Consumer Information

Budget Pistols: Buying Used

SIG MK 25 9mm

In our last post, we discussed choosing concealed carry handguns for a new shooter. One subject we touched on was budgeting for a pistol. Firearms, as a general rule, are not inexpensive. High quality firearms can command prices that exceed $1,000. This places many firearms outside of the average person’s budget. What do you do when the pistol that “works” for you is one that is too expensive? One solution we mentioned was buying used. The problem is, not all used firearms are the bargains that they seem. When buying a used firearm, you don’t ever truly know how well that handgun was cared for by its previous owner. As such, without having a used firearm inspected by a gunsmith (which I highly encourage anyone buying a used firearm to do), you never know whether you’re picking up a bargain, or buying someone else’s “problem”. One exception to this however is factory refurbished or certified pre-owned firearms.

A number of manufacturers have “certified” used pistol programs. These pistols are thoroughly inspected, tested, and then certified by factory armorers before being offered for sale. One of the best programs like this that I know of is Sig Sauer’s Certified Pre-Owned program. Sig Sauer regularly buys back used law enforcement firearms when departments are upgrading.

Glock also offers factory refurbished handguns from time to time. As with Sig Sauer, Glock has their pistols inspected by factory armorers and replaces any worn parts before certifying the firearms for resale. Both manufacturers offer 1 year warranties on their refurbished and Certified Pre-Owned handguns.

Law enforcement trade-ins are the most common firearms that make their way through factory refurbishing. Many of these firearms are barely used at all, only fired a few times a year for practice and qualification. Currently, many departments are moving towards replacing their standard issue firearms with new Smith and Wesson M&P pistols. These new pistols are inexpensive already, and can be picked up brand new for less than $400 in many cases. But the real bargains are the pistols being traded in by these departments. Many are trading Sig Sauer 229 and 226 pistols, along with many Beretta 92 and Glock handguns. These factory refurbished Glocks can be had for $400 to $459, nearly $100 off the price of a brand new model. Beretta 92 models have been seen selling for less than $350. The used Sig Sauer handguns are sometimes priced even better, often retailing for as much as 50% less than a new model.

When purchasing a handgun, the price tag can present a serious hurdle. Many people simply don’t care for the low budget pistols available on the market, and yet cannot afford a higher quality pistol. Buying a used handgun allows a lower entry level price point for those who desire a high-end model. Just remember – go for factory refurbished or Certified Pre-Owned models, or insist on having a gunsmith inspect any potential purchase.

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 (29)

  1. For budget priced handguns check out those made in Turkey or Eastern Europe. Most are carbon copies of higher priced name brand. With my FFL charging $20.00 I have accumulated a few costing me less than $350.00 each. My metal framed Canik 55 copy of the CZ (not the Tupperware frame TS-9) has well over 1,000 rds of handloaded, home cast lead, cheapie steel cased imported ammo as well as a small assortment of +P self-defnse ammo. No exaggeration !! Not a single hick-up.

    My Slovakian copy of the Sig so far so good. I had issues at first with my home cast lead SWC slugs. After switching to a round nosed cast lead slug that mimics the FMJ dimensions. Not a single problem after apx 250rds. So far the only factory fodder has been from an old box of Winchester Silver-Tips that ran 100%.

  2. I have researched all cheap guns(In Price) and over and over the hi point comes out on top. Yes heavy. Yes hard to take apart. Yes not for bigger hands. Yes NOT a conceal gun. But the best for the money. How many people are going to completely take there pistol apart and if yu know how to do that , taking apart a hi point won’t be a problem.
    Not the top of the line, but not $400 either.

  3. Own a bunch of nines and 22, my personal fav, the pt92 rides nice and the lazer in front is great, cz 75 nice with the reflective site is a dream, and my new friends the twin hi point 9’s and my walther are sharp, just tacked out the walther real nice and feels good looking at a s and w nine with the works ready for ccw and a good deal just about what is at the gun store but with no tax which adds up. Happy shooting and make the move to a weapon that feels right for you.

  4. Absolutely nothing wrong with revolvers as a defensive weapon, especially if you have a couple of speedloaders. I carried one as a backup for years in law enforcement because they’re stupid proof. Pull trigger it goes boom. It’s rare for a S&W, Colt or Ruger to fail.

  5. I own a SandW .357 with a 6″ barrel, used with a reloader. Sure its a wheel gun but for 200 bucks and home defense……..holding +Ps I am more than satisfied.

  6. I have a Taurus 840 and love it. It’s a medium frame .40 with a 15 rd mag. I bought it for just under $500. At 25yrds I can pepper an 8″ shoot-N-see target with quite a few within the 9 ring. They all have a lifetime warranty, no matter how many owners it’s had. I had a 24/7 a few years ago that the, “Loaded Chamber Indicator”, stopped working and the company sent me a NEW pistol, no questions asked. All their tooling equipment was purchased from Beretta. My new 840 comes apart quickly & easily into 4 sections. I can clean it in about 5 minutes. Also the new 840 is Tennifer processed which is a salt bath process that makes it permanently scuff, corrosion, and fatigue resistant. Look it up @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferritic_nitrocarburizing. I won’t own anything else.

  7. I bought a hi point .40 to replace cheaply, my S&W .40 and my Star compact.40 both stolen ( house break-in by hired help, 4 guns and most anything of value ).
    I have NEVER heard or seen or read of someone who ACTUALLY saw and gave a documented case of a Hi Point Blowing up in someones hands. Get real people. if the gun actually did that, they would of been sued out of business YEARS ago. My gun shoots as well accuracy wise, as either my other 2. Trigger pull is a bit harder, but not at all unreasonable or sloppy. No feeding problems with 4 brands and 6 different types of ammo. weight is OK, not light, not heavy. yea, its a $140 gun, shoots as well as a $450-500 one, and I bought it for home defense, not to take to the range and put 1000 rnds a month thru it.
    So for what it is, what I want it for, and for CHEAP, its a perfect fit.
    Absolutely love to have a 1911, or a Sig, etc.. but, thats $1000 I dont have, and could buy 2 pistols and a butt load of ammo and accessories for just the gun price.

  8. I forgot to mention the CZ50 cost me only $190, so it’s no big loss to me if it breaks, I’ll be able to pick up another one while it’s being repaired.

  9. I can’t see for the life of me spending a whole lot of money for a gun that could wear out or be stolen by a louse. ALL guns suffer metal fatigue in one form or another. All moving parts WILL wear out not matter how much you lube them. So I look not only in low price, but in how easy to take down and do field repairs on the spot. And as for stopping power…sure .45 .44 .40 S&W and .38 will take down someone if you don’t practice with it. I use a .32 ACP CZ50 as self protection and I practice with it to a point I only need one shot, maybe two to change that person’s mind in holding me up. I consider it my throw away gun in event of any conflict.

  10. Hi, I like this discussion, I was never one to worry about the price of guns as something that should deter you from buying one. IF it works, it works: until I was shooting with some friends and the person shooting my 9MM had it “blow up” . Now it did not actually blow up but a piece flew off with the bullet and the slide actually almost detatched and if it had the way it broke it would have nailed him in the forehead. Also the trigger and parts fell completly out of it. It wasnt a Hi-point and I honestly don’t think I would be scared to shoot one. But I dont know if I could buy another bottom priced gun.

  11. In a survival situation the ideal thing would be to arm the whole family and or party and the truth be told that hi point is the only gun I can think of with good caliber. Yes there are many others but these are heavy dependable and the trigger pull is not bad. I own 2 of them and lots of others as well but as far as return on investment you can not beat them at less then 200.00. I spend that on dinner drink and a movie. I really do not understand the bad wrap that these guns get from being cheep to blowing up in you’re hand I do not see it or ever have heard of one blowing up in anyone’s hand and I have put thousands of rounds through them. I believe that they get a wrap because they have a smaller profit margin then most other hand guns . I recommend buying them I like them and use them all the time with no problems

  12. Yes the Hi-Point pistols are accurate and a lifetime warranty. I didn’t have any malfunctions with mine. But the deal killer for me was method of disassembling the weapon. I don’t like a weapon I have to carry some form of punch to push out the take down pin. Plus the front rails aren’t compatible with pictany/weaver systems. On the plus side you can whack the hell out of someone with it if you ran out of ammo.

  13. I have never seen a hi point blow up and would like to see proof. I read someone ask why would you buy that at 145.00. I would like to remind people that a lot of us do not have extra money to buy up or get what we want when we want. I spend a lot of time checking into things more then most and i must say its a good gun and the price is the best bang for the buck. I also like the tokarve 7.62×25 is a very good cal and a reloaders dream. I would like to say that you are very unlikely to use you’re gun to the limits that most guns can but if you do some research you will find that you can buy a lot more for a lot less. I am in a survivalist group and one member has a kimber for him self and nothing for his kids. His wife has a stub nose 357 that she is almost afraid to shoot. I have 4 hi points and 1000rnd of ammo 9mm and 45 for less then he has in his kimber .I have no problems with it at all and 1 gun has way over 1500 rnds through it. We also have a lot of tokarve witch never stop as well the ammo for them is dirt cheep compared to other brass cased. I look at buying guns like buying a computer I will very rarely use it to the maximum potential. I will not worry if I drop it or scratch it and reliably is # 1 cost# 2 Ammo availably #3 Do not hesitate to buy mill surplus as this is the only way I can afford to protect me my family and arm all of them we are ready for any situation and I have guns ammo and supplies at different locations and I suggest you all do the same. And do so without getting caught up in the I got to have the biggest baddest and must shoot only top shelf ammo

  14. IF you have ever shot a 45 caliber Hi-point you would realize they are a really great gun for the price. This is my second hi-point purchase in 15 years and I love them. I can shoot a hot load with it and because of the weight you barely feel it move. Accurate, Accurate , Accurate. I dont know about it being a concealed weapon but I do know for home protection it will serve the purpose. I have not seen one blow up yet except when some dummy on youtube crams a bolt in the end of the barrel. But hey with a lifetime warranty and proper care I think you will be fine. The Glocks and S&W’s are real nice but come with a nice pricetag. So enjoy a Hi-point if thats what you can afford if you can afford better good for you buy what you want.

  15. I just purchased a S&W SW9VE 9MM Sigma Semi-Automatic online. I thought I would have to go through hoops to buy one, used to have to wait for a few days until you got checked out. The guy with the FFP just called in after I filled out some paperwork there at his shop and he got a quick $20 bill. I haven’t had a chance to fire it yet. Does anyone know anything about them I might need to know?

  16. I have also been looking into the kahr CM9, not sure if i want to hold out for the KAHR CM40 that is coming out. As far as hi point goes,they are great for people on a budget. I have had people come into our shop that swears by them and others that are disappointed. I believe its just the batch thats made. If I needed a gun and on a tight budget it would be a hi point.

  17. I own a Hi-Point C9 and really like it. I put a Hogue grip on and have shot many brands of ammo thru it. My wife has hit 2 bullseyes so far, (50 ft)so it can’t be that bad! Had some feed issues with the extended magazine, and had to tweak the other 2 clips I have, but for the money, it shoots good. I’m waiting for a Kahr CM9 from CheaperThanDirt…very attractive price, and from what I’ve read (lots!)this should be a great gun.

  18. @andy702 – there are many idiots that bash Hi-Point without having every actually fired one. Then there are complete liars like you. I guarantee you have not seen a Hi-point blow-up in anyone’s hand. People, after extensive torture tests, have managed to get them to explode, but that took some work. There are no documented cases of one exploding otherwise. They are prone to feed issues that almost always can be worked out with a break in period and some magazine adjustments. They are heavy and not exactly attractive, but they are safe, reliable handguns at a price that makes protection available to anyone.

  19. Seriously? Hi-point? You have to be kidding. They are dangerous to even shoot. I have seen them and heard of many more occasions where they blow up in peoples hands! That’s why you can get a .45 for $150. Why carry a pistol for protection if it’s just going to hurt you as bad as a criminal? Check out Ruger, Taurus, and Glock for some budget buys. For quality 1911’s check out Nighthawk Custom, Wilson Combat, or Kimber. As far as a budget 1911 the Taurus is the best for the money and is also a great pistol. I own one myself.

  20. Checking for a 1911 new or used ((in good condition)) & would like some prices or idem # & or pitcher,,,,,If you can,,??

    My price range for NEW or Used is about $ 450.00 to 650 + or – some…if it is a great value…..!!

    Thank’s Gary.

  21. I have a Hi-Point C9 that I use for Concealed Carry AND Home Defense. It’s actually not a bad shooting pistol! But, there are other guns I’d love to own: Remington 1911 R1, XDM 9 3.8″, Glock 30, the list goes on.

  22. I believe in the cheaper weapons and the expensive weapons. I myself do go by price and comments by owners of the weapon i am looking to purchase.I have seen also for myself that cheaper weapons kill a deer or a bear just as good as anything else. A point made one day i challenged a friend, he had bought for himself a very expensive shotgun, and his daughter a very inexpensive shotgun, i suggested he take his daughter to a block shoot and for him to shoot as well. Needless to say his daughter defeated him 5 out of 5 blocks.This convinced him price does not mean a better shot or in his case a better pattern.

    thanks for listening

    Chuck

  23. I have been a fan of Hi-Point For awhile. Will have people jump on Just to bash but it goes bang when i pull trigger and is fairly accurate. low cap mags yes but i can do in 8 what you can do in 16. most cases you should need what? 2 shots? i’d rather spend 140 on pistol and 400 on ammo. Just my 2 cents.

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