Forget the Hi-Point – 5 Better Options

Forget the Hi-Point – 5 Better Options

5 Excellent, and El Cheapo Semi-Automatic Pistols

Zach Dunn

Glock, Sigs, S&W, Colt, HK, all of these brands made a great handgun, but few of them make a handgun you can pick up for less than $500.

Handguns, are some of the most important and necessary firearms an individual can own.  Sure, if there is a bump in the middle of the night, I will grab my home defense rifle or shotgun if I am at home.  But I can’t carry a long arm with me in public.  I can’t shove an AR-15 down my pants and conceal carry it, just not gonna happen.  Handguns are the best choice we have as Americans for an everyday sidearm we can use to protect ourselves and our families if, Heaven forbid, trouble comes knocking.

Handguns can be expensive, a nice 1911 will run you at least $1000, a Gen 4 Glock close to $600, and as Sig Sauer can cost somewhere in between.  Often it can be hard for someone to purchase a handgun if they are on a budget.  I’ve been there, and many of us have.

What I have done my best to do is list 5 handguns under the $500 price range that are well built, and very reliable.  Some are nicer pistols than others, but you can rest assured if you buy any one of these handguns you ill buy a gun you can bet your life on.  So without further ado, here is my list of some of the finest, cheap handguns available to American shooters today.

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Smith and Wesson SD9/40:  Smith and Wesson built a fine Glock, er, handgun with the SD 9/40.  The fact is the SD9/40 is built so similar to a Glock, and acts the same way as a Glock, if it weren’t for the not so refined finish, you’d think you were shooting a Glock.  This coming from a man who only carries Glocks for a defensive carry handgun.

My first experience with this firearm was when a good friend of mine traded a very beat up dirt bike for a SD 9 along with a Winchester pump shotgun.  The fella who traded him, had only put around 50 rounds downrange through it and it still looked brand new.  We took the gun to the range and proceeded to shoot around 250 rounds of FMJ, JHP, and nasty Russian steel through the handgun.  It ate everything up all like a hungry college student at a free Church potluck.

Field stripping the gun was almost exactly like breaking down my Glock 17 or 19, or any Glock for that matter.  In fact, I forgot I was cleaning an S&W.

Price: Around $320

Rock Island GI model 1911:  Sure there are many iconc American firearms out there, but perhaps the most iconic handgun is the John Browning designed, 1911. Today, you can purchase a extremely reliable American icon from the Philippines.  That’s right, the same country that provided the reason for the development of the 1911 and the .45ACP cartridge is now shipping hundreds of thousands of them to our shores, and that’s a very good thing.

The Rock Island 1911 is not going to win a beauty contest.  The handgun is finished in a matt black, and the grips are nothing to write home to mama about.  However at that price point, it is easy to save some money for customization later on.  The handgun is very reliable, I’ve seen just about everything fed through it from FMJS to Golden Sabres.  Accuracy is great, and you can certain upgrade from those GI sights that come standard.

And jut what is the price for this reliable, accurate, Philippines made 1911?

Price: $450-$500

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Makarov:  I will be the first to admit, most Russian handguns are about as ugly as Sally Sue who lived down the street from me growing up.  I don’t believe anyone ever kissed that poor girl.  The Makarov however is not like most Russian handguns.  This handgun was the standard side arm for the Soviet Military and it allies in the Warsaw Pact for decades, and today still serves the armies and police of many nations. Chambered in the 9x18mm makarov, This handgun has almost, but not quite as much power as a 9mm Luger round.  The Makarov is accurate, quick, and highly concealable.  What’s better is you can find them dirt cheap on

Price: Around $400

Canik TP-9 SA 9mm: In the mid 1990s, James Bond retired his iconic Walther PP/K, and switched to the new Walther P99.  The P99 is a great handgun, and fires the 9mm cartridge.  Turkey liked the sidearm so much, they started producing a copy of the P99, with a few modifications.  Today, Century International Arms imports these great handguns and sells them cheap.

The Canik is a great gun, accurate reliable, and as I just mentioned, the opposite of expensive.  This is a great option for a shooter on a budget.

Price: Around $300


Smith and Wesson M&P shield 9mm:  The M&P series have a solid reputation for reliability.  It is no different with the small frame M&P shield.  Ideal for shooters who are smaller statured, women, or anyone looking for a highly concealable firearm.  I have found these to be just as reliable as my Glocks, and they can feed anything from aluminum cheap target ammo, to a decent JHP.

Price: Around $289


  1. Pete

    Hi-Points make a Great Boat Anchor. I’ll stick with the 1991 Colt I carry…

  2. Zach Dunn

    I prefer Glock, but there are some great inexpensive pistols out there

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About The Author

Zach Dunn

Zach Dunn is one of the owners of 1776TV and serves as Senior Editor. He is a passionate Constitutionalist. He enjoys the Outdoors, Firearms, and History. He is a passionate follower of Jesus Christ. Zach is married to Amy and they have a son and three daughters. He currently resides in the Mountains of North Carolina.

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