America loves polymer pistols. You can verify this by visiting any gun store. The company responsible for this love affair is Glock, the iconic Austrian gun maker that has entrenched itself in innumerable police departments because of the reliability of its pistols. Most models are on their third or fourth generations now, but you can still purchase factory-new examples of the older models at a bargain. One such pistol is the Glock 20, chambered in the hard-hitting 10mm. Beyond self-defense and range duty, this round has proved itself on medium and big game. MSRP: $500-ish.
No matter how many new-fangled semis hit the market, the revolver still has a following. The reason is simple: they work. You pull the trigger and they go boom, whether its dusty, dirty, woefully under- or over-lubricated, or still stuffed inside a pocket. The Model 442 from Smith & Wesson is a prime example of the modern wheelgun, complete with a lightweight frame and a snag-free concealed hammer that makes drawing a breeze. Chambered in .38 Special, the 442 is rated to take continuous +P abuse so you can practice with the same high-octane rounds you use for self-defense. MSRP: $469.
The design is actually better than 100 years old now, but who’s counting? Uncle Sam originally commissioned this auto loading pistol, chambered in the formidable .45 ACP. Since 1911, the U.S. military acquired some 2.7 million M1911 and M1911A1 pistols during its service life. The widespread adoption has made the handgun a favorite for law enforcement, home defense, and competitive shooting the world over. Thanks to Rock Island Armory, you can own a 1911 much the same as those carried when our boys took Omaha Beach. MSRP: $500.
Whether you’re performing off-season repairs on your duck blind in the heart of snake country or traveling through the wrong side of town, you can depend on the Texas Defender from Bond Arms to reliably repel any serpents that mean you harm. The double-barreled derringer conceals easily in pocket, purse, or boot to be ready whenever danger rears its head. The three-inch tubes can accommodate .45 Colt cartridges or 2.5-inch .410 shells to quickly disperse lead. The stainless steel frame is compatible with all Bond Arms barrels, so you can change calibers down the road. MSRP: $493.
The humble .380 cartridge has come a long way, packing more defensive punch than ever before. And now you can pack more comfortably, thanks to the Taurus Curve. This unique semi is designed to be carried sans-holster, thanks to its innovative body-hugging curved design that all but eliminates printing and pocket clip. To add to the self-defense utility of this diminutive brawler, a Viridian laser and weapon light is built-in to the pistol’s chassis so your shots find their mark even when the darkness of a nocturnal alleyway obscures the sights. MSRP: $412.
We all drool over the latest from Wilson Combat whenever it hits store shelves. How can you not? The flawless engineering that goes into each pistol makes them as much a work of art as they are defensive tool. But perfection comes at a price, pushing the value of one of these masterpieces north of most budgets. So instead of setting yourself up for disappointment this Christmas, ask Santa for one of the best handguns under $500. There’s something for everyone on our list, ranging from latest and greatest in technology to time-tested and -honored designs.
For more information about the five pistols under $500 featured in the gallery above, please visit the following sites.
Smith & Wesson Model 442
Rock Island Armory GI Standard FS
Bond Arms Texas Defender
The national concealed carry reciprocity bill has been passed by the House Judiciary Committee,...
by Personal Defense World / Nov 30, 2017