Ammo prices are high, gas prices are high, and interest rates are through the roof. You don’t need your new concealed carry gun to also be priced high. Here are five guns that you should typically be able to find under $500 – new! – that are great carry options.
DOES 'BUDGET' MEAN LOW QUALITY?
No, at least for the guns on this list. All of these guns deliver a solid value, while being backed by a reliable reputation. We’ve also put these guns through personal testing over the years, and a few have even found their way into our personal collections.
In this case, budget means quality at a fair and affordable price. There may be a feature or two you wish each gun had, but remember, these are commonly found under $500, so it’s hard to complain too much.
SPRINGFIELD ARMORY HELLCAT
Consumers have been going crazy for the Hellcat since it was released in 2019. This is admittedly one of my favorite micro-compact pistols on the market. Springfield paid close attention to the finer details as well as the major ones with the Hellcat. It features an adaptive grip texture that provides more grip the tighter you squeeze it. This is great for carrying because it reduces potential snagging on your clothes.
The U-dot sights come standard with a front tritium sight that is easy and quick to acquire. While some claim the flat-face trigger is gritty, I have not experienced that and actually enjoy the trigger. I’d suggest opting for the OSP version, which comes with an optics-ready slide. Other than adding your favorite red dot, there is not much to change with this gun.
The M&P Shield has seen several iterations over the years, each with welcomed improvements that include the introduction of the Shield Plus. The most recent model is the Shield Plus OR, which is the optics-ready version. It gives you essentially everything you’d want in a carry gun.
From the flat-face trigger and the tritium night sights to the optics-ready slide, you’re set to go straight out of the box. It’s another micro-compact pistol that boasts a generous 13+1 capacity. The accessory rail does have some room for improvement, but there are still great accessories you can add to it, such as the Streamlight TLR-6.
If you were to look at all of the guns on this list, I bet the TP9 Elite SC would catch your eye first. It features a tungsten Cerakote over the slide and an over-sized ambidextrous slide release. Another unique feature to find at this price point is the match-grade barrel. From testing, the gun is also accurate and provides a fantastic trigger right out of the box.
On top of all that, you get a solid accessory rail, reversible mag release, and an optics-ready slide. I have noticed there are fewer holster options than some of the other popular guns in the market, but there are still plenty of holsters to choose from. Beyond that, the gun just runs like a tank.
The CZ P-10 C is the largest on the list and has nice ergonomics, both of which make it feel great in the hand. Depending on whether you get a Czech-made or US-made P-10, there will be slight differences in features, but let’s use the US-made version for discussion purposes.
A couple of the main features you’ll get are a front tritium night sight, reversible mag release, and the option for an optics-ready slide. The standard mags give you a 15+1 capacity, so you’ll be in great shape from a capacity standpoint.
The DVG-1 RDR, the red-dot-ready version of the DVG-1, is one of the most compact and affordable on the list. Despite the low price, you still get an optics-ready slide, flat-face trigger, and a 10+1 capacity. It’s SCCY’s first striker-fired pistol, but you can tell the research and development behind it was plentiful.
While the trigger could stand to use a little bit of work to smooth it out, it’s consistent and otherwise adequate. You do wind up getting used to the trigger after only a few magazines, at least in my experience. If size matters to you, in terms of being more compact, this is definitely one to consider.
My answer would be all of them! If that’s not the answer you’re looking for, you’ll have to check them out for yourself. All joking aside, any one of the above-mentioned guns makes for a great EDC option.
From a practical reliability and features standpoint, I wouldn’t hesitate to carry any of these. In fact, I carry a couple of them quite often. Do your research, handle the guns if possible, and decide which is the best for your personal needs.