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6 Best Concealed Carry (CCW) Guns Under $400

You don’t necessarily have to spend top-dollar to find some very decent concealed carry guns for EDC purposes.

Besides, spending less on a carry gun means more funds left over for a holster, ammunition, and training.

EMP Alien Gear Holster
EMP Alien Gear Holster

It isn’t an exaggeration to say that the good old days of firearms is now.

Never before has the handgun buyer been more spoiled for choice when it comes to CCW pistols or really any type of gun…at all.

Unlike eras past, when a budget gun meant a battered old surplus pistol or a Saturday Night Special, you can get a legitimately good handgun for defense purposes for not too much. 

Table of Contents


How Much Should I Spend On A Concealed Carry Gun? 

There isn’t an amount you should or shouldn’t spend on a concealed carry gun. It shouldn’t be as much as you can afford to part with.

That really shouldn’t be a factor.

broke meme

Instead, it’s really more that you want to get a concealed carry gun that has certain attributes that you need from any gun you’re going to have to potentially defend your life against a deadly threat. 

The gun has to be a good fit for you, making it easier for you to handle, aim and shoot it well. You have to be able to conceal it easily, though that has more to do with your choice of concealed carry holster, belt, and clothing than the gun. 

However, there is a practical consideration when it comes to the purchasing price. If you ever have to use a gun in defense of yourself, there’s a good chance it will be taken into evidence by the police.

Wilson Combat CQB with Rail and TLR-1 HL
Wilson Combat CQB with Rail and TLR-1 HL

There is also a chance that IF you get it back (and that’s a big if) it will be in very poor condition, and may need to be replaced. 

So make sure whatever you DO decide to spend on a carry pistol is an amount that you’re comfortable with losing.

Best Concealed Carry Guns Under $400

So let’s say you had a tight budget and couldn’t spend more than $400 on a handgun. Even 10 years ago, that would have severely limited you for choice among new guns.

Today… it really doesn’t. There are plenty of very capable concealed carry guns at or even under this price point. 

What would be some of the best of them? Best is a little subjective; what may be best for you may not be best for someone else.

However, here are 6 stellar picks for a CCW gun for less than 4 Benjamins. 

1. Taurus G2C

The Taurus G2C is the PT111 Millennium G2 with a facelift.

It’s a subcompact double-stack striker-fired pistol, which can carry 12+1 of 9mm or 10+1 of .40 S&W… if you dare… with a second-strike “double-action” trigger just in case. 

Taurus’s internal gun lock has been omitted (and appears to have been dropped almost altogether) from their new guns, so no having to worry about it anymore.

The frame has an accessory rail, so compact lights or lasers can be added if so desired. 

The G2C is better ergonomically than you’d think a budget pistol would be.

Taurus G2C in hay
Taurus G2C

The trigger isn’t fantastic by any stretch, but the pistol is reasonably accurate and current owners – not people who had a Taurus over a decade ago and thus aren’t worth listening to – report that they are a lot more reliable than the haters claim.

Support from the holster industry is excellent, and while the gun lacks some refinement compared to others of similar size, it goes bang and puts bullets where you need them to go. 

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

MSRP starts at $272, but you can typically find them for around $200 through most retailers. If it works… what else really matters?

2. Canik TP9SF Elite

The Canik TP9SF Elite might just be the best budget gun there is. Canik’s TP9 series has been tipped as a “Glock Killer” in print many times and for reasonably good reason.

They have excellent ergonomics, an outstanding factory trigger on the SF models, and far more features than pistols from bigger names have for a heck of a lot less in asking price. 

Cash Cannon
Put the Cash Cannon away, this blaster won’t need it!

The TP9SF Elite is a “compact” model, though its dimensions (7.28″L x 1.45″ W x 5.27″ H) are really more those of a full-size gun. (In fact, it’s almost the same size as an S&W M&P9).

However, it’s a little more streamlined and therefore, easier to carry than the full-size TP9SF. 

Standard capacity is 15+1 of 9mm. Standard models come with Warren Tactical sights – black steel rear ramp and red fiber optic upfront instead of white dots – swappable grip panels to dial in the fit, a striker indicator (a la the Walther PPQ) and a very, very good factory trigger.

It’s a bit big, a bit heavy, but it can be dealt with. MSRP starts around $400, so it’s right around the limit, but you can find the ONE Series version (includes only 1 magazine, but they’re reasonably priced and easy to find) for as little as $300 in some instances.   

3. S&W M&P9 Shield 

Though the S&W M&P9 Shield is now onto its second generation, the original is still in production and at a bargain.

9mm (115gr vs 124gr vs 147 HP)
9mm (115gr vs 124gr vs 147 HP)

The base model starts at a very reasonable MSRP of $374, but in-store prices can be as low as $275 and sometimes even less. 

For a brand new gun. That’s made by Smith and Wesson. 

The Shield isn’t a perfect pistol by any stretch, as some people find the grip a little too thin and not everyone cares for the trigger.

Great Value (Sub-Compact)
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

But they’re reliable and more accurate than most tiny pistols have any business being, as well as being one of the most popular concealed carry pistols on the market. 

What’s your take on the M&P Shield?

Readers' Ratings

4.86/5 (488)

Your Rating?


SCCY pistols have gotten some stick over the years due to having a double-action only trigger system that’s less than perfect. Credit where due, it really wasn’t.

The DVG-1 series – allegedly for “David Vs Goliath” – uses a striker-fired system that makes the trigger operation more familiar to most shooters, and tames the pull to an easy 5.5 lbs. 


SCCY specializes in working-class handguns and as such there’s not much frippery.

A compact double-stack pistol (10+1 of 9mm) with few other features to really speak of. There are, however, some very smart design touches. 

The slide has the same slide cuts as the Glock 43, so you can upgrade the sights easily if so desired. A version with manual safeties may be available at some point as well, as they are an available option for their previous models. 

However, the DVG-1 has a party piece. Besides the very reasonable MSRP of $289, there is also the DVG-1 RD model, which ships with a Crimson Trace red dot…for $389.


Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Yes. You can get a pistol with a red dot for less than $400. Sure, SCCY pistols don’t win IPSC world championships or beauty contests, but it’s an honest working-class pistol for not too much in asking price. 

5. Walther CCP M2 380

While the MSRP on the Walther CCP M2 380 is $469, you won’t have any issues finding it for less than $400 in-store or online.

The CCP M2 380 is new for 2020, with its public debut at SHOT Show 2020 along with the Walther Q4 Match, which is not in any way shape or form a budget handgun. 

.380 ACP Round
.380 ACP Round, small but effective

It’s also one of the softest-shooting pistols you’ll ever pick up. There’s barely any recoil.

You might also be used to a .380 pistol being hard to shoot with the utmost of accuracy, due to the shortened sight radius. You won’t believe how easy this pistol is to shoot incredibly well. 

That’s mostly due to the CCP being more of a subcompact, rather than a micro; the dimensions are actually the same as the standard CCP, which makes it roughly the size of a Glock 43X.

at GunPrime

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The longer barrel length (and therefore sight radius) makes good marksmanship that much easier, as well as ensuring better terminal performance of .380 hollow points. 

6. Surplus Police Pistols

This is a category of pistols rather than a single make and model, and yes this means used guns rather than new guns. That’s hardly the compromise one might be tempted to think it is. 

Surplus Store
Your local Surplus store and used gun counter and often great places to look!

On most semi-auto pistols, the only part that’s actually expensive to replace is the barrel. Everything else, especially springs, are usually pretty cheap.

Most police trade-ins will be functionally fine but will have plenty of holster wear. It’ll be beaten up, but it’ll run and that’s what matters.

Police trade-in guns are commonly priced around $400 or less. Typical models include Glock 22, 23, 17 and 19 pistols, Smith and Wesson M&P9 and M&P40 pistols, and now the first wave of trade-in Sig P320 pistols are hitting the market.

The M17 is a formidable weapon designed to operate in the military theater
Sig Sauer P320-M17

Sig Sauer P226 and P229 pistols are also common police surplus but can command a bit more in sticker price.

You will typically find more of them in .40 S&W than 9mm. Typically, you will find more full-size rather than compact guns, but Glock 17s and M&P9s are actually used as CCW guns a lot more often than you’d think. 

at GunPrime

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Yes, they’re beater heaters, but they’re common (and proven) makes and models that typically only need a little TLC and maybe a new magazine or two. 

Parting Shots

Getting a budget pistol, that works, is always better than having no pistol. There are a lot of great carry options on the market and these are just a few of them!

Any of the ones on the list will serve you well, but be sure to get some training, put in some range time, and choose your ammo with care.

HD overpen test 9mm 80 percent glock
9mm Tested in our Home Defense Overpenetration Study

What is your favorite budget CCW? Let us know in the comments! If you’re new to concealed carry, you’ll find these articles helpful!

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39 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Mark Depa

    Got a Taurus G2c and it won't shoot about half the time when the trigger is pulled. Could not even put 2 mags through, other at the range and myself deemed it too dangerous as it fired a few times after i released the trigger. Called Taurus, they said send it back but there is a minimum of 12+ weeks turn around time. Brand new gun out of the box malfunctioning and i'm told send it back and maybe in 3-4 months you will get it back. What is the purpose of even buying it if you cannot use it for 3-4 months due to bad manufacturing. Taurus says no other options if i want it fixed. For those who had great luck with Taurus, i'm happy for you. But for me never again. Also, even trying to sell this back with less than 20 rounds through it i get offered less than half what i paid for it if they even want to buy it and send it back themselves. I can't keep a firearm for protection when it does not fire when the trigger is pulled about 33% of the time or you can't have it for 3-4 months while being fixed.

    October 15, 2020 8:49 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Terry Higginbotham

    Having owned 8 Taurus handguns has left me with 2 comments.
    1) Good buyin price and they work ok when they work. They are ONLY a range piece, NOT a CCW!
    2) They are a throw away gun because it will take a minimum of 6 months to get them repaired. I've been trying for 3 months to get a RETURN ORDER with no luck.
    I recently received a letter from the President of Taurus apologizing for the poor performance of the warranty dept!!!

    May 4, 2020 10:28 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Keith Thomas

    What are your thoughts on the Ruger-SR9c, 17 round pistol
    Recently on Sale for only $249

    May 3, 2020 9:32 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Andrew Scott

    Ruger SR9c is pretty good for left handed shooters. Safety and mag release are both ambidextrous, but the slide release is RH only. Cost me $320 on GrabAGun.

    May 1, 2020 1:55 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Thomas K. Altman

    Your comment about police seizures is extremely valid. In Philadelphia, even if you have a permit to carry, if an officer finds you have a gun on your person or in your car, they just take it, and it takes months to get it back, if ever. I wouldn't mind losing my $200 Taurus P111G2 if this happened. Better than a nice 1911 or a Sig.

    April 30, 2020 5:15 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jeremy Hupp

    I just got the Beretta APX Centurion a few months ago for $350 and I prefer to carry it over the various, more expensive pistols I've carried in the past...

    April 30, 2020 4:07 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Toby L Miller

    I don't get it... why was the Beretta APX Centurion and/or Compact not mentioned in this article???? Beretta lowered the base price several months ago making this pistol one of the best deals on the market: modular, versatile, incredible ergonomics, and a finalist in the military trials - proven reliability.

    April 29, 2020 7:54 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Springfield XDS Mod2 in .45. Great little gun, easy to carry, very manageable for such a big caliber, and has a FANTASTIC trigger. I paid $450 for the all black model with 5 mags, but I've seen the two tone for around $375 lately

    April 29, 2020 12:00 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dave Rockwell

    Was very happy with ported Performance Center Shield. The thumb safety however did not release naturally with my grip.
    Tried the Sig 365 and immediately switched. Thumb safety goes off with grip without thought and gun is very comfortable to shoot. I can shoot it as quickly and accurately as my full size guns. 12+1 rounds mags fit my hand and conceal well. 1,800 rounds through it now with zero issues any ammo.
    Haven’t had a chance to try the Hellcat, but it’s in the list!

    April 27, 2020 5:07 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      I saw a P365 for $429, that's close, it'll drop under $400 with a bit more time. I'd actually prefer they make a "hammer" version and will wait and see. That or a Ruger 57 compact would be interesting ;)

      April 27, 2020 7:48 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mark West

    Why is Ruger seldom, if ever, considered in your comparisons? I own a LC9s that was purchased new for $320. It came with 3 dot sights and an excellent trigger. I am not personally familiar with the EC9s but have not read or heard anything negative. It too sells for less than $400 new.

    April 27, 2020 5:02 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Grady Bookout

      I totally agree with you Mark. My EDC is a Ruger Security-9. MSRP is currently $549, when i purchased mine two years ago i paid $289. My favorite gun store GrabAGun.com currently list is $325, and the compact version is $320. Ihave also considered the EC9S for $249. All of these firearms have stellar performance reviews and a rock solid Ruger repatriation .

      April 27, 2020 7:00 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Agree, it's just "essential".
      +P too, if you're brave...

      April 27, 2020 9:37 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Bull o' the Woods

    The Walther PPS M2 is a better choice than the CCP and, as noted below, is currently [04/26/2020] selling for ~US$300 at CDNN Sports. Both the PPS and PPQ are manufactured at the Walther plant in Ulm as indicated by the "staghorn" proof mark. The CCP is manufactured at the Umarex plant in Arnsberg and passes through the Cologne proof house as indicated by the "three crowns" proof mark. Although Umarex is the parent company of Walther, they manufacture mostly air guns and rimfire guns at Arnsberg. A side-by-side comparison of the PPS with the CCP will demonstrate significant differences in quality of manufacture. When you buy a Walther, you want one made in Ulm.

    April 26, 2020 8:53 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I'll continue to take my .380 Springfield 911 (with the good grips and sights) with me, thanks. (Far superior to any other .380 out there, IMHO.)

    April 26, 2020 7:38 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Greg Lauren

    I've concealed carried for decades. There is a "trade space" between reliability, caliber, weight, and size. Although I own several semi-automatics for recreational shooting, when it comes to personal defense, I prefer a revolver. I recognize semi-automatics are very reliable, but getting a bad primer or misfeed and having to clear the weapon are still possible with even the most highly maintained semi-automatic weapon. I used to carry a Smith and Wesson 442 5 shot .38 Special +p. Now I carry a .357 7 round Taurus revolver with a 3" ported barrel. It also has an additional cylinder for 9mm. Fortunately, I've never had to "draw down" with a revolver, but I have had to use, on several occasions, Sabre pepper gel to deter attacks by dogs. I carry both the revolver and the pepper gel. No sense shooting a dog or any other mammal if something less than lethal neutralizes the threat.

    April 26, 2020 6:23 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Check out the Bersa TPR9C Simply amazing and well made, what a deal! You wont be disappointed.

    April 26, 2020 2:41 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mr Dabee

    I can’T believe you did not mention the S&W 442, I love mine. Fits perfectly in the front pocket of my slacks and light as can be. The internal hammer means no snags, and the double action trigger helps prevent glock leg.

    I guess it was overlooked because MSRP is over 400....but they can be found closer to 325-350 in the stores. I scored the 442 Performance Center brand new at a local store for 329....highlty recommended by yours truly!

    April 26, 2020 2:36 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I love my Ruger security 9. No issues whatever! $300 out the door, and shoots like a dream. But anything that's easy to shoot and something you can be confident in, is all you really need.

    April 26, 2020 2:26 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Got S&W Shields, Rugers, Sigs, etc., but what usually goes with me is a Remington RM380 in a Sticky holster in my right front pocket. Metal gun, not a plastic fantastic. It disappears in my pocket and with a spare mag in a mag pouch in a cargo pocket I’m good to go. Many rounds downrange and nary a malfunction of any kind. Besides, they’re made about 15 miles from me so there’s a certain kinship there.

    April 26, 2020 2:26 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Good article, I own a G2C great pistol.
    Now somewhat off topic.
    The first pic in this article of the guy showing IWB holster.
    What are the pants he is wearing with the strap going around behind ?
    Please 'splain'

    April 26, 2020 2:25 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I've got a M&P 2.0, I mostly carry it as a backup in an ankle holster, but sometimes I do carry it as a primary. I can shoot the lights out at 5 meters, all 8 rounds in a five in circle in about 3 seconds from low ready. With Hornady Critical Defense it's a great stopper. Paid less than $325 with a built-in laser. Still available for about the same price. I wouldn't bother with the laser again, it was just the better price when I bought mine.

    April 26, 2020 2:13 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Great article. The TP9 Elite SC is more concealable than the Elite. I have one on the way to alternate with my 9mm Sheild 2.0. I really like the other Caniks.

    April 26, 2020 2:07 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Great article. Bought a TCP 380 micro years back. Sent back to Taurus for a trigger fix and it's been flawless since. I greatly prefer pocket carry in a sticky holster to any other method and that size eliminated every excuse I'd ever used to leave a ccw home. My buddies guilted me into a bigger cal so I shifted to a P365 (was on sale for 399 at Sportsman's Warehouse) and found I can pocket carry it almost as easily as long as I'm not squeezing into jeans that fit me 10 years ago. Liked the TCP,
    but it sucked to practice with. Love the 365 and it's great at the range.

    April 26, 2020 1:55 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Pete in NC

      My TCP 380 micro also had to go back to Taurus to get the trigger to work, but when I got it back it passed a 400 round (without cleaning) test with flying colors. So the problem may still be around. It's my "Have a gun" (as in the first rule of a gun-fight). Frankly I've had more trouble with Rugers.

      April 26, 2020 3:33 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I would not give up my Kimber Micro 9 LG for 2 or more of these.

    April 26, 2020 1:55 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Johann S.

    You can find often find subcompact KAHR 380 pistols for less than $400. My KAHR P380 is ridiculously accurate, reliable, easy to maintain, and easy to shoot with their silky smooth triggers. It is my #1 CCW of choice. Another plus is that it 'disappears' in my clothes and doesn't print when in my DeSantis holster. My 9mm & .40 KAHRS are equally effective CCWs, but obviously larger. Over the years KAHR has made these better & better - well worth consideration.

    April 26, 2020 1:54 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Ruger LC9S is a good single-stack option, although discontinued. The fixed-sight EC9 series is very affordable. Both may pose challenges for big hands. Bersa Thunder is a reliable .380 and can be found easily for < $300. Walther PPS M2 is a great buy right now on CDNN Sports for ~$300.

    April 26, 2020 1:46 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Mark Wynn

      Agree on the LC9S and EC9. I have the discontinued LC9S, with tru-glo sights and Crimson Trace green laser.

      Yes, the grip is short, but the included magazine accessory butt plate contains the pinky finger. Plus, I have two more, extended grip magazines. (Which don't hold any more bullets. WTF, Ruger?) This is a true, concealed carry pistol, melted, smooth, will fit in a large pants pocket in a Sticky #2 holster. I find it surprisingly accurate and easy to control. Easily passed the CCW range test, and can group 3" at 10 yards. Digests the cheapest practice ammo to the best Hornady er, zombie killers.

      I also have an older, LC380 with red laser, hammer-fired, lousy trigger, but that's now relegated to a particular backup location.

      I feel the new, inexpensive EC9, with the improved LC's striker trigger, with a Crimson Trace green laser, would be a good concealed carry for anyone who can handle a 9mm in a micro-compact pistol.

      April 26, 2020 4:51 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Caniks are fantastic guns, but a better recommendation is the new Canik TP9 Sub Elite. It is the sub compact version. Much more compact than the Elite that you recommended. A lot easier to conceal as it's closer to a Glock 26 in size.

    April 26, 2020 1:37 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I'm surprised that you listed the Canik Elite as opposed to the Canik TP Elite Subcompact which fits this category much better and is about the size of the Taurus. It comes with both 12 and 15 round magazines making it much more concealable. Has the same great trigger, is fitted with an optic plate, you can co-witness with the excellent iron/fiber optic sights. Cost is generally $375 to $399 pre-panic pricing.

    April 26, 2020 1:33 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Eddie. C

      I agree with you Peter. I have a Canik TP9 SF Elite, sold my G23 gen 3 for it and have been very satisfied. Plan on getting the Elite subcompact once this "Cootie Fest" is over. Stay safe

      April 29, 2020 5:04 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Johh Ellingson

    I've had a carry permit since the early '80s and have carried a number of guns. My current choice is a HK VP9SK with a CT laser. It fits my hand, shoots very comfortably and accurately; and with the laser I can point accurately without having to bury the target behind the sight.

    April 26, 2020 1:20 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I got my Shield 9 2.0 on sale for $375. It's a good edc for a skinny ass guy like myself. I got a Hogue grip sleeve to help with the narrow grip and only use the 8 round extended mags and it fits great in my slightly larger than normal hands. If I did it all over again I would probably take a harder look at a M&P compact but I'm still super happy with my Shield.

    April 25, 2020 8:50 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    ken c n

    Never thought of looking at used trade-in models.
    Hoping I can come across a m17 unless St. Benitez rids of the CA roster.
    Are you allowed to share where we can find police trade-ins for civilians?

    April 23, 2020 6:58 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      Sure can! GunPrime is a great source, you can also try things like gunbroker and guns.com!

      April 23, 2020 7:50 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Tommy Rehbein

    I don't own any of the listed handguns but I just want to say to all the Taurus haters: Try their new products with an open mind. My TX22 is my favorite .22 pistol. Love it so much I chose it over all others and sold my SR22 in favor of it. I also picked up a G3 before Christmas. Haven't gotten it to the range yet but first impressions......well built and feels great in the hand. Is it on par with my beloved SP01 - no, but then again it's a different animal. And for the $213 I paid for it new - I'm extremely happy. I cant speak to the Taurus of old but I am VERY happy with their new offerings. Just my .02

    April 23, 2020 6:17 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Michael Constantine

      I don’t think I can pass up that TX22 much longer. I can walk out the door from my local at around $300 all said and done brand new. That’s ridiculous.

      April 24, 2020 8:53 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Douglas Andrew Gracey

      Yea Taurus I would not recommend that you purchase one . Tx 22 sounded great! Ask any gun writer. But owning one is not! I have given Taurus another try then I gave them another another try. This is my latest adventure.
      Tx22, recoil spring assembly, the metal spring is chipping the polymer rod to the point of overiding and gouging the aluminum slide. Barrel, so much tool chatter that with most ammo severe leading occurs. Now this isn't the biggest deal I contacted Taurus customer service January 22 2020 and every couple of weeks I call and send e mails. Today is April 26 2020 and I haven't received any parts and a non functioning brand new gun.
      I have had to send a few Rugers back while I don't like problems with new guns it fall back to the quality of customer service of which TAURUS seems not to have . I just want to hear Something! If you goggle tx22 problems you will see it is a common problem. I would like to be recognized as a customer and at least told when the parts will ship. I didn't start out as a HATER but I am close! Your mileage may very

      April 26, 2020 2:36 pm