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Top Five Handguns for Women under $500

Well, the question was posed to me of what I think are the top five handguns for women, to which I asked myself, “handguns for what purpose?” Simple target shooting? Competition shooting? Bear hunting in Alaska?

So I decided that what I will cover is what I feel are the top five self defense handguns for women on a budget. Now, there will, as always, be the detractor that states that “if it isn’t a Glock blah blah blah,” or, “if it isn’t a Colt, or Smith &Wesson, or Kimber…” but none of those are budget priced handguns. In fact, many are priced out of range for most people, especially in today’s economy.

Smith & Wesson Bodyguard

There is one Smith &Wesson, however that comes to mind that is fairly economically priced, although I tend to stay away from polymer guns altogether. A friend of mine recently purchased a Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 38.

It’s a nice and small little .38 special revolver with a laser mounted just to the side of the rear sight with the on/off switch conveniently positioned to be operated by the thumb.

It’s a 5 shot double action only, +P rated revolver constructed entirely of polymer, except for the barrel, which is a steel barrel insert encased in polymer, and a steel cylinder.

I’m sure internal parts must be steel, like the hammer and the springs, but I think even the trigger is polymer, although I’m not certain of this. He picked it up new from a dealer for $375. It’s accurate and reliable and for a DAO gun, the trigger pull was easy enough for small hands.

Taurus PT840 Compact

My cousin last week posed to me the question if what he should get for his 19 year old daughter for her first pistol for self defense. I asked him his budget and then I recommended a Taurus, model PT840 C.

This is a polymer framed double action .40 caliber pistol that came with 1-12 round and 1-15 round extended magazine and a nice carry case. The gun was very accurate right out of the box and easy for her to handle, and she is a tiny little girl. It is compact enough for a smaller statured person to carry and packs a good punch with the .40 cal defensive rounds. If memory serves, he said the gun and a box of range loads were $446 and change out the door from our favorite local haunt (named below).

Bersa Ultra Compact Pro in 9mm

A favorite of mine, and the gun I regularly carry, is a Bersa Ultra Compact Pro in 9mm. This is an aluminum framed double action pistol that comes with 2-12 round mags. It is also offered in a .40 and .45 cal version for about the same price as the 9mm.

I have fired many hundreds, if not thousands of rounds through mine and have never had a malfunction, and the gun is very accurate.

When I purchased mine a little over 2 years ago it was about $340 plus tax. Now they go for just under $400 if you know where to shop. Kygunco.com is a gun shop just about 20 minutes from my house and they have great prices and I have purchased a few firearms there. However, I will typically decide on a piece I want, and then try to find it used in good condition to save some money and avoid that pesky paperwork if possible.


Charter Arms Pink Lady revolver in .38 Special +P caliber
For the ladies that are fashion conscious, they may want to add a little flare of color to their defensive piece. This is easily obtained by purchasing a colored framed .38 special revolver.

There are several manufacturers that offer these, but I have found, of course, Kygunco to have great prices on Charter Arms snubbies in various colors (even leopard spots) to meet her fancy all for around $350.


Century Arms CZ 82

This brings us finally, to the fifth choice for a budget priced defensive piece suitable for female hands, and one of my favorite little pistols in general. It is the Century Arms CZ 82.

This is a military surplus pistol chambered in 9x18mm. This little round packs a little more punch than the .380 (9x17mm), and is smaller and more controllable than a 9mm parabellum, otherwise known as a 9mm luger (9x19mm), which is the “standard fare” one thinks of when they hear “9mm.”

These little pistols come with 12 round magazines and are a little different as they sport a polygonal rifled barrel, rather than the standard rifling you may be accustomed to seeing. These are sometimes difficult to locate; when you can find one they can usually be had for around $230-$250. Defense rounds for this caliber are few but Silver Bear Russian made, zinc plated, steel cased hollow points can be had for around $12 per 50 at various online spots. Cheaper Than Dirt being one of my favorite haunts, I just picked up 5 boxes from them last week, 250 rnds for $60.

These are but 5 of the handguns from many that can be had for under $500; some well under $500 that I feel would be suitable for a defense weapon for a woman on a budget. And as always, if you haven’t already pursued it, receive proper training from an experienced trainer before handling firearms.

Written by Eric W. Eichenberger, a new Carry Concealed Contributor