U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- We all like to shoot, but sometimes the budget will not allow people to get that new HK or that Daniel Defense. After almost every day of getting the same question about what is the best budget firearm on the market, I decided to go on a quest to find the best budget pistol, revolver, bolt action rifle, modern sporting rifle, and shotgun.
Let me stress, these are just my opinions. There plenty of excellent budget firearms on the market. These are the ones that work for me. What feels good for one person, might not feel good for the next. I encourage everyone to go to their local gun store to try a gun out before buying one.
Best Budget Pistol: SCCY CPX-1/2
SCCY (pronounced sky) produces the 9mm CPX pistols in Daytona Beach, Florida. SCCY designed their hammered fired guns to be concealed carried by the user. The size will be similar to people who have carried a Glock 26.
The only difference between the CPX-1 and the CPX-2 is that SCCY designed the CPX-1 with a safety and the CPX-2 without one. Other than that difference both guns are identical. Neither is better than the other. It comes down to the shooters personal opinion on having a safety. I am of the mindset that I don't want a safety on my carry pistol because it would just be one more thing to think about.
The SCCY pistols hold ten rounds and come with two magazines. The magazines come with both flat base plates and base plates with pinky extensions. I can conceal the SCCY pistol easily with both types of base plates.
The big drawback an SCCY pistol is the trigger. The trigger weight comes in at nine pounds. The gun has a very long trigger pull, and the trigger reset is just as long. There is a lot of over travel.
The SCCY CPX line does go bang every time which is the most critical thing in a concealed carry pistol. I have put a few 1000 rounds of ammo of all types through my gun and haven't had any issues. The gun is also accurate for a subcompact.
SCCY makes the CPX series in multiple colors and always seems to be adding more. These colors range from black to Tiffany blue. They also offer a CPX-3 chambered in .380ACP.
Pros: Wide variety of colors, Reliable, Very concealable, Holds ten rounds, Accurate.
Cons: Long trigger pull, Heavy trigger, Long reset
CPX-1 MSRP: $284.99 – Store Price: $240
CPX-2 MSRP: $269.99 – Store Price: $225
Honorable Mention: Smith and Wesson SD9
Best Budget Revolver: EAA Windicator
The EAA Windicator (pronounced Vindicator) is a six-shot German-built revolver. There are several different models of the revolver, but they all are double action/single action wheel guns chambered in either .357 Mag or .38 Spl.
The Windicator is very well built and comes in everything from a two-inch barrel to a four-inch barrel. The guns come in either a blue or nickel finish. EAA used rubber for the grips, and it feels comfortable in the hands.
EAA made the Windicator's frame of all steel. Although this makes the gun very durable, it does make the revolver bulky. The gun weighs around 2lbs no matter what model of Windicator. It is a big difference from my Smith & Wesson Air Weight.
The looks of the Windicator vary from model to model. Some of the models look plain, but others look great. Like all the guns on this list, it is a very reliable gun.
Pros: Reliable, Great quality.
Cons: Not concealable, Heavy
MSRP: $354 – $458 Store Price: $280 – $350
Honorable Mention: Rock Island M206
Best Budget Bolt Action Rifle: Ruger American Rifle
For hunters, a bolt action gun is a must. The Ruger American is the best budget bolt action gun on the market hands down. My Ruger American is chambered in 308 Win. Ruger also offers the American in 30-06 Sprg, 270 Win, 243 Win, 7mm-08 Rem, 22-250 Rem, 223 Rem, and 6.5 Creedmoor
I have been able to shoot up to 600 yards accurately with the rifle with a Bushnell scope using Gorilla .308 ammo. The cold forged barrel helps improves the accuracy of the rifle. Any hunter would be able to put down a dear with this gun with ease.
The recoil was manageable thanks to the butt pad on the American. Ruger did an excellent job at designing the ergonomics of the rifle. It was lightweight and comfortable to shoot.
The trigger on the American is not the best trigger on the market, but it isn't a bad trigger. Ruger made the trigger adjustable from 3 to 4 pounds.
The bolt on the Ruger American is a little stiffer than I was used to for my long ranger rifles. My regular long-range shooter is a Remington 700 that I have upgraded, so of course, it has a smoother bolt. I also have about $1000 more into the 700 than the cost of the Ruger American. Dollar for dollar this is an excellent rifle.
Pros: Accurate out of the box
Cons: Bolt is a little stiff, Not the best trigger on the market.
MSRP: $489 Store Price: $382 (not included: 6.5 Creedmoor)
Honorable Mention: Marlin X7
Best Budget Modern Sporting Rifle: Ruger AR-556
The Ruger AR-556 is the second Ruger on this list. The AR-556 is an excellent entry level AR-15 for the new shooter. It feels like a higher priced AR.
Ruger made the receiver of the AR-556 out of 7075-T6 Aluminum. It comes with a carbine length milled gas block. The barrel has a 1:8 twist rate. The rifle is accurate and reliable.
Ruger designed the pistol grip on the AR-556 is to be ergonomic, and it feels good in my hand. It has an adjustable six-position stock attached to a mil-spec buffer tube. The flash hider can be removed and replaced with any break with a 1/2″-28 thread pattern.
Ruger made the handguard out of glass filled nylon. I did a few mag dumps to heat up the barrel, and the handguard did an OK job at dissipating the heat. It wasn't the best, but it wasn't terrible either.
I really like how Ruger designed the handguard to be removed. The operator just has to unscrew the delta ring and can replace the handguard with any carbine length handguard. There is no need for a separate tool to remove the handguard which is a huge plus. I think Ruger designed the rifle to be easily upgradable.
The single stage trigger feels like a standard AR trigger. If you are used to a standard mil-spec trigger, then this trigger will feel familiar. It isn't a bad trigger, but it isn't a match grade trigger either.
Ruger included a chrome plated bolt carrier group on the AR-556. Ruger machined the bolt itself from a 9310-alloy steel. It is a reliable and corrosive resistant bolt carrier group with a durable bolt.
Ruger included a pop-up rear sight and an adjustable A2-style front sight post. The height is perfect for co-witnessing with an optic. I used a Holosun reflex sight on my AR-556. With and without the optic the Ruger AR-556 was a tack driver.
Pro: Comes with a backup sight, Great pistol grip, Accurate
Cons: OK trigger, Stock could have been better.
MSRP: $799 – Store Price: $510
Honorable Mention: Smith & Wesson M&P Sport II
Best Budget Shotgun: Stevens 320 Security
Savage produces the Stevens 320 Security shotgun. This gun is a no-thrills shotgun that just simply works. It will not turn heads on the range, but it is great for home defense.
Savage made the barrel of the 320 Security out of carbon steel. The barrel is 18.5 inches long which is the minimum length for a shotgun without it being considered a short-barreled shotgun.
Savage made the stock on the Stevens 320 Security out of a plastic material with a pistol grip. This synthetic stock is my only real complaint about the shotgun. It feels cheap. It has held up over the past couple of years with heavy use, but I can't get over the cheap feel.
Savage chambered the Stevens 320 Security in 3-inch, 12-gauge. It holds five shells in the magazine tube. The pump action is smooth, but once again the pump itself feels cheap. It works though, and that is what you want in a home defense shotgun.
Pro: Great barrel, Comfortable.
Cons: Cheap feel
MSRP: $234 – Store Price: $199
Honorable Mention: IAC Hawk Model 982
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or at www.crumpy.com.