When it designed the Nano, Beretta reimagined the concealed-carry pistol. These striker-fired guns have been contoured to prevent snagging on clothing during the draw, and have a width of only 0.9 inches. Chambered in 9mm, the Nano comes with six- and eight-round magazines. Additionally, the frames can be quickly swapped out for the shooter’s preferences. <strong>MSRP: $445</strong>. (<a target=blank href=http://www.beretta.com/en-us/bu9-nano/>http://www.berettausa.com</a>; 800-929-2901)
At only 0.72 inches wide, the Pico is the thinnest pistol in this list. Combined with its 11.5-ounce weight and melted edges, the Pico is extremely easy to carry and to conceal. The gun is chambered in .380 ACP and holds six rounds in its standard magazine. The Pico also features a double-action-only trigger. <strong>MSRP: $398</strong>. (<a target=blank href=http://www.beretta.com/en-us/pico/>http://www.berettausa.com</a>; 800-929-2901)
The BP9CC is a thin, single-stack 9mm pistol that is easy to shoot and affordably priced. It has a full-length polymer frame, allowing for a good grip when shooting, plus it allows eight rounds in a standard magazine. Bersa uses a short-reset, precocked striker-fired trigger system with a crisp break and a fast reset. <strong>MSRP: $430</strong>. (<a target=blank href=https://bersa.eagleimportsinc.com/bersa/firearms/bp-concealed-carry-series/models/bersabpcc9mm-927>http://www.bersa.com</a>; 732-493-0333)
Wheelguns, especially those chambered in .44 Special, continue to be a formidable tool with which you can defend your life. This five-shot revolver offers a full grip with a large front ramp sight to help put rounds on target. The Bulldog also has an exposed hammer, though double-action-only models are available. <strong>MSRP: $405</strong>. (<a target=blank href=http://www.charterfirearms.com/products/charter_bulldog_74420.asp>http://www.charterfirearms.com</a>; 203-922-1652)
Chambered for the legendary .357 Magnum, the Mag Pug On Duty is a compact, five-shot revolver with a 2.2-inch barrel and fixed sights. To help with recoil, the barrel is ported. Charter Arms builds this gun with a partial hammer shroud to prevent the gun from snagging when drawn. <strong>MSRP: $398</strong>. (<a target=blank href=http://www.charterfirearms.com/products/Charter_Mag_Pug_On_Duty_73510.asp>http://www.charterfirearms.com</a>; 203-922-1652)
Large enough to obtain a full grip, the Kahr CT9 has a 4-inch barrel and holds eight rounds in its standard magazine. The 18.5-ounce gun remains thin, however, at just 0.9 inches at the slide, making it easier to conceal. A matte stainless finish and black polymer frame combine for an appealing two-tone look. <strong>MSRP: $449</strong>. (<a target=blank href=https://www.kahr.com/Pistols/Kahr-CT9.asp>http://www.kahr.com</a>; 508-795-3919)
Thin and compact, the polymer-framed CW9 is a single-stack 9mm that holds seven rounds in the magazine. A smooth trigger pull and 3.6-inch barrel contribute to the gun’s very good accuracy. Unloaded, the gun weighs less than a pound, yet its recoil is not harsh. <strong>MSRP: $449</strong>. (<a target=blank href=https://www.kahr.com/Pistols/Kahr-CW9.asp>http://www.kahr.com</a>; 508-795-3919)
One of the more popular subcompact pistols on the market, the P-3AT is a polymer-framed, double-action-only pistol chambered in .380 ACP. Weighing only 8.3 ounces unloaded, this 2.7-inch-barreled gun can easily slip into a pocket and be carried very discreetly. The pistol’s standard magazines hold six rounds of .380 ammo. <strong>MSRP: $318</strong>. (<a target=blank href=http://www.keltecweapons.com/our-guns/p-3at/pistol/>http://www.keltecweapons.com</a>; 321-631-0068)
Packing 7+1 rounds in its 0.88-inch-wide frame, the Kel-Tec PF-9 is a popular concealed-carry pistol chambered in 9mm. Even with its small size, the gun has useable sights and an accessory rail. Though it is one of the lightest 9mm pistols on the market, the gun is rated to handle +P ammunition. <strong>MSRP: $333</strong>. (<a target=blank href=http://www.keltecweapons.com/our-guns/pf-9/pistol/>http://www.keltecweapons.com</a>; 321-631-0068)
Updated to include a striker-fired system, the 3.12-inch-barreled Ruger LC9s is an easy-to-carry 9mm pistol that is less than 1 inch thick. It holds seven rounds in the magazine and is fitted with adjustable three-dot sights. Unloaded, the gun weighs 17.2 ounces. <strong>MSRP: $449</strong>. (<a target=blank href=http://www.ruger.com/products/lc9s/models.html>http://www.ruger.com</a>)
A full-size 9mm pistol, the SR9E is a budget-conscious pistol for home defense and other self-defense needs. The double-stack magazines hold 17 rounds and the gun comes fitted with large, three-dot sights. An accessory rail is also standard on the 27.2-ounce SR9E. <strong>MSRP: $429</strong>. (<a target=blank href=http://www.ruger.com/products/9E/models.html>http://www.ruger.com</a>)
It is hard to beat the value of the SCCY CPX-2 pistol for concealed carry. This 9mm double-action pistol is light on price and weight. The gun comes with three-dot sights and a pair of 10-round magazines. Even with double-stack magazines, the gun is only 1 inch wide and weighs 15 ounces unloaded. <strong>MSRP: $314</strong>. (<a target=blank href=http://www.sccy.com/products/cpx-2-cb-9mm>http://www.sccy.com</a>; 866-729-7599)
One of the best values among full-size handguns is the SD40 VE from Smith & Wesson. Chambered for the .40 S&W, this 14+1 pistol comes with three-dot sights, an accessory rail and a lifetime service policy. These striker-fired pistols can also be had in 9mm with a 16+1 capacity. <strong>MSRP: $389</strong>. (<a target=blank href=http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Category4_750001_750051_757962_-1_757752_757751_image>http://www.smith-wesson.com</a>; 800-331-0852)
If you are looking for a concealed-carry pistol with a good balance between shootability and concealability, take a look at the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield. Thin and light, they are nonetheless very accurate pistols. The guns are available in both 9mm and .40 S&W, with seven- and six-round magazines respectively. <strong>MSRP: $449</strong>. (<a target=blank href=http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Category4_750001_750051_780153_-1_757781_757781_image>http://www.smith-wesson.com</a>; 800-331-0852)
Chambered in .40 S&W, the PT140 Millennium G2 is an updated version of the company’s popular double-stack, compact pistol. Offering double-action/single action operation, it holds 10 rounds in the magazine. The barrel length is 3.2 inches, and the gun weighs 22 ounces unloaded. <strong>MSRP: $435</strong>. (<a target=blank href=http://www.taurususa.com/product-details.cfm?id=873&category=Pistol>http://www.taurususa.com</a>; 800-327-3776)
Available in both 9mm and .40 S&W, the PPX is an exceptional value in a home-defense pistol. This full-size handgun has large sights, an ergonomic grip and up to 16 rounds of ammunition in each magazine. In addition to its 4-inch barrel, the pistol’s accessory rail allows for the addition of a white light or laser. <strong>MSRP: $449</strong>. (<a target=blank href=http://www.waltherarms.com/ppx>http://www.waltherarms.com</a>; 479-242-8500)
In hard times, the need for self-defense becomes all the more real. Home invasions, civil disturbances and outlaws looking for a quick score all seem to be an increased threat. Citizens not only have the right to defend themselves, but the absolute duty to do so. Buying a handgun—combined with good training and an understanding of the law—is a good step toward providing for your family’s safety should a two-legged predator come around.
The gun you select will vary based on a number of factors, such as its intended purpose, which could be concealed carry or home defense. Car-building icon Henry Ford achieved monumental success by bringing high-quality rides to the masses while nailing the ultimate factor for us regular folks—price point! Price is often the limiting factor as the family budget has to keep food on the table. The following handguns are quality self-defense choices, each with a retail price of less than $450.
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