Firearms and prices are a finicky beast. You have firearms that are a get-what-you-pay-for type. You have firearms where you pay more for the name than anything. Then you have firearms that are amazing deals. Often times, the latter class are surplus weapons from the World Wars. A Mosin, despite all its flaws, is still a great bargain.
Surplus weapons aren’t the only option though, and to be honest, not everyone is into surplus weapons. There are a lot of firearms manufacturers out there that make great weapons at a very affordable price. These firearms are most commonly clones or more popular models, but there are some great unique firearms. Some even made by well-known companies.
The Bersa models of pistols have gained a small cult following. These .380s are excellent concealed carry weapons, very small, lightweight and user friendly. At a glance you can see some obvious Walther influence. The gun’s design is very sleek and very attractive. The ergonomics are great, with the controls all placed to be accessed by the thumb without any kind of strain or over-reaching action.
There’s a few different models. The regular takes magazines between 7 to 10 rounds and the Plus model has a double stack 15-round magazine. The weapon shoots very well, and the light .380 round is easy to handle. The DA (double action) trigger pull is a bit long, but smooth with little “bunching.” This is a great choice for concealed carry. You can pick one of these up for around $300 (new).
I believe the .22 caliber has a very important role in prepping. I also believe the 22 LR (long rifle) is a round that should be used for anything besides defense. In a pinch any gun is better than none, but the 22 should not be a main defense weapon. The little round is perfect for a lot of things, and since defense isn’t an issue, high capacity and modern ergonomics aren’t called for.
The Chiappa 1873 is a reproduction of the 1873 single action revolver, chambered in the .22 LR. The 1873 is a six shooter with some old-school style. The weapon both looks and shoots great. In all honesty it’s really hard to screw up a design that’s been around for about 140 years. The weapon handles like any single action cowboy gun you’ve fired. Shoots accurate and the single action trigger is delightful. This .22 is a great choice if you want a .22 pistol to teach new shooters, or as a general purpose .22 pistol.
The best point about this pistol? The price: Under $200 dollars. I’ve seen them for as low as $140. I can’t remember the last time I saw a .22 for under 200 that wasn’t a Rohm.
Most firearms collectors and owners are familiar with the backstory of the Sigma. Basically, Glock sued Smith and Wesson, and they give Glock some cash for everyone sold blah blah blah. That’s not what we are here for. The Sigma is a polymer framed semi-automatic pistol and a high-capacity modern handgun. The Sigma is no longer called the Sigma, the S&W is now called the SD series.
The pistols are chambered in a variety of cartridges, all modern rounds with capacity ranging between 14 to 17 rounds. The newest SD series improved the ergonomics and the trigger especially. The pistol is striker fired, so it’s double action only. The trigger does have a long, but consistent pull. The weapon also features a picatinny rail for mounting lights. This is a modern fighting pistol — not exactly compact, but a very good main sidearm. The newer SD models go for around $400 and the older Sigmas can be had for as little as $250 for the Value models, and $300 for the older high capacity Sigmas.
Kel Tec SU-16A
Kel Tec has always produced innovative and sometimes downright oddball firearms. While I’ve never been a fan of their pistols, their rifles are something else. In fact, I’ve never had issues with either Kel Tec Rifle I own — besides my Sub 2000 not liking Tula ammo, but then again no one likes Tula ammo.
The SU-16A is a semi-automatic, magazine feed rifle chambered in the .223 cartridge. The rifle is a bit odd looking. It had a few innovative and interesting features. First off this looks nothing like any rifle you’ve ever seen. The hand guards fold down to become a bipod. Two magazines can be held in the stock. The weapon can fold in half for easier storage. It accepts standard AR 15 magazines, and comes ready for an optic.
The SU 16 comes it multiple models, including a California model, a shorter barrel model, and even a .22LR model. The model A is the only I have experience with. The rifle’s accuracy is a bit between an AK and an AR. Closer to the AR than the AK, in fact some folks more used to traditional stocks may find it more comfortable than a pistol grip. The rifle is more than suitable for self-defense and hunting. It’s lightweight, reliable, accurate and chambered in a common caliber. The rifle’s MSRP is in the high $500s, but I commonly see them for about $400 bucks on the used market. I picked mine up for $375 after some artful negotiating.
Savage/Stevens 350 Pump Security
Shotguns are plenty popular, and pump shotguns dominate the market. They are a favorite for home defense, and they are devastating in short range combat. They put game on the table and keep the wolves away. Right now most of you can probably find a Maverick or another Stevens model for $150. These base models are good guns, and do their job.
I chose the 350 Security for the fact it is a dedicated tactical shotgun, but remains budget friendly. The 350 is a clone of the Police-favorite Ithaca 37. The shotgun comes equipped with ghost ring sights and an 18.5 inch barrel. The barrel is carbon steel, and the capacity is 5 +1. The angle of the stock is extremely comfortable, and the weapon points very quickly. The weapon is also lightweight, more lightweight than my 870. The sites are top notch and perfect to optimize the range of slugs. The 350 retails new for around $250, and a used model in good condition can be had for $200.
I wish I had the budget my eyes wanted me to have. I don’t though, so I have to prepare accordingly. These weapons represent some great deals for budget preppers, or great beginner’s weapons to grow and experiment with. They could be main weapons, backups or extras kept for less-prepared friends and family.
These weapons might be discounted, but that does not mean cheap by any means. These weapons are budget-friendly alternatives to the firearm types people should pay attention to. It’s always good to have options, and the money saved on these weapons can go to ammo, or magazines.
The price does not always equal quality.