The one thing that 2020 has taught us is that we have to be prepared to protect ourselves and our families in the event of a disaster. Many people who never would have imagined ever needing a gun to defend themselves have quickly awakened to the reality that personal protection is rather critical responsibility during such times.
Many people will have different opinions when it comes to picking out a pistol for self-defense purposes. Some may believe that only expensive handguns work the best. Although some expensive models may have the best features, not all of them are a great choice for their firepower and concealment. If you’re one of the thousands of Americans on the market for a defensive handgun without wanting to break the bank, then you’re in luck. We have compiled some of the best defensive handguns that cost less than $500.
|Handguns||Name||Editor’s Comment||Rating||Get The Best Deal|
|Springfield XDs 3.3|
Most Recommended Option
1. Light and easy to carry
|10/10||Check Current Price|
|Mossberg MC1sc||1. Excellent durability|
2. Clear polymer magazine that is easy to load
3. Safe and simple procedure to disassemble
|9.5/10||Check Current Price|
|Bersa Thunder 380 Plus||1. Ambidextrous Design|
2. Impressive 15-rounds Magazine Capacity
3. 3-dot sight system
|9.5/10||Check Current Price|
|Ruger Security-9||1. Modern polymer handgun|
2. 15 rounds of 9mm magazine capacity
3. Features an internal hammer
|9.0/10||Check Current Price|
|Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield M2.0 9mm||1. Even better features than the original S&W design|
2. High popularity as a concealed carry pistol
3. Reliable and efficient
|9.0/10||Check Current Price|
|Kahr Arms – CM9||1. Great frame construction|
2. Impressive accuracy
|Smith & Wesson SD9VE||1. Easy to disassemble and reassemble|
2. Simple to use
3. Good accuracy
|SCCY Industries LLC, SCCY CPX-2||1. Low profile sights|
2. Double-action trigger design
3. Reduces recoil
|Sig Sauer SP2022||1. Excellent DA/SA handgun|
2. A proprietary light rail on the dust cover
3. Interchangeable grip shells
|Taurus PT111 Millennium G2||1. Reliable and shoots well|
2. Plastic striker fired gun
3. 12+1 rounds of 9mm or 10+1 rounds of .40 S&W cartridges
|Hi-Point 916||1. Semi automatics with an 8 round mag capacity|
2. Offers a wide array of pistol upgrades
3. A number of exterior finish options
|Walther Creed||1. Entry-level model|
2. Incredibly comfortable ergonomics
3. Compact option with 16+1 rounds capacity of 9mm cartridges
|Ruger LCR||1. Polymer frame to help reduce the overall weight|
2. Comes in various calibers
3. 5-shot revolver that features a metal cylinder and metal barrel
|Glock 19||1. Offers a more versatile role thanks to its reduced dimensions|
2. Serves as a great concealed carry gun or a backup weapon
|Beretta Nano||1. Subcompact polymer striker gun|
2. Good quality
Buying Guide – How to Pick The Best Defensive Handguns under $500 for Concealed Carry Purposes
Here are a few factors that you need to take into consideration before making that purchase:
You should make sure that the pistol model is at the right size for you to carry it around with ease. You can expect all the affordable pistols on our list today to be small in size, making them a great option for concealed carry. Do remember to check out the product description section to find out more about the size to determine whether it will make a great fit for you.
Getting a pistol with a simple field stripping process will make cleaning your shooting handgun much easier. Since most affordable pistols come with simple parts, this means that stripping them will be a whole lot easier. Once you’re done cleaning, you can also put them back into position without too much trouble.
As much as you need the model to be affordable, you should also make sure that the carry gun delivers in terms of accuracy. This is why you’ll have to take a look at the handgun’s shooting capability and check out what others are saying about its accuracy. Make sure that you get a model that can maintain its accuracy from various distances.
Ambidextrous features make it easy for various shooters to use the handgun. While this may not be a necessary feature that right-handed shooters may look for, lefties will have to make sure that the handguns have such features for them to use it easily and safely, even for an option that’s as affordable as one that is under $500.
The materials used in constructing the handgun will play a very important role in the model’s overall value. Considering the affordability of these handguns, you might also expect them to be made out of affordable materials too. Most of them will have polymers with a few metal parts.
The Best Handguns under $500 Reviews
Below is a list of the best handguns you can get your hands on for less than $500 and their reviews.
1. Kahr Arms – CM9
Best for the Money
A cheap pistol doesn’t have to mean inferior performance, and this is especially true with the CM9 model from Kahr Arms. Considering Kahr Arm’s popularity and established reputation, the CM9 pistol is one of the best handguns that many feel comfortable to choose without needing to worry about quality and performance.
The first thing you may notice in this model is its small size. Many gun enthusiasts love this petite construction since it allows you to carry it around easily without much trouble. This also means that you can fit the pistol into various types of holsters with ease, making it one of the best choices for concealed carry purposes.
The CM9 model is often compared to the Kahr PM9 gun. The only difference between these two models is the metal injection molded slide stop. Despite the slight differences between the two, you can be sure that the CM9 is not a cheap floozie as it has successfully kept up with the needs of many shooters without breaking a sweat.
The Kahr Arms CM9 model features two-dot combat sights on the gun – a standard feature on most Kahr guns. However, the pistol does have a basic styling that does not give you the appeal of using it more often. Regardless, the CM9’s functionality offers you just the right performance, which is quite frankly, a more important consideration.
Overall, this durable pistol from Kahr Arms that costs under $500 is a good choice that will last you for years to come with a magazine release that is easy to actuate and get into position.
- Great frame construction
- Impressive accuracy
- Boring styling
2. Bersa Thunder 380 Plus
Bersa is yet another top manufacturer with quite a number of important pistols under its belt. If you’re looking for a top performance pistol that is affordable and fits perfectly under the $500 mark, then the Thunder 380 Plus may just be the one for you.
At such a low price point, we were surprised to find that the Thunder 380 Plus features a magazine capacity of 15 rounds. This means that you get to bring your pistol outdoors for practice at the range without having to reload all the time.
The pistol’s accuracy is pretty good as well as it is able to deliver consistent shots in several tests. Available in 380 ACP, 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP, the Bersa Thunder 380 Plus gun also makes sure that you achieve the best accuracy when shooting at various distances.
On top of that, the handgun even has a durable frame that offers the best strength and superior balance that will last you for years. The lightweight model also makes carrying around very easy, making it a good choice as a concealed carry gun.
Left-handed shooters will love that the Thunder 380 Plus comes with an ambidextrous design for the magazine catch and other key components of the handgun to meet the needs of all kinds of users.
Other than that, the pistol also features a 3-dot system that allows users to have an easy time when using the handgun and to achieve the perfect sight of their target. In addition to all that, the manufacturer even provides you with a lifetime service contract. This is a very important detail as you can rest assured to go ahead and purchase the pistol without worrying about parts replacement.
- Ambidextrous Design
- Impressive 15-rounds Magazine Capacity
- 3-dot sight system
- Could have a better grip
- No loaded chamber indicator
3. Smith & Wesson SD9VE
Considering that Smith & Wesson is a reputable brand for producing quality firearms, many were surprised to see them produce a cheaper option such as the S&W SD9VE model. The overall appearance of the handgun is pretty typical with a bit of stamped sheet metal slide release and plastic guide rod. Although the manufacturer did not place a lot of emphasis on the pistol’s styling, it is still pretty good.
The one thing that many will notice is the handgun’s textured grips and the well finished metal surfaces. The textured grips not only have been designed according to human hand to provide you with better grip safety while shooting at the range, but it also gives shooters better control of the S&W handgun, even with a bit of recoil. Other than that, the chrome finishing also gives the pistol a better appearance overall.
Other than that, the gun even has the finger locators above the trigger guard on both sides to ensure users keep their fingers outside the trigger guard when the pistol is in hand.
Featuring all the bare essentials, this model is all about having an ease of use and makes for a great choice for outdoor shooting. It comes with a magazine release right where you want them to be and a slide release that is easy to use. In general, you only need to point and shoot this pistol with no fancy controls that you need to spend time adjusting.
Overall, if you want a clean and simple pistol that is easy to use, then this model may just be worth a closer look. Smith & Wesson will even send you a guide on how to disassemble and reassemble the pistol once you’re done with the cleaning.
- Easy to disassemble and reassemble
- Simple to use
- Good accuracy
- May be slightly heavy
4. SCCY Industries LLC, SCCY CPX-2
The SCCY CPX-2 is another good example of a top performance double-action handgun that comes at an affordable price. The first thing to mention about this high-quality pistol is its weight. The overall lightweight construction makes the CPX-2 one of the lightest pistols on our list today, weighing approximately 15 ounces only. This means that you can carry this gun around without worrying about it weighing you down.
Other than that, the handgun even comes with a 10+1 ammo magazine capacity in its chamber to give you the assurance that you have enough rounds to help you get through the day at the range or during an emergency situation.
The pistol’s polymer frame comes in a wide variety of colors which include a natural stainless finish or a black nitride finish. Although the SCCY CPX-2 lacks any form of a manual safety, it does sport a DAO trigger design that results in a trigger pull that is long and smooth.
Furthermore, the pistol comes with a wide grip and sufficient absorbing gaps to help dampen any recoil action, making the pistol easy to control. The wide grip also means that it can seat neatly in your hands for comfortable handling.
However, since the pistol has a wider grip, it also means that the pistol can be slightly bulky. Nonetheless, the CPX-2 pistol should still be able to easily fit into various holster types to make concealed carry possible.
Not only that, but the model even comes with low profile fixed sights that will help you out in fitting the handgun into your holsters. The sights also make it easy for easily pinpointing the exact location of your target for quick acquisition. Overall, this is a shart looking gun with an affordable price tag, making it a perfect entry-level option for new handgunners.
- Low profile sights
- Reduces recoil
- Double-action trigger design
- Sights are not adjustable
- Lacks manual safety
5. Ruger Security-9
The Security-9 is Ruger’s latest autoloader that is as far away from the pistol as it gets. It comes with a thoroughly modern polymer handgun with 15 rounds of 9mm in its magazine and other advanced functionalities at a jaw-dropping price.
The Security-9 is a single-action pistol that comes with an internal hammer much like the Ruger LCP and F.N. Five-Seven. This is great as it means the trigger is much nicer than the most competing fire striking handguns.
Other than that, it is also much easier to charge the slide on the Security-9, making this pistol model easier to be handled by those with less strength. On top of that, the Ruger Security-9 also provides sights with interchangeable colored inserts, full-length guide rails, and an accessory rail that will fit almost all lights and lasers.
Best of all is that the Security 9 Compact is available with an integrated Viridian laser sight version. Overall, it is a tough pistol to beat in terms of features and is even backed up by Ruger’s legendary customer service. All that for less than $500 even though MSRP is US$549.
6. SIG Sauer SP2022
The SP2022 is an excellent DA/SA handgun that is worthy of being venerated right alongside its other classic P-Series peers such as the Sig Sauer P250, Sig P320, Sig P938, and Sig P226 models.
Sig Sauer was one of the first major manufacturers in the late 1990s to offer a modern take on a combat handgun with polymer materials in the SP2009 and SP2340 models. Those who have used one either Sig’s P226s or P220s will find that the controls on the SP2022 are instantly familiar.
However, the internals are somewhat different from the new gun being much lighter. The SP2022 features a proprietary light rail on the dust cover and interchangeable grip shells to meet the requirements of different users.
The SP2022 is a very reliable and super trigger on any DA/SA that is also shockingly accurate and easy to carry thanks to its lightweight construction. Overall, if you want A-tier reliability and durability for under $500, this is definitely the one for you.
7. S&W M&P Shield 2.0
The M&P Shield has quickly become the default choice of many for concealed carry purposes in the past few years as it’s the single most popular make and model of holster sold by Alien Gear. This is unsurprising considering the features and performance offered by the model.
The single-stack Shield is very slim with a compact length and height dimensions, to make this shooting pistol very easy to conceal and carry with you in your pocket throughout the day. Other than being incredibly easy to hide, the S&W M&P Shield also happens to shoot incredibly well.
The Shield 2.0 keeps the same momentum of the Shield line of firearms but with some serious improvements such as a much better trigger pull, front slide serrations, and a more aggressive grip texture.
Not only that, but accessories and aftermarket support for this S&W model are plentiful. Overall, this is one of the best handguns for concealed carry and it is pretty much in every gun store these days for just about anyone to pick up. With a price tag of under 500 bucks, this is definitely a worthy investment that fires off .40 S&W, 9mm, 45 ACP, 22LR, .380 ACP, and 357 SIG calibers for under $500.
8. Springfield XDs 3.3
Springfield XD (X-treme Duty) is a series of semi-automatic pistols that are polymer-framed and striker-fired. The Springfield XDs 3.3-inch barrel model is a single-stack compact from Springfield Armory that comes with all the same virtues as the Shield and other single-stack 9mm pistols. The XDs 3.3 is light, easy to carry, and shoots very well.
Other than that, the Springfield XD even features the Springfield’s trigger safety that can easily be deactivated by just holding it. While the grip safety is a love it or hate it feature, as long as you’re able to take care and maintain a full grip on the gun, it should be a non-issue.
Similar to the Shield model discussed above, the XDs has plenty of aftermarket support for you to upgrade nearly everything. The Springfield Armory XDs 3.3 can also be found in most gun stores for under $500.
9. Taurus PT111 Millennium G2
You can actually get two Taurus PT111 G2 handguns for $500 considering they’re easily found for less than $250. Although some may think that the cheaper price tag also means that this cheaper gun cannot hang around with the Shield, XDs, or even the Glock 26. But you’d be dead wrong here.
The Taurus PT111 Millennium G2 has quickly gained a reputation for being the best budget gun available that runs reliably and shoots as well as the other models listed here. However, you’ll also have a bit less attention to detail with this plastic striker-fired gun.
With a slightly bigger construction than the M&P Shield, the PT111 Millennium G2 holds 12+1 rounds of 9mm or 10+1 rounds of .40 S&W cartridges. The larger size also means that it is easier for those with larger hands to get a full grip on. Regardless, this is a worthy option at such a good price range.
10. Hi-Point 916
Hi-Point firearms offer basic yet functional products that offer a tremendous amount of bang for the buck. The Hi-Point 916 9mm guns are semi-automatics with an 8 round mag capacity, adjustable sights, and a durable polymer frame that stands up well to abuse.
Other than that, the manufacturer even offers a wide array of pistol upgrades at very reasonable prices. Just by paying an extra $10, you get a hard storage case or a nylon holster to fit in your waistband. Other upgrades include locking cases, gun/knife combinations, and even a laser sight. You even get to select from a number of exterior finish options such as pink or digital camo patterns.
Additionally, the Hi-Point 916 pistols also come with manual thumb safety and are even backed by a lifetime warranty by the manufacturer. Although you certainly can’t expect this model to have all the bells and whistles you’d see on other carry guns here, the Hi-Point 916 pistols are definitely serviceable and affordable being one of the options under $500.
11. Mossberg MC1sc
Mossberg recently unveiled their first striker-fired semi-auto 9mm pistol, the MC1sc, that has quickly gained a reputation for its excellent durability. It has been reported that the 9mm Luger pistol can go through more than 1,500 rounds without experiencing a single function issue. With a price tag of under $500, the Mossberg MC1sc is certainly a smart buy.
Not only that, but the MC1sc comes with plenty of innovative features to make it stand out in the sub-$500 markets. For starters, the pistol has a clear polymer magazine that is easy to load and works to let you see just how many more rounds you have left on tap. The stainless steel slide also features a durable, diamond-like carbon coating with multiple frames/slide color options for you to pick from.
One of the best features from this Mossberg pistol simply has to be its safe, simple takedown procedure to eliminate the need to pull the trigger during disassembly. This process reduces the risk of an accidental discharge during disassembly.
The Mossberg MC12sc has a 3.4-inch barrel length with a total length of 6.25 inches and 22 ounces in weight. The pistol comes with an option of 6 and 7-round mags and with or without a manual crossbolt safety, depending on your personal preference.
Interestingly, Glock 43 magazines are compatible with the MC12sc, giving you access to affordable and widely available mags. The pistol also uses SIG #8 sights, which opens the market up for all kinds of night sights or high visibility day sight with longer sight radius.
Despite a very crowded concealed carry market, Mossberg has produced a high-quality semi-auto firearm with great aftermarket accessories compatibility at an affordable price of less than $500 with street prices starting under $400.
12. Walther Creed
Designed as an entry-level model to meet more budgets, Walther Creed is a relatively new pistol that comes with all the typical features the other Walther guns are known for at an affordable price.
Not only do you get incredibly comfortable ergonomics, but the Walther-tuned trigger even puts other guns that cost two times more to shame. The Walther Creed pistol is a rather compact option with 16+1 rounds capacity of 9mm cartridges that can be carried every day in your pocket and without fail, it gives you the protection you need every time.
13. Ruger LCR
This is one of the most modern and affordable revolvers on the market that utilizes a polymer frame to help reduce the overall weight. This keeps the price low whilst maintaining high quality. The LCR also comes in various calibers, such as the 357 Magnum, 9mm, 22 LR, 22 Magnum, and even the .38 Special and .38 Special +.
The Ruger LCR pistol is a 5-shot revolver that features a metal cylinder and metal barrel while the rest of the frame is coated with a durable and strong polymer material. The quality gun also sports a sub-2-inch barrel and a short set of grips to make it better for concealability.
Overall, The Ruger LCR boasts an amazing trigger and is best in its class for stock DAO revolver triggers, all for an affordable price of under $500.
14. Glock 19
If you’re looking for something that offers a more versatile role thanks to its reduced dimensions, then this is definitely the one you should consider. Chambered in 9×19, the Glock 19 pistol is popular among both private and public security agencies worldwide. In addition to its role as a conventional service pistol, the Glock 18 serves as a great concealed carry gun or a backup weapon with a retail price of $499.
15. Beretta Nano
This is one of the most overlooked subcompact polymer striker guns that many reviewers have said that it deserves a second look. The Nano retails for just under $500 and has been proven to shoot just as well as the Shield, XDs, and even the Glock 43.
Although not many pay attention to it, Beretta certainly does not cut corners in terms of quality as their handguns are built with the service markets in mind. Overall, this affordable firearm makes for a dandy backup gun or concealed carry pistol. So, if you’re on the lookout for a unique subcompact striker pistol that is different from the rest, this should be on your list.
Whether you need a quality backup pistol or a concealed carry gun for self-defense purposes without having to spend a thousand bucks, it is without a doubt that there are abundant choices under the $500 mark that are available on the market for you to pick from. Manufacturers today will always improve their current line and take the time to create top performance handguns at affordable prices.
With that in mind, you know that you don’t have to go perusing the bargain bin or pre-owned case at the local gun shop.
All the models reviewed in our article today should give you an idea of what are some of the best handguns under $500 that are suitable for defense and other purposes. From the reviews, you should be able to tell that many affordable models come with impressive features and good performance to fit your preferences and purpose.
Hopefully, today’s article has furnished you with enough information and knowledge to be able to pick a suitable quality handgun with confidence.