While it is true that you generally get what you pay for, sometimes you can still find a great piece of gear and save a little money at the same time. It’s a juggling act when it comes to handguns. Do you spend lots of money and get all sorts of bells and whistles, or do you pinch some pennies and buy only what you really need? After all, if you save on the gun, think how much more ammunition you can buy! Here are some of the best handgun buys around the $300 price range.
Brought to us by Eagle Imports, the Bersa BPCC line of concealed-carry pistols comes in 9 mm, .380 ACP and .40 S&W in a slim, 1-inch-wide package. The 8+1 capacity is right in line with most smaller concealed-carry guns. Controls on the gun are easy to find and use, including an easy drop-free magazine release and large slide stop. The BPCC comes in a variety of color options including black, dark gray, FDE and even turquoise. MSRP starts at $311, with actual prices falling somewhere in the mid- to upper $200s.
Century Arms/Canik TP9SA
This full-sized 9 mm offering from Century Arms comes standard with two 18-round magazines, one of the highest capacities in the industry. Two sizes of backstraps allow for a custom fit grip. The TP9SA comes in either standard black or FDE. Overall length is 7.5 inches, with a relatively light 1.78-pound unloaded weight. Century Arms is known for throwing in extra goodies, which in this case is a cleaning brush, magazine loader and an OWB Kydex holster, all for an MSRP of $359.99. Samples can be found well under $300 at various online retailers.
Palmetto State Armory PS9 Dagger
The 15-round Palmetto State Armory PS9 Dagger will appeal to those who want a Glock without shelling out Glock money. With a polymer body, 3.9-inch barrel, aggressive front serrations for easy slide racking, an overall length of 7.15 inches and weighing 22.4 ounces, the PS9 comes standard with a three-dot site, but with a red-dot-cut option for a small up charge. A threaded barrel option is also available. MSRP starts at $299.
Ruger Security 9 Compact
One of the most popular guns in Ruger’s lineup, the Security 9 series now includes the Compact version, which incorporates the great features of the original but in a more easily concealed package. Despite its size, the Compact holds 10+1 9 mm rounds inside the glass-filled nylon grip with aggressive texturing for superior recoil management. Overall length is 6.52 inches with a 3.42-inch barrel and 1.02-inch-wide black oxide slide. MSRP is $379, but online retailers place the Security 9 Compact right around $299.99.
Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield Gen 1
With over a million sold, the Smith & Wesson Shield is almost synonymous with concealed carry. Even though the Gen 2 model is out, many customers still prefer the original. The 9 mm Shield comes with seven-round and eight-round flush magazines. At 1-inch wide, the striker-fired Shield blends perfectly beneath just about any cover garment. Controls are big enough to reach and operate easily, but smooth enough to avoid snagging in and out of concealment. MSRP is $374, but frequent sales put the first-generation Shield under $300.
Sometimes referred to as the Glock Killer, the Stoeger STR-9 offers many of the same features found on more expensive guns, such as a 15-round magazine, interchangeable backstraps on the upper models, standard integrated Picatinny rail and aggressive front and rear slide serrations for easy racking. Grip ergos, takedown mechanism and low bore access are reminiscent of its Austrian counterpart, but the Stoeger STR-9 is designed to stand on its own merits of reliable marksmanship. MSRP starts at $329.
Available in six different models, based on finish and magazine size, the Taurus G3 slides right into the middle of the price range with a striker-fired 9 mm designed for both open and concealed carry, with smooth lines to minimize snag on cover garments. Overall length is 7.28 inches with a 4-inch barrel on all models. Models come with two magazines, with capacities ranging from 10 rounds to 17 (which has an extended baseplate). MSRP starts at $345.23.