Purchasing a new pistol does not need to be an expensive or complicated task. Some buyers are under the impression that you need to spend more than $1000 on a handgun — and then another $1000 to bring it up to standards.
While this may make for a nice-to-have pistol, it is definitely not a “need-to-have” item. In fact, there are a good number of brand-new firearms that can be had for under $500 that will serve you well, without going the route of the “used gun counter” or bargain basement pieces made by questionable manufacturers.
1. Sig Sauer P250
That is not a misprint. Sig Sauer offers a handgun for less than $500 that is extremely advanced for the price point. The P250 is a double-action-only style pistol with a modular system that allows the shooter to change to different calibers, barrel lengths, grip sizes, etc.
It may not be the US Navy SEAL’s pistol of choice, but is built in the same factory by the same skilled workers who make those very pistols.
The P250 can be had in 9mm, 357 SIG, 40 S&W, 45 ACP and 380 ACP. For less than $500 including tax, a new owner can walk out the door of his favorite gun shop with a Sig pistol, including a holster and two magazines.
2. Smith & Wesson SD9VE
As one of America’s oldest arms makers, Smith & Wesson is known for its history in building revolvers, but the company produces a variety of quality semi-automatic pistols as well.
The SD9VE is considered a budget model handgun, as it can often be found for less than $400. It is a polymer framed striker-fired 9mm pistol with a magazine capacity of 16 rounds.
Developed in the 1990s as the SIGMA, Smith & Wesson is said to have invested millions of dollars and countless man hours into researching the shape of the human hand in order to develop the grip profile on this pistol.
S&W has concentrated more of the company’s efforts toward the M&P series, but do not let the low price of this pistol fool you. They are reliable, accurate and affordable. They are just not intended to be “heirloom guns.”
3. Ruger LC9
Ruger has been making firearms for over 50 years, and while they were mostly known for sporting guns designed for hunting or competitive shooting, they entered the personal defense market in a big way around 2010 or so.
The LC9 is a striker-fired 9mm defensive handgun with a fiberglass-filled nylon frame that retails for less than $400. Backed by Ruger’s lifetime warranty, these handguns represent tremendous value while providing a reliable and concealable package.
4. Stoeger Cougar
In 1994 Beretta unveiled a new pistol known as the model 8000 or “The Cougar.” It was intended to be a more compact version of the company’s flagship Model 92. With declining sales and the company moving in a different direction with its handguns, the design was given to its subsidiary, Stoeger Firearms, who sent the machining to Turkey and changed it to the Cougar.
It has the same reliable double-action/single-action trigger, tips the scales at 32 ounces and can be had in 9mm, 40 S&W and 45 ACP. However, it is close to half the price of the Italian-made original at an MSRP of $469.
5. FNS 9C
FNH (Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal) is one of the oldest manufacturers of firearms in the world and is known for producing such spectacular firearms as the M249 SAW, Browning Hi Power, FN P90 and M4 carbines for the US Military.
It’s hard to believe the company produces a handgun that retails for $499 and includes several magazines and other accessories.
The FNS9C is a compact-sized, double-action hammer-fired pistol that takes a 17-round magazine and comes equipped with a Picatinny rail for mounting accessories.
Out-of-the-box accuracy is exceptional, and the hammer gives the shooter a “second strike” capability that striker-fired pistols do not offer.
These five pistols are proven designs by top tier manufacturers that offer affordability due to their polymer frames in four cases, or overseas manufacture in the case of the one non-polymer framed handgun.
Accessories and ammunition are available for all of them, and they will keep you well-armed without breaking the bank.
What would you add to the list? Share your thoughts in the section below: