As gun control laws keep ratcheting down access to firearms and violence seems to get worse by the day, more people than ever are taking steps to protect themselves by acquiring concealed carry permits and buying their first gun. However, now members of the gun community are often shocked to see just how expensive their new undertaking can become. They just want an accurate, well-built pistol to keep on their person that will keep them protected when it matters most.
Those are the people who this article is for. If you’re looking for a solid first gun to put to use with your new concealed carry permit, and if you don’t want to break the bank, these pistols are for you.
1. Sig Sauer P250
“That is not a misprint. Sig Sauer offers a handgun for less than $500 that is extremely advanced for the price point. The P250 is a double-action-only style pistol with a modular system that allows the shooter to change to different calibers, barrel lengths, grip sizes, etc.
It may not be the US Navy SEAL’s pistol of choice, but is built in the same factory by the same skilled workers who make those very pistols.
The P250 can be had in 9mm, 357 SIG, 40 S&W, 45 ACP and 380 ACP. For less than $500 including tax, a new owner can walk out the door of his favorite gun shop with a Sig pistol, including a holster and two magazines.”
2. Ruger LC9
Excerpt from the Daily Caller’s full review:
“The Ruger LC9 is thin, lightweight and therefore easily concealed. It carries comfortably in a Versacarry or Galco Stow-N-Go holster (both are inside the waistband) without gouging my side or feeling out of balance. Yes, I wore a gun belt and yes that helped. It always does, even with smaller and lighter guns. Although you can put a shortened magazine baseplate on it, it doesn’t do all that well in a front pocket.
The Ruger LC9 is enough gun. With 7+1 rounds of 9mm on board, I’m carrying more than a typical revolver and more than enough for a civilian defensive situation.”
3. Bersa Thunder Pro Ultra Compact 9mm
Clair Rees ended his review on this gun in Personal Defense World very favorably:
“To sum up, I call the 9mm Bersa Thunder Pro Ultra Compact one heck of a bargain. It’s one of the most reliable pistols I’ve tested right out of the box. It’s easy to shoot and delivers great accuracy. As another plus, it’s definitely priced right.”
4. Stoeger Cougar
Rob Tuck at USA Carry had lots of good things to say about this gun in his review:
“Stoeger has done a great job of maintaining the legacy of this gun. It’s solid, reliable, well-built and well designed. I’m really impressed with the reliability of this gun right out of the box. There was no “break-in” period, and not a single malfunction. This definitely meets my criteria for a home defense gun, and even though it’s a little heavy, I think it would make a really good CC/EDC gun. Best of all, it’s priced well. Stoeger’s MSRP is $469 for this gun. Not bad at all considering the lineage of the gun. Do yourself a favor and go check this out at your local dealer and see if this gun is for you.”
5. Smith & Wesson SD9VE
A comprehensive review at Sensible Survival gave this guy very high marks:
“My personal impression of the SD9VE is that it appears to be a good solid, reliable firearm. The price is very reasonable. Both my wife and I fired several magazines through it. The trigger pull did not fell too stiff to either one of us, and every round fed without problem. Magazines transitions were smooth and easy, and accuracy was good. Of course, this firearm is not nearly as rugged as my all metal PT-92, but we are not anticipating prolonged field carry or huge volumes of fire. This firearm is plenty rugged enough and plenty reliable enough for civilian defense purposes. It is a great gun for the money, indeed it is the easy equivalent of guns that cost much more. I would recommend it to anyone.”
Do you have any opinions about good first guns for new concealed carriers? Tell us about them in the comments!
You forgot to mention the S&W shield which for the money is hard to beat.
If you want quality for a small price, my local gun shop was recently offering the Springfield Armory XD-9 for only $369 including a hard case and two mags. Hard to beat that for a gun that shoots as well as the XD-9.
S&W MP9c ! Double stack 12rd
Diamondback DB9. Very concealable, DAO, under $300.
As expected, you missed the clear and obvious choice, Caleb – the Taurus model 85 in .38 Special, 2″ length! $250 or so retail, 5 shots, very accurate. And RELIABLE! Never a failure to fire or jam – ever. Add a maxfire speed loader or two and you’re in good shape. Pretty hard to beat. Not every pistol needs to go back and forth. Some work very well roundy-round. 🙂 Last family reunion I pulled mine out and easily outshot for speed and accuracy against the back-and-forth versions my relatives were using. The only trouble I’ve ever had with it is when I loaded some slow speed lead bullets I had a lot of leading in the barrel. Haven’t figured that out yet – whether it was the slow speed or some other factor. Took awhile to scrape it all out.
Look up Ed McGivern sometime, author of “Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting.” He will open your mind to what is possible.
Thanks for another interesting article.
I’m not crazy about 9mm firearms. Was on Army active duty when the .45 caliber was still the issue sidearm. I don’t want to start an online food fight but that will always be my first choice. For sheer stopping power I can’t think of any standard round to top it. I might pay a little more for a .45 concealable firearm but IMHO it’s well worth it.
How about the SCCY 9mm’s. 10+1 double stack mag. With 2 mags. I bought mine new from and FFL dealer for $235.00. Have not had a misfire yet. Fully loaded it weighs in at just under 24 oz. I hope I never have to use it for more than range practice.
I just bought a Century Arms Canik in 9mm. It is a stud right out of the box. Two 18 round mags, retention holster or paddle, cleaning rod, loader, lock in a sturdy case for $399. Got mine at Cabela’s. Have seen them online also at the same price and all the extra’s mentioned. While it is NOT a pocket pistol it is a nice CC pistol. Personally I use a Brave Response Bellyband Holster. Fits sizes 20″ to 54″. Fully loaded at 18 + 1 the weight is not that uncomfortable. Very accurate and recoil is manageable even for the ladies. JMO.
In actuality, there are a LOT of good guns for a first gun under $500. As a firearms instructor, I tend to recommend a revolver for new shooters,
particularly older ladies. (Ladies in their 60’s, 70’s and above have a difficult time racking the slide.)
Inexperienced shooters can get into trouble with a semi auto. Everything from racking the slide to changing magazines can be problematic
for new shooters.
Personally, I have a couple of different weapons for concealed carry. Semi auto in every case.
The S&W SD9VE is the only gun I would discard from your list. Granted since it’s made by S&W it should be reliable. I’ve known of two of them owned by two different people, both were in the shop much more than in a holster. I would rather have a club. The M&P series can be purchased for less than the $500 you set.
I was surprised that the LC9 was the only Ruger on your short list. The SR9 and SR40 are easily under the $500 mark and are both excellent striker fired guns. But I’d agree with Darrell, a wheel gun is probably a better choice for a new CCW holder. Taurus, Ruger (LCRs), and S&W all make dependable simple to shoot revolvers from .22 up that will go bang every time you pull the trigger.
I carry a S&W M&Pc in 40S&W. Love it.
This was helpful as were the comments. I’m searching for my first and it’s great to hear what others have to say about these guns.
This should help you: https://preparedgunowners.com/2015/12/03/choosing-your-first-concealed-carry-handgun-holster-in-2015-the-short-version/
I carry a S&W M&P 9mm Shield best c.c gun I’ve shot yet never has missed fired or jammed and I’ve fired a ton of rounds threw it. But when I bought it it wasn’t under $500 but I also live in upstate N.Y.
Yes, they now ARE under $500 great guns.
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