Best Handguns Under $400
New guns come out all the time, but what are some of the outstanding value guns for 2018? As it turns out, there are a few. Some are entirely new, others are an update on an existing pistol that still warrants looking at. Every one of them would be a great addition to a safe, and every one makes an excellent carry gun as well.
Here are some very decent pistols that retail for less than $400, either in MSRP or are easily found with a street price under $400. If you wanted a budget gun either for carry or range use, these would be some good ones to look at.
Dimensionally, it's near as makes no difference the same size, as it is near as makes no difference the same gun. Capacity is the same (7+1) and dimensions are the same, as are the controls. The principle difference is the sights are fixed, having been machined into the slide instead of dovetailed, much like the LCP vs the LCP380.
Everything you need, nothing you don't, a price that's nice and from one of the most trusted names in guns. What more could you ask for?
The Taurus G3C is the PT111 Millennium G2 with a facelift and a few other minor improvements. Taurus has quietly been revising their products and improving their QA/QC processes to make their guns more durable and reliable, so the narrative of poor quality is slowly beginning to change.
Besides a revised slide, the G3C also has Glock sight cuts so you can much more easily swap the factory irons. Taurus also offers the G3C in their TORO configuration, which has an optics-ready slide, as well as the G3XL, which is a G3C frame frame with the G3 (their full-size model) slide and barrel.
MSRP for the standard G3C is $339, but street prices can be as low as $200.
Ruger Security 9
The Ruger Security 9 pays homage in name to the Security 6, a service revolver made by Ruger back in the 70s and 80s that was later replaced by the GP100. The Security 6 offered incredible performance for the asking price, as it was far more durable than comparable guns by S&W (and certainly more so than Colt; another Colt revolver just went out of time as this was written) but commanded far less in sticker. The Security 9 has a lot to offer for a serious bargain as well.
The Security 9 is the same size and similar specs to the Glock 19 and similar guns. You get 15+1 of 9mm, a 4-inch barrel and a slim, light frame for easy daily carry. The trigger is a tabbed striker-style trigger, though it has a light DAO firing system. A manual safety is included in case you want to use it, but you don't have to. While it may not have an extensive features list, you still get a great gun for not much, as the $379 MSRP is enough for almost anyone to get themselves one.
The Taurus GX4 is their take on the double-stack slim subcompact, with similar dimensions and capacity as guns like the Sig P365, Shield Plus and Springfield Hellcat.
It's a slim striker-fired subcompact, with a 11+1 (or 10+1 for ban states) capacity in 9mm. Reviews and owner reports indicate the GX4 is leaps and bounds ahead of Taurus pistols of years prior in terms of build quality, so it may well be a budget-friendly sleeper in this segment.
MSRP is $392, but street prices are typically below $300.
M&P Shield 380 EZ
If you want a carry gun that's easy to shoot and won't break the bank, the M&P 380 Shield EZ is as good as it gets. Smith and Wesson scaled the Shield up and gave it a longer barrel - 3.675 inches compared to 3.1 inches in the standard model - but changed the chambering to .380 Auto. Along with reducing recoil, that also means the recoil spring isn't as stiff, making it a breeze for anyone to operate.
MSRP is $399, so you should be able to find it in stores around $350 in many cases. While it's budget-friendly, you do get a good list of features. Accessory rail for a laser or light, optional manual safety, a textured slide for easy operation, 8+1 capacity and the easy shooting dynamics of the .380 round in a non-pocket pistol. That's a lot for not too much.
SAR B6P and B6
Turkish guns, such as the SAR B6P and B6 and many others, have been gaining a reputation over the past decade or so as providing astonishing value for money, with these pistols among the examples. The SAR pistols are imported by European American Armory (known for the Witness line of pistols, among other firearms) from Sarsilmaz, a Turkish gunmaker that's been in business since the late 19th century. Their pistols are built on contract for the Turkish military and police, so these are service-grade arms with a 25,000 round service life.
The SAR B6P and B6 are derived from the CZ75, as the slide rides inside the frame rails. Unlike the CZ 75, SAR employs a polymer frame. Both are double action/single action, with a frame-mounted manual safety. The standard B6 has a 16-round capacity, and the B6P carries 13 rounds. The latter can be had with a 4.5-inch barrel, like the standard B6, or a 3.8-inch barrel. The B6P is also available with multiple finishes.
Reviews praise the B6 as a solid shooter being one of the most accurate pistols under 400, along with it's reliability and shootability to guns that command double the sticker or more - as MSRP is a very reasonable $393.
Multiple Beretta APX models are found with a sub-$400 street price. They are absolutely being slept on by the shooting community, as they are rugged, reliable and very capable pistols of the poly/striker variety.
The full-size APX (which is now discontinued, though in-stock) and the new APX-A1 are the common full-size models (17+1 of 9mm) and the APX Carry (single-stack subcompact) is also frequently found out there.
Smith and Wesson SD9ve
The SD9VE and SD40VE are bare-bones, full-size...ish (4-inch barrel, so kind of between full-size and compact) striker-fired (really, DAO) pistols with little adornment. Stainless slide, polymer frame with a Picatinny rail and a passive trigger safety. Standard capacity magazines hold 16 rounds of 9mm, low capacity holds 10. The trigger is a bit rough, breaking at 8.5 pounds - though aftermarket springs can reduce it to 6. Most reviews praise the SD9ve's accuracy and reliability, and it will run +P, though the manufacturer says it might require more frequent service.
Many reviews advise opting for an aftermarket spring to tame the trigger, but you're not likely to find as good a bargain from a major player in firearms. MSRP is just over $400, but street prices are usually around $350.
The Canik TP9 family is astonishing value for money, with multiple models - the TP9SA Mod.2, TP9SF, TP9DA, TP9SF Elite and Elite SC - with an MSRP below or close to $400, and street prices well below that.
For that, you get a polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol that's accurate, reliable, ergonomically excellent and has a very decent factory trigger. Canik's factory is both ISO9000 and NATO certified, and their pistols are made for and issued to military and police personnel worldwide, so they are the real deal.
Canik guns bring a lot to the table for not a whole lot, and factory/aftermarket support is getting better. The larger guns make excellent range guns, and the TP9SF Elite and Elite SC make very capable carry guns.
SCCY CPX-1 and CPX-2
The SCCY CPX-1 and CPX-2 are compact double-action (with an internal hammer) 9mm pistols, slightly resembling a PPK, and are offered at just around $300 MSRP - expect to pay much less in stores. Both hold 10 rounds in a double-stack magazine, and are available in black stainless or black stainless with nitride finish along with a polymer frame, available in many colors. If you are looking for a solid gun under 400, this could be a great option.
The difference between the two is the CPX-1 comes with a manual safety mounted on the frame, the CPX-2 has none. SCCY (pronounced "sky") won't win any shooting competitions, but it is a solid working gun, as reviews indicate that they are reliable, accurate and shootable for a subcompact - that also happens to be made in America..
Walther CCP M2
The Walther CCP is a sleeper in Walther's catalog. It's a light DAO (internal hammer-fired) with a gas-attenuated blowback design adapted from the HK P7. They shoot incredibly soft and are easy to manipulate, with a much lower spring rate due to not having a Browning-style short recoil system.
The gun is offered in 9mm and .380 ACP. Capacity is 8+1 for both and all specifications are likewise the same.
While 9mm is obviously the standard choice as a carry gun, the CCP 380 is frankly the cheat mode version of the gun. Recoil is almost nonexistent, and with Walther's ergonomic design it's a joy to shoot. Finding one for just under $400 is very doable, as they are almost criminally overlooked.
Rock Island Armory GI Standard .45 ACP
Don't start with any of the "jUsT aS gOoD" nonsense. It's not a Wilson Combat, it's not a Dan Wesson. Don't even go there. You're wrong, and you're fooling yourself if you even start to think it.
BUT...what Rock Island Armory pistols ARE is incredibly well-made for the price point and build method. It's chock-full of MIM parts, but the barrel and extractor is usually fit very well for a factory 1911. And since it is a GI-style 1911, just about everything can be upgraded if you want to.
Aside from that, it's a bare-bones GI model in .45. MSRP is about $500, but finding them for just under $400 in stores is common.
For a list of holsters available for some of these models and more visit the Holster Finder - Search by Gun page.
About The Author
Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests include camping, hunting, concealed carry, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible..