I Love Cheap Guns…And I am not Afraid to Admit It!

By Dave Dolbee published on in Firearms

I suppose it is time for a confession. I have a long documented problem. In truth, it is not so much a problem as it is an addiction. Perhaps problem and addiction are really one in the same, but I digress and do not find value in arguing the semantics at any rate. My addiction is not so open that my family has ever seen fit to hold an intervention although it would have the makings of a titillating reality show.

Raven Arms .25 Semi-automatic pistol

Terrible safety, wimpy caliber and fake pearl grips fit for pimp…maybe. Although it was one of the original Saturday night Specials, it has utility—especially with a price tag of about $125!

Surprisingly, my wife—who normally seems to plot ways to vex my safe-stuffing, gun-hoarding efforts at every turn—supports my addiction, not openly mind you, but she encourages it passively (more the carrot than stick I normally receive when she discovers I have yet again succumbed to my passion). I have spent countless hours scouring the web, lurking on discussion boards and hinting to friends within my inner circle, but there simply does not seem to be a self-help group for my particular affliction. Am I alone? Or do others suffer silently as I do?

You see, as embarrassing as this is to admit publicly, I like cheap guns. I am drawn to the fiscally responsible firearm. I seek out the deals others scoff at or plug their collective noses as they pass. Like my wife after an excursion to the shoe or jewelry store, when confronted with the evidence I simply claim, “It just followed me home. I didn’t encourage or feed it or anything. I told it ‘no’ but it wouldn’t listen. I ran all the way home and made several turns in an attempt to evade, but somehow it still followed me.” I really do not see how I am to blame given all of my efforts.

Hi Point .40 caliber pistol

HI Points do not carry the highest of recommendations, but a large caliber for about $150 that also serves as a club when you run out of ammo and the author could not resist. Run ball ammo and the Hi Point shoots great.

Just to be clear, yes I own, carry and regularly shoot custom GLOCKs. I have a sufficient number of SIG Sauers to adequately arm a platoon. A custom rifle (or two) may, possibly, perhaps, be tucked in the hard to reach—and harder to see corners of the gun safes—that is the nether regions where the wife is reluctant to check… I have been known to order multiples of the same model shotgun or AR. After all, it is all about the furniture—as much as the platform—that makes the build fun. Right?

Still, while my collection is filled with fine shooting firearms, I am drawn to cheap guns. I am into anything scoffed at by the masses and often slandered by the moniker Saturday Night Special. Without going into too much detail, examples include offerings such as the .25 Raven, Phoenix Arms .25, .380 Cobra, Mosin Nagant and of course the crown jewel of low-dollar firearms Hi-Point. My addiction started at a young age—mostly out of need. I was a college student, loved to shoot and kept a case of ramen noodles figuring it could get me through for at least a couple of weeks in a pinch, but the tradeoff was worth a new pistol here and there.

Sig Sauer P250 sub compact

Cheap does not have to mean rock bottom. SIG Sauers are not normally associated with “cheap.” However, by comparison, the SIG P250 is significantly cheaper than previous models and still feature SIG’s “To Hell and Back” reliability.

When the budget was beyond strained, I needed to count pennies. Checking under the couch cushions was a wasted effort and given the budget, I had no doubt about which side of tracks I resided. This made security a high priority, and second only to a biscuit or two to stretch the wrinkles in my tummy.

Times change and hard work was eventually rewarded with a few amenities, but fond memories of cheap guns still remain. It is an addiction I am happy to let live; one that I still feel comfortable giving a home. I’ll admit it, friends discover my cache of budget arms and shoot me a look like I had an untreated tick on my forehead. However, to me, it is a tick with a name, sorta like a stray that just followed me home. Who could blame me for being a softie?

Do you have a particular addiction to firearms? Perhaps a gun you tend to hide from a spouse or friends? It’s time to come out of the gun closet and share it with us in the comment section.


Growing up in Pennsylvania’s game-rich Allegany region, Dave Dolbee was introduced to whitetail hunting at a young age. At age 19 he bought his first bow while serving in the U.S. Navy, and began bowhunting after returning from Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Dave was a sponsored Pro Staff Shooter for several top archery companies during the 1990s and an Olympic hopeful holding up to 16 archery records at one point. During Dave’s writing career, he has written for several smaller publications as well as many major content providers such as Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Outdoor Life, Petersen’s Hunting, Rifle Shooter, Petersen’s Bowhunting, Bowhunter, Game & Fish magazines, Handguns, F.O.P Fraternal Order of Police, Archery Business, SHOT Business, OutdoorRoadmap.com, TheGearExpert.com and others. Dave is currently a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

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Comments (75)

  • By the Numbers: America’s Top 5 Revolvers


    […] have written articles before declaring my penchant for cheap guns. Admittedly, I have purchased both the Taurus 85 ultra-light and Heritage Rough Rider within the […]


  • Robert giles


    I just traded a Browning Buckmark camper for a Cobra derringer 38 SPL. Did I take a loss? Yes I did. Do I care? “Looks down at Cobra with rosewood grips”, no I don’t, I’m in fact happy as can be. In fact even with the occasional miss fire the cobra is leaps and bounds more reliable than my lemon buckmark.


  • M.J. Matusek


    My wife is 5 foot 90 pounds and handles her LCP .380, my Walther PPK .32, or 2 inch Colt Cobra (+P 158gr. SWHP) like they were .22lr out of a six inch barrel. Granted the last two aren’t cheap but are small. my small chheps are a Rock Island 206 (.38 Spec) or a Charter arms bulldog (.44 Spec.) with no recoil problem, but at 6′ 4″, 300, would any be expected?


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