The 6 Most Underrated Firearms

6 underrated firearms

When I began working up this assignment I did not look in the media or around the gun shops, but as I usually do, I took my own counsel. What would qualify a firearm as underrated?

A firearm that provides good service, is reliable and worth its cost, but isn’t very expensive are among the criteria.

There are underrated firearms that are great guns and have a number of strong adherents, but are not universally acclaimed.

Perhaps the Colt Single Action Army may be one. Others are popular simply because they are cheap, but that doesn’t mean they are underrated, everyone pretty well knows where they stand with them.

Rather, I chose firearms that are in daily use by many shooters and provide them good service. Some are purchased by those on a budget.

After using the underrated firearms in question, they realize that they made that uncommon purchase worth more than its price.

As an example, some have purchased the Savage 110 rifle based on economy and felt it was good enough for the job. After using the rifle, they became Savage fans for life.

That is the kind of thing we are looking for. I am certain there are other firearms that would fit the list, and I look forward to hearing from you!

1. Beretta Tomcat

The Tomcat was purchased grudgingly I admit. At the time, I was in an assignment that demanded the appearance of being unarmed. I looked toward the smallest possible footprint.

The Beretta was chosen based on its reliability. Not many pocket guns have the measure of reliability the Tomcat has earned.

Next, the safety features. The Beretta is easy to load without racking the slide, simply tip the barrel up and load a cartridge into the chamber.

There is a positive safety on the frame that may be operated in a natural movement. When you carry the piece in an area normally reserved for a truss, safety is important.

The trigger action is well suited to a pocket gun. The trigger guard is wide enough to offer plenty of finger leverage. The double-action first shot isn’t difficult to pull off accurately — at close range.

In single-action fire, the pistol is surprisingly accurate. You may stay on a man-sized target at 15 yards and home every Hornady XTP into the X ring.

Headshots are not difficult at seven yards. Rodents and dangerous snakes at a few paces are easy game.

The Beretta isn’t my first choice for concealed carry, but it is a frequent backup and one I trust. Accuracy and reliability make it more versatile than most.

2. Bersa Thunder .380 ACP

The Bersa is often called a Walther clone. It isn’t. As the exposed drawbar indicates, the Bersa Thunder is more of a Beretta clone. The action is smoother than the Walther and equal to the Beretta.

The Bersa is a surprisingly reliable and accurate handgun. I often recommend it to those on a budget. I have no reservations concerning Bersa reliability.

The finish is sometimes prone to early wear. My pistol has been carried for many months in a Gold Star IWB holster. This holster offers an excellent range of adjustment.

The Bersa disappears under a sport shirt. The pistol is roughly as accurate as most subcompact 9mm handguns. It is accurate enough to make practice enjoyable.

If I were limited to the .380 ACP cartridge, this would be my top choice, and it is the only .380 ACP pistol I currently own. This one is loaded with Hornady Critical Defense.

3. Charter Arms Undercover .38 Special

I have kept a snubnose .38 as a backup and backed the pocket revolver for many years.

When Charter Arms introduced the Undercover .38 during the Vietnam War, good quality handguns were difficult to find.

The Charter has continued to arm Americans on a budget and arm them well. The example illustrated is a blue steel version with walnut grips, the original version and still my favorite.

The pistol features a steel frame, kind of a steel skeleton surrounded by aluminum. A transfer bar ensures the revolver is safe to carry fully loaded.

The Charter is light, reliable, powerful enough for defense use, offers a smooth action and good sights.

If you need a backup revolver or a .38 Special on a budget, the Charter Undercover should fit your budget. This one is loaded with Hornady Critical Defense.

The Undercover ranks high on the list of underrated firearms.

4. Colt Series 80 Government Model .45 ACP

The Colt Government Model underrated? Yes, actually it is.

In this day of cheap, under-performing 1911s and terribly expensive, super-accurate 1911 pistols, the middle of the road 1911 handguns in the eight to nine-hundred dollar range don’t get the attention they should.

The Colt Government Model Series 80 is a great all-around 1911. The pistol has a well-earned reputation for reliability.

The trigger action is smooth and reliable, if not the lightest that is still well suited to personal defense.

The pistol will put five of Hornady’s new subsonic .45 ACP 230-grain XTP load into less than three inches at 25 yards. That is good performance.

Another way in which this handgun is underrated is the modern revisionist history and faulty science of ‘all calibers are the same.’ This is a shaky bandwagon to jump on.

A generation ago, the popular press gave us unverifiable and unrepeatable ‘stopping power’ studies and ridiculous goat shooting tests that were regarded as a hoax by professionals.

The .45 ACP is a great choice for those willing to master the handgun.

5. Savage 110

As originally envisioned, the Savage 110’s famous barrel-nut assembly was intended to offer a less expensive means of fitting the barrel to the frame. A happy byproduct was enhanced accuracy potential.

The Savage 110 has earned a reputation for excellent accuracy potential, reliability and affordability. The modern Savage 110 Apex Storm offers excellent features.

The stock offers considerable adjustment and the supplied Vortex scope is a credible and effective optic. I like the Savage 110 very much.

When I need another rifle, I will consider the Savage 110 first. The example illustrated, in 6.5 Creedmoor, is destined for the hunting fields this winter. The load is Hornady Precision Hunter.

6. Thompson/Center R22

The Thompson/Center R22 is sometimes called a Ruger 10/22 clone. In some ways it is, but unlike most clones, this isn’t a cheaper version meant to sell for less money.

The R22 is a first-class rifle with many improvements. It is supplied with a Magpul stock, fast to acquire and accurate peep sights, and a magazine that holds open on the last shot.

The rifle accepts 10, 15 and 25-round Ruger 10/22 magazines. Reliability and accuracy have been excellent. This is my to-go rifle and one of my favorite .22-caliber firearms of all time.

What firearm do you think is underrated? Why? Let us know in the comments section below!

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
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 (57)

  1. You want under-rated? Just about any Taurus revolver. They shoot fine and often sell for half of what their competitors are getting for ‘brand name’ wheel gun.

  2. Forget the Bobcat – no extractor. Clearing a FTF malf requires a totally different, and slower, procedure than the standard one.

  3. I did not see High Point mentioned in your list and I own 2 .380 high point and when I went to qualify for my CC licence at 15 yards I shot out the bulls eye with 20 rounds and the last 5 rounds I shot at the head and put all 5 rounds within an area you could cover with your hand. This may be a cheap value gun but a darn accurate pistol. My wife owns’ a Sig .380 and she is also accurate with it. The Sig was more expensive but fit her hand better. I would recommend HIGH POINT to anyone and they come in various calibers.

  4. My Astra Constable a rugged and reliable 380 acp clone from the more expensive Walther PPk.
    This Astra did a good job for being so light and concielable that I can IWB all day long. (EDC)

  5. I own a bersa 380. Right after i bought it i had a problem. The C clip that holds the hammer end of the drawbar came off. I replacef it a couple of times and it continued to come off. Eventually, i polished the drawbar and the frame near the clip and lubricated it to reduce friction. No problems since. A great gun.

  6. I had been on the lookout for the Beretta .32 for quite a while, but over $400 was more than I wanted to spend & Keltec .32s are rare. Lo & behold I saw the blued Tomcat in the used counter at my favorite gun dealer for $215 in excellent condition. Trigger d a is hard, but manageable. The s a trigger is very light, but excellent for accurate fire. The latch for the tip up barrel is stiff and may be the reason it was sold off. 8 rounds of .32 ought to be discouraging to most miscreants, the gold dot hollow points make it a serious defense arm for bad breath encounters. It’s a little chunky in width, but it’s still easy to carry ina pocket holster.

  7. Great article. My Bersa Firestorm .380 is rarely mentioned while the Thunder gets all the press, but it is my favorite summer CCW and it is fun and easy to shoot accurately.

  8. 1. Cz75, especially Sp01.. Cz97 is a great shooter as well
    2. For the money Ptr91, is definitely overlooked. Lots of aftermarket support
    3. Eaa witness, especially in 10mm

  9. I can definitely agree with the savage. I have 3 of them. The first is a 64 FXP .22 LR that I was shooting golf balls at 100 yards until the scope failed.

    The second is a Savage 11 Scout in .308. While this is touted as a scout rifle with a 16″ barrel and is supposed to be for mid range, I was able to ring steel at 1000 yards with it, hitting 6 of 10 times on a 36″ target.

    Finally, my 3rd Savage is the 110 Long Range Hunter in 6.5 Creedmore. While sighting it in at 200 yards, I was able to place 3 round under an inch with a left to right wind of about 15 mph.

    I was totally amazed with the Long Range Hunter.

    As for guns that are underrated, I would also include Howa rifles.

  10. Concur with your Bersa choice. However, I found that my Thunder will misfire using Sellier & Beloit 9mm (Court) .380 ammo. The expended round fails to fully eject as the following round is fed to the receiver. This is a repeated failure. With other .380 ammo, I have not experienced such a problem. Other than that, the Bersa Thunder is definitely an underrated firearm, and enjoyable to shoot.

  11. You missed a few more. My Bersa Model 85 I think predates your Thunder. It holds 13+1 and is a little bigger than some modern .380s, but very excellent.

    The Keltec P-11 weighs only 14 oz. empty and has a 10 round magazine, but will accept S&W 5900 series 15 round magazines and is a very light but powerful carry weapon.

    One more is the Rossi model 877 .38/.357 mag. snubby stainless steel revolver. It holds 6 rounds and is ever-so-slightly larger than a Colt Detective Special and can use the same holsters. Mine is Magnaported and presents modest recoil and is very controllable with magnum ammo.

  12. The star PD 45acp should be at the top of the list, it is the backup gun for many law enforcement around the country that is why it is so hard to find one for is saved my butt more than once in the streets.

  13. Both of my 380 Beretta’s are relegated to go-bags and rarely shot. However, they exist in their present locations because they are reliable, simple to operate, and the munitions available today in this caliber make it a viable platform within this envelope.
    The Savage 110 is a solid platform and worthy of consideration from A youngsters first long gun to ones go-to hunter.
    I’d also add the Savage 93 to this list. In 22 mag, it’s an excellent small game platform. It becomes nearly epic when chambered for .17 HMR. In the thumbhole Stock configuration with the patented Accu-Trigger this an excellent choice on a number of levels.
    Rock Island Armory, Springfield Armory, Kel-Tec, IWI, and CZ, all provide excellent platforms in the size, calibers, and reliability suggested here. Another that should be considered for this list is the Kel-Tec PMR30.

  14. Your list is spot on. I would add another that I carried as backup, Charter Arms’ Bulldog in 44 Special packs a massive amount of power in a small-enough package. Dependable, but as any gun your life might depend on you must put in practice time.

  15. My underrated weapon is the Ruger P89. I wanted a 9mm when the Military went with the M9, my first time at the range with the new Beretta was humiliating, I shot expert with the 1911 and with the new Beretta the target looked like a seagull crapped on it. I needed a 9mm that I could practice with. The P89 at the time was about $289.00 compared to the 92’s $589+ cost. I bought the Ruger and out of the box I was shooting expert again, with practice I again shot expert with the M9 but the Ruger P89 is still my favorite autoloader. Favorite pistol though of all is the Ruger Super Blackhawk 44Mag. I had the girl now for around 44 years, still shoots like a dream.

  16. Taurus PT111 G2C . Packed with features. Dehorned, adjustable sights, 12rounds, second strike capability, excellent grip ergo, very accurate, well made magazines (same maker as beretta i believe) Right around $200. I definitely believe it is underrated.

  17. I agree strongly that the Bersa Thunder .32 ACP is underrated. It has been my experience that it performs reliably and has wider appeal when it comes to general shootability particularly for a lot of the more timid who back off at the prospect of a .380 pistol. It’s a good gun, quite unique today. If you can find one, hang onto it. They don’t make’em anymore.

  18. I didn’t know the Colt Series 80 1911 was an underrated gun. I just bought one late last year and it sure doesn’t shoot like an underrated gun. And somebody mentioned the CZ-75 which I just bought one of earlier this year . I gotta say I like underrated guns.

  19. Pretty good list. I have nothing to say about #1 one way or the other. #2: I’d rather have a PPK. I’ve shot both. #3: Probably can’t beat it for the price. I’ve never shot a Charter Arms of any kind. My preference would be a Smith & Wesson, but that’s just me. #4: I prefer the 70 series but you can’t go wrong with any Colt 1911. #5: I’ve never fooled with a Savage. Remington all the way for me. Another case of personal preference. #6: Ruger 10/22 all the way for me. EVERYONE should own a 10/22! Thompson/Center firearms are first class also. #7: PSA is way underrated. I’d choose a Ruger for #7 but there isn’t a thing in the world wrong with PSA that I’m aware of. I like the PA-10 of theirs that I’ve shot.

  20. A good list of solid guns. In this day and age when people are put to shame for buy an inexpensive firearm it is good to see some common sense. My wife and I own more than a few guns, and none of them fall into the super cheap or super expensive categories. We have several police trade-ins and some nice 1911 and Beretta 92 clones that are accurate and reliable. But I do have to say we have nothing in .32ACP.

  21. I have a friend who owns the Bersa Thunder – he recommends it to anyone who asks. It’s worth noting that his very short, slender wife and two pre-teen daughters all found the Bersa practical to operate and fire. So if you want a pistol you can train/arm small inexperienced family members with, the Bersa seems to work

  22. Good article and I see it’s geared towards common everyday accessable firearms but there are older reasonable priced firearms that are worthy of consideration. The Soviet Makarov (East German if you can find one) Czech P64 and the CZ 82. Then again I’m a fan of the 9×18 round. Not for everyone.

  23. I do not recommend the Tomcat because it has no drop- safe protection. That makes it inherently less safe than I am comfortable with.

  24. The SAR K2P should be added to the list. Great 9mm fits the hand well and fires every thing from hand loads to hot personal defense ammo. Reliable smooth and accurate.

  25. Not a bad list…
    I’d have to add the DPMS Oracle in 5.56, the S&W SD40VE, and belive it or not the Taurus Mellinium G2.
    Possibly add the Stevens 301… or the H&R Pardner Pump.

  26. Taurus G2C- bought one on sale $179 w/free shipping & Taurus had $25 rebate so I took a chance on this Compact 9mm 12+1 with 2 mags . Was I ever surprised. It accurately fired any ammo I fed it. I then added Armalaser TR23 green light to it which cost me about what I paid for the gun. 7 yds tackdriver,25yd all 13 rounds in fist sized group. Are there better guns? Sure I have many. But for anyone on a budget this would be a reliable gun for the truck, bedside table or EDC.

  27. I like the Tarus Spectrum 380 for concealment. I use a jacketed hollow point cartridge in. Fires with a minimum recoil and is easy to keep on target. The cost is great and reasonable.

  28. The first gun I owned was a Mossberg shotgun. My neighbor at the time, the late Bill Bloss, once said that if you can only afford one gun, make it a SHOTGUN. Thanks!

  29. Well I’ve owned a Charter Arms undercover early in my career but eventually traded it & $50 for a Colt Detective Special. Still have the Colt. 6 shot versus 5 shot and I could use my issued speed loaders with the Colt too. I have a Beretta Bobcat in 22LR for when I don’t want to carry a gun and I still have my Bersa Series 95. I have put thousands of rounds through it in the last 20+ years. When I first qualified with it back in 97 for off duty use my Captain saw it and I let him fire a couple of magazines. He said he was quite impressed and called it quite a tack driver. Only 3 out of the 7 I’ve owned but I will agree that they have been well worth the price I’ve paid for them.

  30. I would agree with everything on the list except the Bursa. I had one and couldn’t wait to get rid of it. It was uncomfortable to shoot. It never fit in my hand just right. I ended up trading for a Ruger .380. The Ruger just shoots great and doesn’t leave my hand sore, like the Bursa did. I wouldn’t recommend a Bursa to anyone. I also didn’t like the decocker. For a small gun, which I would use for self protection close up, it contains too many safeties. I always prefer my safety to be my trigger finger.

  31. My son has the Bursa Thunder in .380 and its a great gun. I have shot it many times with zero issues and its very accurate. I also have a Charter Arms .38 special that I purchased back around 1978 for approx $109.00. I still have the gun and love it. Its very reliable, shoots accurate, and best yet – its a six shot revolver instead of the modern 5 shot. Both are great choices and very underrated!

  32. My first centerfire carry handgun was a rather unusual one. It was the P 64, made by the Polish company Radom. Chambered in 9 x 18 Makarov, I was able to buy it in new, unfired condition for 179$.
    There were many quirks about the gun, but it had some great things, too. Chambered for the 9 mm Makarov round, it is kind of a clone of the Walther PPK, in a different caliber. A traditional double action with a hammer drop/safety lever, it lacks the slide release lever. However, it does lock back on the last round of the magazine. A simple pull back on the slide, once a new loaded magazine is inserted, chambers another round and it is ready to go.
    Now, the quirks. My gun was made in 1969, and had never been fired. The double action trigger was so heavy, it literally took all my finger strength to pull. I even at times resorted to using two fingers to run the gun in double action dry firing. Obviously something had to be done. Fortunately, there is a website dedicated to the gun,and there are instructions on how to replace the trigger spring, and the hammer spring, to drop the pull down. I put the 17 pound spring in, that I had purchased from Wolff springs, and it made the double action pull better, but it really smoothed out after around 500 dry fire cycles. The change dropped the double action into reasonable territory, but what it did to the single action pull was amazing. It ended up, just guessing, not having a gauge, at about 2.5-3.0 pounds in single action, and perfectly smooth with no over travel at all.
    An all steel gun made for the military and police, it was super tough, and solid. The one thing that many would not like, is that it is a straight blowback design. The 9mm Makarov round is at the top end of a straight blowback that I would want to shoot, without some recoil dampening, such as Magnaporting, or similar. The truth is, the gun kicks like a rented mule.
    I have shot many different guns, the 1911 in .45 ACP being about the largest caliber that I have owned. Compared to the P 64, a 1911 is a pussycat as far as recoil is concerned. The one good thing that came from my starting out with this gun as my first centerfire carry gun, is that it taught me about recoil and how to manage it. Along with the fact that the barrel is affixed to the frame, the trigger after I massaged it with new springs and some dry fire, the gun was a tack driver. With rudimentary military sights, my youngest son, who had been in the military and has much better eyesight than me, was able to chase a pop can along at about 20-25 yards, with no problem. My eyesight is not what it used to be, but I could shoot the gun very well also, provided that I concentrated.
    I sadly had to sell the gun during a time of financial hardship, something that many of you are probably familiar with, and none of us like doing so, but we do what we have to do. I wish that I still had the gun, but I have no intention of getting another one, simply due to the fact that I have a decent stockpile of 9mm ammo, and prefer to not have to stock too many calibers. My carry gun now is the Taurus PT 111 G2, but I just bought a brand new Ruger SR 9c, which I plan on integrating into my carry routine, once I get enough rounds through it.
    I also have a Ruger Mark IV 22/45, which I also love. And while I have the two wonder nines, at some point, I plan on moving up in quality, probably getting into a CZ 2075 Rami. My son has one,and it is a very nice gun, and the quality is obvious. Plus, I still like the double action for a carry gun.

  33. Can’t forget about the Taurus G2C. I had never shot one until a friend of mine let me try his. I’m not a small guy, and got some big hands, and not only does it fit me well, it’s accurate, inexpensive, and I haven’t had a problem with mine in 3 years and several thousand rounds thru it. And remember the Hipoint carbines, the pistols are horrible, but the carbines are also reliable, inexpensive and very accurate.

  34. The Bersa Thunder is not only a cheap Walther knock-off, both the Bersa and Walther and poorer versions of the superior designed Sig P232 – which is unfortunately no longer in manufacture but can still be found available new on the internet – lighter and sleeker than either the Bersa or Walther and without the clunky slide safety/decocker – the only thing the Bersa might offer is a US-common slide release button rather than the German base of slide release – insignificant difference in exchange for a much sleeker/better design, standard night sights, and rubber finger-grooved grip

  35. Interesting article. I myself have never had a use for pocket guns. Have bought a couple for the wife to carry in her purse, but that was after having her shoot many different ones and letting her pick what she was most comfortable with. As for myself, I’m a big guy 6’5″/280 and usually carry my SIG 227 SAS (45acp) IWB. I also carry a Glock 21 and Glock 20. I carry all IWB and in the summer a pair of shorts and a t-shirt are all I need to conceal carry.

  36. Ive seen some people have sneered at the .32 auto as a dismissive cartridge , my father was shot with a .32 auto after passing completely through the shooters torso.
    it was a full metal jacket , the shooter died my father lived.
    given the newer hollow point loads one would expect execellent performance in todays real world.

  37. The Springfield xdm lineup or even the XD is an affordable, reliable and accurate pistol.My xdm compact 3.8″ barrel in .45acp has eaten everything I’ve fed it,has a match grade barrel and trigger.Really couldn’t be happier with it compared to a Glock.Well worth checking out.

  38. Agree with your underated gun picks,however I have owned more guns than I ever needed,sold 27 of them several years ago as I got old,just before you had to examine a persons life and report to the government!
    A friend in Florida has an underground range where any weapon can be fired without waking up any snoop birds 7in the sky.we fire each others and one day I picked up my buddys 1640 Para ordanance and fired 16 rounds into ctr. Target! Wow! A .40 that was ready to fire as soon as you gripped it,felt fantastic and unloaded a dozen and a half as fast as your finger with a fantastic ring of fire around your hands! Then the owner tells me he bought it in CANADA where it was made.CANADA? The Country where the friendly folks only made Dougnuts,table Dancers and Hockey Pucks? Yup. Im telling you to try one if u can find one. I heard Remington bought out the Company and I live in New York as a Servant to King Como and under the Thumb of the scary Gun laws called Safe written in the middle of the Night, not allowed to go to Church or hang with Friends or even Family,waiting for them to come take my guns,it sucked to give my high cap mags to my Florida buds back when I thought that I would shurly Die b4 we were Ordered to keep alive w/o free or Die is on the New Hamps car Tags and I lived when it felt like if you survived the War and Lived to be 20 ,the rest was a dream being an American and I didnt have to Watch Headline News out of Moscow to watch our President and Nancy/Chucky speaches in full so I could try to understand how Old Dudes like me messed up the World. Im truly sorry, in my last Days I never thought I would live long enough to witness this.

  39. I love my Taurus Ultralite .38 +P
    It’s lite (obviously), inexpensive, accurate, and solidly built.
    It’s also easy to carry on the ankle, inside vest pocket, or side holster, and it doesn’t weigh me down using any of those methods.

  40. This is an excellent list. As others have stated, the Bersa is truly impressive in all aspects and like others, I find it accurate and a pleasure to shoot. I think I would have added the S&W SD9 VE. It is an excellent, inexpensive “Duty-Gun” and I think it is underrated as well. I would probably add a Rock Island/Armscor 12 gauge to this list and you’d have all your bases covered. Thanks for the excellent article, it was a pleasure to read.

  41. Good list. I own a few of the guns, and couldn’t agree more about them, especially the Savage. I’m not a big fan of the Axis, or any of the new rifles where the recoil lug remains in the stock, but the actual 110 and 111 rifles have been the most accurate out of the box rifles for decades now. Just wish someone would figure out how to design an adjustable 2 stage trigger for them.

    As far as other options for the list, I would add anything from Sanders Armory. I picked up a 24″ Grendel upper from them last summer, and it’s amazing. I’ve spoken to the owner multiple times, great service. The rifle consistently produces sub 1/2MOA groups with every powder and projectile I’ve tried, with some close to 1/4 moa at 400 yds.

  42. I know I will catch #### for this,but High Points run pretty well and are a bargain price. Some thing is Better than Nothing.

  43. Great article,I like reading these types of articles.I agree with your suggestions,I own five of the seven you have here,I did look at a Beretta Tomcat [used],and as a second thought I called my LGS back and was going to have them put it back for me and was told they sold it five minutes after I left.I was impressed with the performance of the Bersa 380 Thunderer,I carry it mainly around the farm and locally.I have two of the PSA AR`s,one in 5.56 and 300 BO.I just picked up a Ruger Security 9 10 shot NIB for less than three bills,it had been a mis-ordered piece,the customer wanted the 15 shot and they sent the 10 shot,so the LGS put it out at a slightly discounted price,I jumped on it,and was glad I did.I have one Colt 1911 80 series and have several clones of the legendary sidearm.All work very well and are reliable and accurate.

  44. Thanks for mentioning Charter Arms. Their revolvers get a lot of bad press but I’ve found them to be pretty reliable substitutes for say, a S&W or Ruger, at about 1/2 the cost

  45. I’m really against .380, at this time, it’s cheaper to shoot 9mm. The more you shoot, the better you get, so as to your criteria, those first two, in .380 are out. There are many sub compacts for conceal carry that hold a larger more inexpensive round and in that price range. One I think is under rated, is the Walther PPS in 9mm. As easy to conceal as the first two, yet has a far better trigger pull and reset.
    Again on your criteria for cost. Really? A Colt 1911? You can get a Springfield 1911 mil spec for 100s cheaper, and there are other 1911s that are cheaper.

  46. I’ve used the Bersa Thunder and enjoyed it. Then my wife tried it and fell in love with it. SO, now I use a Ruger SR9C. I can use the 10 round mag at all times without printing and can use the 17 round mag most of the time without printing. Shooting Hornady Critical Defense, or Critical Duty at 15 yds. I get 3 inch groups for the whole mag. Never have had a FTF, or stovepipe when shooting these 2 rounds.

  47. The .17 Winchester Super Mag round is underrated and unknown to some shooters. I us this round on Prairie Dogs and am highly successful at up to 300 yards. Even at this range the 20 grain bullet still contains plenty of energy and carries 2 1/2 times the energy of the .17 HMR and a 50% flatter trajectory with reduced wind drift. I actually prefer using this over my 22-250 because of cost per round and recoil. Currently I am using the Savage B mag with Stainless Bull Barrel and Rim Fire Scope. Best day at dog town was 66 KIA in 5 hours, I started feeling a little guilty from my hill top position.Don’t under rate the rim fire! South Dakota Dogs

  48. Liked the article. The .45 auto is one of the finest pistols ever produced. They are reliable for sure, I am living proof of that. I need not go into details on that matter. When that .45 round hits the enemy, his shoulders are where his feet were and he is out of action from there on. If you under rate a .45 auto, you probably have never had to defend your life with one. Of all of the hand guns that I have, even my Jerico, my first choice is my .45. That is because of the knock down power it has. My Jerico now has 147 gr 9MM rounds, but they still do not beat the 230 gr .45 rounds for knock down power. While it might be considered under rated, if I have to stand that line again, I will stand it with my under rated .45 with the ten shot clips. If you are on the bad side of a bayonet charge, you better hope and pray you have an under rated .45 so when you shoot the enemy he will be pushed backward and not continue forward and bayonet you after he is dead.

  49. I carry a Charter Arms Bulldog 44 special, a 5 shot revolver that I feel is an excellent firearm fo personal pertection, one hit would be a stopper, also is a good summer carry, is easy to conceal

  50. I had grown up with all Smith & Wesson revolvers. There were no inexpensive auto’s designed for carry like today. Oh the PPK was around but there also was not any self defense designed ammo in those days. (I didn’t reload in those days.) Back then the Colt Detective Special and the equivalent S&W were very nice but $$$. My FFL holder cousin had just got a deal on a 10 piece purchase of the Charter Undercovers from a distributor in Ohio. I had just been “ordered” to carry at all times. I was a deputy prosecutor then. I was required to qualify with my carry piece. With my S&W training no problem. The range officer for our police agency was impressed by it and asked to shot it. Because of his word of mouth to members of his force my cousin sold the other 9 from that shipment in no time. All to, probably underpaid, police officers on the force. I would still carry it today if I had it these, 40 some years later.

  51. Not a bad list. I totally agree with the Savage. I have 3 of them. My .22-250 shoots 1/4 moa groups at 100 yards. I would add the EAA (Tangdoglio) Witness to the list. Amazing guns. Extremely accurate, functional, reliable and affordable guns. I’d also add the Keltec P11. It is the Sig P365 or Springfield Hellcat before there was a P365 or Hellcat.

  52. I agree with you about the Bersa Thunder 380, much under-rated and you can’t beat it for the price. Yeah, the finish isn’t great, but it sure shoots just fine. I would add the CZ 75 to the list

  53. Which Tomcat?
    IIRC it comes in .22lr, .25ACP and .32ACP – my ‘sample’ is the .32 – not the ‘best’ for self defense purposes – YMMV – but there are passable loads available. It was chosen for the same reasons the author stated.

  54. From my experience with the Bersa, you are SPOT ON! I have fired many .380s out there, and out of all of them, there is no other .380 that I have enjoyed more than the Bersa!!! It is such cake to aim, shoot, stay on target, and follow up with EVERY OTHER ROUND in the magazine, that I can fire very accurate, near full auto out of this boss firearm. Some of my best fast fire targets of all time were from this firearm, and therefore it is one of my favorite firearms for fast fire pistol accuracy. People mock 380 sometimes, acting like it is a joke round, as though they would stupidly be fine taking a round from one… My response is “idiots”. The round kills people dead, and if they think this Bersa is in any way survivable, they simply have no clue what it is like to be shot at, nor hit by an actual round, not to mention an entire magazine’s worth…

  55. Great article. I have the Bersa Thunder Compact and have found it to be everything you said about the full-sized Thunder. I did buy a grip sleeve to make it a little more comfortable to shoot, and with that modification it isn’t just comfortable to shoot, it is fun! After many hundreds rounds of a variety of ammunition, including FMJ and JHP, I have never had a single failure. I keep it loaded with Hornady Critical Defense.

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