Updated: Oct 8, 2019
1. The SAR USA B6 9MM
This pushes the budget a little and barely makes the list for $250. This Turkish 9MM takes a lot of features from the iconic CZ 75 design. The slide rides inside the rails, and it has a high bore axis grip. It has a 13 round capacity and an overall length of 7.4”. The overall height is 5.2”, width is 1.1", and overall weight is 25.2 oz. It is simply a great firearm. The ergonomics and controls are exceptional. The trigger leaves a little to be desired as it is a bit gritty. However, if you are looking at $250 dollar firearms, the trigger is probably not a huge concern for you. Maybe it is personal preference, or my overall appreciation for the CZ 75, but I have found this to be a truly amazing firearm at an extremely reasonable price.
2. The Ruger Security 9
One could argue that the Ruger Security 9 should probably be atop this list. While you can certainly find the SAR USA for $250, it is dangerously close to being over budget . The Ruger Security 9, on the other hand, can easily be found for much less than $250 at almost any retailer. This duty sized, double action, polymer framed, blue alloyed steel handgun is primed out of the box for action. It has an overall length of 7.24”, height of 5”, width is just over 1”, and the weight is roughly 24 ounces. The grip and overall ergonomics of this firearm are exceptional. The grip angle is identical to that of a Glock, but it doesn’t feel the same. So, if you are one of those people that doesn’t like the Glock grip angle, fear not. Give the Security a chance before you write it off. The trigger, while not amazing, is most certainly one of the better triggers you will find in a budget, sub $300, firearm. As I said, this could have easily been number 1 on this list.
3. The Taurus G2C
There are a lot of Taurus haters out there, and rightfully so. In the past, Taurus has made some rather questionable decisions. In my opinion, the G2C, was a step in the right direction and is most certainly the best firearm they have produced in some time. This 9MM boasts a lightweight and compact polymer frame with a 12+1 capacity. The G2C is 6.25” in overall length, height is 5”, width is 1.25” and the weight is roughly 21 ounces. The grip, ergonomics, and controls make this and extremely comfortable firearm to shoot. The recoil is manageable for a compact firearm, it is not as snappy as you would expect it to be. The trigger pull is decent, and I feel like the double striker sear is an overlooked feature in this firearm. If you have a light primer strike the double action sear allows you to strike the primer again without tapping and racking the firearm. Don’t sleep on the Taurus G2C, I have yet to meet someone at with it at the range that did not like it.
4. The Bersa BP9
The BP9 is a tremendous, budget, concealed carry option that can easily be found for less than $250. The BP9 is a polymer framed handgun that boasts an 8+1 capacity. It is 6.35” in overall length, a height of 4.8”, just under 1” in width, and weighs in at roughly 20.9 ounces. The grip, controls, and overall ergonomics of this firearm is exceptional. It is extremely comfortable to shoot, even for a compact firearm, and it has a clean trigger pull. There is very little take up and a short reset. In my opinion, the BP9 is the right firearm at the right price. The compact frame makes it a little snappy, but otherwise it is a great firearm.
5. The Ruger EC9
The Ruger EC9 is a highly concealable sub-compact firearm. This polymer framed pistol boasts a 7+1 capacity. It has an overall length of 6”, width of 0.9”, height of 4.5”, and weight of roughly 17.5 ounces. It is comfortable firearm that provides a pleasant overall shooting experience. The trigger is more than adequate and the recoil is manageable. The snap and muzzle flip was far less than anticipated. It is a great concealed carry option on a tight budget. You can easily find one for $200 or less.
I wanted to, very much so, include the 1st Gen Smith and Wesson Shield on this list. However, I could not easily find enough examples that were sub $250. While I did find some on sale for 249.99 I just didn’t feel like I could justify that as an average cost. For this reason, I wanted to give it honorable mention. The Smith and Wesson Shield is a great firearm, the 2nd generation has a much improved trigger, but I would still put the 1st generation against any firearm on this list.