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Best Affordable Full-Sized Pistols for Under $400

Want to add something to your collection that won't leave you eating ramen for a month? Fear not, we list some of the best, affordable full-sized handguns!

There are new guns entering the market all of the time, but what if you’re not Mr. Moneybags? How do you find a decent gun without taking out a mortgage?

Full Size Mid Size Compact Handguns
Not all of us can afford the big name models and brands.

No worries, we’re here to offer an opinion on the best full-size guns that won’t leave you penniless. So keep reading if you’re looking for a full-sized option under $400!

Summary of Our Top Picks

  1. Editor's Pick

    Taurus G3

    Decent gun, 15 round mags

  2. Best Bang for Your Buck

    Beretta APX

    Great quality, feels great in the hand

  3. Most Options

    Stoeger STR9

    Different models, polymer build

  4. Most Affordable Glock

    Glock 22

    Used models run under $400, Glock name and reliability

Best Full-Sized Pistols For Under $400

1. Taurus G3

Taurus has been slowly cleaning up its act and producing better, higher-quality pistols. The Taurus G3 represents the best of their current crop of pistols.

Taurus produced the G3 as an entire family of pistols, including compact variants, optics-ready variants, and X and XL variants.

To keep things under $400, you have to go with the standard Taurus G3. It’s a simple but efficient firearm complete with a 15-round magazine, a Picatinny rail, and an aggressive grip texture.

298
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

The G3 is by far the best gun Taurus has ever produced.

When I first got a G3 for review, I took it to task to see if it was worth the bang. I couldn’t get the gun to stop. It went, and went, and went!

The main downside to the G3 is the okay trigger. It’s a little gritty, it’s not very fancy, but it gets the job done. The sights aren’t terrible and are seemingly interchangeable with Glock sights.

G3C Trigger, but you get the idea…

I have a few issues ergonomically. First, the safety sucks. Second, the gun delivers a little bit of slide bite, and my thumbs eternally pin down the slide lock.

As far as accessories, there aren’t a whole lot. You can toss something on the rail, but the G3 doesn’t have huge aftermarket just yet.

Want something more concealable? Check out the Taurus G3C…same digs, just smaller. We have a full review of the G3C here or you can check out the video review below.

2. Ruger Security 9

Ruger produces a ton of weapons with varying price points. As for the Security 9, well it’s affordable for Ruger’s firearms.

The Security 9 builds on the legacy of the Security 6 but is now a standard, polymer frame, 9mm pistol.

What helps keeps the Security 9 an affordable firearm is the fact it includes three magazines — that adds a ton of value to the affordable little firecracker.

Best for Defense
389
at Sportsman's Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Ruger’s little semi-auto is well made and delivers Ruger quality at a surprisingly low price.

Ruger didn’t go with a striker-fired system, and the internal hammer is an interesting choice. The Security 9 delivers a concealed carry or defensive worthy firearm that’s perfectly reliable. Like most Ruger firearms, it’s built like a tank and keeps going boom when you need it to.

If you do your part, the Ruger Security 9 will do its part. The trigger is fairly solid, and the grip angle encourages a good high grip on the gun. But the sights feel a bit big for me.

It doesn’t have ambidextrous features or anything that stands out in the gun’s design, but it’s a solid base that allows for easy manipulations.

Like the Taurus, you don’t get much in the way of accessories. You have a rail on the frame, but that’s about it. You can swap the sights easily enough as well.

All in all, I’m not the type of person who insists that name brands are the be all end all to firearms, but a reputable brand making an affordable firearm is a nice touch.

3. Beretta APX

I didn’t even expect to see Beretta on this list, but here we are. Beretta recently announced the APX A1, so the APX series is likely being clearanced out. In short, jump on these deals.

The APX is Beretta’s entry into the striker-fired world of polymer-frame pistols with a robust design that’s easy to shoot, plenty accurate, and well made.

Best Bang for Your Buck
399
at Sportsman's Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Like all Beretta products, you get a stellar firearm, and best of all, you aren’t paying a whole ton of money for it. Beretta has been kicking around since the 1500s, so I’m sure they know a thing or two about firearms.

The APX is a firearm made for duty, and as such, it won’t let you down. Even when you get into those higher round counts, the APX will keep on chugging.

It features an awesome striker-fired mechanism with that partially cocked Glock-style action.

Beretta APX Centurion and shells
Beretta APX Centurion

The trigger is very lightweight and crisp with a short and positive reset. Its sights are great, and the rear is blacked out with a white front sight that’s thin and crisp for taking shots at small targets.

The APX grip is fantastic and fits my hand just right. The controls are either ambidextrous or reversible. Its only downside is that the slide lock sits right under my thumbs and often gets pinned down and fails to lock itself rearward.

This gun wasn’t super popular, so there was never a huge aftermarket for it, but there are replaceable sights, a rail for accessories, and Langdon Tactical produces a few extras for the firearm as well.

It’s a Beretta for less than $500…what more could you want?

What do you think of the Beretta APX? Give it a rating below.

Readers' Ratings

4.97/5 (1032)

Your Rating?

4. Stoeger STR9

Stoeger is owned by the Beretta group, and they typically stick to affordable shotguns, so the STR-9 is a bit of a departure. Unsurprisingly it’s an affordable firearm that falls into the polymer frame, striker-fired world.

The company makes several models of the STR-9, and most fall well under $400. This includes the optics-ready variant, which sells for around $350.

Most Options
239
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Stoeger’s STR-9 is a 9mm only handgun with a 15-round magazine, and sadly you do only get the single magazine. However, beyond going cheap on magazines, the STR-9 is a fantastic firearm.

This robust pistol has zero issues in the reliability department and chews through numerous ammunition types without complaint.

I was a little surprised at how solid the Stoeger’s trigger proved to be. It’s fairly crisp and light with a consistent break. The addition of a red dot makes it very easy to get targets, both big and small, at various distances.

(Photo: Stoeger)

It comes with three backstraps to make it fit your hand better, and the grip sports an aggressive texture that’s easy to hold onto. Overall, the ergonomics are well done, and the main downside is the slide lock is easily pinned down when shooting.

The Stoeger STR-9 has a rail and optics compatibility that gives us a few notches on the accessory roster. However, beyond that and some sights, there isn’t much you can do to customize the gun.

Optics ready and for less than $400? That’s tough to beat.

5. Police Trade-In Glock 22 Pistols

As police forces around the world switch from .40 S&W to 9mm, LE guns are popping up on the market for sale.

The Glock 22 series has been a mainstay of the police firearm world for decades — long proven to be solid guns. Trade-in Glock 22s are hitting the market and often sell for right under $400.

Most Affordable Glock
449
at Gunprime

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

This pistol sports a full-sized .40 S&W design with a 15-round magazine and all the aftermarket Glock has to offer.

While .40 S&W might seem outdated when you’re trying to save a few bucks and get a rock-solid gun, sometimes you have to think outside the box.

Glocks are known for incredible reliability, and the Glock 22 is no different. It’s powerful, accurate, easy to use, and very capable.

.40 S&W Round
.40 S&W Round

Glock ergonomics are what they are. They’re simple, with a reversible magazine release and not much else. The slide lock is super easy to pin down with your thumbs, so that’s not the best, but again….a super cheap Glock.

Glock firearms have the largest aftermarket out there, and you can swap everything on the gun, including its caliber, literally if you so choose.

The main downside to the value of this gun is the price of 40 S&W. It’s fairly expensive, at least more expensive than 9mm. Magazines, accessories, and replacement parts are plenty affordable.

While it’s no competitors pistol, it will get you where you need to go. I mean, it’s a Glock. You know what you’re getting am I right?

6. Canik TP9SA

Since this Turkish pistol made it to the U.S. in 2014, the TP9SA has been stirring up a lot of trouble for its competitors. 

Initially, it was marketed as a Walther P99 knock-off, but it soon became apparent that Canik looked at hanging around the marketplace for a long time.  

Best Overall Rating
388
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

My requirement for a defensive pistol is that it stays on a pie plate at 15 yards and this firearm will easily do that and then some.

It feels good in the hand and it comes with two backstraps to ensure an adjustable fit to the average and even above-average sized mitts.

Accessory-wise, there’s not much support for this model but that’s not a big issue because of the accessories that come with the gun itself — holster, back straps, holster, magazine loader, and two magazines. 

This pistol is a gem, slipping in under $400 with a street price that is considerably less than that this gun is a prime choice for a new gun owner.  It’s a budget-priced handgun with above-average build quality.

7. Smith & Wesson SD9VE

Everyone knows the big brother of the SD but few people realize the outstanding value this gun holds in its own right. This value-priced pistol was first introduced to the public in 2012.

The stepchild of the Sigma the SD corrected every issue its parent had.

Best Workhorse
330
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

This pistol sits in the hand comfortably and just plain works. The SD is the same size as the heralded Glock 19, yet offers a very light shooting alternative to the more expensive firearms.

This gun also offers decent accuracy but there is no ability to adjust the grip for different user. That said, it sits low in the hand and the grip angle feels good.

Like most of the guns on this list, aftermarket parts and accessories are sparse.

Final Thoughts

The new standard of a defensive pistol is lighter, simpler, rugged, and more accurate than firearms of the past. Even better, companies are catering some offerings to consumers who are more budget-minded.

Bridesmaids Poor
Yep, us too.

Have one of these already? Have another good pistol to add to the list? Let me know in the comments! Then check out our Best CCW Guns Under $400.

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28 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Dan Lewis

    I own several Canik's and they are sensational guns for the money. I put them just barely bellow the PDP. The gun that has blown me away lately though is the Stoeger. I picked up the STR-9C because someone had it for 199. Turns out it's a tack driver! I liked it so much I went back and got the regular STR-9. Great value but extra mags are pretty expensive. They are at least metal.

    September 30, 2022 5:50 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Adam X

    The fact that the Arex Delta Gen2 isn't on this list shows that this list is invalid. The L frame is currently at $350 and the M and X are at $399. It trumps both the G3 and Glock in performance and reliability. The Arex Delta barrels are literally made for +P ammo.

    September 23, 2022 3:58 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Art

    Great list here. I own the Ruger security nine. It was my first gun a year and a half ago and I absolutely love it. I changed a few things out on it and made it better by adding a Galloway Seneschal low profile aluminum trigger, some fiber optic sights, and some some talon and slide grips. I also would add the Walther Creed to this list. I purchased that a number of months ago and that is an absolutely phenomenal pistol for personal and home defense right out of the box. If you ever get a chance to find one. They were discontinued in 2019 but are super high value for what you get.

    August 31, 2022 6:18 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jtrosse

    You can pick up the Beretta APX A1 RDO full size for under $400 also. And the carry version has a Beretta $100 rebate, so net will be under $300.

    June 13, 2022 4:26 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Anthony

    I've been very pleased with my Sarsilmaz Sar9 for over a year now. Surprised that it never comes up in any of these lists.

    June 12, 2022 7:35 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Paul

    I just picked up my second SD9VE for a bit under $300. It was new on gun broker. The trigger is not my favorite but Apex Tactical has a kit that is a big improvement for around $60 less if you keep the original trigger shoe. Then go over to caagearup for a roni conversion. Big Fun for not a lot of $$

    June 12, 2022 7:27 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Ninja Please

    I have two of the predecessors (S&W SD40 and Taurus G2C in .40), but really the differences are so minute you'd really have to look closely to notice. Both are rock solid pieces, and I wouldn't part with either of them.

    The s&w has a brick for a trigger and is snappy (.40 duh), but it's nothing you can't get used to if you have snap caps and a round tuit. I've run I don't know how many boxes through it, ammo as cheap as I can find of any grain, and I've never had so much as a hiccup. It works every time, without fail. It's a full size piece and I'm not a big fella, but especially in the cool season it's no problem to carry appendix and hide it. 14 rounds of beefy .40 - yessir, that'll do it.

    The trigger on the Taurus G2C is leaps and bounds better than the SD40... and the single/double action eliminates the need to work the slide to reset the trigger when using snap caps (which the SD40 requires). I have big hands, and it the grip were any shorter I wouldn't be able to get all fingers in place, but I agree with the review of the G3C that it feels great in the hand. Like all .40's it's snappier than a 9, but it's not hard to recover and is pretty damn accurate for what it is. I think it's a good looking piece, and with 10 rounds it's surprisingly small and easy to conceal (appendix). I haven't run as many rounds through this because I've only had it for about a year, but it has never given me any trouble.

    (PS you don't have to use the safety if you don't want to;))

    No accessories on either one, but none are needed. They're work horses, not Ferraris, and if someone's so far away from me that I need help seeing them, I probably don't have any business blowing them a kiss anyway.

    So unless you need bells and whistles, these are solid pieces, and you might enjoy having two for the price of one...

    June 12, 2022 6:48 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    John H.

    the APX is a VERY Underrated firearm and a steal at the price. As you pointed out the ergos are great and it feels like it was made for hand. I have a PDP, M&P 2.0, & HK VP9 (few others) and the apx has the ergos!! Trigger isn't as good as the pdp, vp9 or my canik, but for the price you can't beat this gun. only odd thing about it is to change the backstrap it's a chore. IMHO the best value for any handgun under $400. would put the canik at 2, and taurus at 3.

    June 12, 2022 5:17 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mel

    I shot the sheriff, but I didn't shoot the deputy

    June 20, 2021 2:52 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Cole

    I would’ve removed the EAA Poly Witness from the list and inserted any of the line of Tristar Canik-built 9mm pistols. Made in the very same Turkish factory as the Canik TP9, they are more durable with their all metal frames and just and better built pistols than the Poly Witness (better looking too). The C100/S120 resemble the classic CZ75 B/BD and compact pistols. The T100/T120 are a little lighter with their alloy frames and are well built clones of the IMI/IWI Jericho and the Magnum Research Baby Eagle. And the P100/P120 (I own the 120) are rock solid versions of the CZ-75 SP-01 compact and tactical models and have solid, all-steel frames in addition to having almost non-existent recoil. Any of these pistols can be had from $350 - a little over $400.

    June 22, 2020 9:08 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Brian

    I think you've got a great list. I've shot most of these and own the EAA (Tanfoglio) Witness in two flavors, one a steel chunk in compact form manufactured in 1991 and procured at an auction which is unstoppable and soft recoiling due to its anvil-like weight, and another modern polymer duty-sized one. Both perform brilliantly. Accepting that prices do go up and down over time, a few honorable mentions I 'd include the Ruger Security-9 (selling for around $300-$319 and it's reasonably accurate with a pretty decent trigger), the SARS CZ-clones (good guns, nice price point... the B6 -- already mentioned -- and CM9 for instance), the Ruger SR series which are running around $350 now and sometimes cheaper and even the Taurus 82 security revolver if you want to put a full-sized wheel gun on the list. Again, some of these may run afoul of the $400 rule depending on how you price them.

    September 24, 2019 10:19 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Hank

      Carried the older solid steel frame Witness for years chambered in.40s&w; even hunted with it. That gun is a straight up tack driver and built like a tank. Never had a FTF out of it. Only downsides of it was the weight; which eventually led me to trade in for a polymer gun, and the extreme lack of accessories. Still miss it.

      October 8, 2019 12:03 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Brian

    I have shot two SD9VEs and the trigger designer can get a job at a cereal company; if my morning flakes had as much crunch as that trigger, it'd be a feat of food engineering.

    I agree wholly with your assessment of the Taurus G2C and its trigger (shot one of those, was kind of meh, but for the price, it was certainly good enough and never failed to go boom). But the SD9VEs trigger (in my sample size of two) made the gun absolutely awful to shoot. I think it's an oversight to point out the Taurus's awful bang switch and not mention the S&W's (unless a larger sample size or your own experience proves that wrong). Both my brother and a co-worker had the S&W and both were sold due to trigger woes. I put a few mags downrange in both and I confess to liking to trigger on a Taurus PT709 Slim (also a travesty) better.

    September 24, 2019 8:07 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      The stock SD9VE trigger is truly a travesty of gunsmithing, I have an APEX trigger in mine that really helped out. It's slightly better than a standard Glock trigger, to me, and even with the upgrade still cost me almost $200 less than a standard Glock 19. In that light, it's a decent option. Especially if you live in a ban state like California where you have very limited budget options.

      September 24, 2019 10:33 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Brian

        Excellent comment about the APEX trigger and good info, David.

        September 24, 2019 12:29 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Bemused Berserker

      The SD Triggers do suck, but aftermarket are available that turn it into a decent gun.
      I hate Glocks, 5 generations and the trigger is still crap.
      The best stock trigger out of the box, hands down is Walther's PPQ and PDP pistols.

      June 12, 2022 6:49 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dr Don

    I recently bought a full size SAR B6. Basically the same as the EAA polymer witness, made by Sarsilmaz. I had a TZ 75 years ago and my brother has a CZ-75, and for all practical purposes this gun is right there with them. I also got two 17 rd. mags and a case, for just $268 plus the inevitable fees and taxes. With a rubber grip sleeve, the gun handles great.

    May 16, 2019 5:29 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Albert

    There are more GREAT quality, economical pistols out there today than you can shake a stick at; the biggest problem is 'WHICH ONE'? My solution is to buy SEVERAL.....

    February 23, 2019 4:58 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      That is always the best solution!

      February 23, 2019 2:54 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Bryan Snyder

    Where is the one pistol to rule this list?...the CZ P-09...

    November 8, 2018 5:34 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Connor H

    You should note in your article that the EAA Witness can be easily converted to a wide range of calibers. 9mm, .40, .45, 10mm, even .38 super. Pretty sad that Tanfoglio managed that, and decades later Sig couldn’t get it right (.45 chassis not compatible with other calibers, and no 10mm). Major selling point. I have one with assemblies for all of the above but 9 and 38 super.

    Also, the SDVE trigger is still kinda terrible. It’s not as bad as the Sigma, but it makes an original (non-M2) M&P trigger seem amazing... thought that should be pointed out as well. Still a worthwhile gun, but folks should be aware of the very heavy pull weight.

    July 11, 2018 7:46 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Wes

    Ive just recently been reading up on solid, affordable home defense handguns, in terms of recently, im talking within the hour.. ill admit ive always just been a hunter, varoius shot guns, 22 caliber rifles, own 2 22 rifles, 4 shotguns, and a muzzeloader.. have had a basically sheltered lower middle class, to i guess whatever class im in now, 2 working parents, scrape by, work hard, sacrafice, hopefully girls grow up and realize we didnt have alot, but wernt aware of it like me.. mainly never had a handgun for economical reasons, plus never really felt necessarry.. until just literally hours ago, some wako, ill just stop at that, decided to threaten my daughter, 13.. Thru social site, her friends use, and had our address, really scared her, told her, her moms name, etc.., then of course more tgreats to solicit nudes.. i know the worlds a ugly place, and dangerous, but not at 13 i didnt, and now of course my 11 year old daughter, with mom and big sis worried, scared, to smart to fool, already aware of dangers, school shootings, and almost daily aware thru some form of media, and i guess ive had no choice but to instead of shielding them from the truths, to not worry, just have fun, i may have scared them the most, cause horrible things they have heard, warnings of terrible things that can happen, ive had no choice, but admit the realities that we live in, even with tears in there eyes, saying not here, or just hours ago, to a cracking voice asking me, he cant hurt mom.. he cant come here, i couldnt tell her not to worry, its not fair, beatiful young girls, all my life my main concern was basically for them not worry, to not be scared, it going to be ok, no matter what.. explained that some ppl, sic pll, do what they did to try and take advantage of u not understanding the game they play, scare u into doing things, not all kids tell their parents, cause they worry that they will do what they threaten.. thankfully, not to this extreme, conversations have revovled around only trusting us, come to us, talk to us.. witch made it even worse for her when she asks me if its ok, if he wont come here, and i cant just say no.. i doubt it, and i dont blame u, but i guess u neex to know, and i have to understand myself, no gurantees.. i typed this long message, for one i guess to help me process my anger, cause i was pissed, to maybe wajen another person up by reading this, or being told about it, its comfy feeling safe, and im just glad im disturbed, thankfully not devastated, cause reality is, another person, kid, parent, etc. Didnt get the chance to.only be scared, nothing wrong with being scared, afraid thats a way of life that many ppl we take for granted.. i have nothing to go on, no directions to tell me what to tell my kids, wife, etc., they look to me, ask me what we are going to do, only thing i could think of, i told them no more white lies, no more 9 lives, we can worry, and at times we need to be scared, but were just going to prepare, not prepping, or going all in, but have to get a handgun, and it sucks, cause they need to grow up faster than i hoped.. bottom line, i really think i need a full sized from what i read, 9mm, but i cant be here if they need it and im not, they will be trained, not long term, but professionally, rarely ever alone, so my wife or me will be here, Canik Tp9sa seem like a goid fit for a female non gun user, and novice handgun user in myself?

    March 2, 2018 6:53 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Cornelius

    My God, who on earth proof read this essay????

    February 27, 2018 8:57 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Gene

    Absolutely love my Ruger American...so much so I bought a companion Compact version recently as well

    February 27, 2018 8:48 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mark Wynn

    Thanks for another useful review ....

    February 26, 2018 11:54 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Albert

    They are ALL good; lotsa 'bang for your buck' out there; there is NO REASON every able bodied eligible person should not be armed. You may be glad you are.

    February 23, 2018 1:14 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Joe L

    If you've got a little more to spend on the handgun, you can't got wrong with the SIG Pro SP2022. It was recently increased in price, so its no longer in the sub-$400 range, but you can sometimes find one on sale for $420.

    February 23, 2018 9:45 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Connor H

      I second this, spectacular gun, basically a polymer framed P229, but with a better trigger and half the price (literally; P229s are way overpriced).

      July 11, 2018 7:49 pm
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