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Best Guns Under $500

By Dan S Defense (Published 2010)

Best self-defense handguns typically conjure thoughts of high priced custom handguns. But in reality, you can get great self-defense handguns for under $500. In this collection, we'll look at affordable quality for any budget. And while these handguns may not be built by master gunsmiths, we'll submit that combat accuracy and rock solid reliability can both be achieved with any handgun on our list.

With that, let's look at the best self-defense handgun for under $500. Note that prices are based on December, 2010 survey of top online handgun selling sites (e.g. Buds' Gun Shop & Gun Broker).

1. Springfield XD Service 45 ACP @ about $487
    Or Springfield XD Tactical 45 ACP @ about $500

The Springfield Armory XD Service is a rock solid handgun, and one of my favorites. The XD stands for X-Treme Duty which is to say it is a handgun built for real world handling. It is a Polymer handgun that comes in several sizes and calibers. From 9mm to 40 S&W to 45 ACP the Springfield XD is affordable and reliable. It also comes in a variety of sizes, from full size Tactical model to the smaller sub-compact model.

In the Gun Reviews section of this website we will look at the XD 45 ACP Service model. It means that it is a Springfield XD with a 4 inch barrel and 13 rounds of potent 45 ACP cartridges. We'll look at its features, viability as a self-defense handgun and look at a range report as well as a conceal carry experience.

2. S&W M&P 45c (Compact Model) @ about $500

The Smith & Wesson M&P 45c is a compact size self-defense handgun. The S&W M&P line targets military and police users, and thus named accordingly, since M&P stands for Military & Police. In fact, my home state of Washington bought the S&W M&P in .40 S&W for the State Patrol, while the New Hampshire State Police chose the M&P 45 ACP, which leads us to the topic of the review--the S&W M&P 45c.

I have been carrying and shooting the S&W M&P 45c handgun for the past few weeks, and it's time to review it for you. Read more in the Gun Reviews section of this website ,to see relevant data points, range session, ammo selection and tips for getting the most of this fine weapon.

3. Springfield Armory XD(m) 9mm (used) @ about $475

The Springfield Armory XD(m) 9mm is an affordable, high capacity (19+1) 9mm handgun. The XD(m) is a great weapon for Novice and experienced shooters. It's also my wife's new chosen self defense handgun. Springfield Armory released the XD(m), an upgraded version of its successful XD line, and proved that great guns can be made better.

In the Gun Reviews section of this website you'll find a review of the full size 9mm XD(m). In there we'll look at interesting data points, see how it compares with the original, Springfield XD and then dive into a range report and ammo selection for range sessions, home defense and concealed carry.

4. Beretta 92F Compact (used) @ about $429

The Beretta 92FC is a smaller, lighter version of the military Beretta M9. As often seen with compact handguns, the magazine capacity is smaller than the full size version, and in this case, the 92FC offers 13 rounds of 9mm ammo in the magazine and an optional round in the chamber for a total of fourteen, 9mm self-defense rounds, which for a compact is quite a bit of fire power. Read more details and see range report in the full Beretta gun review.

5. Revolvers from about $398 to $468

You can find great bargains, if you are willing to look at revolvers. We submit that you'll be hard pressed to find more reliable handguns outside of the revolver family, but if you have some bias toward revolver, or simply are unsure if they could work for you, we suggest you read: Are Revolvers Obsolete and Archaic? Since revolvers have been around for a long time. Some say they are obsolete and archaic. Some say the same about the people who carry them for self-defense. Think it's true? Is it time to give up on revolvers as self-defense tools? Read more and find out in the Gun Reviews section of this website.

6. Ruger LCR 38 Special @ $398

The Ruger LCR is a small frame, high tech and light weight revolver. In this review we'll look at the Ruger LCR and see how it works as a backup weapon. We'll look at technical details of the Ruger LCR as well

as a range report to see what's it like to fire the Ruger LCR. After reading this review, you'll be able to decide whether the Ruger LCR may be right for you, and if the Ruger LCR is truly the high tech weapon, or as Ruger claims that "The Ruger LCR is the evolution of the revolver".

In addition to the written review about the Ruger LCR, we will also have pictures of the LCR for you, so be sure to look at the upper right hand side of the article, and click on the pictures of the Ruger LCR. Finally, this review focuses on the 38 Special Ruger LCR but is still relevant to the 357 Magnum Ruger LCR, as they share parts and engineering concepts, but expect the 357 Magnum version to cost a bit more.

7. S&W model 442 30 Special @ about $429

This 38 Special Airweight revolver offers potent power which is easy to conceal. When it's hard or impractical to conceal a full size handgun, this small revolver come out to your aid and keep you safe in a pocket. To many the name Smith & Wesson is synonymous with revolvers. It isn't much of a surprise since Smith & Wesson has been in business since 1852. While ownership and leadership changed over the years, the Smith & Wesson remained unchanged and well know name.

Read more to learn more about the Smith & Wesson Model 442 Airweight and look at relevant data points, a range report and a recommendation for carry ammunition.

8. Ruger GP 100 357 Magnum Blue @ about $468

The GP100 357 Magnum is known for being powerful and deadly. The 357 Magnum is also known for kicking like a mule. A good 357 Magnum revolver must therefore be built to handle the massive pressure generated by the 357 Magnum cartridge. In addition, a good 357 Magnum revolver must be built in a manner that helps control and tame recoil.

The Ruger 357 Magnum revolver can be one of many types, but regardless of what 357 Magnum model you select, each and every Ruger 357 Magnum revolver meets the challenging demands of the 357 Magnum cartridge. In this review we will look at a Ruger 357 Magnum revolver that can be used for self-defense and hunting small game.

Until next time, stay safe by staying alert!
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