The “Best” First Gun — Hi-Point Firearms

Hi-Point C9 Yeet Cannon, left profile

It’s estimated that in the U.S., over 12 million guns were purchased from January through July of 2020. That includes almost 5 million first-time gun owners! If you are a first-time gun buyer, welcome to an enthusiastic group of target shooters, hunters, and self-defense minded citizens. Whatever you reason for buying your first gun, you’ll be in good company.

What should I buy as my first gun?

“What should I buy as my first gun?” That’s a question I get a lot, and I’ll bet many of you do too. What’s your go-to answer? I am sure there are plenty of SIG P365, Springfield Hellcat, Glock 19, and other proven choices. Likewise, there will be plenty of recommendations for a particular caliber over a platform i.e., .380 ACP, 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, 10mm…

Bob Campbell shooting the Hi-Point C9 9mm over the hood of a truck
Firing over cover, the pistol performed well.

I got to thinking about it. While all of those are valid choices and great guns, are they really what most gun buyers choose for their gun? Maybe. To be honest, if you ask any major gun retailer (and many local shops) new shooter’s do not buy the best gun as their first gun. Instead, they shop by price — the lowest price.

It makes some sense. Should a new driver learn to drive in a Ferrari? Would you recommend a $350 fishing rod with a baitcast reel to teach someone to fish or the $35 Zebco combo? On the other hand, the fact that you’re unlikely to be depending on a fishing rod to defend your life is a valid point.

So, what should you pick or recommend as a first handgun? To be honest, the gun you have in your hand is better than wagging your finger at a bad guy and hoping they go away. There are a lot of price-point guns that are reliable and will more than get the job done, but there are a few factors to consider before running out and making a purchase.

Choosing Your First Gun

First, do you plan on buying the gun and keeping it in your home for self-defense, concealed carry, target shooting, or a combination of all three? There are features on different guns that are favored for one discipline over the others.

I cannot argue that top tier manufacturers such as Springfield, SIG Sauer, Smith and Wesson, and a host of others are all great choices. However, in my experience, I’ve found that new shooters and first-time buyers select a gun more for price than function, and that’s not an all bad idea. Before driving a car for the first time you may have been fawning over certain models (muscle car, luxury model etc.) for years, but that was strictly for looks, peer pressure, and marketing jibber-jabber. But, how much first-hand knowledge did you have with any of those cars before jumping behind the wheel for the first time?

Nighthawk 6-inch Echelon 1911
Guns such as the Nighthawk 6-inch Echelon 1911 are absolutely at the front of the pack. However, looks, style, machining, and accuracy-enhancing features come at cost. Most first time gun buyers would not be able to shoot well enough to take advantage of all of the upgrades right away, but if you have the budget…

Why Choose a Hi-Point?

Read the internet forums, or listen to shooters at the range, and you’ll find your share of haters. What you won’t find are many of the haters that have hands on experience with a Hi-Point. Like I said, for hundreds of thousands of shooters, the Hi-Point was their first gun. As for reputation, new shooters make often make two mistakes that cause a malfunction from a semi-automatic handgun. First, they fail to achieve a firm grip. The error is called ‘limp wristing’ and will cause a failure to eject or failure to feed malfunction.

Second, a proper two-handed grip for a semi-auto has both thumbs pointing forward. A semi-auto blowback system uses the gases created from the cartridge being fired to propel the slide backward against the springs. The energy of the springs being compressed then pushes the slide forward loading the next cartridge.

Pair of Caucasian man's hands demonstrating the right grip for a black 1911, barrel pointed to the left on a light gray background
A hybrid of the “Thumbs-Forward” and “Thumbs-Up” grip on a 1911 handgun. Note that there is a gap where the slide lock lever is.

New shooter’s often get a thumb too high on the slide causing it to drag, which in turn causes a failure to eject or failure to chamber a new round. The manufacturer’s reputation takes the blame, but it was the shooter who caused the problem. The moral of the story is ‘buying a new gun is not enough. Get some training too.’


One of the most popular handgun brands sold today is Hi-Point. You can get into a Hi-Point C9 or Yeet Cannon, for about $180, cheaper when on sale.

Hi-Point C9 Yeet Cannon, left profile
THe Hi-Point Yeet Cannon is an upgraded C9 that is worth more than the few extra dollars.

Hi-Point YC9 and Yeet Cannon

  • Threaded 1/2 x 28 barrel
  • +P ammunition rated
  • High-impact polymer frame
  • High-impact grips
  • Aggressively-styled slide design and serrations
  • 3-dot, fully adjustable sights
  • Free extra rear peep sight
  • Last round lock open
  • Free trigger lock
  • Magazine disconnect safety
  • Quick on-off manual safety
  • Lifetime warranty
  • 1913 accessory rail

The Hi-Point is far from a SIG or Glock, but it will serve just fine as a first gun. Given the cost, every member of your family could own a Hi-Point for the cost of a high-end SIG or Springfield. Hi-Point handguns are offered in .380 ACP, 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, and 10mm.

Just because it does not bust the budget does not mean it can’t have a little bling to it. Want something a little flashier, check out Hi-Point’s Sparkle series.

Home Defense — Carbines

At times, you may want more than a handgun for home defense or predator control around the ranch. While Hi-Point’s handguns have suffered from a meme or two, its carbines are another story. Available in .380 ACP, 30 Super Carry, 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, and 10mm, Hi-Point is sure to have a carbine that not only fits your budget, but the firepower you desire as well. Best of all, if you get a pistol and carbine in the same caliber, they use the same magazines.

Hi-Point 995 9mm carbine on a wooden palate
The author had no issues with JHP or FMJ rounds, even a few remanufactured rounds went through the gun just fine.

You don’t have shoot the most expensive or most popular gun to have a reliable gun. I own custom handguns that start at about $3,000 and work their way up from there. To be honest, they are the ones I carry most too. They are reliable, accurate, lightweight, and smooth with great triggers. However, open my safe and you’ll also find more than one Hi-Point gun as well. I did not start with a high-priced gun, and have written more than once about my affinity for “cheap” guns.

Have you fired a Hi-Point pistol or carbine? Which caliber do you prefer for concealed carry or home defense? Share your answers in the Comment section.

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 (22)

  1. It’s weird that I looked at the page for the yeet cannon you should talk to your marketing team you start the article “what should you buy for your first gun” then you have to read three paragraphs before it even mentions the yeet cannon all the while it gives 3-4 options from competitors then follows up by saying” if you ask any major gun retailer (and many local shops) new shooter’s do not buy the best gun as their first gun. Instead, they shop by price — the lowest price.” so it seems like you’re saying we don’t sell good god guns but it is technically classified as one by state law I mean look at how much you literally crap on your own product while telling your customer it’s ok if your not ready for a real gun buy this instead I understand budget option is your selling point but degrading your own product and promoting the competition is just bad business

  2. Bought an expensive kimber in .45 and a dirt cheap hi point .45. Hi point did and still works flawlessly. Kimber did and still has issues. Both from the first day. You want looks and name or works and shoots?

  3. I have the hi- point 10mm carbine and it will run any and i mean any ammo in 10 mil and she runs all day long. It is the only hi-point i own but i do love this carbine with the halo style optic @ 100 yrds it is always dead on target. I use it as a back up to my Glock 43x on my nightstand. If i need to shoot through a barrier a fmj flat point will do the job. And it feeds HP’S with 0 issues including my hand loads.

  4. I am a true fan of the carbines from HI Point. Bought my 1st 9mm about 25 years ago when they came out. Had problems with it but after contacting the company it got shipped back and repaired. Has been flawless ever since. Found a 45 acp carbine at a gunshow that had red dot and forward assist grip and have fallen in love with it. I will admit that I consider their handgun just a brick and have immediately sold every one I traded for but I highly recommend the carbines. Lots of fun and reliability for the money.

  5. Please consider that the first handgun/rifle should be a 22LR. While anyone knows that centerfire cartridges are a major jump up from a 22LR, too many bad habits can come from using too much gun by a beginner. BUT – Agree that in this day and age, an inexpensive “truck” firearm is a smart investment. Note that in the 80’s, a RAVEN 25 ACP was the “HI-POINT” of the day. As much bad press followed the RAVEN as it does today for the HI POINT line. Seems that reality is different from what is in the in-the-know press.

  6. I don’t know anything about hi-point, but my first handgun was a S&W model 10 and I still have it. Wonderful iconic wheel gun. In some ways it’s my favorite gun.
    Buying low quality firearms isn’t for me.

  7. My first gun was a Taurus PT111 G2. I did tons of research and tried several other brands and that one fit my hands the best. Excellent first choice. I picked up a used Hi Point C9 for less than $100 at a local gun shop with an indoor range. If you are reading article looking for your first gun go to youtube and search hi point torture tests. They are beyond reliable. I took the one i bought directly from the shop to the range. I checked it was mechanically sound but didnt clean it or oil it. It ran through 50 cheap rounds like butter. I took it home and gave it a good cleaning and oiling. I sprayed the grips with rattle-can textured tan paint for grip and a black and tan look. And now it rides as my truck gun

  8. we have two 45 carbines & two 45 pistols. three are ‘unfired’ & the ‘nested’ carbine we call Mr KENNEDY as it has 109rds of Liberty+P aboard. the TriDelta MB, Tacticon V4 WL/LAZ, deploy postgrip/bipod, 1/2″ QD blocks mount a 3-9×32 OPTIMA scope on Leupold Huntsman see-thrus. 2xPropacs hold two 9rders rear and two 20Redballs on the front stock, a 14+1 Promag also gives the pistols a ‘double golf grip’. The DD Camo Pistol has the Tacticon V5 WL/LAZ that magnetically charges easy. recommend the Kaw Valley Linear Cans keeps all the sound down the bullet trajectory line. Have a drop-leg holster for BUTKUS (holds 51rds) & only a MCG LAZ on the other carbine for night patrols. shot 4″low & 2″left at 400yds. now they make TB Pistols & will be tradin’ for them soon.

  9. Don’t Knock’em till you’ve tried’em. I bought a .40 cal Hi point carbine when they were first available in that caliber. There’s no way around it the gun is UGLY!!! It was also just about $200.00 out the door. I picked up the newer chassis when it came out at, i think $45.00 and free shipping. Made it a little bit more tactical. Here’s the Kicker. It’s reliable. Like stone ax reliable and will hit what I aim at with minute of palm out to 100yds.
    Ugliest gun I’ve ever Loved. When I say i mean exposed hex bolt assembly, bent sheet metal dumpster fire ugly. Did I mention it’s reliable and accurate? And inexpensive? What’s not to love?

  10. Some years ago Ruger came out with the PC9 Carbine and I decided to get into pistol caliber world but, being popular, they were scarce. I ordered one from a national retailer for delivery to their local store. It was delayed, several times and then without any notification I see that the order was cancelled. No “we’re sorry”, “kiss my foot”, nothing.
    Went to a local dealer shopping around and saw my first Hi-Point pc carbine. It was heavy, inexpensively made, and inexpensive. So I bought it and a case and on the way home stopped in the “national retailer” store and stopped at the service desk and asked for the manager.
    When I showed it to him he gasped and said, “you didn’t buy THAT in here!”
    I agreed, told him how inconsiderate they were to cancel my Ruger order with notifying me, and that I spent half of what he would have made, including the case, packed up and went to the range and—
    Have been pleasantly surprised because it shoots great, every time I pull the trigger. Heavy, a bit rough on fit and finish, yes, but works great Glad Cabelas introduced me to this one.

  11. The hi point pistol is a terrible piece of hardware and shouldn’t be considered by anyone buying a firearm for any reason. They are poorly made out of the cheapest materials available, and they teach bad marksmanship habits that anyone who progresses to a real hand gun will have to unlearn. Their carbines are a slightly better option, but only because a rifle is generally easier to shoot than a pistol regardless.

  12. I remember when these first became available in my state. I had to get one just for the price. I still have it to this day. It is by far my worst 9mm I own. Even though I have had offers to sell it, I have just kept it. It still works fine and for me firearms are like part of the family. Once I get them I have to keep them.

  13. Hipoints are the epitome of poor quality and substandard materials put together to make a firearm that can, under certain conditions, be reliable to spite what it is.
    They’ve improved over the years but the polymers and metals used are at the bottom of industry standards which keeps the prices low. Really low.
    You do get what you pay for.
    We have tested many models including the 995ts and C9.
    We were actually not too disappointed with the pcc variants. They are ridiculous in appearance, clunky, heavy and odd but surprisingly accurate,,,, enough. Not super precise but better than others compared on sheet.
    The front sights came slightly canted to the left out of the box.
    This is a normal occurrence to many that bought their pcc variants. The highball magazine is the real stinker and is useless in most situations.
    The charging handle fell off. It’s an oddly screwed on small spindle charging plastic piece that wriggles its way loose over hard use and many rounds are sent through it. We initially lost it but later found it and it’s easily fixed with some thread lock.
    But, it ran without a jam when using standard mags and found only the highball boomerang designed magazine to be the issue.
    We fed it some of the dirtiest ammo, steel cased, brass and remans and it ate them all without any issues.
    The C9 was a different thing. Four shots into the first magazine and the it suffered slide shatter. First of its kind in the industry. Under scope we can see the grain of the metal used was gritty. This is indicative to die cast metal used in the making of toys, primarily hot wheels and matchbox cars. It is strong enough for ballistic standards but at the bottom of industry standards.
    The slide literally shattered and the metals mixed showed swirls and within the grain of those swirls a crack formed along one of the lines , almost parallel with the slide from front to back. It ended toward the bottom back and split only on one side causing catastrophic failure.
    I strongly advise anyone that’s new to the gun industry is looking for their first firearm, to go look at Taurus. The G2 pt111 or regen G2 , G3 and GX4 are superior and just a few dollars more.
    However, like Taurus, Hipoint may have changed their substandard practices and these new iterations just released the past few years maybe be a viable option.
    I can see the materials appear to be the same which isn’t a plus if true.
    The flat head screws are the other red flag upon inspection. But that’s aesthetics.
    I must admit the design was abysmal and still is but the newer grip does help it look better.
    Videos are on SM of these failures if interested but so are thousands of others.
    For fun Hipoint might be ok. For SD?
    I wouldn’t chance it, at least not until these new iterations are proven over a few years.
    (2015) Analysis.

  14. The High Point 9 I had 10 years ago was the biggest piece of junk I ever had . Continuously jammed, miss fires,feeding failures. Hope they stepped up their game. Still not for me.👎

  15. I had a Hi-Point as a “first gun”, a C-9. It went bang almost every time I pulled the trigger. I will say one thing, you need to run these pistols with a good amount of lubrication. As long as you aren’t stingey on the oil, they won’t let you down. They’re rugged, they look like they fell out of the Ugly Tree and hit every branch on the way down, but you have a decent sidearm that’s not complicated, does what it’s supposed to, and is actually fairly comfortable in the hand, for the price of a movie and dinner.

  16. I was pleasantly surprised by this article! Funny how the “haters” come outta the woodwork when you mention guns like this. Taurus use to be bitterly despised and now not unlike Hyundai have moved up to some degree of responsibility. Glad you took on Hi Point for a commentary piece.👍

  17. I bought a Hi-Point CF 380 for my wife to learn how to shoot, as my 1911 45acp was a little much for her. I think I paid 150.00 bucks for it at the time, and wanted to see if all the bad things I heard about them were true. Well let me tell you the thing shoots and works fantastic. I got it home and right out of the box, didn’t even clean it loaded up the mag and proceeded to shoot the heck out of it, not to shabby for a cheap pistol. And I still shoot it to this day without any problems.

  18. I got a Hi-

    I stumbled upon a lightly used Hi-Point 380 and a 1/2 a box of ammo for $100 back in 2007. Prior to that my hand gun was an American Arms PX .22 that I carried for 15 years. The Hi-Point became my truck gun. It has run just fine with close to 1000 rounds thru it. Never jammed or failed to fire. I also have a Springfield XD9 that is flawless. The .380 Hi-Point still remains my truck gun.

  19. I own 2 Hi Point 45acp and have never had a malfunction in around 500 rounds each. The slide is a bit oversized and a little heavy but that helps with chambering and recoil. NOT my go-to or edc but for inexperienced shooters or first time buyers, inexpensive is definitely the way to go.
    I’ve also fired the 9mm, 380 and 40.
    All are accurate enough with reasonable recoil and fun !!!

  20. One of my younger brothers has a Hi-Point in .45 ACP… it’s big, heavy, ugly… but reliable… and after you’ve expended the 8 rounds? you can use it as a battering ram on a skull. Haha.

    He used to have a .40 S&W Hi-Point carbine… he let our other brother borrow it… who sold it without asking… we’re both still ticked about that. It was a dang ugly PCC but it was reliable too.

    Personally, if all you can afford is a Hi-Point… go for it. They’re ugly as sin but they function.

    I actually have an RIA M206 .38 Spl… but if you can afford one… an S&W SD40VE isn’t a bad choice… 14 rounds of .40 on tap… hard to beat.

  21. I don’t own and have never shot a High Point pistol. I do own a High Point 10mm carbine for the exact reasons you have described. It’s a great truck/trunk gun that shoots “good enough” with stock open sights from point blank to 50 yds to take down anything from a squirrel to a deer. When I took it to the indoor range last month, the RSO hadn’t seen a 10mm High Point so I let him check it out and run some rounds; he was impressed! It’s ugly, the springs on the butt stock are stupid and hinder accuracy but it goes bang every time you pull the trigger and hits what you are shooting at.

  22. I have nothing against Hi-Point; I even have a couple, I bought their 10mm when it first hit the shelves; a new 10mm pistol for $200. And a .55 carbine.

    2 gripes: the carbines should have been designed with a dedicated magwell in front of the trigger guard; and all models, if possible, should have been designed to utelize an existing, readily available magazine.

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