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Best Handguns for under $400

Best Handguns for under $400

Being adequately armed does not have to be expensive. When choosing a new firearm, the budget is the factor with the most influence for many people. Not every gun owner has an unlimited amount of money at their disposal.

The average MSRP for a brand new handgun, made by a reputable manufacturer, usually hovers somewhere between $500 and $700; and this is before essential purchases, such as a good-quality holster, spare magazines, or ammunition.

Fortunately, it is possible to find new, non-used handguns that are affordable and of good quality.

Let’s take a look at the best handgun options for under $400.

Ruger Security 9

Ruger Security 9

The Ruger Security 9 is a brand new polymer-framed handgun, released by Ruger in 2018. Falling squarely in the category of mid-sizes (or compacts), the Security 9 seems to be a direct competitor to the gold standard of mid-size pistols, the Glock 19, but at a much more affordable price point.

The Security 9 is a single-action pistol employing an internal hammer instead of a striker, making the slide easier to rack. If you don’t have a lot of hand strength, this feature can help make it much easier and more comfortable to load and shoot.

If you thought this pistol reminded you of the Ruger LCP II, that’s not a coincidence; the Security 9 is an upscaled version of Ruger’s well-known subcompact pistol. The grip texture is identical, and the trigger feels just as smooth. This handgun also features a frame-mounted manual safety and an accessory rail to mount the tactical light or laser sight of your choice.

All in all, the Security 9 checks off all the expected features from a quality mid-size handgun and is a suitable choice for home defense or concealed carrying. With an MSRP of $379, you can expect real-world prices to hover around $350, depending on the retailer.

Ruger Security 9 Specifications:

  • Chambering: 9x19mm Parabellum
  • Overall length: 7.24”
  • Barrel length: 3.42”
  • Weight: 23.7 ounces (unloaded)
  • Capacity: 10-round magazine, +1 in the chamber
  • MSRP: $379

Smith & Wesson SD9VE

Smith & Wesson SD9VE

The SD9VE is the 9mm model in Smith & Wesson’s line of polymer-framed SD VE pistols. This line came into existence in 2012 as a direct successor to the infamous S&W Sigma, discontinued in 1994 following a patent infringement lawsuit with Glock.

This model is also a polymer-framed mid-size handgun, but one that has been on the market for several years. The S&W SD9VE is a staple of budget pistol recommendations, and it’s easy to see why; high capacity, lightweight, intuitive three-dot sighting system, loaded chamber indicator, comfortable grip texture, and it’s very affordable.

The similarly priced SD40VE is also available if you prefer .40 S&W. This model trades two rounds of magazine capacity in exchange for the greater power of the .40 caliber chambering.

Although the MSRP is $389, it’s easy to find this pistol for cheaper; many retailers and gun shops will sell this pistol for under $350, and even under $300 in some cases. With the savings, you can add a good holster and extra ammunition to your shopping list.

Smith & Wesson SD9VE Specifications:

  • Chambering: 9x19mm Parabellum
  • Overall length: 7.2”
  • Barrel length: 4”
  • Weight: 22.4 ounces (unloaded)
  • Capacity: 16-round magazine, +1 in the chamber
  • MSRP: $389



SCCY (pronounced “Sky”) first introduced the CPX-1 in 2004. This Daytona Beach company’s mission statement is the commitment to the Second Amendment and providing quality, affordable self-defense pistols oriented toward the concealed carrying market.

Although SCCY is not as large or as well-known as the typical manufacturers, their products have consistently received glowing reviews. The CPX aspires to be an affordable yet quality concealed carrying pistol, reliable and dependable enough to protect your life with, yet inexpensive enough to not worry over the possibility of losing your firearm.

The SCCY CPX-1 and the SCCY CPX-2 are nearly identical, with only one difference; the former has a manual safety, and the latter does not. Both feature a 3.1” barrel, accept the same 10-round magazines, and feature a relatively heavy 9-pound trigger.

Though this may seem a bit stiff, if you’re used to double-action revolver triggers, you will find the way the CPX shoots is remarkably familiar.

Although the recommended price for the CPX-1 is $284, it’s easy to find for much less; many retailers offer it for less than $200.

SCCY CPX-1 Specifications:

  • Chambering: 9x19mm Parabellum
  • Overall length: 6.01”
  • Barrel length: 3.1”
  • Weight: 15 ounces (unloaded)
  • Capacity: 10-round magazine, +1 in the chamber
  • MSRP: $284

Taurus G2c

A new standout in concealed carry performance. The Taurus G2c series was engineered specifically for everyday carry-and it delivers. With its streamlined, ergonomic design and rugged, compact gray polymer frame, you'll find the G2c series strikes the perfect balance between comfort and confidence in any situation.

Taurus G2c Specifications:

  • Chambering: 9mm Luger
  • Overall length: 6.3”
  • Barrel length: 3.2”
  • Weight: 22.00 ounces (unloaded)
  • Capacity: 12-round magazine, +1 in the chamber
  • MSRP: $271

Hi-Point C9

Hi-Point C9

This list would not be complete without mentioning Hi-Point at least once. When you get past the appearances, you find a pistol with many attractive features, especially for the price.

The C9 is a straight blowback pistol rated for +P ammunition. While that explains why the slide is so beefy, this is a good thing; many self-defense 9mm ammunition brands are +P, and it is reassuring to know your handgun can safely fire these.

You may have heard the C9 described as being made of “plastic and pot metal;” this is not accurate. Although the frame is made of polymer and the slide material is Zamak (a type of zinc-aluminum alloy), the pressure-bearing parts, such as the barrel and chamber, are made of steel.

For its size, this gun is pretty heavy, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. You can carry this weapon concealed if you find it comfortable to do so, and the extra weight will help tame the felt recoil, particularly with +P self-defense ammunition.

Although the magazine is single-stack and only carries eight rounds (or ten if you get the ones with extended baseplates), spare magazines are also inexpensive.

Hi-Point C9 Specifications:

  • Chambering: 9x19mm Parabellum
  • Overall length: 6.75”
  • Barrel length: 3.5”
  • Weight: 29 ounces (unloaded)
  • Capacity: 8-round magazine, +1 in the chamber
    • 10-round magazines also available
  • MSRP: $199

Smith & Wesson Model 442

Smith & Wesson Model 442

There are plenty of good reasons to choose a revolver over a semi-automatic pistol: The confidence that it will fire when you pull the trigger, no magazines to worry about, no slide to pull; all that one needs is to load it, holster it, and it’s ready to go.

The .38 Special chambering has been around since the latter part of the 19th century and has remained a viable self-defense cartridge ever since. With that said, the classic .38 has come a long way since the days of blackpowder; firearms and ammunition in this chambering benefit from the latest technological advancements.

The Smith & Wesson Model 442 Airweight is a J-frame .38 Special revolver with a 5-shot cylinder. As a DAO snub-nose revolver (the barrel length is 1.875”), it is ideally suited as a backup gun or as a concealed carrying piece; no hammer for your clothing to snag on. The 442 is rated to fire .38 Special +P ammunition, allowing you to use the most modern self-defense ammunition without fear of damaging your revolver.

Although it is related to the Model 642, the frame of the 642 is aluminum alloy. In contrast, the Model 442 frame is a scandium alloy, a high-tech material with similar strength and lightweight properties as titanium.

The Model 442 has an MSRP of $477; however, online retailers and local gun shops will typically sell this model for less than $400. Being a .38 Special revolver, not only do you not have to worry about purchasing magazines, but the ammunition is also reasonably inexpensive.

Smith & Wesson Model 442 Specifications:

  • Chambering: .38 Special +P
  • Overall length: 6.313”
  • Barrel length: 1.875”
  • Weight: 15 ounces (unloaded)
  • Capacity: 5-round cylinder
  • MSRP: $477

What About Used Firearms?

It is also possible to find excellent deals on the second-hand market. If you’re looking for a discontinued model, this may even be the only way to purchase the handgun of your choice.

A common option when shopping for a used handgun is to look for police trade-ins. These pistols will generally exhibit the signs of a gun that was carried a lot but fired little. Many of these firearms will have cosmetic blemishes, such as holster wear and tear, but will still be mechanically sound, ready to be used, and fired for many more years to come.

Don’t necessarily omit handguns that have had a lot of rounds fired through them. A properly maintained handgun can tolerate many thousands of rounds and still function well.

Shopping for used handguns can, however, result in disappointment without proper research. Always make sure to have information about the firearm, and always try to inspect, or better yet, try it before you buy it.

Sometimes you can even find refurbished handguns, military or law enforcement surplus.

It is important to buy used firearms from reputable sellers. A brick-and-mortar shop with a Federal Firearms License is ideal for supporting a local business and taking a good look at the gun before you purchase it. If the store clerk or owner does not let you touch it or inspect it before buying it, pass on it and try a different store.

Buying used guns online carries a greater degree of risk. If you intend to shop online for used guns, stick to reputable websites that provide identity verification.

We The People Holsters carries a wide selection of high-quality, hand-crafted Kydex holsters for your favorite handguns. Whether you prefer to carry inside the waistband or outside the waistband, we have a holster for you. All our products are entirely and proudly made in the USA.

Browse our online store and order from the comfort of your home. If you have any questions, call us at (888) 998-6191 or send us an email at info@wethepeopleholsters.com.