Let’s say you’ve decided to begin the habit of legally carrying a concealed handgun for the protection of yourself and your family. You do a little research and find out that a good gun will probably cost you about $700, give or take a few bucks. A holster will run you another $60 to $100. Throw in a couple of boxes of good self-defense ammo, along with 1,000 rounds of range ammo for training, and you’re getting close to the $1,000 mark. Suddenly, everyday carry doesn’t sound so feasible for those on a fixed budget, in lower income brackets or whose priorities (or significant other) just won’t let them spend a grand on a new gun and related gear. But budget concealed carry handgun options exist.
A Growing Budget Concealed Carry Handgun Market
What if I told you that you could get a decent EDC handgun and related supplies for around half the amount above? Fact is, there are some pretty nice handguns—both semi-automatic and revolvers—that are available for far less than that original $700 estimate, and many are of very high quality.
Budget handguns are actually one of the fastest growing segments of the pistol market, as new people interested in shooting and carry are often hesitant to spend a lot of money just getting started. Additionally, many seasoned gun owners looking for a new carry piece have learned that it’s not necessary to spend a fortune to get a good gun.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at five fine budget concealed carry handgun options that can serve your EDC needs quite well. Note that we’re not talking about used handguns here. These are all brand new pistols that have an MSRP right around the $300 mark and can be had for somewhat less than that at many retailers. Used versions can be found for closer to $200, yielding an even better bargain.
If that’s out of your price range, you might want to reevaluate how much you value your safety and that of your family. Finding a way to EDC on a budget is good. Skimping to the point that you carry a poorly made, unreliable handgun, not so much.
Our List of Budget Concealed Carry Handgun Options
Note also that any of these budget concealed carry handguns would also make a great addition to the bugout bag you keep ready in case of an emergency. At these kinds of prices, there’s no reason to not have an extra handgun or two where its accessible in a future STHF scenario that might or might not occur.
Taurus 738 TCP
Moderately lightweight with its polymer frame and steel slide, the Taurus 738 TCP is a true “pocket pistol” chambered in the .380 cartridge. While some experts have no love for the power of the .380, the smaller cartridge does allow companies to build a smaller handgun than those made in larger calibers, helping with ease of carry. And while greatly improved self-defense ammunition offered over the past several years doesn’t push .380 loads to 9mm power levels, it still makes the cartridge a viable self-defense alternative and one for which many budget pistols are chambered.
Weighing in at a little over 10 ounces, the diminutive Taurus has a 2.84-inch barrel and wears a set of u-notch rear and fixed front sights that work fine for the close ranges typical of self-defense scenarios. The gun is 3.75 inches tall and .87 inches wide. Unlike many pocket pistols, the little Taurus is hammer fired, although the hammer is hidden from sight under a channel in the slide. It has no thumb or trigger safety, but neither do most pistols of this size.
The Taurus 738 TCP .380 is available in all black, two-tone stainless or pink. With an MSRP of $249 and a street price in the $225 range, it’s hard to beat for someone looking for a budget EDC pocket pistol. For even more info, please visit TaurusUSAcom.
Taurus 738 TCP Specs
- Caliber: .380 ACP
- Barrel: 2.84 inches
- Overall Length: 5.2 inches
- Weight: 10.2 ounces (empty)
- Height: 3.75 inches (with standard mag)
- Width: .87 inches
- Frame: Polymer
- Sights: U-notch rear, blade front
- Action: DAO
- Finish: Black, two-tone stainless, pink
- MSRP: $249
A newer small pistol chambered in the .380 cartridge, the SCCY CPX-3 also meets all our requirements for a top-notch budget EDC handgun. A spinoff of the company’s 9mm CPX-2, the new model is a little bit smaller with an overall length of 5.7 inches and height of 4.9 inches. It weighs 15 ounces empty, and has a width of 1.26 inches.
The CPX-3 has a polymer-grip frame with finger grooves mated to a 7075-T6 aluminum-alloy receiver. The stainless steel slide is available in natural stainless or black nitride finish. Interestingly, the frame is available in 10 different grip colors including orange, purple, pink and a number of others. The gun features a hammer-fired, DAO operating system with a trigger pull of about 9 pounds.
An interesting feature of the CPX-3 is the Roebuck Quad-Lock system, which the company says provides more accuracy. According to SCCY, when the pistol goes into lock-up, the barrel is forced into a V-groove that contacts and centers it, which eliminates barrel movement during lock-up.
The CPX-3 retails for $305 but is available from several retailers less than our $300 threshold. I wouldn’t hesitate to carry one of these little beauties loaded with top-quality self-defense loads. As an added bonus, the gun ships from the manufacturer with three 10-round magazines, one with a finger extension. For even more info, please visit SCCY.com.
SCCY CPX-3 Specs
- Caliber: .380 ACP
- Barrel: 2.96 inches
- Overall Length: 5.7 inches
- Weight: 15 ounces (empty)
- Height: 4.90 inches
- Width: 1.26 inches
- Frame: Zytel polymer
- Sights: Three-dot
- Action: DAO
- Finish: Natural stainless, nitride
- MSRP: $305
A jump up from the pocket-sized pistols previously discussed, the Canik TP9SF in 9mm is a full-sized semi-auto that can be handily carried in a good holster or would make an equally good nightstand or bugout gun. It is a Turkish-made budget model of the imported Canik guns that have become so popular of late because of their reliability and accuracy. In fact, the TP9SF is the standard sidearm of the Turkish army.
The semi-auto uses a striker-fired mechanism much like that of the popular Glock pistols. Unlike many budget-priced handguns, it features a Picatinny rail built into the dust cover for mounting lasers, lights or other accessories. It’s single-blade safety is located within the triggerguard, and it also has a loaded chamber indicator for an easy reminder of charge status.
Another great feature is the pistol’s sighting system. It comes stock with Warne Tactical sights with a front dot sight, making sighting much easier than with many common budget handguns.
The Canik has an MSRP of $299, which is nearly unheard of for a quality 9mm pistol that will hold 18+1 rounds of ammo. Many such pistols retail for twice that or even more. It is offered for $275 or even less by some retailers. For even more info, please visit CanikUSA.com.
Canik TP9SF Specs
- Caliber: 9mm
- Barrel: 4.46 inches
- Overall Length: 7.5 inches
- Weight: 28.5 ounces (empty)
- Height: 5.7 inches
- Width: 1.35 inches
- Grips: Polymer
- Sights: Warren Tactical rear, dot front
- Action: Striker-fired
- Finish: Black
- Capacity: 18+1
- MSRP: $299
Another smallish, easy-to-carry handgun, the Bersa BPCC is a definite contender that you should seriously consider for your budget EDC needs. It’s available in .380 ACP, 9mm and .40 S&W, so shooters have a variety of caliber choices depending on their wants and needs.
Providing accuracy and firepower in a lightweight, compact, ultra-thin handgun, the BPCC is Bersa’s first polymer-frame handgun and has many features designed specifically for concealed-carry practitioners. The single-stack pistol is less than an inch wide, and measures only 6.35 inches long and 4.8 inches in height. Capacity for the .380 is 8+1.
The BPCC features a high-impact polymer frame, integral locking system and a micro-polished bore with sharp, deep rifling. Its short reset DAO action allows for quick follow-up shot if the need should arise. With a steel slide, the BPCC is available in duotone or matte black finish. The generous beavertail and low bore axis make the pistol easy to grip and shoot accurately. The gun also features a three-dot Glock-type sighting system for easy target acquisition, ambidextrous controls and a Picatinny rail for mounting lights, lasers and accessories.
MSRP for the BPCC is a surprisingly low $302, and the gun can be found in the $275 range. For even more info, please visit Bersa.eagleimportsinc.com.
Bersa BPCC Specs
- Caliber: .380 ACP, 9mm, .40 S&W
- Barrel: 3.3 inches
- Overall Length: 6.35 inches
- Weight: 21.5 ounces (empty)
- Overall Height: 4.8 inches
- Width: .94 inches
- Grips: Polymer
- Sights: Three-Dot
- Action: DAO
- Finish: Blued
- Capacity: 8+1
- MSRP: $302
Last but certainly not least, here’s one for you wheelgun fans—and you know who you are. Revolvers still have a prominent place in the concealed-carry world. Many Americans still favor them for their inherent simplicity and reliability over some budget semi-autos. They make for a budget great concealed carry handgun.
The Taurus 605 is a double-action/single-action, five-shot, snub-nose revolver chambered in .357 Mag. Some models feature an exposed hammer that can be manually cocked for single-action use, while others are double-action only with a bobbed hammer. At only 6.5 inches in length and an empty weight of 24 ounces, the is as easy to carry in a pocket as in a belt holster.
One of the big advantages of this revolver over some of the semi-autos we’ve discussed is its ability to shoot the powerful .357 Mag. cartridge. But you can use milder .38 Special ammo for practice to save your ammo budget and your hands. The soft rubber grips also help soak up recoil. Meanwhile, the sighting system is comprised of a notch rear and blade front sight. Some variations even come with a fiber-optic front sight.
The Taurus 605 has an MSRP of around $400. However, a brief search revealed that it is available for $275 from at least one online retailer. For the price, it’s a fine revolver that would be at home in your holster or your bugout bag. For even more info, please visit TaurusUSAcom.
Taurus 605 Specs
- Caliber: .357 Mag./.38 Special
- Barrel: 2 inches
- Overall Length: 6.7 inches
- Weight: 20 ounces (empty)
- Overall Height: 4.50 inches
- Width: 1.4 inches
- Frame: Steel
- Sights: Fixed rear, fiber-optic front
- Action: SA/DA
- Finish: Stainless steel, blued
- Capacity: 5
- MSRP: $400
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