Handguns I Have Known

Guns are like any other tool or commodity to me. I find that because of the air of mystery about them, the market is pretty good for buying and selling them. I keep very few, and have no problem buying something I know is priced right, then moving it along, making a bit of profit along the way. And for the record, I only sell to folks I know or have had background checked.

I’ve always been a huge fan of functionality and results. I’ve never been one to care much about aesthetics (though I will say I married far above my station, looks-wise). I’ve never worried much about how things looked, as long as they functioned well. This personality trait has led me to acquire some things that other folks consider “junk” or “too small”, and have caused me to get grief about my acquisition.

For instance, I have an uncle that laughs hysterically whenever he sees me break out my Hi-Point C9 9mm pistol. It is large, its clunky, and its a brute of a handgun, as far as looks go. Its also rather inexpensive, reliable, and fun. HiPoint C9

I’ve fired thousands of rounds through it, and I’ve personally never had a malfunction with it. And whenever my uncle sees it, he laughs himself to tears. The C9 runs $100-150. I saw a guy that had just sold one at last weekend’s show for $100. Had I seen it while he still had it, it would have been mine.

I don’t care, I LIKE the gun. I don’t carry it concealed, so I don’t care that its on the heavy side. It functions very well and didn’t break the bank to purchase it, and that’s why I have it.

I’ve had other “junk” or “small” guns that have served me well over the years.

The Kel-Tec series of pistols are considered by some to be “cheap”. I’ve owned several, and have found them to be as good as any other gun I’ve seen, only without the price tag.

P32The Kel-Tec P32, a .32 caliber pocket pistol, is a favorite of mine. Easy to shoot, reliable, and small, it fits in just about any pocket without being noticed. I can drop one in the pocket of my swim trunks, and it cannot be detected. I don’t suggest swimming with it though. As an every day carry piece, it gets by, barely. The number one rule when going into a gun fight is “Have a gun”. While bigger tends to be better, even if only psychologically, bad guys won’t argue that your bullets are too small if you are forced into discharging a P32 in order to protect yourself. You can pick these up for $200-$300. Again, I consider this a great gun.

PF9Stepping up to a more popular caliber, Kel-Tec also offers a pocket 9mm, single stack, that I’ve handled and shot a few times, and I find it a nice compromise between a larger caliber and a smaller gun. My wife hates the long trigger pull, but once you are accustomed to it, it seems to be fine to me. I’d not hesitate to carry this as an every day carry piece. These run between $250-$350. Also very nice.

R92aAnother favorite of mine is the New England Firearms (NEF) model R92 line of pistols. A 9 shot double action revolver, I’ve handled one in blue, the other in a brushed chrome, and they both performed very well. Rugged, and reliable, I found them to be a great sidearm while trapping or just working around the farm. The trigger pull for double action is long and stiff, but the single action firing is crisp and clean. I’ve used one to dispatch lots of smaller critters over the years. These range from $150-300. Any that function on the lower end of the price scale are a must-buy for me.

Mark IIThough she’s handled all of the handguns that I’ve shot in the last fifteen years, my wife always wants to shoot when I have a Ruger Mark II available. Sleek, crisp, and simply fun to shoot, the Mark II is one I like shooting as well. Not what I’d consider it “junk”, and rarely can you find one “cheap”, these range from $300 to $500 for stock models. Upgraded versions can run you over $1000.

The entire Mark series of Ruger pistols are a must-buy for me, as long as they are priced right. I’ve owned several, and every one of them was solid, and I wish I would have kept them.

Erma EP 452


The wife’s other favorite is an oddball, an Erma EP22. This pistol looks like a scaled down version of the 1911 .45 Auto, and like the 1911, is fun to shoot, only without the massive recoil or the high cost of ammo. Hard to fins, these run between $200 and $400.


So far I’ve listed guns I have had experience with, but consider them “shooters”, decent guns that function well. I’ve also handled some that even I consider junk.

First on my list is the Rohm RG10. Shooting shorts only, I picked on up at a gun show for $75, and think I overpaid. Loose, sloppy, very stiff trigger, and just hard to manage, I’d avoid one of these like the plague. It’s probably better used (empty) ad something to drive tacks with. Not nails, mind you, they’d probably break it…but holding it by the barrel and tapping light thumb tacks might work…into a cork board. Or possibly styrofoam… I wouldn’t pay over $75 for one, and if you did, plan on reselling it quickly, and good luck finding a buyer.

Another “dud” in my book is the Model 21 Beretta Bobcat. With no extractor, it uses blowback to eject the shell. I owned one long enough to get it dirty twice, then swapped it out for something more efficient, I think I traded it for a rock. It would shoot fine for about ten rounds, then start to jam, with a spent casing stuck in the barrel. A gunsmith worked it over a bit, and he suggested I carry a sharp stick instead. I’m sure it was only my particular gun, but I don’t care much for the lack of an extractor, it just doesn’t seem right to me.  The only thing interesting about this pistol is that I traded 11 silver 50 cent pieces for it. I love barter! Prices range from $200-300.

Oddballs I’ve handled wold include the Mountain Eagle .22, and all polymer pistol that looks like a toy and shoots like a brick. I’ve only seen two of them in all my years around guns, and didn’t buy either of them. Other than as a curiosity, I’m glad I didn’t.

Calico M950Another oddball is the 9mm Calico M950. Looking like something out of a futuristic movie, this is more of a carbine rifle with a pistol grip than it is a pistol. Sporting a 50 or 100 round rotary drum magazine, this thing was simply weird. It was fun to shoot, but it simply had no utility purpose in my world, so I moved it along. After emptying the rotary drum a few times. I found that after 20 or 30 rounds, it started to feel like work. If the zombies invaded, it might have its usefulness though :)

I’ve not even mentioned any of the “mainstream” pistols I’ve had, handled, or shot over the years. Those either aren’t considered “junk”, “too small”, or “oddballs”. And I’ve liked many of them too. But I’ll save those for another time….



Good places to find information about guns:




And your local gun dealer. Keep in mind that they are operating a business, and that as such, needs to make a profit. Support your local gunshop, so that when you need them, they’ll still be there. Buying online may save you money in the short term, but you’ll lose a valuable asset when you need a local gun shop.

Two that I frequent are:

Lotus Gunworks

National Event Security

Tell em FloridaHillbilly sent ya!



  1. I’m a fan of that Hi-Point 9mm also. So it’s considered cheap. It shoots and shoots very well which is exactly what I expect from a handgun. It tickles me to stand on the firing line beside a guy that’s shooting a very expensive pistol and watch him clear one malfunction after another. I now carry and shoot Glocks simply because they just keep shooting, regardless.

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