Gunning on a budget

Grenadier

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Of course, we'd all love to have our first choice of firearms, when it comes to having a home defense gun, a duty / defensive handgun, a concealable gun, and a pocket gun, but sometimes, the finances just won't allow for it.

Gunners need not despair, though, since there are many good firearms at a low cost that can serve as a placeholder until your finances get better.



Shotguns:

We'd all love to be able to plunk down $$$ for a nice Remington 870 or a Benelli. However, there are times where the 300+ price tag for a new one might be a bit too much.

A solution? The H&R Pardner Pump shotgun.

It's more or less, a copy of the Remington 870 Express, manufactured by Norinco, and imported by NEF / H&R. The quality of the gun is surprisingly good, and can often times be found for 1/2 the price of an 870 Express. Even more surprising, is the consistency from one Pardner to another, that they exhibit a lot more uniformity than even the Remington does.



Larger handguns:

Most of us would certainly like to have a new Glock or HK. Again, though, there are many times where you don't have the 500+ needed for a new one.

Now, in the past, I've had a lot of derision for S&W's first attempt at copying the Glock, that the Sigma series was found to be lacking in many areas. However, over time, S&W seems to have gotten its act together regarding the newer offerings, and the S&W SD9 seems to fit the bill quite nicely. These can be found for 150+ fewer dollars than a comparable Glock, and I've seen some used ones selling for $300 at various venues.

The trigger pull, which was, IMHO, the worst part of the older Sigmas, has greatly improved on the SD series, and the gun doesn't feel as "cheap" as the older Sigmas did. Also, the SD's come with a front Tritium night sight as standard equipment. Not bad for a lower priced firearm.



Compact handguns:

Surprisingly, the Makarovs are excellent weapons for the price paid. You can get a Bulgarian Makarov for the mid to upper 100's, and an East German or Russian one in the 200's. These are all-steel weapons that can rack up a very hefty round count, and are relatively easy to shoot.

In the past, I would have continued to mock Chinese firearms, but surprisingly, they've proven to be pretty good quality, indeed. The Chinese Makarovs (Norinco) might be a bit rougher in terms of fit and finish, but still display excellent reliability, and with a bit of fluff and buff, can rival their East German counterparts.



Smaller handguns:

The S&W J-frame revolver is the most popular pocket handgun / backup gun, due to its nice combination of small size, light weight (non-steel models), reasonable punch in the .38 Special (or sometimes .357 mag), etc. However, with the S&W brand name, comes a price that's a bit high.

Enter the Taurus 85 Ultralite. While it is true that Taurus had quality control issues in the past, the recent (last 8+ years) offerings from Taurus have significantly improved in quality, and I would feel quite comfortable carrying around one of these snubbies. The trigger is a bit grittier than its S&W counterpart, but a disassembly of the gun, removing the grips, followed by a thorough cleaning, can result in a pretty smooth pull.

Best of all, the Taurus 85 can be had for the low 300's new, and probably for a bit less if you look carefully.
 
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lklawson

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The S&W J-frame revolver is the most popular pocket handgun / backup gun
I'm not sure that's true anymore. Pocket 9's from Kel Tec seem to be far better sellers and the Ruger LCP seems to be the best selling pocket gun out there. I think the P3AT might give it more of a run for its money if KT could increase production, but that's another thread.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

rlobrecht

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I love my Kel-Tec PF-9. It's concealable in a t-shirt and shorts. The only downside in a gun this small, is your hand get tired putting more than a couple of boxes through it at the range.
 
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Grenadier

Grenadier

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Indeed, I forgot to mention the Kel-Tec handguns as well. Kelgren and co. have done a nice job putting this bad boy out there, and it's difficult to find a better combination of punch and firepower. I'm actually pleasantly surprised at their use of the locked-breech mechanism, since the recoil management is pretty good for a gun of this small size.


I love my Kel-Tec PF-9. It's concealable in a t-shirt and shorts. The only downside in a gun this small, is your hand get tired putting more than a couple of boxes through it at the range.

True, but in this case, if you have to launch more than a couple of boxes through a pocket pistol, then the situation isn't a good one at all. :)
 

lklawson

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Something has been nagging at me for a while on this subject and I finally realized what it is. Surplus guns! A lot of times you can get a lot of gun on a budget when you buy surplus. The CZ-82 is one of my favorite examples.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 
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Grenadier

Grenadier

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Added a quick note about the Makarovs.
 

Skpotamus

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One of the best ways to pick up a cheaply priced glock is to find a glock stocking dealer that has police trade ins. A lot of depts seem to prefer to buy new guns when their tritium night sights die (about 7 years). Glock takes the guns and swaps them out with brand new ones (same thing if a dept wants a caliber change). It's a great way to pick up a glock for cheap that probably wasn't used much (most officers I meet only fire their guns once a year during qualifications, in Indiana, that's a whopping 48 rounds a year). I picked up a gen 2 glock 17 that had some holster wear, but didn't look like it'd been shot much for 350 earlier this year at Gander Mtn.

Also, I wouldn't hesitate to pick up a used mossberg 500 or 590 for cheap. You can sometimes find used mossy's for the same price as the new pardners. Most people don't shoot their guns anywhere near enough to break them in, much less wear them out. Heck, when I worked in gunshops, we'd have hunters trade in their shotguns every year because they were "worn out".

A used remington you might want to check out a little bit more deeply as they have had some serious QC issues in recent years (really rough chambers and tool marks on moving pieces).
 
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