Is It Ever Acceptable To Carry A Cheap Gun?

Is it ever okay to buy and carry a cheap or no-name brand gun? Yes. Yes it is okay with a couple caveats. But before I get to the point of this article I'd like to address something else, entirely, that I see all the time that irritates me.

Said newbie goes into a Facebook gun group and asks something long these lines,

Hey guys, I'm pretty new to guns. My local gun store has a SCCY CPX-1 for sale under $300. Is this a good buy? Thanks in advance!

The person is excited to be entering a new phase of his/her life and has approached a group of people who they believe to be friendly and knowledgeable. And sadly, many of the people who responded were clearly neither friendly nor knowledgeable.

What follows is usually enough to scare away even the thickest-skinned newbie to never want to associate with gun folks again, simply because the respondents were colossal jack wagons in desperate need of attention or an etiquette lesson.

Here's the deal, my friends … mean people suck. Don't be that guy. If there is legit concern over the questioned firearm explain why and move on.

No need to belittle someone who doesn't “know any better.”

And in fact, I know plenty of people who trust their lives to SCCY pistols or other cheap guns who have NEVER had a single malfunction with their chosen self-defense weapon.

And those who have had malfunctions found out what was going on, fixed it, and still carry that gun because they found out it didn't like that particular type of ammo.

And that's really the point. Isn't it?

Training is key, no matter the brand

You have to actually train with your firearm, no matter what it is. How else would you know if your gun works or not, no matter what it is?

It's not good to go out and buy a gun of any make/model if you're just going to shoot it once and then carry it. Whether it's a Glock, SIG, FNH, SCCY, Charter Arms, or any other gun. It doesn't matter. What matters is your comfort level and proficiency shooting it.

If you've gone to the range with your 300 dollar pistol and have got 500 rounds through it with zero malfunctions and you're comfy cozy carrying it, great.

Carry on.

If it's good enough for you, it's good enough for me.

But you have to train with it to be sure, and you shouldn't carry a gun before you know it's reliable with your chosen ammunition, which is usually the issue at hand anyway (though certainly not always). Doing so could be disastrous no matter what gun you carry.

I know people who've spent money on expensive guns that didn't work for anything and were jam-o-matics. Any self-defense firearm can fail.

I know someone who carries a Glock 42 and it fails to feed with certain ammo. Glock is notoriously one of the most reliable brands out there. Should that person discontinue use just because it fails with one brand of ammo?

They didn't think so, so they worked through it to find out what works and still carry it on a regular basis.

Buy the best handgun you can afford

Now, does this mean that you should always opt for those cheap guns just because? I'd be lying if I said that I didn't believe you should always buy the best gun you can afford. If all you can afford is a $300 gun and it was a struggle just to get to that point, that gun is better than not having one at all.

You need to be able to defend yourself and family.

However, if you can afford a $500 gun with a more proven track record … go for it. But the most important thing you can take away from this, is that no matter what gun you carry, you must train with it at regular intervals to make sure it works with your chosen self-defense ammo as well as to increase your skills as a self-defense shooter.

What about you? Do you carry a cheap gun? Let us know in the comments below.

Also, keeping up with the whole cheap theme, I offer you up some free online training.

About Joshua Gillem

Josh is a lifelong practitioner and student of the gun. He grew up shooting/hunting with his dad, and was given his first gun, a 12 gauge shotgun, when just a small boy. After high school, he joined the Marines where his love for firearms blossomed as he qualified with an M16A2, an M9, and a 240G. Josh has been writing about firearms and tactics for several years, owns the blog Gunners Den, is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, and believes that each individual person has the right to self-defense by any means necessary. Currently residing in gun-friendly NC, he carries a concealed gun on a daily basis, even in his own house.


  1. CaptJoe on November 14, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Thank goodness I carry a Wilson Combat!

  2. Patsy Sullivan on November 17, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    I have a High Point 9MM I bought off of a guy. I love it. It is the only “cheap” gun I have and people are like it’s garbage. I like the way it shoots and the recoil is better than my Smith & Wesson or Sauer. I have thought about checking into other High Point products because of this 9MM cheap made or not. I just like the gun.

  3. Patrick on November 20, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    My Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm Shield may qualify as a “cheap” gun, but it is very reliable, I shoot it well, and it is comfortable to carry. It is effective.

  4. Shawn on November 20, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    I often carry a Diamondback DB9, 100% reliable with 115gr critical defense and UMC jhp’s; that’s about it. But totally affordable by any measure.

  5. Winterborne on November 20, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    My Rock Island Armory 1911 FS was, I guess, cheap. Tax and all was $500 out the door. I had a gunsmith install a set of Truglo tritium sights. Added just under another sawbuck.

    Yes, my STI DVC Carry and my Springfield Armory Loaded Operator are both more accurate.

    But the Rock always runs, as long as I clean it rmevery 800 rounds or so and don’t feed it 185 gr Gold Dots.

    Anything else is always 100% and always inside an 8 inch circle at 25 yards. Good enough.

  6. USA Patriot on November 21, 2018 at 12:11 am

    Thank GOD I carry Sig 226 Legion

  7. Lou on November 21, 2018 at 12:22 am

    I have a few Springfield guns. Got great deals in the low to mid $300 range. Never misfired and all solid awesome quality guns

  8. Jermil on November 21, 2018 at 9:24 am

    I agree if your going to carry a budget at least put 500 to 1000 rounds though it before carrying I purchased a millinum g2c and found out it didn’t feed well with Hornady carry ammo so test out before you depend your life on it

  9. Don on November 21, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    Carry a DB9ss, was $200 at Bud’s. Have over 300 rounds through it with no malfunctions and very accurate.

  10. Darryl Hugaboom on November 22, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    I’m convinced that it is almost never the gun and almost always the ammo. I carry a Springfield 1911 .45. Awesome gun and definitely not in the lower end $$ wise. It has been a comfort to me as it never misfires… I should say it never misfires anymore. It took a while to get the correct ammo / recoil spring combination to get it completely reliable. That would be the same for any factory gun. I have had luck with Taurus guns that cost less than $200. Never a misfire right out of the box.

    All manufacturers must make the guns they produce reliable… it’s up to the shooter to keep it that way. Find the correct ammo, clean the gun often, and practice, practice, practice. If you don’t have 1000+ rounds through your carry weapon, how comfortable can you be with it in a crisis?

  11. Doug Fresh on November 25, 2018 at 10:20 am

    Common sense words. Your point about practice is best. Whatever firearm you choose, OR CALIBER, I’ll take the person who practices on a regular basis, over the person with a canon but hasn’t seen a range in months.

  12. Alvin on January 4, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    Taurus pt 111 G2. Ausom carry pistol. 3 years and about 2500 rounds. No problems. I shoot it better than m XDS. and I love the reset on the trigger. I carry one every day.

  13. Ronnie on July 14, 2019 at 11:04 am

    I conceal carry a 2nd gen Ruger LCP. It’s snappy, but reliable with anything I feed it. You get used to the long trigger pull pretty quickly. I have had zero issues with it since I bought it new a year and a half ago. I feel naked without it, as funny as that sounds. And it’s helped me on two occasions to give the other person a moment of pause just by lifting my shirt enough to show I’m carrying.

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