Best Handguns Under $500 – 2020 Complete Round-up

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If you are looking for a handgun for under $500, then you are not alone. You can find an excellent handgun that is affordable for most budgets (and has a price tag south of $500). But the key here is to find a handgun that is excellent in quality and performance.

The last thing you want is a handgun that is cheap and flimsy. While there are a good number of handguns available on the market below $500 in price, we’ve managed to put together a list of ten handguns that are considered the best of the best.

Before we get to the list itself, we’ll talk about whether or not you can really find a quality handgun that is actually affordable and what you need to look for in a handgun below such a price point. 

Comparison Chart of the Best Handguns Under $500

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Capacity of 8 rounds
  • Best 45 ACP under $500
  • Weighs in at 1.56 pounds
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • 7-round magazine
  • Barrel length of 2.75 inches
  • Best 380 pistol for under $500
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews

Can You Really Find a Quality Handgun That’s Affordable?

The short answer: yes. You can find a handgun that is excellent in quality and performance while not costing you an arm and a leg. The important thing to note is that none of the handguns you’ll find on our list are cheap by any stretch of the imagination. These handguns are reliable, fully functional, and a lot of fun to shoot. 

What to Look For When Buying a Handgun Under $500

Knowing what to look for in a handgun costing south of $500 is key. These factors will help you make the determination of which handgun will work best for you. They will also give you the ability to distinguish a great handgun from one that isn’t so great. Here are the things you need to look for:

Find the Price That is Affordable For You

While there are handguns available at certain price points, it’s best to find one that will fit your budget. However, you may or may not wind up purchasing a handgun that is priced a little higher than what you were expecting. That’s because you place high value in some of the additional aspects over price. 

Excellent Quality

If you want excellent quality, then find a handgun made from materials like stainless steel or other synthetic materials like polymer. The better the quality of the materials, the better the chance you will be able to use this handgun for the long term as far as longevity goes. Secondly, better quality will equal excellent reliability. Speaking of which, that will be the focus of our next thing factor.

Consistent Reliability

The last thing you want is a handgun that is prone to jamming and malfunctioning. That will also spell trouble if you are in a situation where you need to defend yourself or in a competition. It’s important to find a handgun that will allow you to go through 100 or more rounds without a single jam or malfunction. Don’t be shocked if you purchase a handgun that is under $500 and it winds up maintaining its reliability for the long term.

Quick Take - The Best Handguns Under $500

These are our recommendations for the best handguns under $500:

  1. Taurus G2C 9MM
  2. Sig Sauer SP2022 Handgun
  3. Smith & Wesson Bodyguard

Review of the Best Handguns Under $500

The following is a list of some of the best handguns priced under $500. As you go through each one, take a moment to note the features and characteristics that stand out. This way, you’ll be able to find your “ideal handgun”.

You may have a winner if you see a handgun that checks off a lot of boxes on our list of “What to Look For” in a handgun. Let’s start off by unveiling the best overall choice:

Best .45 ACP Under $500:
Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Subcompact

Pros

  • Outstanding reliability
  • Allows for excellent concealability
  • Maintains a light weight, even when fully loaded
  • Easy to pull trigger with no grittiness or creep to report
  • The magazine is easy to remove and allows for quick reloading

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new users were quick to point out the ease of concealability with this pistol. They said they were able to conceal this inside their waistband with the right kind of holster, resulting in bulge-free carrying that made their pistol invisible to the naked eye. One user said he was intending to use this for EDC purposes to ensure he is prepared for any danger when SHTF.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This pistol is a subcompact pistol, making it smaller than a compact. If you want something that will really stand out in terms of concealability, there’s a good chance this will be a handy pistol to get you out of a life-threatening situation. Don’t let the size fool you, it can do some damage at close-quarters distances. The firing power is pretty potent as well (even with little recoil to work with). If you want a subcompact pistol that is the total package, this could be exactly what you are looking for. Concealability, reliability, and accuracy? Yes, yes, and yes.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a pretty good pistol for anyone in search of ultimate concealability. If you have a compact holster that can handle a subcompact, you are in luck. It’s a pistol that will allow for quick shooting with a quick pull of the trigger. If you value your life, defend it at all costs, even if it means relying on a subcompact pistol.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for something that will be concealable but will definitely make sure every shot you take will count, the Smith and Wesson M&P M2.0 Subcompact is a great choice. It’s the pistol that both new and seasoned concealed carry users can easily use and perfect for any life and death situation where defending yourself is warranted.

Best .380 Pistol Under $500:
Ruger LCP II 380 ACP

Pros

  • Excellent durability
  • Maximum concealability
  • Fits in most compact holsters
  • Shoots accurate, precise shots
  • Trigger pull is smooth and light

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

New buyers were able to use this to their advantage as a concealed carry pistol that flew under the radar on a daily basis. One user said he was looking for a pistol that was the perfect size while being able to shoot accurately at close range. He said that after much deliberation, this pistol was far and away his best option. The pistol’s performance itself further justified his decision, he added. He tested it out at a range where he did a run and gun session and managed to keep control of the pistol while in motion.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The 380 pistol is perhaps one of the most popular calibers among those who conceal carry. And the reason is that the size of a .380 pistol is among the smallest of the bunch. That’s usually a good thing for those looking for a pistol that allows for maximum concealability. It’s no secret that you and many concealed-carry practitioners want a pistol that is out of plain sight but at your side just in case you need it in a dangerous situation. To add the cherry on top of the “pew-pew” sundae, it has some pretty serious firing power to boot.

Who Will Use This Most

If you want a pistol which exceeds the standards when it comes to concealability, then you’re probably going to want to end your search for a handgun. Because this will give you a no-bulge, everyday carry every single day of the week. Furthermore, you have a pistol that will be effective at close range and still shoot sharp even at 25 yards out.

Bottom Line

If you want the best in concealability, at a price that you can definitely swing, the Ruger LCP II 380 ACP will be the no-brainer option. Think about it, a pistol with smooth, reliable shooting and at the perfect size for stealthy concealed carry? It’s a pistol you will be salivating over. And for the price it’s going for, that’s a hard offer to pass up. In fact, you’d be nuts to say no to it.

Best Concealed Carry Pistol Under $500:
Sig Sauer P365 9MM

Pros

  • No misfires to report
  • Easy to handle and control
  • Very accurate for a pistol of its size
  • Reliable and malfunction-free through 500 rounds
  • May be smaller than expected, but will give way to superior concealability

Cons

  • The slide may fail to lock at times
  • Sights may not be adjusted correctly
  • Primer drag has been reported by a few users

What Recent Buyers Report

According to most buyers, this pistol was a cinch to fire off round after round. But it definitely put the bullet to paper in a range setting. The shooting groups were noticeably tighter compared to some 9mm rounds when firing targets at various distances. One user said he was able to hit the bullseye or near it at ranges between 10 to 25 yards without seeing any groups spacing themselves out. He also added that he went through about 100 rounds without a single misfire or malfunction.

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you are looking for a pistol that will absolutely excel in a concealed carry application, then you best believe this is the pistol to consider. This pistol has the measurables to ensure maximum concealability. So you get no bulges (and the glares and undue attention that go along with it). If you want to carry without anyone even knowing (until an assailant decides to be stupid and threaten the lives of others), this pistol will certainly be a qualifying candidate for your coveted decision. When you do purchase this pistol, you’ll have a beast in your hands. It has excellent firing power, superior accuracy, and less recoil for better control. Add the fact that it’s south of $500, and you have the steal of a lifetime.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are considering the idea of concealed carry or need an upgrade from a pistol that isn’t doing the job, this might be the pistol you are looking for. We’ve already covered our bases on why it’s so great. But the question is: can you say no to extra concealability? Malfunction-free reliability? Or even pinpoint accuracy? If that’s all you need, consider this pistol a done deal.

Bottom Line

The SIG Sauer P365 9MM comes as no surprise when it comes to excelling in a concealed carry application. You have the quick shots, the power behind it, and the reliability that will help in clutch moments. You want a reliable pistol for life or death situations. And this could be the one you wind up using if you want an easy-to-pull trigger and better control.

Best .357 Revolver For Under $500:
 Taurus Model 66 4in .357 Magnum

Pros

  • Easy to load
  • Perfect for home defense
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Durable construction and quality
  • Reliable. No misfirings or malfunctions to report

Cons

  • May be a little too loud for some
  • Hammer may be hard to pull back sometimes
  • Trigger pull is heavy when in double-action mode

What Recent Buyers Report

New buyers were seriously impressed with the impact and damage that each round left behind when testing this out at the range. One user said the shooting groups were tight, but they left some pretty good-sized tears in the process. He added that it had a good amount of oomph to the firepower. Nonetheless, most new users were able to maintain excellent control despite the presence of some recoil.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The .357 caliber is a force to be reckoned with and the ballistics prove why. A .357 is known for turning soft targets inside out. In other words, you just might turn apples into applesauce with a well-placed shot. No assailant will go any further to attack you once they find out you are armed with a .357. Vital organs won’t stand a chance when coming into contact with a .357 round. If you want a pistol that can do some real damage, this is one that will stand up and take the challenge.

Who Will Use This Most

This pistol will be useful to those who have experience with concealed carry. It’s a pistol that can be a real heavy-hitter. Even if you don’t end up using it for self-defense purposes, you can still utilize it as a pistol that will be a heck of a lot of fun to fire during a day at the range. Better yet, you can even use it for varmint hunting if that’s your thing. People have had a lot of success using this as a property management tool, believe it or not.

Bottom Line

The Taurus Model 66 .357 Magnum is a beast when it comes to firepower. And it will do some serious damage with whatever target you hit. No matter what the application is, all the power rests in your hands. It’s high in quality, reliable, and pretty fun to shoot once you go through a few rounds.

Pros

  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Allows for max concealability
  • Trigger pull is nice and smooth
  • Reliable and accurate shooting
  • Easy to load, takes a couple of minutes

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

One user said he preferred revolvers to regular pistols for the purpose of making it easier on himself to load the cylinder rather than the magazine. He also added that he was able to use it as his new primary concealed carry pistol since he wanted something smaller in size. Other users reported accurate and precise shooting with targets as far out as 20 yards. They were using this for the purpose of close-quarters self-defense, thus making it really effective to shoot in such an application.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We now turn our attention to a revolver that is able to shoot 9mm bullets. When you think revolvers, it’s .22 caliber, .38 caliber, or even .357. But yes, they can fire off 9mm shots, as well. You can load this in the cylinder and be able to fire off every shot with no jamming or malfunctioning at all. Not to mention, it’s at the right size for taking concealed carry to another level. When some pistols fail at concealing themselves because of their size, it’s revolvers like this that will make carrying a lot more comfortable and discreet.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are looking for a pistol that is easy to load and has an easy-to-pull trigger, you may want to use this for all your self-defense applications when needed. Even if you don’t use all five rounds, it will allow for smooth, reliable shooting rather quickly. It’s the pistol you’ll use in a close-range distance to stop an attacker in their tracks.

Bottom Line

If concealability and ease of use are what you look for in a pistol, don’t be surprised if you decide on the Ruger LCR 9mm as the go-to option for a pistol. You can carry this on an everyday basis with the discreet, stealth-like ability and shoot really precise, accurate shots when you use it. Preparedness is key when it comes to concealed carry. But are you ready for the danger that may threaten you or your family?

Pros

  • Outstanding accuracy
  • Easy to load, takes a few minutes
  • Lightweight, even when fully loaded
  • Excellent for concealed carry and home defense
  • Excellent reliability, won’t jam or malfunction through 200 yards

Cons

  • Trigger quality could be better
  • The trigger is a little gritty to pull
  • Snagging on soft material holsters has occurred

What Recent Buyers Report

This handgun was a hit with most new users. They said they were able to shoot accurate and effective shots at close-quarter distances of 10 to 15 yards. However, they managed to get a shot as far out as 25 yards. Overall, the handgun quality was excellent and built for long-term use. One user said it was the perfect size to conceal carry without any bulging. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This handgun has the right kind of measurables in terms of concealability. It’s the right size to conceal carry in a holster for compact-sized handguns. This means you won’t have to deal with any bulging that often leads to people giving you strange looks for obviously carrying. And if you do carry a handgun, it probably will make some people feel uncomfortable. But don’t be ashamed of it. It’s a lot better to conceal carry under the radar and do so safely. If you want a handgun that will provide you with maximum concealability so you and those around you are protected from dangerous attacks, this may be one you want to consider. 

Who Will Use This Most

This handgun will come quite in handy for concealed carry users who intend to carry on an everyday basis (EDC carry). It’s the right size for stealthy concealed carry and will often provide an element of surprise for any unsuspecting attacker that might be dumb enough to try to harm you. If you want a simple self-defense handgun, this one is a textbook example of how one should function.

Bottom Line

The Taurus G2C 9mm is well-deserving of the best overall spot and for good reason. Reliable, excellent in quality, and concealability is what you get, all in one affordable package. And that ain’t a bad thing at all. This is a self-defense or concealed carry handgun that will not disappoint as far as performance and quality are concerned. 

This handgun was a hit with most new users. They especially appreciated the accurate and effective shots at close-quarter distances at as far out as 25 yards. Overall, the handgun quality was excellent and built for long-term use. Users also praised it for its ability to be concealed in EDC situations. 

Pros

  • Superior reliability
  • Excellent durability
  • Little recoil right out of the box
  • Provides maximum concealability
  • Firing power packs a pretty good punch

Cons

  • Trigger quality could be improved
  • Trigger pull is heavy in double action
  • Hammer may be a bit difficult to pull pack

What Recent Buyers Report 

A lot of new users say right off the bat this handgun was super reliable. Not to mention, they had excellent control over the handgun since the recoil was light right from the first shot. As for its size, it was small enough for users to conceal carry in an IWB holster, thus making it super easy to conceal. One user said he was able to carry this every day and was more confident in putting it to good use in public settings if he got caught in a dangerous situation.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The SIG Sauer brand is known for being one of the more popular choices for concealed carry users and for a few good reasons. For one, they are known for being reliable. When it comes to reliability, they are one of the names that often pops up in conversation (Glock and Smith and Wesson are a couple others). This handgun is both a single and double-action type. So you can simply pull the trigger to get a shot off or pull the hammer back before taking a shot if you have enough time to do so. Simply put, this handgun is excellent for concealed carry and will give you options on how to fire it. In a survival situation, it’s a no-brainer on which mode to use.

Who Will Use This Most

If you want a handgun guaranteed to be reliable through so many rounds (100 or more), then you may want to consider purchasing this handgun for all of your concealed carry needs. And yes, you can get a reliable handgun for an affordable price. So you can say goodbye to all the jams and malfunctions that usually occur with cheap, flimsy handguns.

Bottom Line

The SIG Sauer SP2022 Handgun may be the runner-up choice. But it is without question one of the best handguns in terms of reliability. You deserve something with a good amount of firing power, along with the ability to make sure every shot counts. With one pull of the trigger, we know you won’t be able to get enough of shooting this bad boy.

Pros

  • Easy-to-pull trigger
  • Maximum concealability
  • Excellent in self-defense situations
  • Perfect for beginners learning to conceal carry
  • Red laser allows for excellent precision and accuracy

Cons

  • Trigger quality could be better
  • May not be suitable for larger hands
  • The laser may not be visible on brighter days

What Recent Buyers Report

Most users were newbies just starting out with concealed carry. About half of them said they intended to go through their CCW training course using a handgun like this. Overall, they were quite happy with the firing ability and the handgun’s tight and consistent shooting groups. On top of that, they were really happy with the pistol’s overall concealability. Many of the users were able to store this inside IWB holsters without any discomfort or bulging.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We now turn out attention to the Smith and Wesson, another brand often included in the conversation when it comes to reliability. And yes, this pistol is pretty dang reliable. It will go through hundreds of rounds without a single malfunction. So it would make sense if you are looking at this as a potential self-defense handgun. If you want a pistol that will save your life, it better work when it matters most. With the inclusion of the laser, it allows you to take your shots and make sure they land exactly where you want them to go.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be best used by beginners. Starting out with concealed carry might be a daunting task. Even putting this to good use without firing a warning shot is daunting enough. But if you are comfortable with the idea of using a handgun for the intent of surviving a dangerous situation, you may want to consider purchasing this one if it fits your needs and preferences.

Bottom Line

If you want a handgun that is the most affordable of the affordable, the Smith and Wesson Bodyguard is the clear choice. It’s the kind of handgun that lives up to its name. It will stick alongside you and will come to your aid if and when danger threatens you or your family. With reliability and pinpoint accuracy, this pistol will be hard to beat in various aspects.

Best 9mm Pistol Under $500:
Glock 48 9MM

Pros

  • Excellent reliability
  • Unmatchable firing power
  • Provides accurate, precise shooting
  • Ideal for concealed carry and target shooting
  • Easy to disassemble for cleaning and maintenance

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

As expected, a lot of new users raved about the reliability. Through well over 100 shots, they experienced no jamming or malfunctioning. What they were also impressed with was the firing power. With one pull of the trigger, each shot was hard-hitting and robust. Shooting groups were pretty tight as well, with targets ranging from 15 to 25 yards out. One user said accuracy and reliability were the main reasons he was sold on the handgun.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Once more, we circle back to the reliability topic. And yes, Glock is worth mentioning in that regard. For a brand that is trusted in well over 50 countries (namely for law enforcement and military personnel), it’s the kind of handgun that will feel pretty good in your hands. And you will feel the power with the pull of the trigger. Since it shoots 9mm shots, you will get a good deal of stopping power out of the whole thing. This means if an assailant is stupid enough to attack you, you have enough shooting power to stop them in their tracks.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are searching for a 9mm that is a step up from your current pistol or are looking for something to start with in terms of concealed carrying, you may want to give the Glock 48 9mm a chance. It has the accuracy, speed, and overall reliability that makes this a force to be reckoned with. It might be a dark horse candidate in taking over the best overall spot in the future. At this point, we wouldn’t be surprised.

Bottom Line

If reliability, accuracy, and superior firepower are what you want in a handgun, the Glock 48 9MM is undeniably the odds-on favorite. You get a handy dandy unit you can keep at home or at your side with the right kind of holster. Your life and the lives of your family members are important. So you want to protect them with a pistol that will make sure you are not one to mess with.

Best 1911 Pistol Under $500:
Auto Ordnance 1911A1

Pros

  • Trigger pull is decent
  • Fits in holsters quite nicely
  • Great for home defense and target shooting
  • Easy to disassemble for cleaning and maintenance
  • Reliable through 100 rounds or more. No jamming or malfunctions

Cons

  • Loading may be a bit difficult at first
  • Some oiling may be needed before use
  • The magazine may be difficult to remove sometimes

What Recent Buyers Report

New users were able to get a great deal of control out of this pistol with the small amount of recoil they got. On top of that, the shooting groups were accurate with targets between 15 to 20 yards. Overall, the pistol was pretty reliable and users were able to shoot quicker follow-up shots compared to some of the cheaper pistols with poor trigger quality.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The 1911 has been around for well over a century. Made popular by the Colt, it was once a sidearm favored by military personnel, government agents, and even law enforcement. One of the reasons it was used for such a long time was reliability. This pistol allows for quick and accurate shooting in a tactical or self-defense situation when it matters most. While the government has since moved on from the 1911 in favor of a SIG Sauer, the former remains one of the best, most reliable pistols for concealed carry users. With excellent firing power and sharp, pinpoint accuracy, this pistol is hard to beat.

Who Will Use This Most

This will, in all likelihood, be a favorite choice among concealed carry users looking for a primary or secondary pistol. If reliability and firing power are two of the things you look for in a pistol, we know you won’t be disappointed in the Auto Ordnance 1911. It will feel great in your hands and you’ll be tempted to pull the trigger to get a shot or two off. And when you do, there might be a moment when you realize that purchasing this was the smartest thing you’ve ever done.

Bottom Line

The Auto Ordnance 1911A1 might be one of the more affordable 1911 pistols on the market. But it certainly will stand out as a force to be reckoned with, whether at the range or in a self-defense situation. Just because it’s under $500, doesn’t mean it should be underestimated. With one pull of the trigger, you’ll swear it should be above $500 in price.

Cautious Considerations to Keep In Mind

Before choosing a handgun of your own, it’s important to know of a couple of things about them. And it will also make you a more well-informed shopper to be able to choose the handgun you desire to use most. Here are some things you’ll want to consider:

Some of These Have Sensitive Triggers

While having a light pull weight is a good thing, some may be too light. In that case, you’ll need to be able to properly handle your handguns and carry it in a position that will allow the nozzle to be safely away from you. For example, appendix carry will not be suitable for pistols with a trigger that is light in weight because it further increases the risk of injury due to accidental discharge.

Not All Handguns Are Suitable for Concealed Carry 

Some handguns will be great for concealed carry. Some of them won’t be. Keep this in mind when searching for one. If you plan on keeping it at home rather than carrying it with you wherever you go, that’s OK. Some may be a bit too big for concealed carry and are better off being kept safe and secure at home.

Conclusion

It is possible to find the best handgun for under $500. Thankfully, there are plenty available on the market for anyone on a budget who wants nothing more than a good deal of firing power, quality, and reliability (among every other attribute under the sun). Yes, they are under a certain price point but don’t dismiss them as some cheap or flimsy handguns by any stretch. 

About Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis the managing editor at Gun Mann and when he isn't writing about guns he is more than likely tinkering with them. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors. As a lifelong gun owner he knows his stuff!

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