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“Can we make a rule that anything on a ‘Top 3’ handgun list cannot cost more than $1500?”commentator Vhyrus laments under our post The 3 Best Concealed Carry Handguns – Foghorn’s Picks. “Once a gun has price tag that exceeds 3 times the leading brand it is no longer the ‘best of’ anything because the price point immediately invalidates it. I know you guys want to be the Top Gear of gun blogs but try to remember the audience.” We do, but . . .

Did you know that the average new car purchase price is $35,560? So, if you can find a way to afford an expensive gun — and most people can if they save — why not spend a thousand or fifteen hundred dollars for something that could save your life, the lives of your family and other innocent life?

Sure there are great handguns — reliable, fine-shooting firearms — that cost less than $500. And yes, there are unreliable self-defense-inappropriate handguns that cost far more than $1000. But there’s no question that more money buys more gun.

Guns that cost more have more work in them. Whether nor not they’re “better” than, say, a GLOCK is a matter or personal preference. But some certainly are, in terms of the trigger, sights, ergonomics and more.

“I know dozens of fellow concealed carriers and maybe three of them carry guns that sell over the 1k mark, two of them being FN 5.7s,” Ed replied to Vhyrus.

For these people — whose finances may or may not have been stretched considerably to make the purchase — the extra money is “worth it.”

I know many of you wouldn’t carry an expensive gun because you wouldn’t want it confiscated after a defensive gun use. But is that really a good reason not to carry a gun that you shoot well (the critical factor for self-defense) and/or makes you happy to carry?

Our man Foghorn thinks a Wilson Combat Bill Wilson Carry 1911 qualifies as one of the three best concealed carry guns money can buy. I’m on board with that. You may not be. But don’t knock it until you try it. And maybe not even then. Yes?

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  1. Its a waste of money. There is nothing in a 1500 dollar gun that a 400 dollar gun can not do as well or better. Its like driving a BMW not only are they a POS you spend a lot of money to make up for a small dick.

    • Why are you so concerned with another person’s anatomy. Sounds like anti-gunner talk to me.

    • Really? You pretty much just restated the original argument, but with less class and sense. And then you have to go on to name calling someone who decides to buy a nice car? We get enough of that from the left.

      While I don’t have the money or desire for nice things for the sake of being nice, everyone can have what they want and afford, and shouldn’t be knocked for it. For me the only jerks are the ones trying to price gouge. You can say a Honda Civic does the same thing as a BMW M3, but you’re not telling the whole truth. I’m sure soylent green gives you all the nutrition you need, but it probably doesn’t taste as good as a ribeye. You don’t need a fancy gun to defend yourself, but why piss on those that do?

    • Damn straight.

      It can’t be “worth it” by any logical rubric, so it’s just personal preference. And when you’re making a top X list you ought to cater to somebody who might be seeking advice.

      If you recommend a 1500 dollar gun you might as well tell them to buy a Glock 19 and then light 1100 dollars on fire, for all the real world difference it will make.

      • It always stuns me that there are people who truly profess to believe that there is NO difference between a $500 gun and a $1500 gun. Do you really think a stock Glock is the equal of a same-caliber and barrel-length HK? Let alone a hand-built 1911. Or even a Glock that’s gotten the custom treatment and various internal upgrades.

        It’s like saying a Camry is the equal to a Mercedes, because they both have four wheels and can get you from point A to point B. I’m sorry, but there are REAL differences–in performance as well as in style.

        Just because you can’t afford the best, don’t be willfully ignorant of the fact that something better does, in fact, exist.

        • Of course there’s a difference, it’s just not a practical difference for the use case we’re talking about. Price always matters.

          A better car analogy would be if somebody asked for your recommendation when shopping for a new daily driver. Your response? “A Bugatti Veyron is the fastest car.”

          It’s almost a non-sequitur. Equally as crazy as if someone wanted to know the best competition pistol, and I told them “a SCCY 9mm is a great value gun.”

          The answer has to fit the question, and for the question of a carry gun, price is always a factor. The question isn’t if a $1500 gun is BETTER than a $400 gun. The question is if a $1500 gun is $1100 better than a $400 gun for the purpose.

    • I won’t argue that there are loads of great guns on the market. But the Wilson Combat my dad gave me is the finest 1911 in the world. For years I argued that my Para or friends colt were equal, but after shooting one they just arent. Does that mean the Colt is a bad gun? Absolutely not. Still no reason to knock those who Carry less than 1,000 guns vs those who carry Wilson or nighthawk. However no one can compare Colts, Springfield and s&w to Wilson or nighthawk custom. You haven’t shot them clearly if you make those claims. The guys who say their xd is better than an hk or sig are the guys that’s never shot an hk. It’s just like the hk guy saying the xd is junk. Of course the xd isn’t junk, but it isn’t better than an Hk. Same with 1911s. A BMW is going to handle smoother and it’s sttention to detail will be sharper. It’s brakes, suspension will handle more abuse. It’s motor will be a touch sportier than say a civic. They both get you A to B, but you are getting a different experience. Same with comparing the BMW to a Porsche or ferrari. May not be worth its to you. But bc it is worth it to another doesn’t make him or her wrong.

      • Amen brother. I own about 10 handguns and most of them are plastic Fantasticks. However I do own a couple of very nice double action revolvers and I am currently saving for a all stainless steel Nighthawk custom T3 in 45 ACP and I plan on getting custom leather holster and mag pouch holder as well I figure Life’s too short to own an ugly gun LOL just kidding just wanna on something really nice I’m getting to the age where I can appreciate something that cost a little bit more money. Not that a younger man wouldn’t appreciate it as well I guess I’m what I’m saying is I realize my mortality and wish to own something nice before I meet my maker.

      • I can’t​ claim to have ever shot a beautifully custom gun, but I can say with absolute certainty that I think the Glocks (and reasonable Glock facsimiles) are definitely more-or-less on a parity with the SIGs and HK’s.

        If you told me that you think a Camry is on par with a Benz, I’d assume you wanted to sell me something. If you told me you think a G17 is in the same ballgame as a P226, I wouldn’t blink.

        • I will say that out of the box Glocks and HKs(I own a G19, G30, G26, and an HK USP Compact .40) are equally reliable, and equally accurate.But the HK just feels like a product which is made with better materials,and the fit and finish are better.

          But functionally? They’re identical. So are most of the polymer pistols from respected manufacturers. Springfield XDs are great, Kahrs are great, Walthers are great, SIGs are great, etc.

          But when I get the scratch together, I’m going to buy a SIG P229 Stainless Elite and have it mirror polished. Sometimes pretty counts. LOL

      • So you didn’t think the Wilson Combat was the best handgun in the world until you got one

    • what’s the difference between a BMW and a porcupine? a porcupine has pricks ON THE OUTSIDE.


    • Not only has my BMW been reliable as a rock for 6 years now, if you drove it for 5 minutes you would be crying it was so much fun. Or, to say the same thing in fewer words, Bullshit.

      • Agree. I drive Corvettes. It’s one of the most fun things you can do with your pants on.

        • My name is Jake, and I approve this message.

          Even though mine is just a “slow” C5, there is nothing like cruising with the roof panel off on a nice spring day…

        • I will take a Corvette any day over any other sports car (I have had the opportunity to drive almost every brand of car there is thanks to one of my former employments). When it comes to firearms my choice is Ruger, never have let me down, unlike several other brands I USED TO own. My personal experiences with expensive cars, firearms, etc has been that often times ‘less is more’.

    • ok…I know you are trolling but I’ll play anyways….

      “You Sir, are a mental case…..”

      Have a nice day!

  2. For me, they reasoning for not carrying an expensive gun is to protect its value. If you have a good reliable cheap gun that works for you, you’re not going to get too worried about holster wear.

    • To me, not carrying an expensive gun because of holster wear is like the guy who drives a BMW and parjs it in the middle of 4 parking spots to protect it from door dings; the easiest way to tell if someone can’t afford something is if they can’t afford to replace it.

      • Well I guess that’s why I don’t own a $1500 gun, right Mr. Moneybags.

        Really though any gun I buy that is that expensive will be for another purpose other than carry. It will be because I want a gun that will hold 2″ groups at 50 yards out of a ransom rest, not for perforating the bad guys. And yes I will still care about the finish, even when I have less responsibilities and the funds to blow on such a weapon.

  3. You said “more money buys more gun”
    Maybe, but more money also buys more guns.
    You could spend 1500 on a hand gun and arm yourself to protect your family, or you could spend 1500 on 3 handguns and arm yourself, your wife, and an older child or have a back up.
    Give a man a fish…..

  4. I can, and sometimes do, carry TWO Kahr CW380’s for the price of ONE Kahr P380. If something happens to it, no big deal.
    If the CW was not available, I would probably carry the P, because they are the smallest READILY available pistol of thier type. Plus, I like Kahr’s no extemporaneous buttons and levers policy. It is as much like a DA Revolver as I can get.
    I think if I was carrying a $1500 gun, it would always be in the back of my mind, how much it cost.

  5. Why compare gun prices to car prices? Average new car purchase price of 35,560? Rarely is that ever paid up front and I doubt any banks would finance a firearm purchase. In my experience, the best most gun shops do is some shitty 6 month layaway with %50 down.

      • Credit card with a 35k+ limit? I was highlighting an apples to oranges comparison. Buying a car is way different than buying a gun for the average Joe.

        • It’s fairly easy to get a $35k limit on something like an American Express Blue credit card. They go up to $100k if you can back it up.

    • Last new car I put on payments was 1971. Paying for cars is nowhere near rare. If you can’t pay cash, drive what you own until you can. That ’71 car I sold in 2000, 29 years later, I knew a guy once who bought the cheapest ’66 mustang he could find and still had it as his only car 20 years later. As a result of rational decisions, I also paid cash for my current HOUSE. COMPLETELY debt free for over 20 years now, I know it’s not the American way, but try to imagine the thousands of dollars you would have saved in the past 20 years, and the upscale guns you could buy with that money. Blithely accepting the concept that you will always be mired in debt up to your ears is a fine way to assure it’s true.

      Yeah, I know, my kids don’t even listen.

      • Preach it brother! Debt Free is the Way To Be!! Took a while to learn it. But damned if I ain’t livin’ it. Bought more guns in the last 5 years than I had in the previous 35 that I’ve been legal to do so. Every time the missus asks how many guns do you need? I say, at least one more.

      • Yep. I live debt free. No house note. No car note. No carry over credit card debt.

        Debt is a bigger tyranny than the .gov.

        20 yo Toyota and decent, but not pricey guns.

          • Debt is American, the dream. If all debt ended tomorrow, the entire economy would collapse. Going debt free, and encouraging others sounds like a commie plot to take over the country. This here is ‘Merica. Love it or leave it. Debt (and greed) is good.

  6. First, thank you for finally giving me the recognition I so obviously deserve. Moving on….

    There’s nothing wrong with carrying an overpriced (yes, OVER PRICED) gun, but for a publication to recommend a 3000 dollar gun as a ‘top 3’ implies that price point is somehow normal or that you have to spend that kind of money to get a good gun. Obviously that is not at all true, but someone not very familiar with handguns reading a supposedly serious ‘top 3’ list is going to say ‘My god I can’t afford 3 grand! I guess I shouldn’t buy a gun.’ It’s not only factually incorrect but it’s doing a disservice to less informed people. If you’re just pushing for clicks or trying to generate buzz, then mission accomplished, but I thought we were above that.

    And, no, your 3 grand gun cannot do a single thing my $600 Walther can do. There, I said it. I await your next rebuttal to my poignant and cutting commentary.

    • My Nighthawk/Korth gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when I handle, carry, and shoot it. Maybe it is not an entirely rational sort of thing, but… your Walther could not do that for me. Yes, I realize the Walther is almost certainly more combat effective in more circumstances. I also would not recommend a Korth revolver as an EDC for the vast majority of people. For me, it is just right though.

    • +1.

      Not to mention that whether you spend $200, $500, or $5,000 on your carry piece, it’s all academic if you don’t know what you are doing and/or don’t have the mindset required to use it effectively.

      For instance, I’ve no doubt that in JWT’s hands, a high-end Wilson Combat or STI 1911 is going to be very effective if he has to use it in a DGU. However, is it going to be materially more so than, say, a G19 or PPQ? Probably not, as if JWT has to he’s going to use whatever he has available, and he’ll be more likely than most of us to come out of it. And the reason why doesn’t depend on what flavor of shooting iron he’s carrying (assuming, of course, that it’s not something utterly unreliable).

      On the other hand, take your average cop (at least the ones who aren’t ex-military or are SWAT team folks). Is he going to be materially more effective if you give him a hand fitted Les Bauer vs. a M&P or G17? Probably not, because, the minimal amount of actual gunfighting training he has means he’s still going to miss most of his shots anyway. And, of course, this is even more pronounced for the non-LEO whose experience is limited to shooting a few boxes of ammo on a square range.

      To my mind, assuming you have a carry piece that is sufficiently reliable (e.g., G19 or equivalent), in terms of effectiveness you are going to get a lot more benefit by spending that next $2-3K on range ammo and training than upgrading to a hand-fitted, investment-grade gun.

    • Last year I bought five (new) totally reliable, accurate firearms along with a lot of ammo for a total expenditure of $2,900, about the same price as your ONE fancy gun with NO ammo to put in it. Who made the better purchase?

  7. First, there is no difference in performance for the purposes of self defense between a $700 Springfield Milspec and a $3000 Wilson Combat. If anything, the Springfield is probably less finicky. But more importantly, the choice should have been a generic 1911 and not a specific variant. All EDCing a Willson Combat say is that you are weenie by bragging about your $3000 pistol.

    Carrying an expensive gun is foolish for reason other than the small risk that it will be confiscated after a DGU. Chances are you aren’t going to have a DGU. What makes it stupid is that carry guns get banged up which is going compromise tbe value of your pistol.

    The most expense pistol I have is my BHP. I might be induced to by a Springfield TRP but at $1500 that is most I would spend on a carry gun.

    • ‘…other than the small risk that it will be confiscated after a DGU.’

      This is one of the dumbest reasons to base your choice. First, like you said the odds of being in a situation where your EDC gets confiscated are very low. But second, if you shoot someone, unless there’s a gaggle of witnesses that can corroborate your story, you will not only have your EDC confiscated but while your sitting in jail the police will get a search warrant, raid your house and seize every gun you own. This happened to my brother-in-law and all he did was take an argument with his girlfriend out in public. While intoxicated. With his LCP in his pocket and his keys in his running car. Yea not too bright. Anyway, if you think they’re just going to release a potential murderer on his own recognizance to go home and get another gun you’re cracked.

      • I am not sure you are are agreeing or disagreeing. In your life example it wouldn’t matter if you are carrying a RIA GI model while leaving your Wilson Combat model at home.

        • Correct. If you are in a DGU that’s even remotely questionable, every gun you own will be seized and locked up before your lawyer even returns your call. So it doesn’t really matter if your WC is at home in the safe or on your hip, it will just get nabbed an hour or two earlier if it’s on your hip.

        • ” If you are in a DGU that’s even remotely questionable, every gun you own will be seized and locked up before your lawyer even returns your call.”


          Perhaps in a not-free state, in Florida that ain’t happening if you use an inch of intellect.

          There is no firearm registration or mandatory BCs on private sale firearms in Florida.

          Put it to you this way, search my home and confiscate every gun gun in it, the next day I will have another handgun that belongs to me.

          (I call that the ‘2A friends and family plan’…)


        • True Geoff, but I’m guessing that would violate the conditions of your release (while awaiting trial). Also, do you keep your prized $3500 19 11 in this off site location?

      • Not only that, please explain how you plan on it getting banged up!? My Sneaky Pete holster is getting beat to shit while completely surrounding the gun with leather, nothing touches it, not even dust bunnies. So, where’s the hard life coming from?

  8. There is no dgu performance gain going from a standard polymer framed pistol that costs $500-750 to anything that costs over $1500. If you like the bells and whistles or looks or feel or status or have nostalgia, that’s fine, but it won’t save your life better. for a little insight and humor.

  9. I do carry an expensive gun my only concern with doing such is if I put two bullets in someone’s forehead defending myself or another innocent third-party that expensive gun is going to be sitting in evidence for very long time.

  10. The rule I subscribe to is this: it’s not appropriate for concealed carry if you can’t afford a second one. Why? Because what if your wiz-bang super carry gun breaks? What if you want to send it off to get worked on or refinished, what will you carry then? A different platform? The same platform by another manufacturer that’s good enough, or excellent on its own? If that’s the case, why not carry that gun all the time, and spare your pricey gun the wear tear, and rust that EDC will cause?
    Not to mention confiscation, damage, and loss that may occur during or after a gunfight. You luck out, and you survive a gunfight, no charges are pressed against you, but your gun has been covered in a fine layer of blood for several hours before you get to leave the scene, go home, and decompress from the traumatic events of the day, you’re going to clean your gun off immediately, right? Blood will corrode the fanciest finish on anything made from metal or alloys in a matter of hours, FYI.

    • Send it back to the manufacturer with an explanation of what it went through. Dollars to donuts, with a high end gun, it will be refinished or replaced at no charge. Just the explanation if it has been confiscated, you’ll likely get a loaner. Try that with a Glock.

      • “Send it back to the manufacturer with an explanation..”

        That is the point; gun no longer EDC. What takes it place while waiting for the repaired gun to return?

  11. Holster wear for one. Also, I when there are so many dead nuts reliable guns out there that can be had for well under a grand, I don’t see the point in stretching myself financially to buy something fancy. If you can afford it by all means go ahead. But I don’t need a gun that can shoot the wings off a fly at fifty yards for self defense. I need a gun that I can rapidly put shots center mass until the threat stops and I need a gun that works every time. I’ve seen a lot of reviews on these upper end guns that say “ohh it has a 500 round break in period and after that it works great.” No thanks. Out of the box I want a reliable gun that I can use effectively.

    • Every single one of my numerous Rugers have run perfectly ‘out of the box’ with nothing at all dome to them. This is my test of a firearm’s quality; 100% run as purchased. I have witnessed so many ‘high end’ guns that were so damn picky the owner’s finally gave up on them & got something else; usually a Ruger (yes I nudged them in that direction & they were glad for it).

  12. If I could afford a Nighthawk Custom, I’d buy it and carry it. After all, home owner’s insurance will cover it if it gets seized.

    But, just like the adage ‘carry what you shoot well’ you should also buy ‘the best gun you can afford’. So, if that’s a base model Glock or one of the 2.5K beasts, so be it.

    In the end, you’ll have it with you when it’s needed and that’s the overall point behind this blog.

    • You may want to check your homeowners insurance. I don’t think it covers anything that happens outside your home nor would it cover lawful police confiscation.

      • Homeowners insurance generally covers your personal property if it is damaged or lost due to theft. This coverage is not necessarily limited to items in your home. If things are stolen from your car, your homeowners insurance or renters insurance will likely cover it.

      • Vhyrus,

        A person’s homeowner’s insurance covers that person’s liable actions outside the home. It may also provide theft coverage outside the home.

        What homeowner’s insurance probably would not cover is loss of your firearm in connection with a criminal investigation.

    • Loss to covered property caused by an act of a governmental body is typically excluded under a homeowners’ policy.

  13. How about we just carry what we want and not discuss price? What a boring, low class topic. Wear a timex, wear a rolex, whatever.

    Except Hi-points. F*** Hi-points.

    • Yeah! What HE said! And despite rumors to the contrary, it was only a few years (in the mid-’90s) that I wore a gold Rolex and carried a Python. Not enough to even be considered, and I was so poorly dressed, nobody would have thought they were real, anyway.

  14. I find that most people finance their new cars. They tend to be a little less so inclined to finance their new guns. So using the whole “you’ll pay 35k for a new car, why won’t you pay 1500 for a new gun” argument a little disingenuous. True story: the Newtown shooting made me want to buy an AR15, but with the prices skyrocketing, and being a family man with mouths to feed, I couldn’t justify how much they were going for. But I *could* justify buying a lower one month, and an upper another month, and a LPK, and a barrel…. and within a year or so I’d bought all the parts for a gun I “couldn’t afford” and built my own. My carry gun took a similar evolution: I bought the nicest, most reliable gun I could afford when I first started carrying. It ran me about $300. I saved up a little bit more over time, sold that gun and took the cash I got and the cash I had, and bought something a little nicer and easier to carry. And so on. I stopped once I landed on a sweet spot in my carry setup.

    The point I’m getting at, is that money matters. At some point, people go, “good enough” and the ROI gets marginal enough in our upgrades that we can’t justify a $3,000 price tag on a gun that’s only going to slightly increase our effectiveness.

  15. Hmm, I buy used cars. Gas cost the same, but insurance is less. Of course, part of that is the fact that we are also paying tuition for two kids in college. We consider that the most important investment. I still shoot a $500 ish Springfield XD M 9mm pretty well. I also shoot a .45 name you’d recognize that cost considerably more, pretty well, too. It does tire me out more than the XD at the range. Also, not enough “real estate” on me to carry a larger gun, which pretty much restricts me.

    I’ve told two people who were considering their first gun to consider 9mm. Lots of practice to learn requires lots of ammo. Besides .22, the 9mm cost is considerably less than a .40, 45, or 38. One took me up on that, I may talk to the second, today.

  16. I feel Jims response is a bit too snarky, but he is kind of on to something. I disagree that a $1500 gun is less than or equal to a $400 gun, having owned and shot several of each, but I do agree that a $1500 dollar gun is overkill for a carry gun.

    Firstly, the argument that you can save up for that high end carry gun is valid, more or less, but if you are in that situation then the counter argument that it may be taken away after a DGU is a much greater concern. If the only gun you shoot is your high end piece that you saved a year for, and you do have it confiscated after a DGU, will you be able to use whatever you have left, or what you can afford immediately afterward?

    Secondly, super tight groups are not necessary in a DGU. Can your gun keep all rounds on a sheet of printer paper at speed out to 20-25 yards? That covers nearly every situation you would ever encounter. More importantly, can your gun put presentation rounds on that sheet of paper at 10 to 15 yards in 2 seconds? My sub $300 LCP 2 will pass both these tests, So will my sub $200 used SCCY CPX 2. My $1600+ Coonan does too, but is not needed to achieve that goal.

    Thirdly, Carry guns get beat to hell, and some of us like to keep our nice things looking nice. Not a great reason, but a valid one.

    Finally, it just isn’t necessary to spend that much for a reliable, accurate gun. I was recently strongly considering ordering a Dan Wesson CCO or Valor, both roughly $1500 or so, specifically for carry. I ultimately decided against it because my Ruger LWC is 100% reliable and as accurate as I am, and I got it used for a third the price. I know what those high end guns are like, and I know what they can do, but for me the benefits don’t justify the price tag for carry. As a range toy, I would love to one day get my hands on a high end 1911, but I doubt I would ever carry it, except to the old BBQ.

    Also, some of us won’t buy new cars due to that whole 20-30% depreciation the moment you drive it off the lot. New car smell is not worth $10,000.

    • “New car smell is not worth $10,000”

      It is, if you plan to keep that car for 20 years. Which should be your goal whenever you pay more than you can just walk away from if it runs out of gas.

      • Late model used. Wait for one of those folks that trade in every time the warranty runs out and get the same car for 2/3 or less, and maybe a grand or two in repairs. Still way cheaper, and less insurance, too.

  17. $500 is expensive.

    Money should not be the concern with a self defense gun. Once you break the $300 mark (give or take) you’ve entered the realm of “real gun”. That doesn’t change much until about the $800 mark. Anything above that is fluff and you are paying for nice features, none of which are needed for a self defense gun.

    • Kind of funny that you can put hard numbers to something so subjective.

      I have my own “hard numbers” but they’re obviously different than yours.

      To someone making 10-12 dollars an hour, a High Point or Taurus Millenium probably looks like a “real gun” for less than $300.

      They bottom line is that our “real guns” all have criteria that are personally determined.

      That scale probably slides as we age and become more financially sound.

      The “real guns” from my youth are now well above $500 and most would top $1000 due to increased manufacturing costs.

      The current polymer pistols allow more people to buy “real guns” with a lower budget.

      A $220 LCP is a much better pistol than the Raven 25 or AMT backup of the 70s.

      I guess we are all “gun snobs” to some point. But I wont ridicule someone for a Bersa or a Wilson.

      Their money and choice.

      • Speaking of the AMT Backup…

        I wrote an article comparing it to the LCP and submitted it for the content contest. Hopefully TTAG sees fit to run it.

      • I wouldn’t exactly call this hard numbers. I went out of my way to use broad numbers actually. “$300 give or take” . Remember that part? $300-$800 range. Not a hard number. WTF is a soft number? I started off by saying price should not determine your carry gun. The only reason I gave a number at all is…it’s fucking germane to the topic at hand.

  18. I love my FNH 5.7! I can’t conceal it well in sunny Florida though. If open carry passes I’ll carry it. I won’t need to worry about getting made. I’ll just let my t-shirt hang over it. The red box green tip higher velocity LE ammo is very available and affordable right now.

    • The Five-seveN is my carry choice as well. Since I only OC I don’t have to worry about CCing it. And I have more than one should something happen.

  19. I don’t care what you do with your money. If you want to drive a $100k Mercedes that means God help you when you need repairs, then rock on. You do you BooBoo.

    That said, I’m an unashamed Arex fan- you know, the gun that crushed the Sig Legion P226 in the torture test awhile back. Yeah. That one. The one that burned through 1000 rounds in 14 minutes and costs only $600 after taxes- about 1/3 what the Legion does.

    I personally don’t see the sense in carrying something that is inferior- Legion 226- just because it’s expensive. If a ‘top of the line’ anything gets beaten consistently by the middle of the road option, then is it really the top of the line? Let’s take it farther out. What advantage is there to expensive guns like Cabot? I do not believe for one second that the Meteorite/Big Bang guns will ever be fired- they’re too expensive. Why wouldn’t you walk around with $200-500 thousand on your hip? Higher cost means better tool right?

        • Idk why. I didn’t make the video. My first handgun is/was a 1911, she’s just too much for me to EDC comfortably. She’s a fine handgun though, and I’ve only had 2 malfunctions in 9 years. Rex is still full sized, weights are virtually identical, and I get more bang for the buck with the Rex. Good for yours surviving the 2k test. I think my original point was that a machine in the middle of the road price range performed admirably compared to one considered elite and as such is capably of ‘punching above her weight-class’ so to speak.

        • “1,000 rounds you say, why did they stop so soon? We went 2,000 with my EDC 1911.”

          A very interesting comment.

          Through it all, the most common reliability “test” seems to be 500rds for the gun, 200rds for the ammo. What makes “reliability” notions interesting is that in the flight game, we commonly “cocked” alert aircraft. That meant turning everything on and seeing that there are no malfunctions. Coupled with the proper fuel and weapons load, an aircraft with no “gripes” was then considered “cocked”, and ready for instant start and takeoff. As a 1Lt, I was always impressed with this alert procedure, and wondered why we did not have “cocking” crews/staff to ready every mission for the day. Then the crew would arrive and just fire it up. So one day, while doing the checks to “cock” an alert bird, I commented on the difference between alert and daily mission preparations. The crew chief (plane captain for the Navy) sat quietly, then asked, “Sir, are you comfortable that after you turned off all the electrics, this hear airplane is gonna work when you need it?” I answered, “Sure. It’s why we do this.” The crew chief looked away a moment, they turned back and said, “Sir, all you know is these electronics worked THE LAST TIME YOU TRIED THEM.”

          So, when I read recommendations/standards about “reliability” checks, I wonder about it. All you know is the gun worked the last time you shot it. How many fired rounds will guarantee the next one will do the job?

    • I’ve never handled a Legion, but I think it’s hard to extrapolate reliability based on one example of each. You’d have to compare several Rex’s against several Legions to get a more accurate reliability assessment. With that I do like the Rex! Though I also like the normal Sig Sauers.

      • Same here. Liking the Sig so much was why I was initially interested in the Arex and how I first heard abt TTAG- their review of the Rex at SHOT a while back. The price difference is what made saving for one more possible than the other. I heard about the torture tests after I bought my Rex. I’m quite pleased with her so far.

  20. If you can afford it why not? “Waste of money” is a relative concept. Just don’t whine like a bitch when my broke ass calls it out as being such. Know that I’m doing so from a position of relative poverty and take pity. I accept all denominations of currency should you wish to tithe.

  21. My opinion on the is on the Wilson Combat specifically and that is if it was even a contender for top 10 best you’d see a lot more out here “in the wild”, the fact that you don’t speaks volumes.
    If we are going down the car comparison road, a quick Google search of the 10 best cars of 2017 lists the Honda Accord at $22,455 and as was mentioned before NOT paid all at once. I would most definitely call that one of the Glocks of the car world. That was 10 BEST not most luxurious or expensive yada yada…
    If you walk into your average shop the Springfield xd’s and the Glocks are going to outnumber the Wilson Combat and STI guns 15+ to one. There’s a reason for that.
    I think that its not the fact of not being able to afford or save the money for a carry gun in that price range. I think its more about what else the average person can do with that kind of money vs. Carry gun that really is nothing but bragging rights until you use it. As was mentioned before a $700 Springfield is probably just as if not more reliable as a “Custom” 1911, if you feel the need to have a 3k carry gun, awesome! This is mostly free America, more power to you. I’ve bought running Harley Davidsons for less than what that Wilson costs, so in my mind, as nice a gun as it is, it doesn’t do enough to justify it’s cost.

  22. To me, the sweet spot for firearm pricing is the $500-$1000 range. There are too many fine guns in that range to list here, and even some really good ones that go for less (Canik TP9, for example). With so many good choices in that price range, I can’t find any reason to spend any more for a defensive piece.

    Something else to consider; if you’re ever involved in a DGU, you’re not going to see that gun until the investigation is over (or ever again, as we all learned this morning what can happen in police property rooms). That’s going to sting quite a bit if it’s a $3,500 Bill Wilson Carry.

    • In certain cities in California, if the cops take your guns, for whatever reason, it takes months and an attorney to pry it back–if it hasn’t already been “destroyed.” Happened to a collector (and retired cop) in LA who was busted by the Sehriff’s Office for an alleged illegal gun sale. They seized a collection worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. And while his attorney was negotiating to get some of the guns back , the City Attorney with whom he was dealing went and got a destruction order from a judge. San Francisco is notorious for demanding proof of ownership, even after they’ve received an order from the State DOJ to release a firearm.


    We are free to spend our cash however we damned well please. We are free to save money where ever we damned well please.

    FURTHERMORE. We are free to disagree WHILE EVEN BEING DISAGREEABLE with others over this discussion. After this can we argue over Ford trucks Vs. Chevy?? Just keep the Mopar-tards out of the ring, they’re idiots!!!

  24. Expensive guns get too much leeway.

    If it can’t feed certain ammo it’s because “it’s made to higher tolerances and can only use high quality ammo”. If a cheap gun can’t feed certain ammo it’s “because it sucks and you should have paid for a real gun”

  25. To each theys own. But as price goes up production goes down, so it’s not like you’ll have millions of other people’s range hours of proof that your make/model works, and knowledge of even rare problems that might happen, like with a Glock.

    Is that a huge problem? Not necessarily. With a new gun, if it runs 500 that’s a pretty good indication that it’s pretty reliable. But it’s not the ne-plus-ultra best proof you can get of reliability.

  26. I don’t care a wit about what others think about my Kimber Super Carry Pro. I prefer the 1911 type of pistol, I shoot it well, and it carries pretty light and easy for what it is. Sure it shows carry wear after 8 years, I expect it will show more wear at 16 years. Sure it costs more to shoot and practice with (being a .45 vs 9mm or other), but I reload, shoot in my back yard and I’m completely confident with it. I’m not worried about losing it to a DGU for a time, I am insured.

    I really like the Wilson Combat, but that is an expensive handgun. But if or when I buy one, I would carry it too.

  27. I carry a DW Guardian most of the time, I think I paid about $1400. Best carry gun I own. I also carry a S&W M&P 9c on occasion as well. $400 v $1400. It’s not about money, its about how well you shoot it.

  28. @Vhyrus notes a notable consideration about highlighting expensive guns: ‘My god I can’t afford 3 grand! I guess I shouldn’t buy a gun.’

    As a (seemingly) forever researcher/evaluator, never making a decision kind of person, I have a considerable amount of time looking and handling dozens of handguns. Many are attractive for one characteristic or another, some are attractive for a whole bunch of characteristics. I swing between wanting “really cool”, and “it’s just a tool”. I can buy a stainless steel screwdriver, or one made of unobtainium. Either will work for my infrequent need of a screwdriver, but only one would qualify as a barbecue screwdriver.

    As a car buyer, I have owned a VW Bug, and a Lincoln Town Car (only two actually new cars in 20 years. I finally decided to make a statement, and went to the Mercedes store. So much to like. The dealer even lent the demo car overnight for test. Happy and excited, I proudly drove off the lot, thinking, “This is how the other half lives.” Short version: by the time I got home I couldn’t get out of the car fast enough. Conned my wife into taking the car back to the dealer.

    Point of all this, decide what you will use the tool for, find one that will meet all those needs, and buy it. If you “need” to have a top of the line anything, just admit you wanted to buy expensive stuff, don’t try to fob it off on some sort of imaginary capability that you will never actually take advantage of. For guns, my research says that $3000 guns are “Top” guns for competitors, and are likely built for hard running. $3000 guns for the night stand, or IWB are not, in and of themselves, superior guns for self-defense.

    As for the $3000 EDC gun reviewed here as “Top”, there are handguns to fit the EDC bill that are way more expensive, making $3000 guns not “Top”.

    Ramble, ramble, mumble, mumble. Thanks for listening.

    • Your input here is actually quite valuable, as most of us who comment here are owners, often of anywhere from 2 to 2 dozen handguns alone. As such, we really have all pretty much forgotten what that first handgun purchase was like.

      If any other potential buyers are out there, don’t be afraid to speak up and speak your mind, your concerns and questions are at least as valuable to this sight and community as us “super-owners.”

      People like me are going to read all the reviews and all the top 3 whatevers, and will then buy whatever we want anyway. Reading your comments here recently has really helped me to get off my high horse on some of my opinions, and I thank you.

        • Ha! Sorry, didn’t mean for that to sound weird, just nice to learn a little humility once in awhile.

          • “…just nice to learn a little humility once in awhile.”


            Glad to be of service.

            I think.

        • Oh, hell. I just reread my comment, and it makes me sound like some rich asshole. I am not rich, though I am an asshole. I meant my gun snobbery will dictate what I buy, and that new shooters cause me to be less snobby. I have really dug a hole for myself on this one. Geeze.

  29. I don’t know about a $1,500 dollar gun, but my Sig P229 Elite was damn near a grand. There is a happy medium between a pile of junk and something in the “wow, that much??” range. It’s up to the individual to determine what they want to spend. What someone wants as opposed to (can get by with) is an important consideration. We are all different with different tastes, wants and needs. I’d personally never ever carry a GLOCK unless we were in a post societal meltdown and that’s the only thing I could find laying around on some dead person.
    The guy across the street bought a Springfield XD Mod 2 a few weeks or so ago. Before he bought it, he ran his possible purchase by me. Besides Springfield’s “gear up” offer of 4 extra magazines, a holster and a double mag pouch, the Mod 2 had all the desirable qualities he was looking for in a modern firearm and I approved of it. Even though it was a striker and I don’t personally like strikers, if I didn’t care, I’d carry that Springfield without hesitation.

  30. Kind of like recommending a .44 magnum as your top EDC arm, sure it’s effective but only a very small percentage of people would actually carry one, for obvious reasons. As far as being ‘expensive’, there are some of us who have to make serious sacrifices in order to afford a $400 weapon and enough am mo and range time to become proficient with it, and others who could drop $3000+ on a fancy custom 19 11 without their wives even noticing. My advice is carry what you want, but whatever you carry it is not going to stay nice and shiny for long. Carbon steel guns wear the finish away whether it’s blued or coated. Stainless guns get polished in the spots that contact the holster. Kydex holsters will wear a scratch right down the side of your g un. Wood grips get dinged up and scratched. I can certainly see carrying your BBQ g un every day, but whatever you carry you have to accept the fact that before you have to renew your permit it will be pretty banged up.

    • Actually, as soon as El Paso Saddlery sends me thier next e-mail discount, I am going to order an 1895 Hardin double shoulder holster for my 629 6.5″ on one side and my GP100 6″ on the other. I can wear it in the winter, sometimes.

      • You sir, shall henceforth be known as ‘the Man’.

        If open carry was something that practically everyone did I’d probably carry my big shiny stainless 6″ GP 100. Either shoulder hol ster or maybe a drop leg ho lster.

  31. Nothing wrong with carrying an expensive gun.

    It’s something you buy to suit yourself, not others.

    Pride of ownership, something unique, configuration not standard – the reasons are endless.

    But – to put something “custom made” in a”top three list” – is more than a little elitist.

    And – at the end of the day – you’re custom WIlson is …..a 1911. So it’s a high-zoot version of a standard pistol.

    If he only way you would carry a 1911 is if it were a $2500 custom – then the 1911 is probably not one of the top three carry pistols.

    If you would carry a standard production 1911 but you list YOUR 1911 by the custom Smith who made it – you’re probably just bragging.

  32. I had a custom pistol shop 21 years ago we produced some fine weapons. A thread like this re-enforces my policy of NEVER recommending any type or brand of firearm to anyone ever again. While in business, we were often put in the position of having to tell a customer that his weapon was a piece of crap, and that we would not assume the liability of working on it. Their response was ALWAYS the same. “But I got a good deal on it”.

  33. As I’ve said before, guns are 99% personal opinion. Carry what you like best and get good with it. However, is a Rolls-Royce better than a Camry ? Yes, if your wallet and tastes run to hidden umbrellas whose shafts are made of the same burled walnut as the interior trim. Good for you.
    But, in the REAL world, $1,500 buys me a $500, reliable gun and Ayoob’s MAG 40 course or other excellent training. That’s just one of a gazillion advantages over a $3,500 “barbecue gun”. Lots of ammo+range time, for instance ? Adding an efficient long gun to your battery? Equipping the wife and daughter with a $500 gun of their own, plus training?
    You get the idea.

  34. What makes a carry gun a carry gun? And what darn difference does it make how much it costs? I have carried 1K+ guns and right now I carry a $300 Canik TP9V2. I bought the Canik BECAUSE it was inexpensive and well reviewed. I CHOOSE to carry it because I find the trigger and reset the best of all striker fired guns I have ever shot. Cost is certainly not high on my priority list to decide if this is a carry gun or not. Performance in my hands is what I want. How many rounds, what caliber, recoil, trigger, reliability. These are real concerns to me. I’m thinking of switching to the M&P 40 M2.0 when it is available in compact. This will represent double the purchase price. I will probably change the trigger and add a red dot. Now it’s up over 1K, but the cost is not a primary consideration. You?

  35. Yeah, I’d have to be in agreement of just about everybody else here. Its just not neccesary. Its a want more than a need. I WANT to be rich enough to carry those Cabot meteorite 1911’s on each hip. In the absence of that, I only NEED something that will keep me safe if/when shtf.

  36. Meh…I ‘ll be carrying my cheap 100% reliable Taurus. If I want to show off I’ll have my still gorgeous wife on my arm. I’m in the “guns are tools” and not a fetish item…

  37. Once you get above $1000 your talking a custom work or Race gun pistol in general. While they can be used daily, They are generally happier on a range than in a sweaty holster getting knocked around. Quality has a price But, my $300 Kel Tec PF9 is far more handy to carry than that $1500 boat anchor Nighthawk is daily.

  38. No. I stand with Vickers and Hackathorn. I could add more, but I’ll leave it with their words.

    “The 1911 is an enthusiast’s pistol. In order to keep that gun running you have to, it’s not optional, you have to become your own armorer to a degree. You have to be able to diagnose and fix minor problems on an end user level. If you’re not willing to sign up for that, frankly you have no business running a 1911 for anything other than occasional recreational shooting. If you’re going to put yourself in harm’s way with that gun and you’re not willing to sign up for that, then you need to avoid it.”

      • well if I carry both of my xd’s and every mag I have for the pair I’d be about $1400 in guns in the $800 ride, that a little better? lol

  39. Life is too short to carry a cheap gun.
    That being said, I carry a Glock most of the time.
    Guns are like calibers or ammo, carry the best you can comfortably carry and shoot.
    I would rather everybody carry then worry about how much their gun cost.

  40. Honestly, I’d probably top out at 1500ish unless I was independently wealthy. Perhaps I’d consider it then, but then again probably not. The reason I say that is I’d give consideration to carrying one of the Scandium Frame S&W revolver like a 386 or 327 for some crazy reason. There would have to be a good technical reason (I’m not inclined to buy the “my $500 gun can do everything your $3K gun does” until I take the pepsi challenge.)

  41. I’ve said this before. I’m not knocking expensive guns but I fail to see the point in buying one for every day carry. My personal EDC pistol is right around the $1000 price point and I don’t see the value in spending a lot more than that.

    I’m not opposed to pouring money into a gun and I’ve done just that in the past. There’s nothing wrong with doing that. However, the question is “What am I buying?”. Thousands for a precision item? Sure, no problem. Thousands for a gun that I’m going to carry that A) doesn’t need to be ultra precise and B) I might lose to the cops? You do what you want but I’m not going to roll that way.

    Look, if it’s what shoots the best for you then roll with it I guess, but in terms of an EDC pistol I personally think of this in terms of “diminishing returns”. What does that extra $3500 buy me other than bragging rights, when it comes to a DGU? Not a whole hell of a lot. $2500 isn’t worth, IMHO, a shot group that’s 1″ tighter in a DGU situation. Plus, let’s be honest, you’re not going to be shooting that well in a DGU anyway, it’s a damn DGU not a paper punching contest and even if you did max out the accuracy of the pistol during that DGU you’d likely never know it and, even if you did know it, you wouldn’t give a shit.

    It’s my opinion that a $3800 handgun is one you take care of, shoot with reverence and pass down in your family, you know, to people who might not be as blessed in this life as you are to be able to afford such things. I don’t think you should beat the hell out of it EDCing it because that’s what I consider to be a misallocation of resources.

    I’ll put it this way: I was at the BPS fine gun room a while back and they had an over-under 20 guage shotgun that was $180K. Beautiful gun with massive amounts of gold inlay and very fine scroll work. Truly a work of art. Show me the person that buys that as an actual field gun or “truck gun”. OK, that might be extreme, how about a somewhat similar gun for $50K? How about $30K? Would you “truck gun” a $30K shotgun or take it birding with you?

    • All you experts correct me, but I will bet that most such guns, $50K and up, are normally actually used by the people whom they are *given* to.

    • And regardless of the family history behind that pricey gun, whatever memories grandpa racked up with it, it wound up being put up for sale.

      Likely by the heartless bastard that inherited it.

  42. My mentor is a sheriff and he told me to go to the gun show, and hold as many different brands as possible. Find the gun that fits your hand the best. I tried a large number of guns and ended up purchasing a H&K USP 45C. Through the years I also purchased Sig, Other H&K’s, and my wife uses a M&P 9. We own a S&W 1911 with all the bells and whistles because she wanted one. We buy what we want and practice no less that 2X per week to perfect our aim.
    I also own a BMW M5 because I can. Comments about anatomy and personality without knowing the person is ludicrous and low class. Show some respect guys/gals.

    • Speaking of ludicrous, my 135 convertible is now Stage 2, which really is ludicrous. If you haven’t looked, if your M5 is recent, with the 560 hp engine, a mere $3500 or so will upgrade it to Stage 2, equating to 675 hp. Without affecting the warranty. OOoo! I can vouch that the numbers (at least for the 3 liter) are very believable. Despite their claims, it does reduce the gas mileage a bit.

        • Vicious. I got a ride in the V10, with a pro driver, at the driving school when I picked mine up in 2011, too much fun to be legal. And that was just as a passenger, on a closed track! Shame on you.

  43. This audience is touchy about their firearms; more touchy about their finances. I would love to handle/fire one of the “Top 3” firearms Foghorn selected. Those firearms don’t make me feel inferior about my dearly beloved $350 CZ P-07 Duty, neither does the choice to label those ultra fancy firearms as “The best!” elicit anger from me. They’re beautiful and well-made. They do what they were crafted to do. I don’t expect everyone to carry a CZ, just like those who buy a Korth don’t expect everyone to carry a Korth. Freedom to choose what we prefer is a wonderful thing. I saved up my nickels and pennies and bought a Tavor. I love that gun dearly. Could a $500 AR-15 have done the same work a Tavor does? Yes. Did I choose something much more expensive due to personal preference? Yes.

  44. For everyone that talks about how you won’t need great accuracy for a Defensive Gun Use, please let me know when your DGU will occur and under what circumstances. If I’m nearby I’ll come by and help you out.

    • I don’t know how much accuracy I will “need.”
      What I do know is that almost all firearms sold today (except a scoped rifle on a bench rest) are capable of delivering projectiles with a consistency that far exceeds any normal human ability to aim them consistently. In other words, a more accurate pistol will be as helpful in a DGU as Tiger Woods’ golf clubs to the average duffer.

      Now, for various ergonomic reasons, there are some pistols that I can shoot more accurately than others. But the ones I can shoot more accurately may not be the most expensive ones.

      • “What I do know is that almost all firearms sold today (except a scoped rifle on a bench rest) are capable of delivering projectiles with a consistency that far exceeds any normal human ability to aim them consistently. ”

        I’m not sure what you mean here. But I’ve proven over and over again on this web site that I can shoot a high quality firearm off of a bag (human aimed) with a smaller group than a poorer quality firearm from a ranson rest. And there is a pretty wide margin in quality. Last week I shot a 1911 that would shoot 1.5″ 5 round groups at 25 yards. This week I shot one that shot 3.5″ 5 round groups at the same distance. It wasn’t the Indian, it was the arrow.

        But really, none of that was my point, and your point about the ergonomics and your own shooting is the most valid one.

        • I would simply ask this: In your opinion is there a serious difference between 1.5″ and 3.5″ at 25 yards in terms of reliably hitting a human sized target center mass?

          I simply don’t see the reason to be worried about that much of a difference in a DGU, especially at that range. The likelihood that you’ll have a DGU at 75 feet with a pistol, one in which you can articulate a valid legal reason for having shot the person, is vanishingly small.

          • “I would simply ask this: In your opinion is there a serious difference between 1.5″ and 3.5″ at 25 yards in terms of reliably hitting a human sized target center mass? ”

            Now we’re getting to it. Is a “threat” seventy five feet away really a “threat”? If you an hit a person sized target, center mass, at seventy five feet, how well would you do with a bad guy giving you only half a person sized target, moving? Haven’t tried tricky targets at the gun store, but I do recognize that paper targets, face-on, displaying a single 3″ diameter hole after 100rds is not indicative of my ability, nor the gun, in a shooting situation. However, it seems a defender is more likely to face a full sized target at 30 feet, than 75 feet.

        • strych9, yes, absolutely yes. The difference between 1.5 inches versus 3.5 inches on a bench probably quadruples under actual stress. The reason I say that is because the best Shooters in the world that I have trained with,Delta Shooters, seals, some of the best instructors all say that their group size at least doubles under stress. For most people it’s much more than that. It certainly has been for me. That error, right there is enough to miss a Target at 25 yards. The what about closer?
          The target size is not a 19 inch wide silhouette standing flat in front of you at 5 yards. It’s that same silhouette moving in any direction it chooses at any angle it chooses turning twisting changing its height and distracting you. That’s why accuracy is so valuable in the real world, especially follow-up shots that are accurate. It’s not a static Target in the actual vital area of the Target that you need to hit when it is available may be extremely small.

          • “The difference between 1.5 inches versus 3.5 inches on a bench probably quadruples under actual stress.”

            No it doesn’t. That’s not how it works. That would assume stacking of direction of miss on every single shot. In other words, the guns inherent accuracy throws a shot high right at the same time stress causes a high right miss. Followed by the guns accuracy throwing one low left at the same time you pull one low left. And on and on infinity. This will never happen. Randomness in accuracy coupled with randomness in stress shooting is not a linear multiplier. There’s a good chance that I could pull a shot 3.5″ right and the inaccuracy of the gun shoot 3.5″ left thereby hitting exactly the point of aim.

        • Okay, JWT, I agree with you. But now that brings this: Just about any off the shelf S&W or Ruger medium frame .357 will shoot the pants(non gender specific) off most anything semi auto under $2k and many above that. And to be honest, If I was ever limited to one handgun, in a SHTF situation, I wouldn’t even think about a semi auto.

        • Spoken like a true revolver guy. A revolver guy who mastered the trigger and recoil may be more accurate. This week at the range I handed my 10mm to a 71 yeAR old woman who shoots revolvers.she was better with a 1911 in .357 level caliber on a pistol she had never shot before.

        • I’d expect ergonomics (highly personal and subjective matter) to be key part in accuracy under stress, with mechanical capability of firearm falling behind. Shooting 2 MOA crown-deficient rifle VS 0.25 MOA TacOps standing, off-hand, without sling, after full-speed uphill run is unlikely to produce 8x difference in group size 🙂

        • “is there a serious difference between 1.5″ and 3.5″ at 25 yards”

          And the answer IS….. absolutely YES, if the guy shooting at you is at 100 yards instead of 25. Even more if he is at 150 yards, and has a rifle. Remember, just last year, an Austin Police Dept officer was called on to shoot a nutbar in downtown Austin who was shooting up the place. He killed the sucker with a single shot, from his service pistol, at 103 yards, while holding the reins of two horses in his off hand. Do you think his gun shot 3.5 inches at 25 yards, meaning 14 inches at 100 yards? Accuracy is not a joke, even if not usually necessary.

          • If the person shooting at you is at 150yrd (450′), a handgun isn’t going to do much good, no matter how accurate the firearm. Almost nobody can make that kind of handgun shot under stress of being shot at. No matter how accurate on a bag or rest, few people can make that shot offhand or even two handed. The vast majority of gun owners may not even be able to discern a sniper (or standing shooter) at that distance. The likelihood that you will ever encounter a threat at such distance is so remote as to not even be calculable. Could such a situation develop? Yes. Is there a statistical probability that someone, somewhere could make that shot? Yes. But a shooter at 450′ is better to be evaded than engaged.

      • To clarify, “human aimed” in this context applies to whatever can be used in a DGU. So if you need bags or ransom rests to determine which pistol is more accurate than the other, then they are both equally accurate for all practical purposes in a defensive scenario.

        • “… they are both equally accurate for all practical purposes in a defensive scenario.”

          Unless one is planning to shoot a bad guy clear across the WalMart parking lot, using the hood of a car for support?

        • If you are doing a review shooting a gun off a rest will tell you the intrinsic accuracy of that specific gun. On the other hand if the objective is to see how accurate a gun is in your hands for the purpose of self defense you shoot the gun the way you would shoot it in a DGU. Those are two different concepts. You may be less accurate with the intrinsically more accurate gun for a number of reasons. Practical accuracy includes the shooter. Case in point, most people cannot shoot a revolver as well as an automatic because they don’t put enough time into it.

    • What’s the difference in the MOA of a Wilson Combat and a stock Glock 19?
      Even if it is a whole point, that transfers to 0.1″ at ten yards. Instead of a dime sized hole after ten shots, you’ll have a nickel size hole.
      Whoooooooooo cares?

    • “For everyone that talks about how you won’t need great accuracy for a Defensive Gun Use, please let me know when your DGU will occur and under what circumstances.”

      When – About 1 to 2 min after her husband comes home early. 😮

      Circumstances – Kinda obvious. *cough*.

      “If I’m nearby I’ll come by and help you out.”

      Unless you’re Superman or you have secretly invented teleportation, I seriously doubt you could get here *that* fast… 🙂

      (Yeah, yeah, I know, winning stupid prizes for playing stupid games, etc…)

  45. If you want to go high dollar on your EDC, then that’s your business, but let’s remain intellectually honest here and not pretend that the top of the line necessarily is the best product, or that the technical difference makes a practical difference. After all, a $20,000 mechanical watch like a Rolex may gain or lose about five seconds any given day. A $20 quartz watch like a Casio may gain/lose one second per day. Either way, so what?

    More importantly, don’t deceive yourself into thinking that the quality of the gun is the primary factor separating survival from failure. It isn’t. For any given shooter, any given gun is probably far better than you are. Work first on what needs work most. That means your presentation, your shot placement, and your familiarity with the less common, like shooting with one hand or your weak hand, deserve priority attention over a fancy pants gun.

    So go ahead with your expensive gun for esoteric, emotional, or jewelry-value advantages. No class warfare here. Just know that dollar for dollar, your money is better spent on ammunition, training, and range time.

    • “For any given shooter, any given gun is probably far better than you are. ”
      That is certainly not my experience. It has absolutely nothing to do with cost, just to put that up front. But I’ve seen pretty massive differences in how people shoot depending on the firearm they use. It seems the more experienced someone else, the less difference that makes. I’ve had new shooters choose my G19 over my Wilson Combat 9mm 1911, because they shot the G19 better. And I’ve had the opposite happen as well.

    • Unless you cannot find, or spare, the time for proper practice, or are deteriorating in some way too fast for training to make the difference. Then, if you can buy an edge, it seems like a pretty good idea.

  46. The story of two dudes.

    Dude #1 buys a $2,000 pistol.

    Dude #2 buys a $400 pistol, then spends
    $800 on training and
    $800 on practice ammo that he practices and trains with.

    Which dude do you want at your side when things go bad?

    • This is a stupid strawman with a false dichotomy. The guy buying a $2k gun can probably also spend $2k on training and $2k on ammo. Now who do you want by your side?

      • Danny,
        The above hypothetical scenario assumes only that none of us have unlimited means. We will make decisions, one way or another, on what portion of our income to dedicated to personal defense.

        The dude who drops $2K on his fancy gun may or may not dedicate an equal amount to training. My point was, I would rather rely on the guy who understands the need for training and practice, and who makes the sacrifices required to get that, even if it means buying a less expensive gun.

        • Again, strawman. Why are you assuming that someone who can afford a $2k gun is too stupid to realize the benefits of training and a sufficient amount of practice ammo?

        • Danny,
          You’re reading entirely too much into my posts, all in response to a fairly ridiculous question that was little more then a click bait title. The purpose of a hypothetical scenario is to give people something to think about. That’s all.

  47. Maybe somebody said this already, but in the introductory classes I teach (about 24 people, twice a month), I can see a very clear difference between the people who practice shooting whatever piece of crap gun they have, could afford, or could borrow, and the people with the custom-stippled Glock 19 with RMR, TLR-2, and Punisher vanity plate who don’t practice because they can’t afford ammo.

    I’m all for a cool tricked out gun, but every other class or so I am compelled to pick up a rusty Detective Special, or a Hi-Point, or whatever Ring-of-fire POS someone dug up god knows where to show at 7 yards they all work the same, and with extremely rare exceptions for negligent maintenance histories, nobody can either blame nor credit their gun for their performance.

    To the original point, I would agree that there needs to be some framing for the intended audience. If you want gun porn for gun nuts who are all about one-hole-groups, then yes, show me that $3k beauty. But if you want to educate people who are legitimately worried that they are going to buy a POS in their ignorance of guns and fear of becoming a victim, I’d rather see the field limited to common production guns and a suggestion to buy the gun that WORKS and spend the rest of the money on training, practice, and ammo.

    Just figure out your audience and frame it appropriately, that’s all.

  48. When I carry it’s because I think I may have to kill someone to save my life or that of a member of my family. There are only two questions I ask myself:

    1. Is it the appropriate gun for the situation (on the ranch it’s an old well worn BM-59 in the truck, not a handgun).
    2. Is it the gun I am familiar and comfortable with if I have to use it.

    I don’t care what it cost if it meets those two criteria.

  49. The cost complaint kinda makes sense if TTAG is the Consumer Reports of firearms.

    I’ve seen this before at other guns reviewing places. “Oh, people complained that our last 5 best was too expensive. So, now we are doing the same review over again for affordable guns.” Is that so hard? Just put “Cost No Object” in the title of the original.

    I loved reading all the comments. There are great reasons on both sides of the issue. If you are buying a gun that has sold a bazillion units then you can find gunsmiths that will repair it, parts and mod parts are available etc. On the other hand, some of the affordable pistols I have shot are not really that accurate IMHO.

    My XD drifts about 5″ left @25yds when shooting 20 rounds from a benchrest. No wonder I couldn’t better my target scores; am I shooting a cold gun or a hot one? I know that the issue at hand is EDC, but can you really practice well with your EDC when it shoots differently when hot? BTW, do you TTAG reviewers really get your guns “off-the-shelf” or are they factory delivered “specials?”

    So I want to replace my XD with either a Hi-Power or a CZ-75B. But the Hi-Power is almost double the price and even then has warts. So, I can spend $3K to buy a mod’ed Hi-Power, wart free. Even though $3K isn’t a big deal for me, I could also buy a really nice aluminum framed road bicycle for that kind of money. And the bike would have more value to me. So, even though it took a year to find one in stock, I am now in my 10 day waiting period on a CZ-75B.

    • my xd’s seem pretty consistent hot or cold, maybe because I run handloads? not sure if factory ammo is really that inconsistent to cause 5″ of travel or not. really not being rude, just sounds strange.

  50. What a great article. Simple, to the point, and we’ll written.

    I’m inclined to agree. My every day carry is a very beautiful, and rather pricey Dan Wesson CCO. Do I want to lose my Dan if I get into a defense situation? Not particularly…but do I want the best sidearm that I have, that I’m extremely comfortable and effective with me? Absolutely. Who wouldnt.

  51. While there is certainly an aspect of diminishing returns. I’d be a liar if I said I wouldn’t buy and carry a Wilson if I had the money, I probably would.

  52. Skimmed a lot of the replies but….

    I don’t carry expensive stuff because the age old recommendation is…

    Carry a gun you can live without because after a DGU you may never get it back.

    Also, while carrying and you get stopped by the wrong person, it may be seized and never returned. I don’t want my great grandfathers 1911 or a Cabot 1911 going into some cops gun collection.

  53. I bought a super slick ACCU-Shadow for CZ customs and immediately hated it and sold it (Thankfully without losing anything)

    I couldn’t bring myself to ever shoot such a beautiful gun, for fear of damaging it or destroying it or losing it or any other way of anything because I spent so much money in it.

    On the flipside I ride my Benelli M4 harder than a 35 year old hog from Alabama. I really have no clue what the psychological thing is behind it, but I stick to yhe olde $600 CZ’s for most my carry needs. And occasionally a $400 SP101 if I need to slim down a bit.

  54. This got a lot of people triggered lol

    If I wasnt so cheap id buy a high end custom 1911 too. That being said though im not going to sit here and try to argue that a guy with a glock 19 hasnt out gunned my 3 pound 8 shot pistol chambered in .45 AARP.

    As a side note, is your gun getting confiscated really that much of a serious concern? I havent ever heard of someones gun being confiscated after a legitimate self defense situation. Wouldnt you just be able to get it back a few days later anyway?

  55. I carry a clone of a CZ75 Compact that cost me $360 There is nothing wrong with this pistol, it works perfectly every time I press the trigger. The rounds go where I want them. What more can I ask of it? Definitely not necessary to spend $1K or more. Even if I decided to have a trigger job done, and add night sights, the price would still be well below the $1k mark. Sure, you tend to get better quality with more money. You don’t always have to spend more money to get good quality. Research helps cut costs.

  56. Averages can be, and often are, total bullshit. If there are 4 cars and 3 of them cost 20,000 and 1 cost 75,000 then the average cost of those cars is just over 33,000. The fact is though that 3 of those 4 cars cost 20,000 and none of them cost even close to 33,000.

    • Let’s say you have a Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon on one arm and a Casio G-Shock on the other.

      You’re about to go into combat in a harsh and wet environment and you can only take one watch with you. Reliable timekeeping is mission-critical. If the watch you choose to take suddenly stops working, you’re likely going to die.

      Which watch do you consider the superior option?

  57. its simple:

    your carry gun shouldnt cost as much or more than your ar-15

    all my ar-15s i built for $800-$1000 with optic

    all my carry guns are in the $400-$500 range

    save the $s you would spend on a high $ 1911 and spend it on training or ammo or ankle gun or something USEFUL like that

    the chances you actually shoot somebody with that pretty $1500 1911 are astronomically low anyway

    even if you do and its a legit shooting youre likely to lose it for a period of time and it could be mishandled scratched or otherwise damaged or even lost by law enforcement

    anything more than $500 on a carry gun is an ego fueled waste of $

    but hey to each his own i guess

  58. Complaining about fillers is bad form. Shame, people, shame!

    Besides, RF is actually right. Not only those guns in rating are probably of higher quality, but it is his rating to make. If guy or gal actually knows guns enough to understand price/quality ratio of 500$ and 1500$ handguns, he or she does not need ratings. Hell, if I buy SPS to build a rifle rig, I’d feel like a spendthrift, and still appreciate guns in TRG’s price bracket.

    P.S. Link in the post leads to some paywall in USA today. Hell of a way to make your point *slow clap*.

  59. If you really enjoy checking your extractor’s power, relying on a 1911 (internal extractor) is just fine. Otherwise there are in fact more reliable items. Self-defense simply doesn’t require fine accuracy. It absolutely requires ultra-reliability. It takes place up close and is over fast.

    In all honesty, I’ve noticed RF has slid down the ladder from driving a Ferrari to a Benz. Yep, he’s all but announced he’s had to downsize, give up the true custom sports car for a mass-produced cigar smoker’s escort transporter.

    If we click on enough posts, maybe the Ferrari will make a comeback?

  60. RF, until you put aside the Benz and move back up to a Ferrari, I can’t take all this status signalling fancy gun talk seriously. But I’m clicking now and then hoping it’ll speed your return to a car worthy of your aspirations.

  61. If you shoot a sidearm well, can afford to replace it, and can source a replacement, then by all means carry it.

  62. I agree with the premise that if you can afford it, carry it. But, to name a high dollar firearm in a “top 3” carry list, it must do something amazing that a less expensive gun cannot. What do I carry most of the time? A Ruger LCR, a Ruger LCP, an old S&W Bodyguard (not the new polymer one), and when clothes allow, a Sig P220. The Sig is the most expensive at just under a grand. That is pretty much my breaking point for a pistol, $1000. More than that and I wonder if I am really just buying a collector. I don’t buy collectors. I shoot everything I own.

  63. I always tell my friends not to depend on a $400 gun to protect a million dollar woman. That is why I carry a HK?

  64. Foghorns 3 choices are: Ruger LCR, Wilson Combat Bill Wilson Carry and GLOCK 43. A compact revolver, a 1911, and a compact semi-auto. If I didn’t know better, I’d say he was trying to appeal to all gun owners. So for all of you that are deeply offended by how he chooses to spend his money, pick one of the other two. Or search ‘concealed carry’ and look at the other articles on TTAG about the ‘best’ carry gun and notice that nearly all of the guns are sub $1000 and there is a number of sub $500 or less expensive guns as well.

    The best gun for carry is: one you can afford (but that’s up to the individual), that you’ll actually have on you, that goes bang every time, and that you can shoot minute of bad guy with. If its a gun you like shooting so much the bettter, but any of his three choices are indisputably good ones. Me, I’d take my Sig 320 but I live in Canada so its only a range toy… and sub 4.25″ barrels are prohibited so I can’t get a carry kit. Even more than daily carry, I’d like to be able to carry a 10 mm pistol while hiking and hunting. Enjoy your freedom, folks!

    Back to the topic at hand, IMO its a poor ‘top x’ list that doesn’t have at least one item to drool over, think Shelby Cobra vs. Camry for best daily driver… Nice to think about at least 🙂

    BTW, RF, when you post a follow-up to a previous post, can you cross-link for our convenience?

    • In both cases, you get what you pay for, but you aren’t always paying towards the items primary purpose.
      A $180 HJC and a $600 Shoei are both SNELL certified. The additional $420 doesn’t make the Shoei any SNELL-ier, but it does buy a helmet that is lighter, quieter, better ventilated, better decorated, and probably electronics capable. Buying the latter results in an objectively nicer riding experience, but not necessarily* a safer one.

  65. If you truly believe a Camry is the same as a BMW because they both get you from A to B, why not drive a Yugo? Or better yet, use public transportation. Those of us who don’t consider cars just a way to get from A to B will thank you for getting off the roads.

    As to the question of is an expensive gun better to carry than an inexpensive one, yes it is. I look at it this way; inexpensive guns probably will meet your criteria. But the more you pay, the more likely the individual example of a gun you get will meet that criteria, until you get to the point of diminishing returns. Some may argue a Wilson at $3000 exceeds that point. But the Wilson in question is most likely the best of the breed of the Commander sized, aluminum framed carry 1911 options (until their double stack 9mm hits the streets).

    • Law of diminishing returns. Up to a point, spending more money on a car or a gun gets you a better product commensurate with the added cost. The Camry hits the middle of the bell curve, as does a Glock.

      At some point you’re just spending money for prestige touches or the name on the badge.

  66. I have an indeterminate number of Swiss SIG P210 pistols and Manurhin and Korth revolvers. I usually carry a SIG P210, if not an MR73. I would carry a W+F P06/29 Luger, if .30 Luger ammo were available in defensive loadings. It’s a matter of choosing the gun with the quickest and greatest hit probability in my hand, out of the leather.

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