The Best Self-Defense Handguns for Under $300

Posted by William Kirk, Partner | Dec 03, 2018 | 1 Comment

Here is our list of the most Popular Concealed Carry Pistols under $300. For some mythical reason, the number 300 seems to be the line most drawn by customers seeking to purchase a new firearm. While  there are many pistols and revolvers out there within this price point, or just over it, but for all practical purposes this list just covers the top 6 most popular concealed carry pistols choices available in semi-automatic. 

The Ruger LCP 380  

Starting with what is one of the most Popular Concealed Carry Pistols, is the Ruger LCP 380. This particular semi-automatic pistol is generally just on the cusp of the $300 mark, but worth every penny. Right away with this pistol you get Ruger's outstanding name in reliability, and should anything by chance go wrong, their lifetime warranty as well.  Its extreme sub-compact size makes it very suitable for concealment and carries purposes, whether in your pocket or purse. It's also very popular with the ladies, being a reputable name brand firearm that also comes in variety of finishes such as pink. Also, do realize that the .380 ACP packs plenty of stopping power when it comes to self-defense purposes. 

Smith and Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380

Backed by their famous lifetime warranty and outstanding R&D for the most avid shooters, the Smith and Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380 is no exception. M&P Stands for “Military and Police,” so you can see where they like to acquire the information needed to make some of the best firearms available on the market. One feature that most people like is that the M&P Bodyguard comes standard with a thumb safety, the Ruger and most others in this category will not.

Editor's Note: Don't be discouraged if the firearm you like doesn't have a safety. Being that firearms in this price point are also generally designed for carry and concealment purposes for self-defense, they are designed accordingly. Not having to disengage a safety is a step you don't have to take should you find yourself in a life-threatening self-defense situation.

The M&P Bodyguard fits very nicely in your hand as well despite its small size. It does have a very long trigger pull, however, the only drawback that I wish Smith and Wesson would remedy. One great feature that the M&P Bodyguard offers is that it also available with a Crimson Trace that is seamlessly built right into the frame. Keep in mind that this option does cross of that $300 mark. 

Kel-Tec P-3AT 380

The Kel-Tec P3AT 380, another great choice among the most Popular Concealed Carry Pistols under $300. Kel-Tec has been making quite a reputable name for itself with some of its popular line-ups.  At first glance it is very similar in size and shape as the Ruger LCP, but it still has its own unique characteristics, and it costs a lot less too. It is a very practical and easy to use, point and shoot pistol. It's also the lightest out of all the pistols in this review and most people with limiting strength in their hands appreciate how easy it is to pull the slide back. 

Bersa Thunder 380

Bersa i snot a well known brand, but they produce quality handguns. The Bersa Thunder 380 in-fact is my personal favorite. It is the largest in size and weighs the most (18 oz.) with its alloy frame and steel slide compared to all the other lightweight polymer pistols in this review. But this also gives it the characteristic of lowest felt-recoil when shooting. A great feature when you are trying to put multiple rounds on target. It is actually quite amazing the quality of firearm you get when sticking within this price point and I highly recommend checking one out and consider it when making your selection. 

Taurus 738 TCP 380

Probably the second most popular gun on this list is the Taurus 738 TCP 380. Moderately lightweight with its polymer frame and steel slide, it is second heaviest in this review at 10.2 oz. This excess weight and unique contoured grip minimizes the felt recoil compared to that of the other models as well. Available in all black or 2-tone stainless, as well as pink.

SCCY CPX-3 380

The newest model within the Popular Concealed Carry Pistols - and growing with popularity - is the SCCY CPX-3 380. Designed and built in Daytona Beach, Florida it is another fine choice of American craftsmanship. The makers at SCCY Industries have made one point very apparent when marketing their firearms – they make them available in practically ANY color combination.

Last Notes

Keep in mind; there are a lot more choices to choose from when selecting a concealed carry pistol - under the $300 price point, such as other brands and even good quality revolvers.  Since everyone is different and no two shooters are the same, it is important to feel the firearm in your hand, and even try before you buy if possible. Many local gun ranges have options where you can rent a firearm and try it out at their range to see if it something you like. Find out what works best for you.

About the Author

William Kirk, Partner

Bill Kirk has been named a Super Lawyer by Washington Law and Politics Magazine every year since 2003. He currently serves on the Board of Regents to the National College for DUI Defense and is the President of the Washington Foundation for Criminal Justice. Bill is one of only two attorneys in this state to pass the National College's Board Certification Exam.


Zachary Tomlinson Reply

Posted Feb 15, 2021 at 21:26:35

I like your suggestion of purchasing a gun that has the lowest recoil so that you won’t feel it at all while shooting. I have a friend who’s interested in purchasing a handgun so he could defend himself from threats. I’ll keep this in mind and recommend that he visit a gun shop that offers these as options.

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