Finding the right 9mm for everyday carry is not only a matter of comfort; it is a matter of life and death.
You are going to rely on this firearm when the proverbial shit hits the metaphoric fan. So you want to decide on a budget handgun that’s got your back.
How do you do this when working on a small budget? You have been drooling over John Wicks H & K P30 or the Kimber Rapide. But your price point points you in the direction of a BB gun.
The last thing you want to do is choose a concealed carry weapon (CCW) that is uncomfortable, inaccurate, or prone to jamming. I am here to tell you that you do not have to settle for a low-quality, “budget” handgun.
Making sure you get the best bang for your buck (literally) does not have to leave you with a service pistol from when Nixon was still in office.
With the number of competing brands out there, you will actually be spoilt for choice.
You want to make sure you buy a budget handgun that is accurate, reliable, and easy to carry.
So then, how do you choose?
In this topic, we will help condense those options. Let’s find out about the best budget handguns under $400.
This list is in no particular order.
With 150 years of experience behind their name, you can trust Smith & Wesson to bring you a durable CCW such as the SD9VE. It weighs in at 22.5 ounces and has a full-size frame. This is a good option if you are not too concerned with concealment and frame size.
The frame itself is polymer, but don’t let this fool you about its durability. The slide and barrel are stainless steel, with a 7.2-inch barrel. So it will eagerly eat up hundreds of rounds at the range. The magazine holds 16 rounds plus 1 in the chamber. This means you will have enough rounds in most self-defense situations.
The handgun is advertised with a new and improved self-defense trigger (SDT). While the trigger is not bad, it does have quite a heavy pull. The gun itself is accurate, but this trigger can pull you off target. If your heart is set on this model, consider a trigger spring upgrade. These are usually not much more than $20.
If you can get over the slight trigger issue, the build and design of the Smith & Wesson SD9 VE are excellent for a budget handgun. It has a high-quality feel, ergonomic handling, and reliability you can count on.
If your 9mm round is leaving the barrel of a Beretta, expect it to do so with pinpoint accuracy. The APX features a steel barrel with polygonal rifling. This is housed in a steel chassis with a technopolymer grip frame. The polygonal rifling creates a tighter gas seal, making the gun as accurate as possible.
The ergonomic grip frame makes the gun comfortable to use and easy to handle. This design allows a snug fit in your hand while also ensuring the white dot sights line up with your aim. The steel magazine holds 17 rounds plus 1. You can also get a more compact 15-round magazine or a larger 21-round magazine.
Due to its durable construction, the APX tends to be on the heavy side. It has an unloaded weight of 28 ounces with a 7.6-inch barrel. Don’t let the weight turn you away. The rounded edges and snag-free surfaces make this a dream to carry. Drawing and holstering this gun is addictive. It always slides out of the holster and instinctively lines up with the target.
The gun is equipped with a trigger safety and a striker deactivation button. This allows easy disassembly and a safe carrying experience. If you are looking for extreme comfort and accuracy in your CCW, go for the APX.
The Taurus 709 9mm slim combines full-sized features with CCW dimensions. The barrel is a mere 3 inches and the entire gun weighs 19 ounces. This makes the 709 the perfect concealed carry companion.
The slim design and textured hand-grips allow a firm grip on the gun. This is essential as the 3-inch barrel does have snappy recoil. The controls are all standard. Including a right-hand magazine release, slide release, and thumb safety. If you are a left-handed user, the magazine release can be reversed for left-hand activation. The steel slide is also equipped with a loaded-chamber indicator, so you know whether it’s live.
The 709 is described as both single-action and double-action. During normal operation, it is single-action. But if there is a failure to fire, the gun reverts to double-action. This allows you to retake the shot in the hopes the misfire won’t occur again. With a 7+1 magazine capacity, you want to make the most of every shot.
The Taurus 709’s sub-compact size, durable build, and extensive features all add up to a budget gun that’s worth the price.
The Bersa Thunder was originally designed for military and law enforcement use. This workhorse of a handgun was built to perform in adverse conditions. The durability is made possible by its precision-machined alloy construction. The alloy structure keeps the weight in check while maintaining its robust design.
It weighs in at 30 ounces with a 4.3-inch barrel. The Bersa Thunder 9 Pro is heavier than most of the guns on this list. This is due to the high-strength steel barrel. The Bersa can take a lot of abuse and the barrel is no different. Its construction allows you to put thousands of rounds through the gun. Without compromising accuracy. It also helps to prevent slide jamming and other firearm malfunctions.
The ergonomic polymer grips have been designed to fit your palms like a glove. Combined with its smooth trigger pull, it allows for an easy shooting experience. Expect accurate shots with its combat sites and polygonal rifled barrel. The magazine is a decent size, offering 17 rounds + 1 in the chamber. It includes a loaded-chamber indicator so you know when it is one-up.
With reliable performance, precise accuracy, and a robust design. It’s a surprise that the Bersa Thunder 9 Pro comes in at under $400.
LC9 stands for “lightweight, compact 9mm.” That is exactly what you get with this 0.9-inch wide, 6-inch long concealment handgun. This is perfect for concealed carry as it can be hidden almost anywhere. The glass-filled nylon frame and steel-alloy barrel contribute to its lightweight design. When the LC9 was released in 2011, it won pistol of the year. So clearly it has its advantages.
This little bad-boy weighs 17.3 ounces unloaded. It is one of the lightest 9mms on the market. The 7+1 rounds will add around 3 ounces to the weight of the gun. The 5-pound trigger makes sure you don’t pull the gun off target. The recoil is not nearly as snappy as some of the smaller options around. You can expect accurate shots and good stopping power from this little beast.
Many of us large-handed creatures have an issue with handguns of this size. Ruger definitely gave this some thought. The magazine has a contoured lip to ensure your pinky finger wraps around it properly. You can also get extended mags for an even better fit.
This is one of the best options if you want a lightweight, high-performance handgun.
6. Walther Creed
When you pick up a Walther Creed, you will be shocked at the high-quality feel. Considering it retails at $399 or cheaper. This is more gun than you could ask for at that price. The polymer frame sits in your hand perfectly. This is attributed to its wider frame, accommodating the 7.3-inch black Tennifer slide well. This allows for great weapon handling.
Total concealment may prove difficult with the Walther Creed as it is a full-sized weapon. Regardless, it is still comfortable to carry with its smoothly designed frame. You may want to stipple the grip. It looks and feels great in the hand, but once you start shooting, your sweaty palms will start to slide around. This is important as the recoil does have a kick to it. Fortunately, the accuracy picks up the slack of the recoil. You will have no issue emptying the 16 + 1 magazine, all on target.
The 6-6.5 pound trigger will keep you smiling. It actually feels much lighter and offers a streamlined shooting experience. The reset engages soon enough for you to rapid-fire with a decent grouping.
Walther is a top-notch brand that produces superior handguns. If the chunky feel doesn’t deter you, this is an excellent “high-quality” option at a budget price.
Kahr is known for its simplistic and easy-to-use designs. The CW9 is not much different with its basic polymer frame and steel slide. The shape of the grip keeps your hand close to the bore of the gun. This offers a more instinctive shooting experience. It also helps to reduce recoil and muzzle flip.
Beware of the grip on the CW9. If you have larger hands, your pinky finger will slip off the magwell. The 7-pound trigger is heavy, but the predictable break ensures you know exactly when the shot will go off. You want to make sure the Kahr fits well in your hand, as it weighs 15 oz. You don’t want the little guy to jump around. It has an overall length of 5.9 inches and a barrel length of 3.5 inches. Perfect for concealment or as a backup carry weapon.
The standard rifling of the barrel does leave you asking for more accuracy. Using a 115 grain 9mm round can help keep your groupings tight. The Kahr stands out while rapid firing. The locked breech and internal striker make sure there isn’t a long delay between shots. This makes emptying the 7+1 round capacity a breeze.
The Nano is the second Beretta to make our list, and for good reason. If you love the Beretta, then this is a brilliant option for complete concealment. The lightweight frame weighs 18.3 oz and houses the 3.07-inch barrel. The fiber-glass reinforced technopolymer frame and steel barrel ensure durability with this mini-monster.
One thing you will notice about the Nano is its smooth, snag-free textures. This allows for efficient drawing and holstering. Your hand will slip around the whole grip, so if your hands are a bit larger, you might want to consider the Ruger LC9. The magazine holds 6+1 rounds, but you can get an extended mag holding 8 rounds.
The Nano includes three safety features. A trigger safety, a striker block pin, and a striker deactivation button. These will ensure no accidents if the gun is dropped or mishandled.
One of Beretta Nano’s most notable features is its spot-on accuracy. Landing shots at 20 yards while rapid firing will prove easy. This is great considering its minute size.
The Beretta Nano manages to combine accuracy and durability into a neat little package. If you need a concealable that is deadly accurate, this is the CCW for you.
If none of the options on this list satisfy your desire for a concealed carry weapon, you might consider looking into used handguns. Our inner child sometimes tells us we want the best the market has to offer. You can usually find handguns in excellent condition that will fit under the $400 mark. This is perfect if you have your eyes on a more expensive model but don’t want to fork out the extra cash.
Take a look at some of the CCW’s Glock, CZ, and Sig Sauer produce. You won’t regret buying one of these. If you do go this route, always make sure replacement parts are available.