider for your kit.
2. FMK 9C1 G2
This budget-friendly, striker-fired 9mm pistol is physically very similar in size and overall profile to a Glock 19; both feature a low-bore axis, similar grip angle, and trigger safeties. It also accepts Glock aftermarket sights, and has a 14-round magazine capacity. If you like the ergonomics of Glock pistols, you definitely should consider picking up an FMK 9C1 for your emergency preparedness kit.
3. Taurus 100 series
The 100-series by Taurus, also called the “Millennium Pro G2,” are compact polymer-framed pistols chambered in 9mm and .40 S&W. They feature moderate magazine capacity (12 rounds and 10 rounds, respectively), a manual safety, aggressive grip texturing, and adjustable sights.
4. KelTec P11
This compact, polymer-framed pistol might not have the polished look and feel of a more expensive gun, but it handles reasonably well, has a 10-round magazine capacity, low-profile 3-dot sights, and weighs less than a pound unloaded.
5. SCCY CPX-2
The SCCY CPX-2 is similar in overall profile to the KelTec P11 – they both feature a double-action trigger and a 10-round magazine capacity, although the CPX-2 is a bit more polished in terms of fit and finish, and comes with two magazines versus the P11’s single magazine. The CPX-1 is reported to have had some severe reliability issues, but CPX-2 owners have reported having few issues.
6. Bersa Thunder 380
If you want a compact pistol for your kit but dislike the heavier recoil of the 9mm round, check out the Bersa Thunder. This .380 ACP pistol is similar in style to a Walther PPK, featuring a single-stack 8-round magazine, a manual safety, and a double-action/single-action trigger system.
7. Rock Island Armory M200 and M206
If you prefer revolvers over automatics, Rock Island Armory has a pair of budget-friendly .38 Specials. Both have a 6-round capacity. The M200 has a larger grip, an exposed hammer, and a 4-inch barrel, while the M206 is a compact, hammerless model with a 2-inch barrel and smaller grip.
8. Taurus Model 85
The Model 85 by Taurus is a compact, 5-shot revolver; it has a 2-inch barrel, rubberized compact grip, and can accept +P ammunition. The Model 85 PFS can be found in the same price range; it features a polymer frame, a slightly larger grip, and a fiber-optic front sight.
What pistol would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below: