Are you of the opinion that if you have to buy a handgun, it’s always best to buy new?

In the firearms community, the majority of people are of the same opinion. Buying a new handgun guarantees that you are getting it in its original condition, that it’s never been fired outside of the factory. It also guarantees that you will get a warranty, which provides peace of mind if you happen to have purchased a lemon.

I’m of the same opinion. I think whatever it is you’re buying, be it a car or some fancy gadget or clothes or shoes — or a handgun — if you have the money, you should buy it new. But you don’t always have the money, do you? 

If you need to buy a used handgun, you SHOULDN’T let anyone talk you out of it — unless your wife gives you money to buy one new. Ninety percent of the time, it’s okay to buy used. Just be sure that whatever it is you’re buying, it is NOT one of the handguns I’ll talk about in this topic. 

Here’s my list of the Top 9 Handguns You Should Never Buy Used. 

9: SIG P365

The SIG P320 became a household name as soon as it was adopted by the US military as their standard issue sidearm in 2017, giving it the designations M17 and later on, M18. Shortly after, a video of the pistol having an accidental discharge spread like wildfire. 

Afterward, it was discovered that when the handgun was dropped at a 30-degree angle from a certain height, its trigger would be pushed rearward by the resulting inertia, which would result in an accidental discharge. This was due to the trigger’s weight, which resulted in a lawsuit and a class action settlement in 2020.

SIG P365

SIG Sauer addressed the issue by launching the Voluntary Upgrade Program, where owners could send in their pistols to have a lighter striker, sear, and trigger installed, along with a mechanical disconnector. 

However, incidents of accidental discharges with the SIG P320 still occur. Some police departments have even stopped issuing it to their officers, like the Wyoming Highway Patrol in 2020 and just a few months ago, the Milwaukee Police Department. 

Countless police officers are claiming that their standard issue SIG P320s sometimes shoot without the trigger being pulled. There’s a pretty good possibility all those defective SIG P320 pistols have been traded in and are now being sold at other gun stores across the country. Don’t buy them. You want a used SIG? Get a P226.

8: Diamondback DB9 Gen 1, 2, or 3

The DB9, a polymer framed 9mm pistol, was introduced by Diamondback Firearms in 2011 as a super small and light weight backup that could be carried in a pocket. Despite gaining popularity, it also faced criticisms due to all the reliability issues associated with it. 

At the time, micro compact pistols were only available in .380 ACP and nowhere near as good as modern pocket carry guns like the Ruger LCP Max. Tiny pistols have traditionally been more prone to FTFs and FTEs than larger pistols. But the DB9 was plagued by even more problems. It just too small to handle the 9mm cartridge which uses bullets with varying weights.

Granted, the company said in the manual not to use bullets heavier than 115 grains or plus P rounds, but nobody ever reads the manual so many owners complained about issues such as cracked rails and failures. The pistol also had problems with its trigger, mag release, and small sights.

Diamondback DB9 Gen 1, 2, or 3

After years of addressing customer complaints, making improvements, and coming up with three more iterations, Diamondback Firearms finally released the best version of the DB9, the Gen 4, in 2019. It has street prices in the $250 range, which means you might find used previous generations selling for less. Please save yourself the headache and just buy a DB9 Gen 4.

7: Taurus Curve

Introduced by Taurus USA in 2014, the Taurus Curve is a small and lightweight semi auto chambered in .380 ACP and primarily designed to be a snag proof back up handgun that can be carried in a pocket. 

It got its name from the curvature of its polymer frame which helps with wrapping it around a person’s chest or waist. On paper, it looked great, but it was plagued with many design issues.

Besides numerous owners’ reports of FTFs, FTEs, and stove pipes when using certain ammo brands and bullet types, it had a lot of magazine issues, most of which stem from the fact that the pistol was designed with a magazine disconnect safety mechanism to make it legal in to sell and purchase in gun restrictive states. 

Taurus Curve

This feature was intended to increase safety as it was designed to prevent the gun from firing without a magazine inserted. But it was criticized by a lot of users and is viewed as the one big reason why you cannot depend on this gun. The are times it simply wouldn’t fire even when a magazine is properly inserted.

It may look like something your wife would love, but if you buy her a Taurus Curve, especially one that is used, you’ll literally give her a false sense of security.

6: Llama Mini Max Series

I wish I could tell you more about the Llama Mini Max series of pistols, but the company itself, Llama, was only in business from 1904-1991. Granted, they haven’t been manufacturing firearms for over three decades, but used Llama firearms are still in circulation. 

In general, all guns manufactured by this Spanish company are known for their hit or miss quality, but some models are more aesthetically pleasing than others, among them are pistols under the company’s Mini Max series. If you see one in mint condition, you will very likely purchase it especially if it’s selling for only $200-$300 because it looks like a miniature 1911.

Chambered in either .380 ACP or 9mm, these pistols typically have a magazine capacity of 7-8 rounds and are known for their use of soft steel which often lead to certain parts breaking after firing a few hundred rounds of ammo. 

Llama Mini Max Series

The most common part that breaks is the extractor, which means they’re no good for concealed carry. But even with light use, there are numerous reports of the magazines falling out of the gun without the mag release being pushed.

The Mini Max II chambered in .45 ACP appears to be more reliable, but I still wouldn’t carry one.

5: Kel Tec P3AT

The Kel Tec P3AT is a small, lightweight, semi automatic pistol designed as a back up gun for pocket carry and personal defense. It is a polymer framed, blowback operated pistol chambered in .380 ACP. It’s been around long before the Ruger LCP and other modern micro pistols in .380 ACP became the norm. 

The P3AT’s compact size and lightweight construction make it effortless to carry, while the simple design makes it easy to operate. It is widely popular especially among Kel Tec fanboys like myself who love the company for the things they represent. 

Kel Tec P3AT

The P3AT is generally considered a reliable firearm. Talk to any P3AT owner and nine times out of ten, they would tell you that it shoots without issues as long as you don’t limp wrist it. But the earlier runs are known to have FTFs, FTEs, stovepipes using certain brands of ammo, and magazines that either won’t insert properly, won’t lock in place, or won’t feed properly.

If you want a Kel Tec P3AT, recent factory runs have an MSRP of only $340 and street prices of $240 or even lower. They’re already priced low, why bother with a used P3AT for $150? Your life is worth a million times more than the $90 you save by buying used.

4: Taurus PT 738 TCP

Released in the U.S. in 2005, the PT TCP was manufactured by Taurus International as an ultra compact pistol in .380 ACP. It was one of the models under the company’s Taurus Compact Pistol or TCP series designed for concealed carry self defense. 

The PT 738 TCP is chambered in .380 ACP and features a polymer frame and a stainless steel slide. It was known for its small and lightweight design, as it was developed to be a pocket carry pistol. 

But Taurus is notorious for aesthetically pleasing guns with major reliability issues mostly due to the company’s hit or miss quality control, though some models have flawed designs so maybe some members of the company’s engineering team like to play hooky at work too.

Taurus PT 738 TCP

Countless owners of the PT 738 TCP reported jams, FTFs and FTEs. In addition, the trigger pull is heavy and feels gritty, which is caused by problems with either the trigger mechanism itself or the gun’s internal parts not being fitted properly. The sights were also either misaligned or not as durable as they should be, as there are reports of some PT 738 TCP’s sights that came loose or fell off. 

If some Taurus pistols are horrible brand new, then you shouldn’t purchase one used. Just get a used Ruger LCP II. You’re welcome.

3: Rohrbaugh R9

When it was released in 2003, the R9 in 9mm was the smallest, lightest, and most expensive pocket pistol in the world. It was unique because at the time, the only ultra compact pistols that could be pocket carried were ones chambered in the significantly weaker .380 ACP.

The R9 is a highly regarded firearm among enthusiasts due to its unique design, concealability, reliability, accuracy, and ease of use. Though there were owners who reported FTFs, FTEs, and stove pipes, those often resulted from limp wristing.

So why shouldn’t you buy a used R9? Because it’s pointless to buy one. 

Back when it was released in 2003, the R9 was selling for $900-$1,000. Most owners of the original R9 stopped carrying it when Remington purchased Rohrbaugh in 2014 anticipating that there would be a high demand in pre owned R9s and prices would increase because the company stopped making them. 

Rohrbaugh R9

They couldn’t have predicted the coming of the micro compacts selling for about half the price of the original R9 pistols but are similar in size, more reliable, and have significantly higher mag capacities. Today, there is NO reason to purchase an R9, even if you find one selling for half its original price.

2: All Taurus PT and Millenium Pro Series

Seven years ago, Taurus International was faced with a class action lawsuit that alleged various design and manufacturing defects in several of its pistols. Plaintiffs claimed that the pistols were prone to accidental discharges and that Taurus failed to adequately warn consumers of these potential dangers. 

The lawsuit also claimed that Taurus engaged in false and deceptive marketing practices by representing its firearms as safe and reliable. In 2017, Taurus reached a settlement in the class action lawsuit, under which it agreed to repair or replace certain firearms, subject to certain conditions and limitations. 

The company also agreed to implement changes to its manufacturing processes and quality control procedures, as well as improve its warning labels and product manuals. The settlement provided compensation to individuals who had been injured as a result of the alleged defects in nine different kinds of PT and Millenium Pro pistols.

All Taurus PT and Millenium Pro Series

These include the PT 111 Millennium, PT 132 Millennium, PT 138 Millennium, PT 140 Millennium, PT 145 Millennium, PT 745 Millennium, PT 609, PT 640, PT 24/7 pistols, and all PRO versions of these models.

Taurus never admitted design problems, but these pistols have one thing in common: they use the same striker block mechanism which is supposed to stop the firing pin’s movement in the event of a sharp impact, such as a drop. And this striker block mechanism was proven to be defective in a similar lawsuit filed against the company in 2009.

But I’m no Taurus hater. If you want a decent Taurus pistol, a G3C or a G3X will fit the bill nicely with street prices in the $200-$250 range. Just don’t buy any of the Taurus pistols I mentioned.

1: All Glock Gen 3 Pistols

Glock naysayers rejoice! Oh, sorry about that. Now, now, you fanboys listen. Your lord Gaston’s Gen 3 pistols were introduced back in 1998, and if you didn’t know, patents are typically only valid for a maximum of 20 years, which means the Gen 3 patent expired in 2018. Don’t blame it on us that we’re celebrating!

Glock Gen 3 clones and look alikes are everywhere. Some of them include, but are not limited to, Tisas’ PX 9 GEN3 Duty Pistol, Palmetto State Armory’s Dagger, Polymer 80’s PFC9 and PFS9, Rock Island Armory’s STK 100, Zev Technologies’ OZ9 series, Matrix Arms MX19, Bul Armory’s Axe series, Anderson Manufacturing’s Kiger 9C, GForce Arms GF9, Alpha Foxtrot AF-C, Live Free Armory AMP, Agency Arms Ronin, and Shadow Systems War Poet series.

Granted, companies that build these pistols cannot make a clone that closely resembles any Glock Gen 3 as far as general appearance, because Gaston can file a Trade Dress infringement lawsuit against them. But the expired Glock Gen 3 patent allows them to copy the internals of Gen 3 Glocks without fear of any lawsuit.

Glock Gen 3 Pistols

Traditionally, people only buy a used Gen 3 Glock to Gucci-fy it, otherwise they buy a Gen 4. But these Gen 3 clones and lookalikes offer consumers better options than the ANY Gen 3 Glock, whether NEW or USED. 

Why, you may ask. Well, some of the more affordable models have bonus features not found in a Gen 3 Glock, while the more expensive ones offer significant upgrades that are only seen in custom builds with higher prices, like those built by the Taran Tactical. So to all you Glock fanboys out there, sorry but Gen 3 Glocks are dead.

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