These are firearms which, although not expensive, are ones we would not hesitate to use for our own self-defense, or to recommend to others. And, they’re all typically priced on the $299 – $339 price range. Most either have a lifetime warranty, or are produced by one of the manufacturers that can always be counted on to stand behind their products.
There are a number of single-stack 9’s that are popular and which we have no reservations about, but which are not included on my list for this article, guns such as the Beretta Nano, Bersa BP9CC, Glock 43, Kel-Tec PF9, Ruger LC9, S&W M&P Shield, Springfield XDS, and Taurus 709. These are all excellent guns. Most of these are priced a little higher than the guns I’m writing about today and they don’t hold as many rounds. My personal preference is the smaller the caliber, the more rounds I want in the gun.
These are presented in alphabetical order because I don’t really have a favorite. They’re all good, dependable firearms that will perform if you do your part as far as mindset and proficiency go.
Up first is the Ruger 9E. Ruger firearms have long been noted for their dependability and shootability. The Ruger 9E is a striker-fired 9mm handgun that weighs in at just over 27 ounces and carries 18 rounds of ammunition. It has a visual port so you can check to see if a round is chambered, comes with exchangeable backstraps (flat or arched). It’s got that great Ruger feel, good sights, and both the manual safety and mag release are ambidextrous. Typical price on it is around $349.
Next up is the SAR B6. We’ve sold these in lots of pretty colors, but guys they come in black, too. Also, you can get a stainless steel slide. This gun is a Turkish made clone of the CZ-75. It weighs 25 oz. and carries 13 rounds. It’s a great shooter. Current prices on this gun are around $329. Hard to beat at that price.
The SCCY CPX2 is next on the list. I have to admit when this gun hit the market I had my doubts. I’ve seen some other low-cost Florida manufactured firearms that weren’t much more than “Saturday Night Specials.” But after almost three years of seeing them shot in our CHL classes and selling a bunch to very satisfied customers I’ve become a believer. We’ve never seen a problem with the gun. We did see a split seam in one of the early magazines, but that was the magazine, not the gun, and we’ve never seen that again. Not only is the SCCY priced affordably, but it has a lifetime warranty. Another plus is that shooters with weak hands can rack the slides on these handguns with very little effort. It holds 11 rounds and weighs in at 15 ounces.
Smith & Wesson is one of America’s oldest gun manufacturers and they have always made great guns. Except for one. A few years ago, the came out with a $299 semi-automatic called the Sigma. It was a pretty gun. It had a great feel to it, but it had problems. The guns just didn’t cycle well with a lot of common brands of ammo. I hated seeing them in our classes. But, S&W, being the great company they are, fixed the problem. They also changed the name of the upgraded gun so as not to confuse it with the earlier versions. The guns on the market now in this class are the SD9 VE and SD40 VE. The SD stands for “Self Defense” and I’m not sure what the “VE” stands for, but I’ll tell you these are GOOD guns. They’re priced at around $339 and worth every bit of it. Weighing in at 22.7 ounces, this gun is the largest of the bunch I’m touting here, but it is by no means a large gun. It holds 16+1, which is plenty of ammo for a 9mm. We bought a couple of these to put in our loaner rotation a year or two ago and after a lot of heavy shooting, they’re still as good as new. We’ve sold a lot, too, with no complaints. I’m an M&P fan, but I bet if I closed my eyes and you put one of these in my hands and told me it was an M&P I may not be able to tell the difference. The M&Ps start at around $500. The SD9 VE or SD40 VE, either one is a lot of gun for the money.
Taurus PT-111. My first semi-automatic handgun was a Taurus 24/7. The PT-111 is it’s little brother. Little as in it’s as small as a lot of the single stacks, maybe just a little bit wider, but it holds 13 rounds and weighs only 22 ounces. It’s overall length is only 6.2 inches, yet it is substantial enough to hold onto for some really accurate shooting. It’s actually the gun I recommend to a lot of my female friends just getting into shooting, but not because it’s a lady’s gun. I recommend it because it’s what I call “enough gun” yet most ladies can carry it easily. Guys, too. I’ve never talked to anyone who owned one of these that didn’t like it. Taurus is another of those companies with a lifetime warranty on their products. This one usually sells for around $299.
It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does have to be reliable and I would not be recommending these if I didn’t have a lot of experience with them to indicate their reliability. I’d let my wife, sister or daughter-in-laws carry any one of them.