In the past couple of years, soft demand for firearms in general has led to great deals for anyone looking to buy a gun. To that end, we found 20 concealed-carry pistols available at low, low prices. How did we come up with this list? We looked at handguns on the market and determined the average price by finding them at national retailers Brownells, Buds Gun Shop, CDNN Sports, Cabela’s, Cheaper Than Dirt, Gallery of Guns and Palmetto State Armory. The gun had to be in stock and available in at least three of these retailers, and the average selling price had to be less than $300. Prices for each listed pistol varied by significant amounts between these dealers, so it’s always a good idea to shop around.
While few of these pistols are anyone’s idea of the “best,” they are all functional. Besides, the first rule of a gun fight is: Have a gun. Now, you can, at a much lower cost.
Beretta USA Pico One of the thinnest concealed-carry handguns available today, the Beretta Pico is constructed with a single-stack magazine contained in a chassis-style polymer frame. Inside the pistol, consumers will see a hammer-fired operating system actuated through a double-action-only trigger. This provides users with re-strike capability. The pistol comes equipped with easy-to-see, adjustable sights, snag-free lines and two magazines, one of which is equipped with an extended baseplate. Slide serrations at the rear provide a textured surface for racking.
Bersa BP9CC Bersa’s BP, the company’s first polymer-frame handgun, was introduced in 2012 as a more concealed-carry friendly offering. A variety of finishes—from the utilitarian matte black to the eye-catching turquoise—are available, as are chamberings (9 mm, .380 ACP and .40 S&W). Offering DAO operation, integrated accessory rail, ambidextrous controls, replaceable sights and an integral locking system, don’t be fooled by the lower price of the BP9CC—this is a full-featured option for concealed carry.
Average Retail Price: $267.44
Caliber:9 mm Magazine Capacity:8 rounds Barrel Length:3.3 inches Overall Length:6.35 inches Width:.94 inch Weight:21.5 ounces (732) 493-0333 bersa.eagleimportsinc.com
Bersa Thunder 380 Its best-selling model, Bersa’s Thunder 380 has styling reminiscent of another popular .380 ACP handgun at a more-affordable price. Despite the lower retail cost, however, the Thunder 380 comes with a host of standard features that make it as attractive as the bottom line. A three-dot sight system, decocking lever and safety, combat-style trigger guard and a lifetime service contract for the original owner all come with the pistol, giving a lot of value for the price range.
Diamondback DB9 Perfect in a pocket for concealed-carry, the DB9 is a micro-compact, double-action-only, striker-fired, semi-automatic pistol chambered in 9 mm. The DB9’s grip frame offers enough space for decent control, and the arched backstrap, beavertail and pebbled, grainy surface on the sides provide added purchase. Made in the U.S., it sports the features you look for in an ultra-compact pistol with the added peace of mind of a full-power chambering.
Average Retail Price: $204.93
Caliber:9 mm Magazine Capacity:6 rounds Barrel Length:3 inches Overall Length:5.6 inches Width:.80 inch Weight:11 ounces (877) 997-6774 diamondbackfirearms.com
European American Armory Windicator Made in Germany by Weihrauch, the EAA Windicator may have a Plain Jane appearance, but the wheelgun has developed quite the reputation for ruggedness and dependability. Available in a choice of .38 Spl. or .357 Mag., two different barrel lengths, traditional SA/DA operation and either blued or nickel finishes, the Windicator also offers welcome versatility to the consumer. It also boasts the added peace of mind that comes with a hammer-block safety.
Hi-Point C9 The Hi-Point C9 takes a lot of abuse in the gun world. Sure, the aesthetics are, well, non-existent; the weight is excessive compared to capacity and handling is contentious (we’re currently about halfway through a 2,000-round torture test, and while it’s holding up well, every time we put more than 200 rounds through it we start bleeding). However, it’s eminently affordable, solid and accurate—all characteristics that mitigate the snide remarks about how the C9 looks.
Hi-Point CF380 If the recoil of the C9 is a wee bit excessive, its identically sized little brother might be more to your liking. Designed with the same size, weight and capacity parameters as the 9 mm version, the CF380 offers the lighter recoil of the .380 ACP cartridge in a pistol that’s even a little more affordable than the C9. While the CF380 won’t win any beauty pageants, it does come in a Cerakote pink camo for those who want something other than black for a finish.
Kahr Arms CT380 The CT380 pairs a polymer frame with a matte-stainless slide. Two forms of texturing adorn the backstrap, frontstrap and sides of the grip frame, which adds ample purchase as well as a touch of aesthetic appeal. The locked-breech DAO action includes a barrel with a Browning-style recoil lug, a passive striker block and no magazine disconnect. Sights are of the popular bar-dot configuration and consist of a drift-adjustable rear assembly and a pinned-in polymer front.
Kel-Tec P-3AT Hyper-concealable, the P-3AT offers a .380 ACP chambering in a small package that is relatively comfortable to shoot. This is also the gun that kicked off the recent boom in miniscule .380 ACP pistols for concealed carry, and with good reason. It has a proven track record both in terms of sales and reliability in its class. The P-3AT can easily fit in a pocket (in a holster, of course) and won’t weigh you down.
Kel-Tec PF-9 Keeping with Kel-Tec’s tiny-pistol theme, the PF-9 is one of the smallest 9 mm handguns available, making it a great choice for concealed carry. Like the P-3AT, it is a DAO pistol with internal safeties and a factory-set 5-pound trigger. The “Gator” texturing on the grip is comfortable—a key feature on such a small gun chambered for a serious caliber like 9 mm. The PF-9’s super-slim profile means it is extremely easy to conceal in a large pocket or in an IWB holster.
Average Retail Price: $237.25
Caliber:9 mm Magazine Capacity:7 rounds Barrel Length:3.1 inches Overall Length:5.85 inches Width:.88 inch Weight:12.7 ounces (321) 631-0068 keltecweapons.com
Remington RM380 Seeing the RM380 on this list might come as a surprise, since its original MSRP was more than $400 and because it is essentially the same pistol as the Rohrbaugh R380, which retailed for more than $1,000. Beyond that, it is perhaps the most over-engineered pistol profiled here. The aluminum-frame RM380 is built like a tank and eminently reliable—it survived our 1,000-round torture test without any maintenance or failures—yet remains easy to carry in a pocket holster for extended periods.
Rock Island Armory M206 Imported from the Philippines, the M206 is an interesting mix of several revolver designs revolver enthusiasts might notice, like its pull-back cylinder release and checkered wood grips similar to that of old-school Colt Detective Specials. The guns are equipped with a pinned, single-piece barrel and feature a fixed front-sight blade and squared-off ejector shroud. Providing DA/SA operation, the exposed hammer is a spade-shaped, textured design. Each revolver is also equipped with a transfer-bar safety that prevents firing if dropped.
Ruger EC9s The striker-fired EC9s is an evolution of Ruger’s popular LC9 pistol. Basically, the EC9s is the budget version of the company’s LC9 Pro, which itself is an updated version of the LC9. It sports machined, non-adjustable sights, a manual safety in addition to its trigger-blade safety, a magazine disconnect and a black-oxide-coated slide. The EC9s is still extremely small, lightweight and concealable, and Ruger’s cost-reducing efforts make it significantly less expensive than its parent design.
Average Retail Price: $225.38
Caliber:9 mm Magazine Capacity:7 rounds Barrel Length:3.12 inches Overall Length:6 inches Width:.9 inch Weight:17.2 ounces (336) 949-5200 ruger.com
Ruger LCP II A slightly larger grip frame and improved sights are a few of the features that separate the LCP II from its smaller sibling. Those with large hands will appreciate the added purchase associated with the included finger-grip extension floorplate. The easy-to-rack slide is designed to lock back after the last round is fired, and the addition of a recessed hammer inside the slide lessens the likelihood of the pistol catching on clothing during hurried presentation.
Ruger Security-9 Evoking the memory of the Security-Six, Ruger’s initial double-action revolver noted for its simplicity and strength, the Security-9 is a similarly competent, uncomplicated defensive tool. Though it has a polymer frame, double-column magazine and DAO trigger, the semi-automatic is not striker-fired, instead incorporating a hammer. A small thumb safety is included in the design for those who like such a feature, but it is unobtrusive for those who don’t. The DAO trigger pull and bladed trigger provide adequate safety for the latter.
SAR USA SAR 9 Turkish arms company Sarsilmaz is known for producing sidearms for the Turkish military and is now offering a line of polymer-frame handguns in the U.S. market. Built as a duty-style, double-stack pistol, the SAR 9 provides a textured frame—complete with finger grooves—along the gun’s frontstrap. Replaceable panels allow users to customize frame fit to their hands. Manipulation is also enhanced through the inclusion of serrations at the front and rear of the slide.
SCCY CPX-2 SCCY’s line of diminutive 9 mm double-stack pistols includes the CPX-2, reviewed in the August 2015 issue of Shooting Illustrated. In that article, Bryce M. Towsley noted, “The SCCY CPX-2 proved fast and accurate for defensive-style, close-range shooting out to 15 and even 20 yards,” a solid endorsement for a pistol that costs about as much as an Xbox One. Lightweight and easily concealed, the CPX-2 is a solid choice for concealed carry—and leaves lots of money in the ammo and training budget.
Taurus 605 From its rugged, low-profile front sight and fixed-rear notch to its short barrel and compact grips, the Taurus 605 is a no-nonsense defensive snubby. A large cylinder latch fosters rapid actuation under stress, while features such as a transfer bar and the manufacturer’s integrated security system provide welcome peace of mind. Best of all, the combination of textured-rubber grips and the robust cylinder and frame offsets the snappiness of .357 Mag. recoil, without compromising comfort.
Taurus G2c Despite its low price, Taurus’ G2c has shown the ability to compete successfully against other, more expensive pistols, within limits. It’s comfortable, reliable, full-featured and, at 10 yards or less, satisfactorily accurate. A loaded-chamber indicator, adjustable sights, abbreviated rail, second-strike trigger capability and good ergonomics make the G2c one value-laden proposition. It represents quite a step forward for the Brazilian company.
Walther Creed The Walther Creed lacks a few niceties, but more than makes up for them with reliability and functionality. The company that built James Bond’s PPK offers the Creed to a much broader audience—one that wants simplicity and affordable quality. The 16-round capacity 9 mm is a belt gun intended for concealed carry, but will work just as well for home defense. It’s a hammer-fired, polymer-frame, DAO pistol from one of Europe’s legendary manufacturers for less than $300. The Creed should sell itself, and from what we’ve heard, is doing just that.