By SweetSoulBro, Formatted by Kommandant, Spellchecked & Polished by Anonymous/Bowserforssbu
Are you a poorfag who can only spare $300 bucks for your first gun? No problem! I'll be going through a list of various guns that suck, and guns that don't suck as much, for $300 or less. Also, this list is primarily focused on defensive guns, not target or plinker firearms, so .22LRs will be ignored.
I used Gunbroker, CDNN sports, Classic Firearms, Impact Guns, JG sales, Aim surplus, and Centerfire Systems' websites to comprise these prices. Some may teeter on that $300 dollar line and does not include shipping. For Gunbroker I went with the current listing prices and noted all guns that are less than a day from ending, because with Gunbroker any gun that's more than a day from expiring will definitely not give an accurate read to its pricing. Oh, and a note, if you have less than $200 dollars a Hi point firearm (carbine or handgun) or cheap shotgun is the answer. Or save up more money, your call.
Now, onto the guns!
I'm going to start off with the handguns worth their salt. These may be used for carry, home defense (if you really want to), or whatever kind of carry you want to come up with.
- Keltec's various flavorings of handguns : Keltec, being Keltec, has a very random view on the words "Quality control", since making guns is a side thing. Most are good, but there will be one or two people who have just had an atrocious time with these guns. Buyer beware, but as a general rule, they work. See the Zimmerman example. Most can be had well under $300. AVOID THE PMR-30 AT ALL COSTS ("self-defense" Keltec chambered for .22 Magnum that is notorious for sketchy quality control, the 30-round magazine isn't worth it).
- EAA SAR/Witness and it's flavorings : Got to handle one, and I would definitely recommend these handguns, but I would do so with a warning; These guns will beat themselves up if you give it a steady diet of +P(or so I'm told), so it's best to stick to standard pressure for training and make +p a special occasion. Also, be sure to break these in with 200 rounds or so, and avoid steel cased ammo with these. They can be somewhat finicky otherwise.
- Ruger LCP : Very good firearm. Meh .380 caliber. Will go bang when you need it to. Definitely recommend.
- Hi point : it's a Hi point. It's the best gun you're going to get under 200 bucks. Big as fuck. Carri-able, just barely.
- Yugo Model 57 Tokarev : An excellent gun if armor is a problem. Self-defense ammo exists, but it's anything but common. Reliable, but the safety is literally an afterthought for import into the states. Single stack, 7.62x25 Tokarev ammo for target or self-defense, can be a bit of a pain to find unless you order bulk.
- Yugo Model 88 : A copy of the 57, but chambered in 9x19mm. Because of the change in chambering, I'd highly recommend this firearm. Haven't shot one, but have heard amazing things. Thin, light, but while you get common ammo, carrying the damn thing is tough since there are almost no commercial CC holsters for this gun. Single stack, mags are hard to find locally. Allegedly, Colt commander holsters work great for these.
- Cobray M11 : It's a giant fucking Mac-11 copy, and not one of the good ones. May work, may jam.
- Canik 55 : Finally got a chance to handle one of these guns and they are absolutely amazing for the price. I would definitely recommend these guns to a new shooter for a way to defend themselves. Works just like a P99, with the decocker and all.
- Canik TP9v2/SA/SF: Even better versions of the TP9 which, while cheap and effective, was shoddy and had bad ergos and crap trigger. the v2 is a direct upgrade from the original TP9 and has a SA/DA trigger with the decocker. The SA model is SA only with decocker (would avoid using as personal/home defense since hitting that decocker gives you a dead trigger) and the SF which is SA only and NO decocker. I own the TP9SF and it is an incredible deal for what you get, in all aspects equal with the G17 save the trigger, which if you don't mind a little take up is better than Glock's mushy, captive, stock triggers by miles. All models come with plastic form-fitting carrying case, a Serpa Blackhawk holster knockoff (not too bad actually, just don't rely on it in a self-defense situation) speed loader, and two high-quality Mec-Gar magazines. I picked mine up near black Friday for $300, but all models are usually found for $350 in various stores in black and desert tan colors. Two downsides is that the 18 round mags are a tight fit in your gun and you may have to force it but it cycles just fine with 18+1 and the clay/paint they use for the sights and indicators is poorly applied and the red paint on the loaded chamber and striker ready indicators on mine came off immediately. Lifetime warranty as long as you don't use +P or higher.
- Canik Stingray/Shark: I actually own one of these now and I have to say they are EXTREMELY nice for what they cost. The downside is that the finish is absolute crap, mine came off sitting in my jumbling range bag with a few bits of brass in it. DA trigger isn't terrible, SA trigger is terrible compared to other SA triggers. Reliable as hell. Highly recommend.
- Yugo Sig copies /CZ99/CZ999: REALLY didn't want to like these guns, but couldn't help but do so. Great guns. Made by the same people who make the PAP M92(I think.). Great guns, feed, work, and all that wonderful jazz. Buy one.
- FEG AP 762 : it's a PPK/PP look-alike chambered for .32 ACP. Great gun, slav surplus. That being said, the caliber is a bit anemic, but it WILL work for self-defense. Maybe.
- Arcus DA and it's various flavors : Buy one. Right fucking now. It's a Browning HP Copy Double action handgun. These guns are built like tanks, and boy do they work. This gun is one of the front runners.
- Bersa Thunder : I own one of these. I love it because I wanted a PPK copy that I'd actually carry, and this fit the bill perfectly. Shoots wonderfully. Accurate. Mags are expensive as fuck and it only comes with one. Comes with a magazine disconnect but is removable with a google search and a pair of pliers (I used a multitool). .380 is meh.
Classic Firearms ===
- Taurus 738 TCP : One of those .380 micropistols. Reports have shown that these are actually BETTER than the Ruger. One of the few Taurus guns I'd buy for carry, as they've apparently got their shit together.
Also, a note, a lot of these guns are available on multiple websites, I just skipped the ones I've already done.
- Taurus and Rossi Snub noses: This is possibly the cheapest snub nose revolver you can buy that (probably) won't blow up on you. I've handled a few of these, and the current stock ones..at least have their timing straight. The sights are milled lopsided, but at the ranges you're going to be using these guns, that's not an issue. These guns will stand up for a shooting session or two every few months, but they're really guns you load and keep holstered forever, not guns you can run thousands of rounds through. You probably can, but eh. Rossi is supposed to be better than Taurus, so go Rossi before Taurus.
- Charter Arms Snub Noses: Slightly better than Taurus and Rossi. They are Colt clones. Would carry if I had to.
- Smith and Wesson / Colt Oldies: The Model 10, the Police Positive, a beat-up J frame, these all fall under the same area. If they're good? Buy the fuck out of them. If they're bad? Avoid at all fucking costs. Check the timing on these guns before you buy(You can send guns back using gunbroker, anyone who says you can't is a fucking liar). The model 10 heavy barrel is my favorite because it's so damn iconic. Six shots of .38 is a downside though.
- Black powder weapons : I'm mentioning these to warn people of them. Do not buy these as your first gun for self-defense. Period. It's not that they're not bad guns, it's that unless you have sufficient land or a nearby open range(And they don't hate you for smoking their shit up), you will never practice with these. Single action is not the best for self-defense, and for the money and time you spend with these, you could have gotten a Model 10, or Colt Police. If you happen to be an Alaskan forestry/range officer looking for bear defense, however, a single-action revolver in a large enough caliber (think .44 and bigger), could technically work, maybe.
- Old S&Ws/Colts: Be extremely careful buying these. Most of these are 70+ years old, and while it may be tempting to buy a S&W model 3 for self-defense, don't be surprised if it doesn't work when you get it, and ammo for them having stopped when Kennedy was in the White house.
These guns are all over the place. I've mentioned some of them, I'll try to get the ones I missed.
- Beretta 84F and BB: The models at this price range are beaten to fuck but they still should work amazingly well. Buy them if you can. .380 Round, but 13 rounds more than makes up for the caliber.
- CZ83 : This is a .380 version of the CZ82, that shoots 9mm Makarov. 12 rounds, excellent gun, would buy if I needed a gun immediately. Grips are a bit..wide..though, and holster selection is rough.
- FEG BHP clone: Another excellent clone of the BHP. 13 rounds of 9mm. It may not be for those with larger hands, as it tends to bite those with larger hands when shooting, but it is a very well made copy for the price.
- Astra A-60 : I have no idea, but I'm sure it's better than a Jimenez.
- SCCY Pistols : I'm going to cover all four with these. These are actually not bad handguns at all. My LGS CONSTANTLY sells out of these guns, with no returns, and they even have one for rent. The only issue they've had with the gun is that the rear sight fell off around some 3k rounds, and all they did is tap it back on and haven't had any problems since. My personal favorite front runner for concealable handguns. They make safety and non-safety versions, but the safety is really unnecessary and makes the pistol harder to conceal.
- S&W SD9 and SD40 : I love these handguns. They MSRP for about $300 but can be had for $265-$268 all damn day. Trigger is HORRIBLE but can be fixed with an APEX trigger kit that cost about 20 bucks. Excellent firearm made by a reputable manufacturer. They fall behind the ARCUS due to the fact that they require 20 bucks to fix the god-awful stock trigger. Note! These are not SIGMAS, which should be avoided at all costs because they tend to break if you shoot them too much.
- Diamondback DB380 :
Didn't like these. The angle is weird, but apparently they work fine for self-defense. Only shot one once and it didn't jam when I shot it.My friend has one and it's her only gun. She gives it federal and other high end brass ammo, but it keeps failing on her. DO NOT BUY!
- Taurus Millenenum pistols: These are also a surprise in the fact that they're pretty damn good for what they are (Being made by Taurus and all that). Cheap, somewhat concealable handgun that works for what it's supposed to do. Would recommend.
- Taurus PT92 / 99: Beretta 92 Copies. Does not take Beretta mags. Have heard more good about these than bad. Handled one, didn't feel too bad.
- CZ 52 : This is one of the weirdest guns I've ever laid hands or eyes on. They field strip odd, they're big as fuck (5 inch barrel), and they're chambered in 7.62 Tok. They function excellently, but those Czechs man. Has the same ammo problem as the Yugo 57.
- Star *Star handguns : These guns are absolutely amazing, even more so at a price range from $180-$220. Work like 1911s/Sig P938s. Heavy as fuck. Reliable as fuck. Concealable as fuck. Hell, buy more than one of these if you want to.
- Makarovs : If you can find a Makarov at or below 300 bucks (I found exactly one, AT 300.), buy it if you want a Makarov. The issues with the Makarov are the fact that they're rather large for what they are (8+1 9x18mm Mak handgun), they have a heel magazine release, and ammo may require an internet order. Barring all that, you literally can't stop these guns. Also makes an excellent/terrifying bottle opener.
- Ruger P series: I'll put it this way. If you can manage to blow one up, I'll personally come to your house and shake your hand.
- Smith and Wesson Bodyguard .380: Probably the best pocket handgun you can buy in this price range. The one without the stupid laser is under 300 bucks, so get that if you're looking for a good pocket weapon. Handled one multiple times, would recommend.
I've probably missed a ton, but these are the general choices you'll have.
The only rifle worth its salt for self-defense under $300 dollars is the SKS. The Hi point carbine can fit this need at close range, but it is a pistol caliber carbine, not a rifle.
SKS in its various flavors
Outside of the Hipoint, this is literally the only rifle worth its salt to defend said house with, and it only barely slides in with it's 10 round stock magazine. The gun is damn reliable. Will feed anything you give it. It may slamfire if not cleaned. Larger magazines exist, made by Tapco and some nondescript Chinese company, but the Tapco is heresy. Use soft points/hollowpoints if you're going to use these for self-defense, and even then, mind what could be behind your target. A quality bonded bullet in JHP/SP is ideal for weight retention, expansion, and proper penetration. Federal Fusion will break the bank at a brick and mortar store, but can be found for more reasonable prices online compared to its competitors. It is excellent for self-defense/barrier penetration/hunting, but it isn't cheap. Testing of common plinking hollowpoints, (Tula, Red Army, Wolf, etc), show that they expand very little due to their small hollowpoint cavity and thick steel/copper jacket. Buy the best you can afford.
Bolt Action riflesEdit
My official opinion on Bolt guns is that they are hunting rifles and should not be pressed into use as a defense weapon unless you're a counter-sniper (for $300 bucks? As if.) or it is literally the only weapon you own. Or, it's the only weapon you have that's chambered in a non-target/rimfire caliber.
Mosin Nagant: The only reason this is here is because *it was the cheapest rifle you could get back in 2011 and before for $99. Do not spend more than $150 on a Mosin, you're far better off buying something else nowadays.*
it's still the cheapest REAL rifle you can get, hands down. While you CAN defend yourself with it, I'd recommend against it. Pretty much any commercial round will o-er penetrate like a hot knife through butter. Even soft points.
If you're going to use this DO NOT USE THIS as a self-defense/home defense weapon, be VERY careful about the background/backdrop. VERY VERY CAREFUL. This gun will punch through III hard armor plates. It does not give a SHIT about drywall, or human torsos for that matter.
Pump action shotgunsEdit
- Mossberg 500 in its various flavorings: THE go-to home defense shotgun currently. Any of the three calibers this gun is chambered in will work fine, but I'd recommend against .410 in favor of 20 Gauge since it's a much greater jump in power and shot capacity. 12 Gauge is king. Stay away from the persuader non-stocked pistol grip version, they're hard to aim. I personally own three of these and none of them have failed me.
- Remington 870: There is a current saying with Remington: Buy Old or buy expensive. The 870 Express (The cheap one) has had some..issues..as of late. if you can find one of the older ones (You can tell the age by the "barrel codes" on the shotgun), buy it immediately. Be wary of the newer(2007?- Present) ones. I own one(An older one) and it is my go-to "Combat" shotgun.
- Escort Shotguns: They feel cheap but they work.
- Pardner and IAC Hawk Shotguns: Remington 870 Clone. Everything fits on them but the barrel. Definitely a good buy. The IACs and the pardners are imported/made/produced by the same person (I think.), and as such they're damn near identical shotguns. Both feel rough but work amazingly.
- Maverick 88: Mexican Mossberg 500. has a crossbar safety(That's a button safety) instead of the tang safety(The safety on the top of the shotgun). The fore-end is cheap, but it won't break on you. Would definitely recommend.
- Winchester 1300: Great shotguns. They're disappearing fast but if you can snag one do so.
- Armscor M5: I've not heard bad things about this shotgun, but I've never seen one in person or handled one.
Kinds of Guns You Can't/Shouldn't Buy for SD/HDEdit
Semi Automatic ShotgunsEdit
The only semi automatic shotguns I found for under 300 bucks were large-barreled (26 Inch+), low capacity (2-3 rounds) hunting shotguns. SD/HD-viable semi-auto shotguns will oftentimes lie outside the general budget of anyone poor enough to be deliberately reading through this list.
Pump Action riflesEdit
All of the pump-action rifles generally fall into "Hunting rifle" or "Target rifle" categories with either crazy powerful rounds (7600 chambered in .30-06), Wildcats, fudd rounds, or .22 LR. Pump scatterguns are cheaper and more effective for SD/HD in just about every way.
Lever Action shotgunsEdit
There is only one lever action shotgun for this price range and it is a Norinco m1887 copy. It is not worth what it costs. Look up a review if you don't believe me.
Single Shot shotgunsEdit
Single Shot RiflesEdit
Guns you should never, ever, ever buy.Edit
Do not buy from these manufacturers:
- Vulcan Arms
- AMT (Unless it's one of their 1911s. Their pocket handguns fucking suck.)
- Harrington & Richardson (Or really any older top-break/gateloading pocket revolvers in fudd/oddball calibers like .32 S&W or .38 blackpowder)