Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • carter

    Some round up.
    Ruger and Remington come to mind as absent, there are others.
    None the less, we stand at a moment in time where the budget conscious can have what they want while prices at the high end soar to 4 grand and higher. Heck, the 1911 has become a stocking stuffer.

    • erwos

      The cut-off was $500, and neither of those guns can be found for that.

      • carter

        You’re right. I missed it.

  • Alex-mac

    This is so lame. Someone should do a post on Hi-point pistols, incredibly cheap, really ugly but a reliable pistol. More capacity than a 1911 too.

    • Komrad

      Hi-Points are uninteresting. They are quite possibly the simplest design around. Straight blowback with no lacking breach. There isn’t much to review. And besides, why spend $200 on a Hi-Point of dubious quality in every area except reliability when you could own a proven TTC, CZ-82, Makarov PM, VZ-52, P64, PA-63, or P83 for a similar price? Why not just save up $100 more and get a Ruger P95?

      Hi-Points are decent guns, but there are much better choices at the price point or for just a bit more.

    • Alex-mac

      Hi points on the secondhand and new market are unmatched at the price/quality point so there isn’t anything to compare it to.

      A comparison of the various euro/russian/chinese ex-military/police or surplus pistols would be great. They have cons and some dealbreakers for some, their weight can be alot heavier, some are underpowered with no quality defensive ammunition available for them. Their looks and history would make them excellent gift pistols though.

      The Ruger P95 is incredible value. Recently the U.S Army purchased 5000 of them, so they are now an even more rock solid design. But it still is more than twice the price of a Hi point without a lifetime warranty. And for the cash strapped that might translate to 1 P95 instead of two Hi point C9s. And also skimping on other important associated costs like good defensive ammo, a quality holster, range/registration fees and even a few training books/dvds on defensive shooting and security related concerns.

      Another pistol that’s a little more expensive ($50) is the Ruger SR9, although it’s been recalled once so people will have to check that. Apart from being a solid pistol it’s distinguished by having a thinner grip ideal for smaller hands.

      • The Beaver



        //Recently the U.S Army purchased 5000 of them, so they are now an even more rock solid design.//

        The Army isn’t using them, and never was.

        They were purchased, along with 5000 other pistols (SIG?) for the Iraqis in 2004. Not sure how that makes them “an even more rock solid design.”

        What does Hi-Point and Ruger have to do with budget 1911s anyway?

      • Komrad

        @The Beaver
        The military did buy 5000 for tank crews to use.
        Here’s the link:

        I don’t know if they were just delivered to the IDF immediately afterwards, but they bought 5000 of them. They may have bought SIGs in addition to that, but there were at least 5000 P95s that were purchased.

      • Komrad

        I am not aware of any former Com-Bloc firearms that do not have quality self defense ammo available except for the m1985 Nagant revolver.

        9x18mm Makarov ammo is loaded by Hornady in its FTX Critical Defense and XTP lines and Cor-BOn offers defensive ammo as well. Wolf Gold/PRVI Partizan (PRVI makes the Wolf Gold line and sells it themselves) offers a hollow point loading of 7.62x25mm Tokarev which is not as well engineered as other brands but will still reliably open due to the absurd velocities of the 7.62x25mm Tok cartridge.

        Even with the m1895 Nagant revolver, there are still options available. You can use standard FMJ ammo, defensive .32 ACP ammo (with a conversion cylinder), or .32 H&R magnum ammo in an unaltered gun. Accuracy will be less than superb, but it would still be enough to work in a short range self defense situation.

        The only com-bloc pistol that is underpowered is the m1895 Nagant revolver. The TTC/TT-33 and other 7.62x25mm Tok firearms are overpowered if anything being capable of penetrating modern body armors and helmets with surplus lead core FMJ (I don’t even want to think about steel core). The Makarov PM and other 9x18mm Makarov firearms are not as powerful as 9x19mm Luger firearms, but they are more powerful than .380 ACP firearms, which is a much more fair comparison given their size. As a concealed carry gun, a Makarov or CZ-82 is of appropriate power and, in the case of the CZ-82, offer more than enough ammo.

      • Alex-mac

        @Komrad I agree. Another option for a cheap concealment piece would be a .32, .380 and 9mm Kel tec pistol. Significantly smaller and lighter.

      • W

        I actually do not own a P95, but have heard outstanding things about them. what really impresses me is the price tags that some seem to bring. Thinking about it now, i might use some piss money to buy one and test it out.

    • 2Wheels

      This isn’t a list of budget handguns, it’s a list of budget 1911s. Why would anyone who desires a 1911 and is on a budget go for a Hi-Point? Or a Ruger P95? Or anything other than a 1911 for that matter?

      • W

        my experience is that if somebody has their mind set on a 1911, then they should get one. substituting another type of pistol for one will not quench the thirst. If my memory is right, my first pistol i ever bought, in 1991, was a browning HP. Sold it and got a well-worn Colt 1911 with a rattling slide, which i got poked fun at a lot for, but it was a incredibly reliable old pistol. If i was going to buy a first pistol, i would buy a makarov or CZ52.

      • Komrad

        A Ruger mk. III or Browning Buckmark would be a better first pistol. Now a first centerfire, an old com-bloc gun would be perfect, as would a lot of other surplus pistols.

        I don’t know why you sold your Hi-Power. If anything, the Hi-Power is a better Browning design than the 1911 and a bit more practical too with a good 6 rounds capacity on the 1911 and that very nice front portion of the slide, but to each his own.

      • W

        nowhere did i say i would recommend anything but a .22 for a “first” pistol for those that haven’t handled guns before. those choices you mentioned are nice and fun to shoot. for me, personally, a first pistol would be a Com-Bloc one, primarily because i began shooting at a young age, especially with handguns. when i was younger, i shot a buttload, so the 9×18 ammo would have been attractive (i don’t remember it being widely available before the fall of the USSR…though i honestly didn’t even know about makarovs or Com-bloc weapons back then).

        For my fail in selling the HP, i wanted a 45. no ands, ifs, or buts, i wanted the 45. when i was a lad, i believed the 1911 was the greatest thing ever invented and i would part the seas with it. I absolutely hated polymer pistols when they first came out and didn’t appreciate them until i was older. then i found a sweet young woman named H&K USP, waited for her to arrive in 45 ACP (which was 96′ if i remember correctly), then there was no going back 🙂

      • Komrad

        Ah, that makes a bit more sense. I can relate to the “need” for a particular gun.

  • Lance

    Trabzon and ARMSCORP looks like a cool way to get a cheap .45 with all ht e tacticool features w/o the price.

  • Jeff

    I thought the PT1911 was supposed to be a cheap pseudo high-end 1911

  • Zermoid

    I think I found the deal of a lifetime, this was a few years ago, 2007 I believe, before the rush to buy anything that goes bang while you still can.
    Found a used Springfield Armory 1911A1 in near NIB condition, with a Wilson Combat mag, for $250, the only problem I could find with it was the extractor was loose and not consistently throwing out the empties. I think the previous owned had dropped a round (or several) into the chamber and slammed the slide shut on it bending the extractor out of adjustment. I re-bent the extractor to hold proper tension and has worked ever since.

    Wish I could get a few more at that price!

    • W

      funny thing, you mentioning throwing a round in the chamber and releasing the slide. i saw a guy demonstrating that with his dad’s vintage 1911 while we were out in the desert. I about killed over from a stroke.

      re-bending the extractor back? that is seriously the funniest thing i have read in a while. im laughing my ass off right now. as long as it works 😀

    • Alex-mac

      That would be a good strategy. I’m sure there are many many 1911’s that don’t function properly and the owner can’t afford to send them to a gunsmith but also can’t bear to charge full price for a nonfunctional gun. Someone with a knowledge on troubleshooting them can fix them up himself.

      • W

        well alex, you have people like my old friend Mike that deliberately look around for these “broken” 1911’s, play stupid, and buy them for cheap prices. He told me the most prominent problem he finds is extractor tension, and owners give up after replacing the recoil spring and finding out that doesn’t work 🙂 If i had the patience and not the love affair i have with modern polymers, I might be interested in such a endeavor.

  • Nicks87

    Those are some great prices but I would still rather drop $450+ on a Glock.

    A good buy if you’re really into novelty firearms or just to say you once owned a 1911.

  • Alex-mac

    The single stack magazine capacity is a killer. So that means finding a ‘cheap’ double stack 1911. New and second hand Para Ordnances are as cheap as it get’s, double the cost of a single stack.