Best Handguns Under $500

By Jason Hanson published on in Firearms

One evening, Grayson H. and five of his friends decided they wanted to go catch a 7 p.m. movie at the Central Mall in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The mall was overly crowded, so they parked about 100 yards from the door and walked to the ticket counter.

Before the movie started, the group decided to go back to their vehicles, since they had a little time to waste before the movie began.

Mike Seekander teaches a student the right way to improve shooting skills.

Mike Seeklander is owner of Shooting-Performance LLC, a full-service training company, and the co-host of “The Best Defense,” the Outdoor Channel’s leading self-defense and firearms instruction show.

One of the friends in the group, Tabitha, was going through a difficult divorce and the group of friends was looking forward to a fun evening to cheer her up. However, while the group was standing in the parking lot waiting for the movie to start, Grayson noticed that Tabitha’s ex-husband was driving around.

Before Grayson knew it, Tabitha’s ex had jumped out of his vehicle and was walking toward the group. The ex, identified as 34-year-old Fadi Qandil pulled a gun from his waistband and fired multiple shots at Tabitha missing her.

Grayson saved Tabitha by pushing her out of the way, but he was hit by the gunfire and fell to the ground. Immediately, Grayson pulled out his own gun, a Smith & Wesson, and returned fire striking and killing Qandil. Grayson made a full recovery from his wounds.

Obviously, Grayson saved lives that day and while he carried a Smith & Wesson, which is a great gun, it’s definitely not the most expensive gun on the market.

I hear from a few folks that think guns are too expensive these days, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a quality gun.

Here are some solid handguns on the market that are under $500.

SIG Sauer P250

SIG P250 pistol, left profile

Normally, SIG Sauer firearms aren’t put into the “inexpensive” category. Their finely tuned construction and impeccable accuracy are more akin to a Swiss watch than they are a cheap handgun.

Believe it or not, SIG Sauer manufactures a handgun for less than $500, which is an incredible value for a high-quality gun and one of my personal favorite guns to carry.

The P250 is a double-action-only pistol with a modular system that gives the shooter the option to change to different calibers, barrel lengths, and grip sizes.

The P250 can be purchased in 9mm, .357 SIG, .40 S&W, .45 ACP and .380 ACP.

The price will depend on the specific options you choose but this is a great value for a gun under $500.

Walther Creed

Walther Creed 9mm pistol right with a spare magazine and boxes of ammunition

The old PPX was blocky. The new Creed overhauls the PPX design into a sleeker sexier design.

This is a relatively new pistol from Walther, designed to meet the demands of folks wanting a decent entry-level gun without breaking the bank.

The Creed was designed with comfortable ergonomics and a high-quality trigger that is typically featured on much more expensive guns.

In addition, in the 9mm you get 16+1 rounds, which is a great number for a compact 9mm.

The Creed starts around $400, and I love to carry this gun.

Smith & Wesson SD9VE

Smith and Wesson SD9VE pistol right profile

Smith & Wesson is known for it’s long tradition of making quality firearms including both revolvers and semi-automatics.

Smith & Wesson is known for its long tradition of making quality firearms including both revolvers and semi-automatics.

The SD9VE is a polymer-framed striker-fired 9mm pistol with a magazine capacity of 16 rounds.

The thing is, this firearm has been around since the 1990s and legend has it that the company spent millions of dollars researching the shape of the human hand to create the best grip and shape of the pistol.

The upshot? For around $400 you get a solid handgun.

Canik TP9

Canik TP9SF Elite S pistol left

The TP9 SF is a handsome pistol, but you’ll want it for the price and performance!

Canik is a Turkish company that broke into the U.S. market with its poly-frame striker that is extremely accurate and reliable.

One of the biggest advantages to this firearm is that you can easily purchase aftermarket accessories to upgrade or replace any parts.

Plus, with Canik’s TP9, you get a 9mm with an 18+1 capacity for around $350. I own this gun and it’s never given me any issues.

Kahr ST9

Kahr ST9 pistol left profile

Like all Kahr handguns, the ST9 is an excellent American-made pistol that is reliable, durable, and accurate.

The Kahr Arms ST9 is an ideal choice for concealed carry and those looking for maximum stopping power and ultra concealment with all the features of a tactical pistol. The Kahr Arms ST9 offers enhanced grip texturing, with an integral accessory rail and an enhanced magwell for speed and efficiency. Like all Kahr handguns, it’s an excellent American-made pistol that is reliable, durable, and accurate. This version has a stainless steel slide with front and rear serration for ease of operation and 3-dot combat sights to get you on target quickly. If you are looking for the ultimate in concealed carry, the Kahr Arms ST9 may be the EDC pistol you have been searching for.

The sleek-looking, two-tone, ST9 carries an MSRP of $456.

Do you have a favorite handgun for under $500 that should have made this list? Make your best case in the comment section.

Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and New York Times bestselling author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life. To get a free copy of his book, visit

Tags: , , , ,

Trackback from your site.

The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, "The Shooter's Log," is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (48)

  • John H Boldt


    The Bersa Thunder 380 is a PPK clone (improved) well made, alloy frame. With modern ammo such as Hornady Critical Defense, it has all the stopping power you need.


  • John


    purchased a canik tp9sfx would not cycle with a vortex red dot slight side pressure on trigger would lock up trigger. junk traded for vortex scope. cz p09 is a much better pistol only slightly over 500$


  • Cheap Handguns – Splendid Isolation


    […] you mean something that doesn’t cost more than $500, that is.  CheaperThanDirt’s Shooter’s Blog features one such article examining the choices, and it’s quite informative so go ahead and […]


  • bob


    I recently bought a S&W SD9. I read a lot about a crappy trigger on this weapon, and that if you wanted a pull less than 9# you should buy a new trigger. I however came from carrying a CZ 82 so the trigger was not an issue for me. Being able to walk into a store and buy accessories was nice, including a made to fit holster, sites, and yes if I wanted to spend 20 bucks for the new trigger it was available. This weapon shoots nice, it fits my hand, and haven’t had a failure after 500 rounds.


  • Greg Corwin


    I have several pistols I carry, all of them meet the under 500 dollar mark.
    My long time favorite is the Kahr CW 45 , it is compact and easy to handle and has never failed to work properly. My most recent addition is a Ruger EC9S . This is a great small gun for almost any size hand it is very nice to shoot , all for just over300 dollars. I also enjoy pocket size revolvers ,I carry both a charter arms 38 special and myTaurus 357 both of which are almost foolproof point and shoot weapons: these are all affordable efficient and dependable choices for personal protection:


    • joel


      hey greg, agree with all the guns you mentioned- i also edc a pm9 and i also love my cw45. i picked up an lcr in 327 mag which holds 6 rounds and has ballistics approaching a 357 sig! also own a walther pps m2. theyre like your kids- i love em all for slightly different reasons!


  • Jimmy


    My wife has a Bersa Thunder 380 and it’s a good little ccw and was under $400.


  • Tdr


    I owned a Creed ran two mag through it. Sold it after that . Not impressed with it . Bought a Sig 2022 in its place much better .


    • Greg Alexander


      Walther discontinued the Creed last year…. better options are the Walther CCP ( great concealed carry gun) or the PPS-M2.


  • AC Kren


    HK VP9/VP9SK can regularly be found below $500 regularly. So can Steyr M/C/S handguns. Both are arguably the best in the polymer market out of the box

    They have better triggers, ergos for most, sights, than most/all of those guns. Can’t say I’ve shot the S&W or the creed.


  • Herb


    How about the Bersa Thunder .380 for around $350? (A Walther PPK/S clone.)


  • Jeffrey Ross


    I use my two IWI (Jericho) Baby Eagle Compacts in 9mm exclusively. One carried and the other stationed situationally. I own striker fired guns and prefer hammer and decocker of this firearm. The little beast is just enough nose heavy to make following shots easy. This is true for +P Ammo in self defense carry.


Leave a comment

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

%d bloggers like this: