Does Price Mean Quality For Concealed Carry Guns?

Spend More, Get More? Does Price Mean Quality For Concealed Carry Guns?

“A fool and his money are soon parted.” That’s what my grandfather always told me. He also taught me the importance of making do with the tools you have rather than buying the next shiny one hanging on the shelf.

I will never spend the equivalent of a month’s rent and utilities on a single firearm. To me, it makes absolutely no sense. However, I work around a wide selection of firearms. Because of that, I get the opportunity to shoot a lot of guns that are way out of my price point. My favorite firearms are pistols.

Recently, I got to shoot a Legion P229. It’s the compact version of the P226, and it’s been out for awhile. The Legion series, for those unfamiliar, is a line of premium pistols offered by Sig Sauer. Their price point is usually around $1400 MSRP, and they come with a bunch of bells and whistles.

It sure does shoot smooth. The Legion P229’s P-SAIT trigger cuts down on the usual long draw of a single-action/double-action pistol incredibly. The X-Ray 3 night sights glow in low light. The action is incredibly smooth, and it feels like I could pelt rounds onto a thumbtack at 15 yards.

Will I ever pay that price for a pistol that I carry? Absolutely not.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t. That’s a personal choice I’ve made based on the assumption that if I ever need to use a pistol in self-defense, it will probably get taken as evidence during the investigation. If I’m lucky and file my paperwork in a precise manner, I may eventually get it back through a process called civil forfeiture.

My watermark is half my rent. If a gun costs more than half what I pay for rent, then it needs to be able to file my taxes and clean the dishes.

Despite working in a section of the firearms industry, I only own five guns — two of which are pistols. I have one compact Glock 36 chambered in .45 Auto, and I have a Sig SP2022. Both of them are compact enough to carry concealed, and each has what I need. I have plans to pick up a full-size 45 Auto like a P227 TACOPS or maybe a Glock 20 (10mm), but both are way lower on the list of priorities than rent.

The real question is what the average person gets for their money above and beyond the price tag.

When it comes to defensive shooting and concealed carry, there’s no added value in flashiness. I’d go so far as to argue there’s no added benefit to expensive modifications such as after-market trigger or super tactical grips. A basic handgun will do. Everything else is just gravy. And I’m not in the business of buying gravy.

Let’s take a basic Glock 19 Gen 3. It’s two generations behind the Glock 19 Gen 5 but, for the average consumer, provides damn near the same experience. Because the Glock 19 Gen 3 is a proven gun, I know that when I buy one used at the gun shop for $350 that there’s nothing wrong with it. If there is something wrong, there are enough spare parts on the market to repair it pretty quickly. If I need to use it for self-defense, I know its striker-fired shooting mechanism will operate as intended.

What do I get for $1400 that I don’t with $325?

As a concealed carrier of seven years this month, I can safely say not a damn thing.

If I feel the need to spend more than the bare minimum for a reliable, usable concealed carry gun, I need to be honest with myself and say the added benefit is getting a new toy. To me, a gun is a tool. It either operates as intended or it’s trash. Added frills and chills are for showing off at the range or competition.

I tell myself this when I’m staring at a P229 Legion or H&K VP9.

I told myself this last week when I ended up walking out of the gun shop with an FDE H&K VP9…

Did I mention how smooth the action was on the VP9?

A fool and his money…

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Sean is an avid hunter and firearms enthusiast. He has been carrying concealed since 2005. His main concealed carry setup is a Springfield Armory Mod.2 9mm carried in an Alien Gear Holster ShapeShift IWB although he does have different methods of carrying depending on the situation.
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Thanks for sharing.


Lol! Some of these articles are something else.


Hey… I CAN’T even AFFORD that poison (McDonalds), I “attempt” to live off DISABILITY..I was lucky to afford a $475 TP9v2, BACK in 2008 was last time I could buy ANYTHING, that’s when I got on DISABILITY and if I hadn’t gotten THE 2 YEARS back pay.. I would be sitting out here with my “MEMBER” in my hands… “rocks” & sticks.

Jim L

I’ll put it another way: Plenty folks get shot and even killed with cheap guns, probably more so than expensive ones. It’s your money, do what you like, but from a strict effectiveness point of view, there’s a breakpoint that’s a lot lower than some will admit. it all depends on what you want and what you can afford. To put it another way, a college educated soldier carrying a $2000 rifle will still get killed by a 3rd world dirtbag with a second grade education carrying a $300 rust bucket made in china or russia.


And by that logic, a plastic CCW Badge makes you look just as “tactical” as a shiny metal one.

Jim L

Talk about a non-sequitur.


I have never used a weapon, but I think that it should be of high quality, even at a price slightly above average.


It’s really easy to find a reliable,high quality firearm for an affordable price in today’s market.

Kahr offers the “Value Line” which are made just as well as their more expensive offerings. My CCW is a Kahr CM9, which I paid just over $300 for. It is every bit the equal of my P9 for half the price. Reliable, accurate and has a trigger like a well-tuned revolver.

Though I am loathe to recommend Springfield, the XDS is for sale around $300 all the time, and it is every bit the equal of the Glock.

The Shield is cheap.

A J frame Smith can be had for $338 year round at Rural King. You can’t say THAT isn’t a quality firearm.

Jim L

I haven’t seen a J frame quite that cheap here, but yeah, there are bargains out there. Even a taurus 605 or a german Windicator will get the job done. Springfield just came out with a XDe in 45. That might be interesting. I’d have to take a look at the Kahrs again.


Lew Rothman once told me, “The only difference between a two dollar cigar, and a ten dollar cigar, is EIGHT BUCKS!

A functioning revolver or pistol, firing a good quality cartridge is all that’s needed to stop a bad guy! So, it matters not if you shoot a second hand Taurus .38, or a brand new S&W .38 that cost four times the used Taurus! Carry good, modern ammunition in your used Taurus and you’re good to go!