Contrasting viewpoints on cheap guns
I was going through the archives of some of my favorite gunbloggers, and was reading through one post in which Weer’d World was describing his experience with Cobra’s Patriot pistols, and came across this comment savaging the very notion of buying a cheap gun and a number of other comments supporting his stance.
These reminded me of an article written by Massad Ayoob for Backwoods Home Magazine titled “Cheap Guns Are Good Enough.”
I personally side with Capt. Ayoob, and for reasons that go beyond those outlined in his article. The conversation over at Weer’d’s is over a year old, so I’ll be posting my thoughts here instead.
If you are buying something to DEFEND YOUR LIFE AND THE LIFE OF YOUR FAMILY and you skimp on what you spend, except as an interim measure until you get a decent defensive arm, THOMAS WILL STILL THINK YOU AN IDIOT. Does your friend go out to eat? Go to a movie once in a while? Have broadband internet and a cellular phone? None of those things might save his life some day.
There is a difference between the capacity of a tool to save one’s life and the capacity of a tool to defend one’s life. A cell phone isn’t going to help you if a strung out crack-head is trying to stab you with a screwdriver and a gun isn’t going to help you if you’re home alone when you fall down your basement stairs.
You can be person who never eats out, goes to see a movie, has cable, has the internet (or a computer), and still have no money.
People who do such things should re-evaluate their priorities. When you go up against a criminal, as often as not, it isn’t their first time. It will likely be your first defensive arms usage. Not putting as many points in your favor ahead of time is mind boggling.
There are a number of things you can do that put points in your favor ahead of time that matter more than the price of your gun. Quality hollow-point ammunition and handgun training are the two that spring to mind, and neither of these is free. Who is better off: the untrained man using ball ammo in a Sig, or a trained man using Speer Gold Dot JHPs in a Hi-Point?
ANYBODY can afford a better gun if they so choose to.
Tell that to my coworker who had to borrow $20 from me for a week because she didn’t have enough money to fill her gas tank. Tell that to my other coworker who I shared my lunch with because he had to spend his food budget getting his car fixed so he could come to work. Tell that to the single young mother at the grocery store who’s mother has to drive her to work because neither of them has enough money to replace the tires that her piece of garbage ex-boyfriend slashed on the young lady’s car. Tell that to my neighbor who has been unemployed for 6 months. Tell that to the old woman with no savings living off social security.
If you can scrape $300 together, you can scrape $400 together with just a little more effort. For $400 you can easily get a used Glock or a brand new RIA 1911, both decent guns IMHO.
Which is going to be more valuable to a guy delivering pizza: a $400 gun at home, or a concealed handgun license and a $300 gun on his hip?
All too often we forget that the price of the gun does not reflect the total cost of ownership. Think about all the things you found out you needed once you had your gun. A good holster (here’s what happens with a bad one) will run you at least $40. If you aren’t using a lightweight pocket gun, you’ll want another $30 at least for a good belt. A box of even the cheapest 9mm JHP will cost you $20. In Ohio getting a concealed handgun license will run you at least another $150. So with minimal equipment, minimal training and almost no range time, you’re looking at as much as $240 on top of the cost of the handgun.
For around $300, you can get a good used Kel-Tec or a new LCP. I am not paying 3 Bennies for a POS with a trigger Samson couldn’t pull.
This is a point worth keeping in mind. At most price points there are higher quality options. Around the $300 price point, Kel-Tec, Bersa, and Taurus spring to mind, or even the much maligned S&W Sigma. Now you’ll notice $300 is being talked about a lot, because that’s what Cobra is asking. Not everyone can scrape together $300 quickly, or even slowly for that matter. If all someone can manage for a pistol is $150, at that price point, Hi-Point is the higher quality option for a handgun.
And for home defense? I’ve seen Mossberg 500s selling as low as $150. That beats a Hi-Point all to hell…
Home defense is all well and good, but I’m not home all the time. Going back to my guy delivering pizza, that (most likely unloaded by law) shotgun in his back seat or trunk isn’t going to be worth squat once he’s out of his car where someone can jump him. A Hi-Point here beats a Mossberg all to hell.