For many who would chose to carry a concealed handgun, there is a moment of pause were what's in the pocketbook doesn't support buying that flashy Kimber or SIG that's on the cover of the gun mags. With that in mind, here are a few solid roscoes that won't break the bank.
Kel Tec PF9
Florida-based Kel Tec is one of the better-known medium-sized firearms makers of the past twenty years. Their sub compact PF-9 is one of the lightest (just 18.2 oz. fully loaded) and flattest (0.88″ wide) 9mm pistols in existence. On the downside, while these dimensions keep it concealable, the gun suffers from a good bit of muzzle flip, which can make rapid follow up shots tough. Still, with a retail price of around $300 (shop around), it is far cheaper than a Baby Glock or XDS.
Since 2005 the Brazilian firm of Forjas Taurus S/A has been making a small line of crowd-pleasing compact pistols. Best of all, these guns come in a variety of calibers including pipsqueak 32ACP, .380 AUTO, 9mm, and hard-hitting .40 and .45ACP. These striker fired short recoil semi-auto pistols come in a staggering number of variants including double action only (DAO) or single action/double action, stainless, blued or two-tone finishes, Heinie sights, and in several different grades. Best of all, they are usually on the market for about $350 with used examples dipping below three.
When Ohio-based Hi-Point entered the market quietly in 1992, many turned up their nose and chalked them up as a maker of 'throwaway' guns akin to Lorcin, Jennings and other infamous 1980s outfits. However, these zamak specials have thrived and today some two decades later, they are one of the bestselling classes of pistols on the market. Don't get me wrong, these guns are ugly, and, using the weight of the slide to hold the breech closed, they are heavy, but they work and are surprisingly accurate.
The CF.380 and C9 9 mm models currently sold by the company have a lifetime no questions asked warranty and are routinely subjected to horrendous torture tests by You Tubers. Best of all, with a MSRP of just $199, you can often stumble on these fellas for around a buck fifty 'on the shelf'-- which leaves more cash for ammo.
With roots going back to the 1880s, the Rossi company has been making revolvers and rifles for generations. Since 1997, the company has teamed up with fellow Brazilian arms maker Taurus and streamlined their offerings. Today their R46202 and R46102 snub-nosed revolvers are updated and affordable wheelguns for the discerning concealed carry practitioner.
Beefy frames that take six rounds of .357 Magnum makes these wheel guns big medicine, especially when compared to smaller capacity S&W J-frame snubbies. Old school HKS Model 10 Speedloaders (about $8 each) fit these guns for a fast reload. Best of all, these Rossi pistols are easy to find for around $250 NIB.
Long known for their lines of Walther PPK-ish clones of compact .380s, the Argentine firm of Bersa has introduced something new in the past few years. Marketed in the US as the "Bersa Concealed Carry" line, the company is hawking both a 9mm (BP9CC) and a .40S&W caliber (BP40CC) polymer single stack pistol that is garnering rave reviews (link to). Many call it 'the single stack Glock 19.'
With a weight of 21.5 oz., an overall length of 6.35" and a very trim 0.94" width, these svelte semi-autos compete favorably with the newest designs from Ruger and Kahr, but at a cost, that runs about $350 through Buds and other online wholesalers.
Bottom line is, for around $300 there are lots of good options for concealed carry out there. So what's stopping you?