10 Best Field Strip M&P Shield Reviews

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Top 10 Best Products

Below is a list of top 10 best Field Strip M&P Shield Reviews.


Bastion Laser engraved

BASTION Laser Engraved Rear Cover Slide Back Plate for Smith & Wesson M&P 9/40 Shield SUBCOMPACT ONLY
$16.99  in stock
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Recover Tactical SHR9

Recover Tactical SHR9 Compatible with The Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm and SW40 Picatinny Rail– Easy Installation, No Modifications Required to Your Firearm, no Need for a Gunsmith
$29.95  in stock
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Free shipping

CYA Supply Co

CYA Supply Co. Fits S&W M&P 9/40 Shield M2.0 Inside Waistband Holster Concealed Carry IWB Veteran Owned Company (Black, 053- S&W M&P 9/40 Shield M2.0)
$$39.74 in stock
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Free shipping

Crimson Trace Lightguard

Crimson Trace Tactical Weapon Mount Flashlight for Smith & Wesson M&P Shield and M&P Shield 2.0, 100 Lumen LED White Light Tactical LTG-770 Lightguard
$64.49  in stock
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Free shipping

AmeriGlo Tritium I-Dot Green with Orange Outline
AmeriGlo Tritium I-Dot Green with Orange Outline Sight Set, Smith and Wesson, M and P Shield
$74.13 in stock
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LaserMax CenterFire Laser
LaserMax CenterFire Laser (Red) CF-SHIELD-45 For Use With Smith & Wesson 45 Shield
$89.99 in stock
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Free shipping

LaserMax Centerfire Laser RED Sight For Shield
LaserMax CenterFire Laser (Red) CF-SHIELD For Use With Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, Multi, One Size
$89.52 in stock
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ArmaLaser TR28 Designed to fit S&W M&P 380 Shield EZ, M&P 22 Compact and M&P 9 EZ Ultra Bright Red Laser Sight Grip Activation Smith and Wesson

ArmaLaser Designed to fit Smith & Wesson S&W Shield TR4 Super-Bright Red Laser Sight with Grip Activation
$98.75 in stock
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Crimson Trace LG-489 Laserguards

Crimson Trace LG-489 Laserguards with Red Laser, Heavy Duty Construction and Instinctive Activation for Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Pistols, Defensive Shooting and Competition
$183.53 in stock
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Features of Field Strip M&P Shield Products

Below, we have listed the features of the top 10 best Field Strip M&P Shield.


Bastion Laser engraved

BASTION Laser Engraved Rear Cover Slide Back Plate for Smith & Wesson M&P; 9/40 Shield SUBCOMPACT ONLY – Superman
$16.99 in stock
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  • Compatibility: M&P9; Shield M2.0 Subcompact; M&P40; Shield M2.0
  • Subcompact; Performance Center M&P9; Shield M2.0 Subcompact,
  • Performance Center M&P40; Shield M2.0 Subcompact, Performance Center
  • M&P9; Shield Subcompact, Performance Center M&P40; Shield
  • Subcompact, M&P9; Shield Subcompact, M&P40; Shield Subcompact.
  • NOT COMPATIBLE with M&P; full size/compact
  • Hard coat anodized T6 machined aluminum
  • Lasered artwork won’t rub off; not painted
  • NOT COMPATIBLE with M&P380; Shield nor M&P45; Shield.

LaserMax CenterFire Laser (Red) CF-SHIELD

LaserMax CenterFire Laser (Red) CF-SHIELD For Use With Smith & Wesson M&P; Shield, Multi, One Size
$89.52 in stock
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  • Tough reinforced nylon design offers superior integration with firearm frame
  • Easily programmable for steady or high-vis pulsed beam
  • 10-minute automatic time-out prevents inadvertent battery drain
  • Fully adjustable for windage and elevation
  • 1/3 N Lithium Battery required; Class IIIa Laser Product


Crimson Trace LG-489 Laserguards

Crimson Trace LG-489 Laserguards with Red Laser, Heavy Duty Construction and Instinctive Activation for Smith & Wesson M&P; Shield Pistols, Defensive Shooting, and Competition
$183.53  in stock
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  • BRIGHTNESS: Features a 5mW peak, 620-670nm, Class 3R visible red laser that is in conformance with and complies with 21 CFR 1040.10 with a max power output of 5mW for a Class 3R Red Laser – the brightest beam allowed by law
  • RUNTIME: 4 hours of battery life that runs on (1) 1/3N battery (included)
  • EASE OF USE: Front activation button engages the laser immediately when the firearm is held in a normal firing grip – user-installed – no gunsmithing required
  • RELIABLE: Factory sighted at 50 feet, but is fully user-adjustable for
  • Windage and Elevation with a provided tool
  • FITS: Smith & Wesson M&P; Shield and M&P; Shield M2.0 9MM and .40 S&W; (does not fit models with an integrated laser)

CYA Supply Co

CYA Supply Co. Fits S&W; M&P; 9/40 Shield M2.0 Inside Waistband Holster Concealed Carry IWB Veteran Owned Company (Black, 053- S&W; M&P; 9/40 Shield M2.0)
$39.74 in stock
Free shipping
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  • Fits Only: Smith & Wesson M&P; 9mm/.40 S&W; Shield & Shield M2.0 – 3.1″
  • Barrel – No Light/Laser Attachments (Right Hand Draw Only)
  • IWB Holster – Inside The Waistband – Easily Adjustable Retention Pressure & Carry Angle (Cant) 0-15 Degrees
  • Precision molds from CAD milled in the house on our CNC. Made of .08″
  • Thickness Boltaron Material – Belt Clip 1.5″ wide – All Stainless Steel Black Powder Coat Hardware
  • Posi-Click’ Audible Retention Lock System – Sweat Guard covers full length of slide
  • Made in the USA – WE STAND BY OUR QUALITY: 100% Satisfaction Guarantee,
  • No questions asked return policy and Lifetime Warranty.

Barrel Inside Waistband Holster Concealed Carry

Barrel Inside Waistband Holster Concealed Carry
$39.95 in stock
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  • Inside the waistband kydex holster fits: Smith & Wesson m&p 4.25″ (only unless specified)
  • Exclusive holster features
  • Adjustable ‘posi-click’ retention & cant
  • Claw compatible – eliminates printing

LaserMax CenterFire Laser (Red) CF-SHIELD

ArmaLaser Designed to fit Smith & Wesson S&W; Shield TR4 Super-Bright Red Laser Sight with Grip Activation
$98.75 in stock
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  • Extremely bright Class 3R 635nm
  • Custom designed to fit Smith and Wesson Shield 9/40. WILL NOT FIT
  • SHIELD 45, 9 EZ, 380 EZ, or M&P; WITH RAILS.
  • Class 3R 635nm
  • Adjustable laser, battery door, master kill switch. Made from DuPont Zytel polymer pistol material.
  • Designed and assembled in Florida, USA. Patented. Ultra reliable electronics.
  • Simple installation. Class 3R Laser Product (Does not exceed Class IIIA emission limits)

Amberide IWB KYDEX Holster

Amberide IWB KYDEX Holster Fit: S&W; M&P; Shield & Shield M2.0-9/40-3.1″ Barrel | Inside Waistband | Adjustable Cant | US KYDEX Made (Black, Right Hand Draw (IWB))
$26.99 – $37.99 in stock
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Free shipping


  • CARRY WITH CONFIDENCE when you secure your pistol in our concealed carry gun holster. Only Fit: S&W; M&P; SHIELD 9/40 & SHIELD M2.0 – 3.1″
  • Barrel – No Light/Laser Attachments. This robust waistband holster safeguards your handgun while facilitating discreet, safe carry.
  • RUGGED .08” KYDEX is strong yet lightweight for comfortable, confident carry in any situation. Waterproof and washable, it features a sweat guard that covers the full length of the slide to help maintain your side arm in pristine condition.
  • CUSTOMIZE THE CANT of the 1.5” standard belt clip with a Phillips screwdriver for faster draw speeds and optimal concealment under clothing. The black powder-coated stainless steel hardware can be adjusted from 0 to 15 degrees without sacrificing full accessibility.
  • ADJUSTABLE RETENTION PRESSURE ensures a fast and smooth draw, customized to your needs. Adjustments can be made quickly so you can tighten the retention screw for your morning jog and loosen it later for regular carry.
  • LIFETIME WARRANTY pledge ensures your peace of mind when you choose this Amberide IWB Holster. If our product should ever cease to perform as promised, return it for replacement or a full refund of your purchase price.

Recover Tactical SHR9 Compatible with The Smith & Wesson

Recover Tactical SHR9 Compatible with The Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm and SW40 Picatinny Rail – Easy Installation, No Modifications Required to Your Firearm, no Need for a Gunsmith
$29.95 in stock
Buy Now
Free shipping


  • Designed for the Smith & Wesson Shield
  • Won’t Damage your Firearm
  • Made Out Of Glass Reinforced Nylon
  • Goes on and off in under 3 minutes
  • Least expensive solution on the market and the only one that is 100% reversible without needing to modify your pistol

Crimson Trace LTG-770 Lightguard Tactical Weapon Mount Flashlight

Crimson Trace Tactical Weapon Mount Flashlight for Smith & Wesson M&P; Shield and M&P; Shield 2.0, 100 Lumen LED White Light Tactical LTG-770 Lightguard
$64.49 in stock
Buy Now
Free shipping


  • LED WHITE LIGHT: Featuring a 100 Lumen LED tactical white light with broad beam for maximum versatility
  • INSTANT ACTIVATION: Ambidextrous Tap-On / Tap-Off Controls for immediate light activation from either side of the unit. Includes Constant-On & Momentary light modes
  • OVER ONE HOUR OF BATTERY LIFE: Powered by two 1/3N Battery (included)
  • FITS: Smith & Wesson M&P; Shield and M&P; Shield M2.0 in 9mm and .40 S&W.; Does NOT fit .45 ACP models. Does NOT fit models with factory-integrated laser sight.
  • EASY INSTALLATION & RAPID CHANGE BATTERY CAP: User installed- no gunsmithing required & no need to remove the light to change batteries

AmeriGlo Tritium I-Dot Green with Orange Outline

AmeriGlo Tritium I-Dot Green with Orange Outline Sight Set, Smith and Wesson, M and P Shield
$74.13 in stock
Buy Now


  • AmeriGlo, Sights/Lasers/Lights

LaserMax CenterFire Laser
LaserMax CenterFire Laser (Red) CF-SHIELD-45 For Use With Smith & Wesson 45 Shield
$89.99 in stock
Buy Now
Free shipping


  • Tough reinforced nylon design offers superior
  • Easily programmable for steady or high-vis pulsed beam
  • Controlled activation to promote firearms safety; Fully adjustable for windage and elevation
  • 10-minute automatic time-out prevents inadvertent battery drain
  • Ambidextrous TAP ON/TAP OFF switch reinforces safe firearm handling;
  • Class IIIa Laser Product

5 Best Hunting Trail Cameras

Let’s face it, as much as we’d love to, we simply can’t spend every waking minute of our lives in the woods hunting. There are plenty of instances where we’re lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and we take that trophy animal or get an awesome story to share back at camp. But what about those times we aren’t in the woods at all, let alone the right place? For those scenarios, we need a little electronic help—a trail camera.

To increase your presence in your hunting area, you can deploy a handy trail camera to scribe away the goings-on you miss while you’re off at the kids’ soccer games, working, or picking up that gallon of milk you forgot to get on your shopping trip.

You want a quality camera that you aren’t scared to leave out in the elements for days, weeks, or months on end. That being said, you aren’t looking to sell off the family vehicle just to spy on Bambi—so you’ll be doing some research to decide what is available, and what best suits your budget. Here, we’ve done the hard part already—lucky you!

In this article, we’ll talk about the trail camera (also referred to as a game camera) market. After reading this, you’ll be able to decide exactly which camera will be custom-tailored to your needs, budget, and hunting area.

The 5 Best Hunting Trail Cameras On The Market

What is a Trail Camera?

A trail camera, also known as a game camera, is used to take photographs of animals and scenes after being deployed in the woods. Trail cameras are used to capture close-up photos and videos of wildlife remotely and avoiding the risk of scaring wildlife or getting a personal injury while in the field. On top of that, a game camera allows you to be in the woods without actually being in the woods. Setting up a camera over an area that your buddy tells you is “full of deer”, may end up proving your buddy wrong—and leading to you finding a new place to hunt—or a new buddy.

Many cameras now are equipped with infrared lights, which cast a beam of light that is invisible to humans and animals, but provides light that the camera itself can process—which means you are able to collect photos of passers-by even in the dark of night.​

Trail Camera Features

When shopping for a trail camera, you’ll want to keep in mind the features that are available. This will allow you to compare any model to your own wish list of features until you narrow your options down to the cameras that suit you and your needs best.


Today’s game cameras will offer a variety of storage options, and there are instances where the exact type of storage can make a significant difference. Game cameras typically store their photos and videos on SD cards, the SD means Secure Digital, which is a standard form of digital storage. Not all SD cards are created equal; in fact, there are a handful of different formats available in the SD card market—and of course—not all cameras accept all types of SD cards. It’s like the guys who invent electronics get together every year and think of ways to screw with the minds of people who aren’t on the bleeding edge of technology. Anyways, here’s a basic rundown of the types of SD cards you’ll be faced with:

  • SD – Secure Digital: this is your standard (used in older models) SD card. SD has a maximum capacity of 2 gigabytes (2GB).
  • MiniSD and microSD refers to a smaller format that uses the same standard for storage and speeds—typically these are used in mobile phones and cameras. miniSD and microSD cards can be placed into an adapter for use in a standard sized SD card slot.
  • SDHC – Secure Digital High Capacity: the same size as a standard SD card, although SDHC supports card capacity up to 32 gigabytes (32GB)
  • SDXC – Secure Digital eXtended Capacity is just like the big brother to the previously mentioned SD formats, and adds larger capacity. The SDXC can hold a maximum of 2 terabytes (2TB) which is 2000GB.

Most modern cameras will support the use of SDHC, and even SDXC cards—but it is important to know exactly which type of card your camera supports, or you will be extremely disappointed when you go to collect your photos. I had just this situation happen to me.

I set out with two hunting buddies to create a triangular zone of camera coverage—each of us deploying a camera of our own. We created our small perimeter of photo coverage where we intended to put our tree stands in the coming weeks. Before splitting up and going home, we tested the cameras—they all worked. Good for us—or so I thought.

A day later, one of the groups (no need to mention names) decided he would go check the cameras so he could share the pictures with rest of us. He didn’t bother checking to see which card belonged to which camera when he re-deployed them into the woods, and we wound up having one camera go blind because it was unable to write to the SDHC card put inside it. Lesson learned, get the right card for your camera—or get new buddies.​

Night Vision

You can’t see at night, but thanks toeons evolution, most animals can. No, they don’t see a brilliant glowing green like the military’s night-vision goggles allows our soldiers to see—but the animal eye reflects light to allow the critters to see exponentially better than we humans do. Your game camera may have infrared flash it can use to take photos at night—which is a feature you’ll most likely be interested in if you’re trying to track that trophy buck.


With the advent of larger format memory cards, many cameras are now equipped to film HD (720p) video. This may be a feature you’re interested in, especially if you have been seeing some false positives on your camera, meaning the camera is snapping photos when it detects motion—but you don’t see an animal.

A brief video of the scene may show what set the camera off. It’s also nice to see the animals you plan to hunt moving in their natural habitat—a few out-of-context photos can be helpful, sure, but a video of them in their natural element is nearly priceless.

What are the Advantages of Trail Cameras?

  • Know your target: Trail cameras give you an advantage in seeing game before hunting it. Trail cameras give you a chance to understand the natural habitats of the animals without disturbing them.
  • Get to know the animals’ habits: Setting up your trail camera helps to gather information on animal habits. You’ll easily learn which animals pass through your spot, and the frequency at which they pass as well.
  • Get to know the area: Reviewing your photos and videos captured by a trail camera will let you know if that exact spot is a hotbed for animal activity, or if you’d better hunt a new area.
  • Keep it mobile: As the season’s change, so do animal habits. You can easily strap your trail camera to a tree for a pre-rut reconnaissance, then move it for the rut, and even to the post-rut location to keep up with the whitetails in your area.

Things to consider when choosing the best trail cameras

  • Cost: The best trail camera doesn’t necessarily need to be the most expensive. It entirely depends on your needs, and what it can accomplish for you. A less expensive trail camera that is loaded up with reliable features may be all you need.
  • Durability: You should consider the camera’s lifetime. A reliable trail camera is one that last for many seasons without wear and tear. Things like memory cards and batteries are a slight operating expense—but you don’t want to replace your camera every season.
  • Camera Trigger Speed: Snapping a photo of an animal who is grazing over food isn’t much of a challenge for a camera. For example, if you are planning to hang it over a food source, the camera’s trigger speed will not factor when making a purchase. If you’re trying to snap a few photos, or even a video, of that monster buck who has been sighted all over your area—a camera with a quick trigger speed may be needed to catch a glimpse of the behemoth as he passes by.
  • Recovery time: Simply put, this is the amount of time the camera needs in order to be ready for subsequent shots. Cameras that have a quick recovery time could be the difference between seeing the hindquarter of a deer—or seeing a handful of stunning images.
  • Battery Life Impacts Time: As we mentioned above, you can’t be in the woods 24/7, but your camera can. It’s of no use to you if the batteries are dead. When buying a trail camera, find one that has a battery life coinciding with how often you plan to be in the woods to check the memory and refresh the batteries
  • Night Range: This is the distance your camera’s flash is capable of capturing when snapping photos at night. Always keep in mind that environmental conditions such as clouds and rain may affect the camera’s accuracy.
  • Memory: The camera you choose should accept an SD memory card to store the photos that you intend to take. If you are planning to take a plethora of pictures, you should choose a memory card with high capacity such as an SDHC card. Remember not all cards are created equal—be sure your camera supports the type of card you buy. You may even want to have two cards on hand, they aren’t very expensive, and having one in the camera as well as a spare to put into the camera when you take one out may prove to be worth spending some extra cash
  • Camera Design: Cameras come in so many shapes and sizes that you may end up with too many options to even consider—try this: decide where you want the camera to be placed and take a photo of the exact tree you wish to put the camera on. Compare the tree and background of the photo to the camouflage patterns available and make your choice that way
  • Cellular Compatibility: A trail camera that is cellular compatible (typically 3G) enables you to transmit the images through a cellular network. These cameras have the greatest flexibility since they can be used anywhere. You won’t be out in the woods swapping memory cards very often—since the photos can be accessed remotely
  • Date and Time Stamp: If you want to document the events of your hunting, you should consider trail cameras that document both the date and time that the shot was taken. Note: some cameras reset the date and time when the batteries die—if accurate logging is desired for your photos, be certain to keep a close eye on this feature.
  • Video Recording: Some of the latest trail cameras for hunting come with advanced video capture functions. These cameras record videos of different lengths from few seconds to minutes.

5 Best Hunting Trail Cameras for Your Budget

If you are planning to acquire a brand new trail camera from Amazon, the best advice is to narrow your search by deciding which features you want most. We have scoured the web for you, and put together a list of the five best options for getting extra eyes in the woods without using up your entire budget—you still need to buy some ammo for the season after all.

Reconyx Hyperfire

The Reconyx Hyperfire is a highly sought-after camera. Boasting excellent battery life and an HD IRTM lens that records clear and sharp images, the Reconyx Hyperfire is a powerful trail camera that will offer exquisite photos for many years to come.

A feature we really like in this camera is the infrared range—coupled with the snappy trigger speed—you’ll be grabbing pictures of Bigfoot any time, day or night. Ok, we can’t promise you’ll end up with photographic proof of Bigfoot trudging around your hunting area, but we can promise you won’t get photographic proof of any wildlife in your area without deploying a trail camera.

Reconyx Hyperfire

Back on subject, the Reconyx Hyperfire has 0.70-second trigger speed, 4 second recovery time, and a 100-foot detection range.​

A few more features of ReconyxHyperFire HC500 include night detection up to 50 feet, 6 or 12 AA-size batteries can be used, exceptional battery life, rugged weatherproof enclosure, 1080p HD images, and an Ultra HD IRTM camera lens.

Because of the exclusive Ultra HD IR™ camera lens, the camera is best suited for hunters who want high-quality images in the daytime and night. It provides images that are clearer and sharper than many other cameras on the market.

The camera is a bit expensive when you compare it to other models. But if you are looking for a high-quality trail camera, to take some crystal clear images day or night—the Reconyx Hyperfire is certainly a contender.​

Things We Liked

  • Provide nighttime flash without startling the animals.
  • The camera makes shots of up to 50 feet for night shots.
  • Superb lens quality leads to excellent photo quality
  • Its Digital Memory Card supports HD footage
  • Temperature range of -20F to 120F
  • Two battery options which enable the camera run for long without losing power
  • Comes with BuckViewTM Advanced software for your PC

Things We Didn’t Like

  • The warranty covers just 1 year
  • IR is only considered semi-covert
  • The camera is a bit expensive

Moultrie Bundle Trail

Moultrie is a name that is synonymous with quality trail cameras. Chances are if you’ve spent time researching or using trail cameras, you’ve seen Moultire’s name plastered on dozens of fine products like Moultrie Bundle Trail.

The whole idea behind having a camera is to put eyes in the woods when you can’t physically be there—the Moultrie Game Spy A-5 will not only do that for you, but it will do it on the cheap.

While we often preach the adage “you get what you pay for”, we also appreciate a good buy when we see one.

The Game Spy A-5 is the epitome of a good buy. As of this article, the price tag is a mere $59 on Amazon, and with a 4 of 5-star review average—it’s clear that this is a quality product that has brought a smile to the face of many hunters.​

Moultrie Bundle Trail

Being a budget option, this particular Moultrie camera will be sacrificing slightly on some features, but at such a great price point we would be lying if we didn’t say there was a ton of value here. The resolution is 5MP with a 40-foot detection range and up to a 50-foot flash range. This means you’ll be collecting photos of critters up to 50 feet away with a resolution of 2560×1920. It can be easy to get sucked into megapixel hell and think you need a camera that boasts a massive MP feature, but the fact is this: your HD TV or computer monitor most likely has a maximum resolution of 1920×1080, which translates to 2MP. Taking photos higher than 2560×1920 isn’t necessarily a benefit unless of course, you plan on editing HD images on a computer with the images taken from your game camera.

Things We Liked

  • High-resolution 5MP camera
  • Trigger speed less than 1.5 seconds
  • The Gen2 variant of this product has a burst mode to collect more than one image in a row
  • Excellent price vs. performance ratio
  • This new variant (Gen2) has been rebuild from the ground up
  • Green color to blend with its surroundings
  • Battery life will last up to 16,000 images
  • Uses (8) AA batteries as opposed to C-cells required in older models
  • Easy to use control panels

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Has a smaller night range of up to 50 feet
  • 40 foot detection range
  • Lack of HD video recording

Stealth Cam No-Glo Trail Game Camera

So you want to have an extra set of eyes in the woods? How about four extra sets? That’s right. Stealth Cam’s G42NG bundle nets you four cameras for quite literally the price of one top-shelf camera.

The G42NG is advertised as a No Glo trail camera that houses 42 “black” IR emitters on the front. These dark emitters don’t glow, and won’t tip off the local animal population that you’ve set up surveillance in their area of operations.

The 100-foot range on the IR, coupled with it’s .5 second reflex trigger means you’ll be grabbing photos quickly, day or night.​

Stealth Cam No-Glo Trail Game Camera

A 10-megapixel maximum resolution allows you to take very high-quality photos, but we all know how much space you can use. Stealth Cam No-Glo Trail Game Camera has gone ahead and included 8MP, 4MP, and 2MP settings as well—for users who utilize smaller memory cards—or who would like to use less space on photos and more on the HD video and audio G42NG will capture.

Things We Liked

  • 2-10MP settings
  • Four cameras in a single bundle
  • 100ft range on the “black” IR Emitters makes for quality night shots
  • Secure Lock password protection keeps your data safe
  • SDHC compatibility (up to 32GB memory cards supported)
  • HD Video & Audio with the time-lapse function
  • Intuitive menus make the cameras user friendly

Things We Didn’t Like

  • As expensive as a single high end trail camera
  • You’ll be using four times the batteries and need 4x the SD cards
  • Setup will be done four times

Bushnell Trophy Cam Trail Camera

When spending money on hunting equipment, hunters like to rely on a brand they recognize and trust. Bushnell is a leading manufacturer in hunting equipment and brings that reputation to the trail camera market as well.

The Bushnell Trophy Cam Trail Camera features an 8MP camera with night vision and 32 LED’s for flash photography and IR.

The field-scan option allows you to pre-program the camera to take photos at set intervals, which may prove quite useful for finding out if there are animals in your hunting spot during the hours you plan to hunt.​

Bushnell Trophy Cam Trail Camera

Things We Liked

  • 8MP camera with night vision
  • Trusted name brand
  • Up to one year of battery life
  • SDHC 32GB compatible
  • 45-foot motion-activated sensor and flash range
  • Captures up to 60 seconds of video (with audio)
  • Camouflage pattern keeps it concealed
  • Three shot burst photo mode makes photographing game easier

Things We Didn’t Like

  • •with any device left in the woods it’s vulnerable to theft
  • 45-foot range may not cover your hunting spot
  • Batteries may dislodge upon moderate impact

Exodus Trail Cams

The Exodus Lift is a new trail camera on the market today. This camera is manufactured by Exodus Trail Cams. If you are looking for a camera that can last for decades, the Exodus Lift Trail Cam is an awesome choice.

This camera is best suited for people who are planning to hunt in the cold. You can use the battery for a long but still, the camera runs strong.

If you are looking for a relatively affordable camera with good features, The Exodus Lift – 12mp Trail Cam is the best trail camera you can consider.​

Exodus Trail Cams

Things We Liked

  • Running on long life batteries for thousands of photos
  • Good daytime pictures as high as 12 megapixels
  • 1080p video with sound
  • Built-in color viewer
  • Has a high capacity storage of up to32GB
  • Password protected camera so only owners and authorized users can use your camera
  • Comes with a 1-year warranty completely supported by money-back guarantee
  • Top part of the camera permanently sealed to prevent water leakage.
  • Can swing to bottom allowing users to two over-sized latches when trying to maintain pressure getting into the unit
  • Parts designed with rugged plastic shell and aluminum-alloy bracing that enhances stability
  • Customizable Video Length
  • Camera is durable
  • Customizable Operating Hours

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Camera will not take photos if the password is not entered
  • Night time photos are not clear enough
  • Difficultness when removing memory card
  • Rechargeable battery which goes dry after a few hours

Final Thoughts

As you can see from the market research above, you will need to be careful when it comes to choosing the best trail camera for you. Some trail cameras are more user-friendly compared to others, others require more technical knowledge to operate. Some cameras may be available in this year’s latest and greats camouflage pattern—while others may have a look you aren’t particularly fond of. We get it, you want to be satisfied with the look of your fancy new gadget. Just try to keep in mind the practical side of the camera, and pick one that best suits your needs.

From the information above, the Stealth Cam G42NG bundle claims the coveted position as Outdoorhill’s most recommended trail camera. The resolution settings of 2-10MP allow the user a wide range of photo quality, as well as allowing you to fine-tune how much of your precious storage is chewed up with each subsequent photo.

Add in the 100ft range of the blacked-out IR emitters, and the 180 seconds of HD video (with audio) you can record, and these puppies really are the best option to maximize your outdoor presence. You can’t be in four places at once, but the Stealth Cams can certainly make it possible.

The price tag of $459 places this bundle into the range of many very high-end game cameras, and in a one-on-one comparison, you may find that the Stealth Cams don’t perform quite as well as a single top-notch trail camera, but we’re all about making your dollar go a long way.

We want to see you become the best hunter you can, and having four extra sets of eyes in the woods seems like an incredible advantage. With SDHC compatibility (up to 32GB) and secure lock password protection on the devices, you’ll truly be the commander of your hunting spot. This bundle fulfills all the things that buyers should consider when choosing the best trail camera: good camera recovery time, good lens, long night range, video recording, and plenty of memory.​

5 Best Survival Knives

If you’re like us, and spend a significant amount of time outdoors camping, hiking, hunting, or simply enjoying nature, you want the best equipment—or at least the best within a reasonable budget. The best survival knife can prove invaluable for numerous tasks you would perform in any outdoor scenario, including survival. The following research and reviews will help narrow this ever-broadening market, and assist you with finding the best survival knife for your needs, and budget.

We have compiled a list of high quality survival knives that offer great value. Our focus is on the quality and functionality of the knife, not celebrity endorsements or fancy packaging. A survival knife is a tool that needs to be relied upon in all circumstances and given the proper care and respect.

With careful ownership, your survival knife could last for years and become almost an extension of your arm. The choice of knife is a decision that should not be made quickly or taken lightly.

The 5 Best Survival Knife For Hunting On The Market

​What to Look for in a Survival Knife

A common mistake buyers make when searching for a survival blade is to make a choice based on how a knife appears, or which celebrity, government agency, or branch of the military appears on the packaging. We’re not saying that a celebrity-endorsed knife will be of inherently poor quality, but products that focus more on a sexy design or a popular celebrity icon raise a few red flags.

The appearance of a knife tells you nothing about how the knife will function or feel in your hand. Below are a few things to take into consideration when you shop around for a survival knife.


It’s a common misconception that the bigger the knife, the better it can perform all the tasks you will need it to do. In truth, the size of the knife shouldn’t be cumbersome or awkward for you to hold. A knife that’s ideal for one person may be too big—or too small for you. If it doesn’t immediately make you think “this feels right” when you hold it, you should probably continue shopping. The ideal length averages between 9-11 inches with a 4-6 inch blade, but this may vary depending on an individual’s hand.

Bear in mind that larger knives will not be as efficient at slicing and performing more delicate tasks. Large knives are often ideal for hacking, chopping, digging, and similar uses. Smaller knives will do well at more nuanced tasks, but may fall short will more hefty chores like building an emergency shelter.

Fixed vs. Folding

While a folding blade seems like a great choice for an everyday carry (or EDC) knife—it’s not an ideal choice for a survival knife due to the potential weaknesses created by it’s design. The matter comes down to the joint that allows the knife to fold. This joint is often seen as a weak point in the knife and can be detrimental to your survival should the joint give while you are using the knife.

survival knife for campers

You can still bring a folding knife with you to handle smaller, less demanding tasks, and quite frankly we recommend doing just this. Almost every outdoorsman can find a use for an old-fashioned pocket knife, smaller fixed blade, or a folding knife for their EDC or utility blade. However, your main survival knife should always have a fixed blade.


The best survival knife blades are full tang. A full tang is when the blade extends down the middle of the handle to the end of the knife. This can be seen from looking at some tactical knives, while others have a completely enclosed handle, making it hard to tell if the knife utilizes a full tang, three-quarter tang, or other design.

Stainless steel or carbon steel are the typical materials used to make knife blades, each having its own strengths and weaknesses. Stainless steel is resistant to rust and corrosion, making it easier to maintain. Steel that is qualified as high carbon steel is harder, and therefore known for retaining an edge better than some other steels.

A serrated blade can come in handy, but a wholly serrated blade will be a problem when you need a straight blade. If you want a serrated blade, look for a knife that has a blade that is partially serrated—this will offer you plenty of versatility in the field.


The handle can be just as useful as the blade of a survival knife. Choosing a knife with a sturdy pommel at the end of the handle allows your survival knife to double as a striking tool. Hollow handles will not be useful for impacts, because they lack heft and are more likely to break. A hole near the end for a lanyard is a good feature—and shouldn’t greatly impact strength.

The best handles are often coated in a material that prevents the hand from slipping and ensures that the grip is well-maintained. If the handle is uncomfortable, strangely shaped, or imbalanced, you will run into problems while using the knife—problems when using a tool that your life depends on are exactly the type of thing we’d like you to avoid. After all, if you die out there in the field, how are you going to come back to read more articles?

A good handle could very well be the difference between avoiding the need for medical attention and—you guessed it—requiring medical attention. In a potential survival scenario, any injury exponentially complicates things, so it’s wise to choose a properly designed survival blade.

The 5 Best Survival Knives

Bushcrafter Outdoor Survival Knife

The Benchmade – Bushcrafter 162 Fixed Outdoor Survival Knife is designed for heavy outdoor use. Interestingly, the original version of this knife was found and used by explosive ordinance technicians who liked the quality of the knife—and used it frequently for cutting plastic explosives.

Their input leads to the redesigning of the survival knife, and here you have it.

The blade is fashioned using S30V stainless steel and keeps its sharp edge with care. The knife is well-balanced and easily fits in large hands for outdoorsmen and women that find smaller knifes difficult to grip.​

Bushcrafter Outdoor Survival Knife

Editor’s Rating:

The knife smoothly and efficiently batons, cuts and shaves wood and tinder, butchers game, and can be utilized as a multi-tool. The handle has edges that may dig into the hand upon initial use. The edges can be filed down by hand if they are uncomfortable and the sheath can be replaced with one of your own choosing.

The Bushcrafter’s price is a good deal higher than most survival knives. The higher price speaks to the exceptional quality and durability of the knife. However, it would stand to reason that the handle would be a bit better constructed for such a costly item.​

Things We Liked

  • S30V Stainless steel blade
  • Exceptionally sharp
  • Spine is great for striking a ferro rod
  • High ground drop point with polished finish
  • Thick durable blade
  • Quality leather holster with D ring
  • Full tang
  • Well-balanced

Things We Didn’t Like

  • The sheath the knife comes with maybe too tight for the knife, requiring the purchase of a separate sheath
  • Handle edges are harsh and may be uncomfortable to grip
  • Large price tag

Cold Steel Survival Knife

The Cold Steel SRK Survival Rescue Fixed Blade Knife is a reasonably attractive knife, if not a bit simple, but what it lacks in beauty it makes up for with durability and functionality.

The SRK is sharp and retains its edge even with extensive use. The kraton encased handle helps keep your grip from slipping and makes handling the knife comfortable. The full tang design allows the knife to withstand harsh treatment and being battered through outdoor activities.

The high shine of the blade can be a deal breaker if you are looking for a stealthy knife. While the polish is impressive, it is a bit shocking, but it will fade over time with use. You could also dirty up the blade some to cut down on the shine if it’s really a serious concern.​

Cold Steel SRK Survival Rescue Fixed Blade Knife

Editor’s Rating:

This knife is a bit expensive and when you venture into the knife market anywhere north of the $100 price range, the competition gets incredibly tough. While the construction is solid and well-done, thematerials alone may not warrant a high price. Still, the quality of the knife is worth the cost, if you can spare a bit more cash.

Things We Liked

  • Kraton handle offers a comfortable, solid grip
  • San Mai III steel made in Japan for high performance
  • Secure sheath comes with the knife
  • Keeps its sharpened edge for an extended period
  • A great survival or fighting knife
  • Designed to take a beating

Things We Didn’t Like

  • The Secure-Ex sheath is reported to dull the blade
  • The blade is very shiny and can be almost blinding when the sun reflects off of it
  • May be a cumbersome knife for smaller hands

Gerber Survival Knife

The Gerber LMF II Survival Knife is a smaller, but sturdy knife compared to others on the market. The weight may not be pleasing to some buyers, but others will find the heftiness a testament to its quality. The pommel is sculpted to become a defensive tool, and can be used to break glass if necessary.

The standard sheath that comes with the knife is versatile and can be worn in several ways. The blade is carbon, which should hold an edge nicely. The serrations would come in handy if you need to saw materials.

Moderately priced, but one thing that’s interested is the LMFII is offered in a few configurations that seem to flex a bit in price.

GERBER StrongArm Fixed Blade Knife

Editor’s Rating:

If you’re serious about this knife, you can find a few great deals on Amazon.​

The LMFII was designed with a few bells and whistles, which drove up the price a bit. It comes equipped with a built-in sharpener, which can be useful, but is unnecessary. The use of plastic in the handle may have contributed to keeping the price down, but a better material would have been a better choice, even if the price went up somewhat.​

Things We Liked

  • Doubles as a glass breaker
  • Built-in sharpener in the sheath
  • Partially serrated blade
  • Well-made, functional sheath
  • Sheath is fire-retardant

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Carbon blade needs extra care to prevent rusting
  • Heavy for its size
  • The weakest point seems to be the handle

Schrade Survival Knife

Schrade’s SCHF9N survival knife was designed for endurance and big jobs. The knife excels at chopping, hacking, and breaking apart materials, but does not have enough delicacy to tackle smaller tasks.

The size and heaviness of the knife lend to its ability to cut and chop wood but is its downfall for tasks requiring a lighter hand.

Schrade Survival knife

Editor’s Rating:

On the large side, this knife is perfect for a user with large hands and a good amount of strength. Buyers of smaller builds may find this knife a little unwieldy. A smaller knife is less taxing on the user and less awkward to use for people with smaller hands and less brute strength.

​Sold for around $40, the SCHF9N is a bargain for a survival knife without compromising quality. However, you may need to dole out a bit more money to invest in a knife that can handle less demanding tasks.

Things We Liked

  • Good for hacking, chopping, and heavy tasks
  • Blade is a durable carbon stainless steel
  • Full tang
  • Sturdy

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Does not perform tasks that require finesse particularly well
  • Heavy
  • Poorly designed sheath
  • Too large for smaller hands

Ontario Knife Company

Ontario Knife Company had deep-set roots in the knife-making world stretching back well over a hundred years—125 years according to their web site.

All of that expertise is put into the Black Bird SK-5 and it’s brother, the Black Bird Noir.

The size and materials used to create the knife make it especially durable and well-balanced. The price is on the high side, but as we’ve said before, you get what you pay for.

The SK-5 can be had for around a hundred dollars, but one look at this beauty and you know the price is for the craftsmanship of the knife instead of the aesthetics.​

Editor’s Rating:

The designer of the SK-5, Paul Sheiter, said “I believe the more complicated a product becomes, the more likely it is to fail when your life depends on it. For this reason, I designed The Blackbird SK-5 Knife to achieve maximum function delivered through pure simplicity.” When discussing the topic of survival gear, we couldn’t agree more, Paul.

The knife comes with a sheath—and if you’re feeling frisky there are plenty of custom options, like this one by Hedgehog Leatherworks, that pair very nicely with the Black Bird SK-5.

Things We Liked

  • 154CM Steel
  • Full tang
  • Extremely durable
  • Stainless steel allen-head screws keep the handle attached to the tang
  • MOLLE compatible sheath that also has belt loops and protective insert
  • Handle has great grip

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Only available in one blade configuration
  • Pricey
  • Utilitarian appearance

Of the survival knives we have researched and reviewed, the Outdoorhill overall top pick is the Ontario Knife Company Black Bird SK-5. We chose the SK-5 as our top pick as it can perform numerous functions equally well. It also has the impressive ability to maintain its edge and offers a solid grip to avoid slippage and possible injury. You may find yourself more attracted to a knife that’s designed a bit prettier, and we understand that, but the Black Bird SK-5 would be the ideal choice for any outdoorsman or survivalist needing a valuable tool that can be kept at their side at all times.


It should be noted, that most of the top 5 survival knives we looked at today were sold at high-end prices. This highlights the fact that well-made, high-quality knives will cost more, but are worth the expense for meeting your needs. Keep in mind that substance over style is far more important when choosing items you plan to potentially stake your life on.

Always ask yourself, will this knife get the job done? Don’t worry about how it will look while doing it.

A good survival knife will aid your survival, not act as an interesting accessory.​

A good survival knife will be your partner in the rugged outdoor landscape. You will need a knife you can depend on, demand the best from on each outing, and wield with precision and confidence. Choose the knife that will bring out the best in both of you!​

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I usually bring my own ammo so I don’t have to pay the upcharges of ammo at the range. But Ammo is getting very expensive. Keeping ammo stocked has become challenging for alot of vendors and customers are paying a premium price for ammo. So going to the range seems a like tempting your  wallet.

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Best Home Defense Firearms

A home invasion can be very bad. Home invaders normally run in packs of two to four people. They may be buzzed on meth or heroin and can be very violent. They may be looking for valuables or drugs. Even worst, is they could be looking for fun and have their sick way with you and your family members. Rape and torture are a sport for many thugs.

What are you going to use to defend yourself? A knife or baseball bat? Most likely one or all of the home invaders will be packing a pistol. A baseball bat or knife will do you no good in a gunfight.

Having a high capacity pistol or revolver will put you on an even playing field with the criminals. Having a pump shotgun or rifle is even better, and could give you the upper hand.

Defend Your Community:  Autoloading Rifle

A weapon for this purpose needs to reach out there, plus have firepower. Prepping for war, you need a good semi-auto rifle with open sights. With practice, you should be able to hit a basketball-size target at 200 yards. Low-cost ammo is important too, as you will need to stockpile.

AR-15 rifle

My first choice would be the AR-15 M4 rifle as parts and accessories are plentiful. The second choice would be a toss-up between an AKM (AK-47) and Ruger Mini-14. Both excellent weapons.


See the Cheap AR-15 rifles website, as they list the best AR rifles on the market priced under $750.

Protect Your Home: Pump Shotgun

The autoloading shotguns are cool but have limited capacity. Get yourself a pump shotgun that carries at least 5 rounds of 12ga 2 3/4 shells in the tube. An ammo sling or shoulder bag with 15 rounds of backup ammunition is a good idea too. Pump shotguns are cheap, with prices starting under $200 for some imports.

Escort Shotgun

My favorites are the Mossberg 590 and Remington 870 police. The Escort Aimguard and Rock Island M5 are two of the best cheap shotguns.

Mossberg Pump

Keep an ammo stash of #8 target, #00 buck, and slugs. The #8 will be your cheap practice and hunting ammo. The pistol grip 18″ barrel shotguns look cool, but are not that fun to shoot.

Protect Your Family: High Capacity Handgun

If you can only afford one weapon for home protection, choose a high capacity handgun. A good pistol you can shoot well should be your first choice. One without an external thumb safety is best. In panic mode, all you need to do is pull the trigger. Calibers 9mm, 40 S&W;, and 45 ACP are all great with easy to find ammo. I would give the advantage to the 9mm for the high magazine capacity and cheaper ammunition. I am not going to tell you what brand of the pistol is the best. My advice is to see what the cops carry. The Best 9mm pistols site ranks and reviews over 30 handguns.

Walther PistolRuger Revolver

Some family members may not be able to grasp the function of a pistol. A double-action revolver may be a better choice for them. A D/A revolver is simple to load and easy to shoot. The first choice should be the 357 magnum, as it can also shoot popular 38 special ammunition. Even a cheaper single action cowboy gun in 357 makes a good home defense weapon. It is natural to pull the hammer back then fire. My wife does this with D/A revolvers too.

Protect Yourself: EDC & Concealed Carry

I always liked the concept of concealed carry. It is good to be armed when you are out and about. Nothing makes you feel more free and safe than a loaded gun.

Springfield XDS

For many years I could never grasp the EDC or “everyday carry” when you are at home. I thought EDC was only for paranoid nut jobs. What I have learned is there are times to be paranoid. A few examples: Riots are breaking out a few blocks from your house. Some of your neighbors have reported home break-ins. Three convicts just escaped from jail. People in the house down the street are rumored to be dealing drugs. You just fired a bad employee. Your daughter had a nasty breakup with her boyfriend. You are a witness to a crime.

Kahr CW9

My first EDC weapon choice would be a sub-compact single stack 9mm like the Kahr CW9 or Springfield XDS. A 380 ACP pocket-size handgun would be good too, as you won’t notice the bulk or weight. See the CCW concealed carry website as they have a weight sorted list of most concealed carry guns.

Stash Guns: Keep Weapons Within Reach

Don’t let bad guys get between you and a gun. In a home invasion, seconds do count. I think about how terrible it would be if someone broke into my home while I was in the shower. What if meth-heads got in through the bedroom window where I keep my pistol in the nightstand and shotgun in the closet? Meanwhile, the wife, kids, and I are watching TV in the living room. We would be in trouble!

Taurus 85

Stash guns should be low-cost firearms that you can afford to buy plenty of. Handguns are the best, as they are easy to stash. Good stash points are Bathroom cabinet (inside Ziplock bag). Kitchen cabinet. Under the living room couch (the invaders will force you to lay on the floor). In the garage. The utility room. In the basement. If you have young children in the home, make sure guns are secure or out of reach.

Smith Wesson SD9

The price limit is set at $350 for stash guns. A few good ones are the Taurus 85 revolver (pictured), Smith & Wesson SD9 (pictured), Walther PPX, Kahr CT9, SCCY CPX-2, Taurus 111 G2, Kel-Tec P-11, and Bersa Thunder 380.
See The Best Cheap Pistols Under $350

Cache Weapons: Guns, Ammo, & Knives

Cache weapons are for when your home security has been compromised. You flee out the back door and grab weapons from your hidden cache. Now you can go back inside to save a family member or property. When you re-enter your home, you may need some serious firepower. The cache is good for if your house burns down too. You may be homeless, but well-armed.

Taurus 111 G2

Your Cache: An old large Igloo cooler, or another watertight container. Loaded pistol grip shotgun with ammo sling. Loaded medium-size pistol with a nylon holster on a rope; so you can tie it around your waist or hang on your shoulder. Hunting knife. Include your choice of survival stuff like; snack food, water, blanket, and a tarp.

Riot Shotguns

Load up your cooler and bury it in the back yard, far away from your house. Make sure the lid is only 3 inches below the surface so you can dig it out with your hands. Another idea is to place it under a birdbath or flower pots flush with the ground, instead of covering with dirt. Don’t spend a lot of money on your cache weapons.

22 Rifle Food Getter: Ultimate Survival

A semi-automatic 22 rifle is awesome for hunting small game. With the firepower, the 22 autoloading rifles will work for self-defense in a pinch. At cheap prices, a 22 rifle should be part of your weapons collection. Keep quality ammunition on hand like the CCI Mini mags, Remington Golden, and Federal bulk pack. The hard-hitting Winchester 42 Max and Remington Viper ammunition are best for defense.

Ruger 10/22

Good ones are the Ruger 10/22, Marlin Model 60, and Savage 64. The 22 rifle is a great tool to get your family involved in a shooting.

High Power Bolt Action Rifle: Stopping Power

A scoped deer rifle can double as a sniper weapon. This is not the main reason we have it listed for home defense. A high powered deer rifle can kill a car engine. It can shoot through a car long-ways. Thugs are smarter than you think. Some of them may be wearing body armor. At close range, an 300 Winchester magnum will shoot through level IV bulletproof vest, including the breast-plate! The 300 Winchester can shoot through cinder-block walls too. The 270 Winchester and 30-06 Springfield will penetrate the popular level III vest at about any range.

Savage Rifles

I would stick to the long action popular calibers, like the 270, 30-06, 7mm Remington Mag, and 300 Winchester. If Walmart has it, it is popular. Ruger, Remington, Marlin, Mossberg, and Savage make good budget-priced high power bolt action rifles.

Bug-out Bag Gun: Get Out Of Town Fast

What are the best firearms for a bug-out bag? Really just about any that will fit, that isn’t too heavy. You need to take the weight and bulk of the ammunition into consideration too. A bug-out gun will not only be used for protection but may be used for small game hunting too.

Ruger SR22There is no real wrong choice, but a 22LR pistol is almost ideal. Do some research, as half of the 22 pistols on the market are jam-o-matics. The top 3 choices are the Smith & Wesson M&P22;, Ruger SR22, and Bersa Thunder 22. These three are lightweight and feed premium ammo just fine. The hard-hitting Winchester 42 Max and Remington Viper ammunition is best for defense.

Why America Stays Free

Here in the USA, we have the best army in the world, but sometimes it is stretched thin from conflicts around the globe.

The main reason we will never be invaded is our quiet civilian army. We are talking about 120 million gun owners in America with 270 million firearms. Over 15 million have a hunting license. This is 15 million hunters that know how to shoot and handle a high powered rifle or shotgun. 15 million hunters that know how to stalk, find a target and kill. They also have camping gear and 4×4 trucks!

Take the state of Michigan for example. There are 700,000 hunters in Michigan. This would make Michigan hunters the 6th largest army in the world; bigger than France and the United Kingdom combined!

Best Pistols For Home Defense under $400

Listed below are some of the best pistols you can buy at a dealer for $400 or less. We did not list all of the small pocket pistols, even though they will work for a house gun.

For home defense, try to stay with the most popular calibers that will do the job. The ability to find ammunition at reasonable prices is important. We are sure we missed some.

Best Low-Cost Pistols Under $350

Arcus 98 HP Clone

$320-$350 from a dealer

Arcus 98 Review

The 9mm Bulgarian Arcus 98 is an overbuilt replica of the FN Hi-Power, except it is DA/SA instead of an only single action. Most Hi-Power parts and accessories will work with some minor modifications. The Arcus 98 fit and finish compare well to premium pistols. 15 round magazine capacity. Mec-Gar Browning Hi-Power mags work great! Arcus 94 is the same but in a single action.

American Tactical Pistols

$320-$400 from a dealer

American Tactical Handguns

ATI (American Tactical Imports) is the importer of the high-quality Tisas pistols made in Turkey. The models CS9, CS40, and C45 look like a modded Sig (as pictured). The ATI model AT92 is a copy of the Beretta 92. The ATI HP9 is a clone of the Browning Hi-Power. The FX45 1911 is patterned after the M1911-A1 45 ACP service pistols. The model MS380 looks like the Beretta 380. It looks like ATI has picked the right Tisas pistols to market, plus the prices are very cheap.

Bersa Thunder 380

$250-$280 from a dealer


The Bersa Thunder 380 is one of the most popular .380 pistols. This same frame design is also available in low recoil 32 ACP and 22LR calibers. Great for women and new shooters. The Bersa pistols have a full lifetime warranty and are known to be some of the most trouble-free guns made. The Bersa 22 model is ammo picky, so only use hypervelocity cartridges such as CCI Velocitor, Remington Viper, or Aguilla Super Max.

Hi-Point Pistols

$140-$190 from a dealer


Hi-Point pistols are available in .380, 9mm, 40 S&W;, and 45 ACP. These pistols have a good quality reputation and come with a lifetime warranty. The 380 and 9mm are compact pistols. The 40 S&W; and 45 ACP are full-sized. Hi-Point uses a simple blowback operation and manual safety. Because of the affordable prices, Hi-Point pistols are very popular for home protection. I have owned the Hi-Point 45 ACP for several years and never had a misfire or ammo jam. They are not pretty, but always go bang when you pull the trigger. Made in Dayton Ohio USA.

Jimenez JA-Nine 9mm Luger

Haggle Price $170-$200

Jimenez JA-Nine

Made in Nevada USA! The Jimenez JA-Nine is the best survivor of the cheap Saturday night specials from the 1980s. The frame is made of mystery alloy and the rest is steel. The reliability is outstanding; and they always go bang when you pull the trigger. Each Jimenez JA-Nine pistol includes two 12 round magazines. Great pistol for those on a tight budget. There is also 380 ACP (JA-.380) and 32 ACP (JA-32) versions you can get for around $150. The Jimenez JA-NIne comes with a lifetime warranty.

Kel-Tec P11 9mm

$280-$310 from a dealer

Kel-Tec P11

Since the Kel-Tec P11 has a 10 round magazine, it would make a good nightstand gun as well as a concealed carry pistol. The P11 has been in production for a long time, so any problems from the past have been worked out. At only 14 ounces, the P11 does kick like a mule. Because of the size, you can carry it in a jacket pocket, or keep it in your fishing tackle box. The green version is cool.

Kel-Tec PMR-30 22 WMR

$330-$360 from a dealer

A 22 magnum needs a 4-inch barrel to build the velocity to be effective. The Kel-Tec PMR-30 has a 4.3-inch barrel, and 30 round magazine so you know it will do the job. It is about time a company filled the grip with as much rimfire ammo that would fit! This 22 mag pistol would be so much fun at the range. At only 14 ounces empty, the PMR-30 is no hog either. The PMR-30 is so wicked looking. I want one!

Phoenix Arms HP22

$130-$160 from a dealer

Phoenix Arms

A 22 pistol is not the best choice for home defense. However, if you unload the whole magazine, it is about as effective as a shotgun! We listed the Phoenix Arms HP22 because they have a good reliability reputation and they are cheap. Plus the HP22 is fun to shoot! The HP22 is the ultimate survival weapon for your bug-out bag! You can also get a 5-inch range barrel for only $45 if you want to go small game hunting. As with any 22 semi-auto, use high-quality ammo such as CCI Mini-mags. 11 round capacity. The HP22 comes with a factory lifetime warranty. Also available in 25 ACP.

Rock Island Armory 1911A1 45 ACP

$380-$410 from a dealer

Rock Island Armscor

The RIA 1911 is a very good copy of the M1911-A1 army service pistol. Rock Island makes some of the best 1911 pistols on the market. The price is good too! There are so many goodies available to turn a 1911 pistol into a hotrod. You can also spend $55 more and get the RIA Tactical version that is already a hotrod. I own the Tactical version and it shoots as good as a $1200 Dan Wesson! Eight round magazine capacity. Caution: Dealers think they can get away with really jacking up the price on RIA 1911 pistols. Shop smart! Also, see the ATI FX45.

Ruger P95 9mm

$300-$330 from a dealer

Ruger P95

I would bet that the P95 is one of the most popular nightstand guns. The P95 is a very reliable pistol with 15 round magazine capacity. You can get the Ruger P95 with stainless or blued slide finish. The frame has a built-in rail so you can add a laser if you want. I have known some police officers that carry this pistol and just love it. The trigger is a little mushy, but a good shooter. If you shop around, you may find the Ruger SR9 and SR40 pistols under $400.


9mm Luger $230-$290 from a dealer

SCCY Firearms

Weight: 15.0 oz., Barrel: 3.1″, Capacity: 10+1 rounds
The early models had some issues. The new generation 2 models are reliable as a claw hammer. Smooth double-action trigger. Also, see the CPX-1 model with a manual safety. SCCY Firearms carry a lifetime warranty that stays with the gun, not with the owner. Made in the USA. Great as a nightstand gun or concealed carry.

Stoeger Cougar 8000

$380-$410 from a dealer

Cougar Pistols

This gun was called the Beretta Cougar, then production was moved to Turkey. The Stoeger Cougar uses the rotating barrel design to improve accuracy and reduce recoil. The 9mm version only kicks like a 380 ACP! This is a metal-framed handgun and built very tight. Very accurate for a short barrel gun. Also available in 40 S&W; and 45 ACP.

Smith & Wesson SW9VE Sigma

$300-$330 from a dealer

I bought a 9mm Sigma for my wife. The trigger pull was so hard for her, she couldn’t hit the side of a barn with it! This is still one of Smith’s best selling pistols. If you can live with the 10-pound DAO trigger, it is a very nice quality gun. I never hear of anyone having problems. Reliable as a claw hammer! Some police and the border patrol have used the Sigma, so the heavy trigger pull might be fine for them. The Sigma is also available in 40 calibers. Look for rebates!
S&W; Sigma

Smith & Wesson SD9

$370-$400 from a dealer

S&W; SD Pistols

The SD9 is a much better pistol than the Sigma. The trigger feels twice as good! Of course, it cost $75 more too. S&W; markets this pistol as a personal defense weapon, so it might be just what you are looking for. At only 23 ounces, it would work great for concealed carry too. This is a new handgun, so prices should come down when the excitement fades. Also available in 40 caliber (SD40).

Taurus Millennium Pro .40 S&W

$340-$370 from a dealer

Taurus PT 145

The PT 140 is a medium frame, a semi-auto pistol that has a checkered polymer frame. It has a 3.25-inch barrel and incorporates the Heinie 2-dot Straight Eight sight system for great functionality and dependability. PT 140 features include a loaded chamber indicator, recessed magazine, and a 3-position safety. Taurus has an unlimited lifetime repair policy. Also available in 9mm (PT 111), and 45 ACP (PT 145). At only 19 ounces, the Millennium Pro is great for concealed carry.

Taurus PT 809 9mm

$360-$390 from a dealer

Taurus PT 809

I can’t believe this pistol is priced so cheaply! The PT 809 is one of the best pistols you can get for under $400. A nice feature is you can swap out backstraps to make it fit your hand better. The PT 809 will fool you into thinking it is a metal frame handgun. It feels that solid! SA trigger pull is right at 5.5 pounds and very crisp. Also available in 45 ACP (PT 845). Also, check out the Taurus 24/7 G2 pistols as they are very similar.

Shotguns For Home Defense under $500

If you don’t have much money to spend for home defense, make it a shotgun. Pump-action or semi-automatic should be your first choice. A double-barrel coach gun would also be a good choice. Even a $130 single shot is better than a baseball bat!

All shotguns on this page are 12 gauge. The 12 gauge is king, but the 20 gauge and .410 are good too. In fact, the little .410 is powerful as a 357 magnum revolver! The .410 is a good choice for women as the recoil is light and the shells are easy to cycle.

As for 12 gauge home defense ammo, anything between #4 and #00 buckshot will work fine. The #4 buckshot would be like getting hit in the chest 20 times by a 22 rifle! At 15 feet the pattern will be about 4″ wide from a 20-inch barrel. The #6 shot game bird loads should be the minimum size for use indoors.

Listed below are shotguns that are made for tactical situations. Shotguns for deer hunting work well for home defense too. For house guns, we have selected shotguns that you can buy from a dealer for $500 or less. I am sure we have missed a few.

ATI Shotguns

$190-$300 from a dealer

We will update this listing when we know more about the Americal Tactical Imports shotguns. We do know they are made by Ottoman in Turkey. The ATI Grand Vizar pump should retail at a dealer for under $200. What I am excited about is the ATI Sultan autoloader that should be around $270 at a dealer. This is really cheap! Both defense shotguns carry 5 rounds in the magazine. Also available in nickel marine finish. Check out their website.

 Benelli Nova Pump Tactical

$370-$410 from a dealer

I don’t have experience with the Benelli Nova Tactical, but I have shot the Benelli field guns. I do remember the action was very smooth and had a solid feel to it. The Benelli Nova Pump Tactical has an 18.5-inch barrel, weighs 7.2 pounds, and holds 5 rounds. The Italians are famous for their styling, and the Nova Pump Tactical is a sweet looking shotgun. You really need to haggle to get a good deal. The MSRP is $409, and dealers don’t discount the price much.

 Browning BPS High Capacity Pump

$430-$460 from a dealer

You may pay more, but you are getting the quality Browning is known for. The Browning BPS has a Forged and machined steel receiver is a matte blued finish. 20″ fixed cylinder choke barrel with silver bead front sight. Bottom ejection action with dual steel action bars and a top tang safety. Browning BPS has composite stock and forearm in matte black finish. 8 round capacity. Also, see the Ithaca model 37.

Century Arms Coach Gun

$290-$320 from a dealer

Nothing will stop an intruder faster than looking down the bore of a double-barrel coach gun. 20″ barrel. Nice hardwood stock with blue finish. With practice, you can reload in only seconds. Brass bead front sight, sling swivel, 3-inch chamber, checkered forearm, and grip. Barrel: 20 inches, Century Arms Coach Gun is Overall: 37 inches, Weight: 7.84 lbs.

 Century Arms Ultra 87 Tactical

$220-$250 from a dealer

Modeled after the famous Remington 870, this pump-action beauty is perfect for home defense. The Ultra 87 comes with front and rear sling swivels, fiber optic sights, black synthetic furniture, 5 round tube capacity, and a 19-inch barrel. Also, see the Norinco Interstate Arms Hawk Pump Defense. Many aftermarket 870 stocks and accessories will fit.

Charles Daly Field All Weather

$260-$290 from a dealer

The Charles Daly Field All Weather sure is pretty with the nickel-plated finish. Pump action. Ghost ring sight. 6 shot capacity. The aluminum receiver helps to keep weight down. 18.5″ barrel. Note: Charles Daly (KBI) is out of business. You still may be able to find them new at gun shows and dealers.

 Citadel LE Tactical Standard

$330-$360 from a dealer

The Citadel LE Tactical pump shotgun is made special just for the law enforcement market. You can get one, but you may need to ask your dealer to order it. Citadel LE Tactical features a very modern narrow short stroke, lightweight receiver with a 22-inch barrel. The Citadel LE Tactical Standard weighs only 6.35 pounds, plus has a 7 round tube magazine. There are 4 different options for stocks. Made in the USA!

CZ 712 Utility Semi-Auto

$450-$480 from a dealer

CZ handcrafted shotguns merge old world craftsmanship with state of the art modern technology. The CZ 712 Utility is very rugged and built to last a lifetime. Great shotgun for police use, home defense, or on the farm. Semi-automatic action with 20″ barrel. 5 round capacity. The CZ 712 Utility Semi-Auto is priced low for a quality semi-auto.


$210-$240 from a dealer

The EAA SAR has a duel smooth reliable action bar. Solid drilled and honed barrel. Stock and forend produced from the highest quality polymers. Machined thread on barrel extension. Cross trigger block. Machined locking block and bolt. Aircraft quality machined not the cast aluminum receiver. The EAA SAR Pump has an 18.5″ or 20″ barrel and weighs less than 6 pounds. There is also a SAR Special Purpose version with tactical pistol grip stock. The sporter version is pictured. Made by Sarsilmaz, so you know the quality is good. EAA also offers a 24″ semi-auto deer shotgun you can get for around $350!

 Escort MarineGuard Pump

$280-$310 from a dealer

The MarineGuard is built like a swiss watch! You can feel the premium Hatsan quality in the Escort MarineGuard. 6 rounds capacity and weighs 6.25 pounds. Escort MarineGuard and AimGuard shotguns are designed specifically for defense use. The MarineGuard has an 18-inch cylinder-bore barrel, five-shot magazine, and nickel finish. There is also an AimGuard version in black finish for about $70 less. The Escort has the fastest pump action of any shotgun I have ever fired. Faster than many semi-autos! HK FabArm FP6 aftermarket stocks and accessories should fit.

Interstate Arms 97T Trench Gun

$360-$390 from a dealer

The 97T Trench Gun is so cool. I want one! The 97T is an exact replica of the 1897 shotguns used in world war one and two. It looks like a military collector piece from the exposed hammer to the oiled wood. Of course, if I owned one, I would be shooting it! The Interstate Arms (Norinco) 97T is 12 gauge with 2 3/4 inch chamber, metal handguard, 20-inch barrel, bayonet lug, and military swivels. 5 shot capacity. All you need now is a replica bayonet.

 Maverick Model 88

$200-$230 from a dealer

The Maverick 88 is made by Mossberg to the same quality standards. I have owned a Maverick 88 pump-action shotgun, and it was nice. I don’t know why they are priced so much less than the Mossberg 500 as the quality is very good. 20″ barrel with 8 round capacity. There is also a Maverick 88 model with an 18.5-inch barrel and 6 shot magazine. Aftermarket Mossberg 500 accessories and stocks will fit.

 Mossberg 500 SP

$310-$340 from a dealer

The Mossberg 500 is the top-selling pump-action shotgun in the USA. It is available in many different barrel lengths and stock configurations. Shown is the Mossberg 500 pistol grip model. Pistol grip shotguns may look cool but are only fun for a little while. You will be glad you went with the rifle buttstock instead. Aftermarket accessories are galore! There is also a 510 Mini version great for smaller shooters in .410 or 20 gauge. The 510 Mini has an 18.5-inch barrel and weighs only 5 pounds!

Mossberg 590 SP

$400-$430 from a dealer

The 590 series Mossberg is a little beefier built than the 500. The 590 can also handle 3 1/2 inch magnum shells. The 590 the top choice pump-action shotgun used by the US Military. Also, check out the Mossberg 835 Mag. Model 835 for deer hunting is an awesome shotgun.

Mossberg 930 Special Purpose HS

$470-$500 from a dealer

The model 930 Home Security is a semi-automatic shotgun for police and home security use. The model 930 has 6 round capacity. Weighs in at 7.5 pounds. The 930 HS can handle 2 3/4 or 3-inch shells. If you are willing to spend more money, there is a 930 Blackwater version with 8 shot magazine and very cool stock. Autoloading shotguns are so fun to shoot! Also, see the SA-20 Tactical in 20 gauge.

NEF H&R; Pardner Pump Protector

$190-$220 from a dealer

Compare the New England Firearms Pardner pump shotgun, feature for feature, with any of its higher price competitors. The NEF pardner Pump has a steel receiver, double-action bars, and cross-bolt safety. 5 round capacity with 18.5″ barrel. Comes with the famous H&R; a two-year warranty! Many aftermarket 870 stocks and accessories will fit. Also, see the Norinco Interstate Arms Hawk Pump Defense. Note: My local Wal-Mart has the Pardner Pump for $160!

Remington 870 Tactical Express

$330-$360 from a dealer

The 870 model is over 50 years old and still going strong! The Remington 870 is the most popular pump shotgun for police use. The 870 Tactical Express has an 18.5″ barrel and 7 round capacity. Just like the Mossberg 500, there are tons of accessories and goodies for the Remington 870. The model 870 is the most copied shotgun on the market.

 Rock Island (Armscor) M5 Tactical

$240-$270 from a dealer

You would swear the Armscor M30SAS (or RIA M5 Tactical) is a $600 shotgun. The picture does not do it justice. With the jeweled bolt and heat shield, it is a very nice looking pump-action shotgun. 7 round capacity with 20″ barrel. The M5 is patterned after the awesome High Standard police shotguns of the past and the Winchester 1200. The Rock Island M5 quality and finish is amazing for a shotgun at any price. RIA also makes an M5 with a shorter 18.75-inch barrel. Nickel finish is available. Lifetime warranty.

Savage Stevens 350 Security

$220-$250 from a dealer

Savage Stevens 350 Security Pump shotgun in 12 ga with a 3-inch chamber and 18.25″ barrel. Has matte blue finish with black synthetic stock. Savage Stevens 350 Security has 6 shot capacity and a sturdy 7.6 pounds. Very well built shotgun with steel receiver! Looks like an Ithaca model 37! A real bargain is the Savage Stevens Field/Security combo that includes a 28 inch vented rib barrel.

Stoeger P350 Pump Defense

$300-$330 from a dealer

The Stoeger P350 is designed to fire any 12-gauge ammunition, from light target loads to 3-1/2 inch magnum. The fore-end assembly with twin action bars delivers smooth, non-binding cycling. The Stoeger P350 is a very nice pump shotgun from the same family that brings you Benelli and Franchi shotguns. Quality is first-rate. 18.5″ barrel. 5 round capacity. Weighs 6.4 pounds. The P350 also comes with a standard style polymer stock (pistol grip stock is pictured).

Stoeger SXS Coach Gun

$340-$370 from a dealer

Stoeger Double Barrel Coach Gun in 12 gauge with 20″ Barrel. Single trigger. Modified & Improved Choke. Hardwood Stock, Matte Silver Finish. SXS Fit and finish is excellent. Stoeger SXS Coach Gun is nice enough to be a collector piece. Shoot it or hang it on the wall.

Stoeger M2000 Tactical

$450-$480 from a dealer

The Stoeger Model 2000 semi-auto shotgun uses the Inertia Driven operating system. This means fewer moving parts to wear out. The M2000 Tactical features 4 shot magazine and an 18.5-inch barrel. You know the Beretta-Stoeger family of firearms are always built to last. I like the 24-inch barrel deer version better as it has a conventional shaped stock with the same shell capacity.

TriStar Cobra Force (pump)

$310-$340 from a dealer

What a mean looking pump-action shotgun. The TriStar Cobra Tactical delivers reliability and firepower with a 5 + 1 capacity magazine. This easy to maneuver, short barrel pump shotgun comes with a standard molded stock.

TriStar Cobra Viper (autoloader)

$420-$450 from a dealer

Sweet shooting semi-auto with 5 shot capacity and 20″ barrel. The TriStar Viper Series Semi Automatic Gas Operated Shotguns are reliable, functional, and hard working. The TriStar Cobra Viper Tactical Shotgun comes with a 5-year warranty!

Weatherby PA-08 TR

$310-$340 from a dealer

You know if this 12 gauge tactical shotgun is sold by Weatherby, it must be a good one! The Weatherby Tactical Pump PA-08 TR has black synthetic stock and forearm. 18.5-inch barrel. 5 shot capacity. Weighs 6.75 pounds. The Turkish-made PA-08 TR features a dual-action bar design that is straightforward, overbuilt, and made for round after round of high volume shooting. Weatherby shotguns are made by Hatsan. Hatsan is one of the best shotgun makers in the world! Great price for the Weatherby brand!

Winchester Super X Pump Defender

$320-$350 from a dealer

The Winchester pump shotgun was a worthy warrior in the Vietnam war. 6 round capacity with 18″ barrel. It also has non-glare metal surfaces with a tough composite stock and forearm. Super X weighs in at only 6.5 pounds. The Winchester Super X Pump Defender is a good priced shotgun considering the big brand name.

The Single Shots

$100-$160 from a dealer

At these low prices, there is no reason to not be armed! H&R; (NEF) and Rossi build quality break-open single-shot shotguns. My favorite of them all is the Baikal imported by USSG. The Baikal does not use an exposed hammer as the break-action cocks the gun. Reloading to ready to fire is fastest with the Baikal. Reloading speed is important with a single shot. With some practice, you can be almost as fast as with a pump. There is a place for the break-open single shot for home defense. If you have a daughter living on her own, a youth-sized .410 or 20 gauge may be the perfect weapon. They are simple for an inexperienced shooter to operate.

Revolvers For Home Defense under $400

Listed are some of the best revolvers you can get from a dealer for $400 or less. This almost looks like a sales promotion page for Charter Arms and Taurus as they both make so many models. We didn’t list them all! Single action cowboy guns are not listed.

The DA revolver is one of the best choices for a safe house gun. There is no safety to mess with. A revolver can be kept loaded with no springs to wear out. A double-action revolver is safer if you have small children in the home, as most young kids don’t have the strength to pull the double-action trigger or cock the hammer.

A revolver is so simple to use that adults with no experience can shoot it.

Armscor M206 38 SPL

$220-$250 from a dealer

This quality revolver is made in the Philippines and is a close copy of the Colt Detective service handguns used 30 years ago. Rumor is Armscor purchased the tooling and equipment from Colt. The M206 has an alloy frame that keeps the weight down to about 25 ounces. Many complain about the parkerized military finish. It is supposed to be ugly you stupid fools! Sweet trigger. The Armscor M206 gun is made by the same company that makes the awesome Rock Island Armory 1911 pistols, so it should work great. Available in 6 shot 38 special with 2 inches or 4 inches (M200) barrels. Rated for +P ammo. If you want a bobbed hammer version, look at the Bersa Firestorm FS38R (also made by Armscor). Hogue rubber grips for the Colt Detective can be made to work.

Charter Arms Undercover 38 SPL

$300-$340 from a dealer

Charter Arms has improved their quality so much in recent years and now are one of the best. Made of premium stainless steel and weigh only 16 ounces. The Undercover has a 2-inch barrel and 5 shot capacity. There is also an Undercover Lite version with an aluminum frame that weighs only 12 ounces! Bobbed hammer versions are available for concealed carry. The police model is beefier and has a 6 shot capacity. All are rated for +P ammo. You can also get the Charter Arms Undercover in 32 H&R; mag for those wanting less recoil.

Charter Arms Pathfinder 22 Mag

$320-$360 from a dealer

The Pathfinder also comes in 22 long rifle caliber, but the 22 WMR packs more punch. Get the 4-inch barrel version ($40 more) so the 22 magnums can burn enough powder to be effective for home defense. My daughter owns a Pathfinder in 22 mag and it is very accurate and fun to shoot. I am amazed at the quality you are getting for the low price. Recoil is light, but they do make a lot of noise. Weighs 20 ounces and has 6 shot capacity. Nice trail gun!

Charter Arms Mag Pug 357

$320-$350 from a dealer

The 357 magnum is an awesome home defense round. However, in a small revolver like the Mag Pug, the recoil does sting. The good news is the 357 Mag Pug can also shoot 38 special bullets for practice. The Mag Pug has a 5 shot capacity, ported 2.2-inch barrel, and weighs 23 ounces. Choose blue or stainless finish. There is also a 4-inch barrel model that is good for police and security use. The most famous Charter Arms revolver is the 44 Bulldog that shoots the 44 special cartridges. The Bulldog is built on the same frame as the 357 Mag Pug. The 44 Special has a little less felt recoil than the 357 mags.

Comanche II 38 Special

$210-$240 from a dealer

The Commanche II is made in Argentina. Adjustable rear sight. 3-inch barrel. 6 shot capacity. All steel construction. Transfer bar safety. Weighs 29 ounces. Choose a blue or stainless finish. Perfect for security personnel and personal protection. Also available in a 4-inch barrel service version. Rated for +P ammunition. The Comanche II fit and finish is not as nice as the S&W; 19, but they are reliable and shoot good. The new Comanche revolvers should have past quality issues fixed. Comanche II warranty is covered by the Bersa Lifetime Service Contract.

EAA Widicator 357 Magnum

$280-$310 from a dealer

The EAA 357 Windicator is the best bargain of any revolver. The quality and reliability of this German-made revolver compare well to $600 handguns. The finish is just average, but so what. Look at the price! I owned a Windicator for 6 years and put thousands of rounds through it with no serious problems. I had to use Locktite to keep the screws from falling out, but I had to use Locktite on my Colt Python too. The Windicator weighs 26 ounces with a 2-inch barrel. There is also a 4-inch barrel version for duty use. The 357 Windicator is built very tight, so break it in easy by shooting 38 special for the first 100 rounds. The Windicator is also available in 38 Special with alloy frame. Choose the 357 instead as the frame is steel and only weighs 1 ounce more.

 Rossi Snub Nose Revolvers

$290-$350 from a dealer

Rossi is now owned by Taurus. What this means is an excellent service and warranty. The Rossi R351 is chambered in 38 special and can handle the +P ammo. The R351 is 5 shot, with a 2-inch barrel, and weighs in at 24 ounces. The Rossi R461 comes in 357 Magnum, with a 2-inch barrel and 6 shot capacity. The R461 weighs in at 26 ounces. Both models also come in the stainless finish; model R352 for the 38 and R462 for the 357. You will love the rubber grips.

Rossi R971 357 Magnum

$330-$360 from a dealer

The Rossi R971 357 mag has been around for quite a few years and has shown a very good reliability history. The R971 is based on the S&W; K-Frame revolvers with 6 shot capacity. The 4-inch barrel and 32-ounce weight help to tame the recoil. Also available with a 6-inch barrel. For practice, you can shoot 38 Special ammo with no problem. You can also get one with a stainless finish (R972). You may want to check out the Rossi R851 in 38 Special. The R851 is pretty much the same size as the R971, but cost $40 less.

S&W; 637 Airweight 38 SPL

$370-$400 from a dealer

The 38 Special Smith and Wesson J-Frame revolver is economy-priced but offers good features. With the Alloy frame, the Airweight lives up to its name at only 15 ounces. Awesome for concealed carry. The 637 comes with a 1.87-inch barrel and 5 round stainless cylinder. It is rated for +P ammo, but don’t feed it a steady diet of the strong stuff. Best of all it is a Smith and Wesson at a price you can afford. Lifetime service policy.

Taurus 605 357 Mag

$320-$350 from a dealer

The Taurus 605 packs a lot of punch in a very small package. 2-inch barrel. 24-ounce weight. Transfer bar safety. 5 shot capacity. The Taurus 605 comes in blued or stainless finish. Something to think about: The Rossi R461 is also made by Taurus. The Rossi offers a 6 shot cylinder instead of 5. The R461 and 605 costs about the same. To me, the Rossi sounds like the better deal here. Also, see the 357 magnum Taurus model 617 with a 7 shot cylinder. There is also a model 445 Ultra-Lite in 44 Special caliber.

Taurus 65 & 66 357 Mag

$330-$380 from a dealer

Taurus model 65 is one of my favorite handguns. It just shoots and handles so well. The model 65 is a tack driver! The quality and performance compare well to the S&W; model 686 in every way. The blued finish does wear pretty fast. Spend a little extra and get one in stainless. This 4-inch barrel 6 shooter weighs 38 ounces. The model 82 is the 38 special version, but why bother? The model 66 features a 7 shot 357 mag cylinder. With model 66 you can get a 6-inch barrel for target or hunting.

Taurus 941 22 Magnum

$320-$360 from a dealer

Years ago I purchased a Taurus 941 revolver for my wife. I thought the light recoil would be perfect for her. It did not work out well. The DA trigger pull was so heavy, she could not shoot the gun unless she pulled the hammer back first. The DA trigger is heavier than a 44 mag! It was very accurate when cocking it first and just loved CCI ammo. I believe the heavy double-action trigger should be considered a design flaw. My daughter has a Charter Arms in 22 magnum, and the DA trigger is manageable. The 941 comes in blue or stainless finish.

Black Powder 44 Revolvers

$250-$320 from a dealer

If you live in an area where guns are banned, black powder weapons may still be allowed. The 44 black powder revolver packs as much punch as a 38 special +P! The gun that won the west makes a fine defense weapon. They are fun to load and shoot too. Just remember that a black powder pistol charge has a shelf life of about 12 months, so you need to take it out and shoot once in a while. Even though brass is very pretty, get one with a steel frame as it is stronger. Both the 1951 Colt Navy and 1958 Remington Army styles are proven designs. The 1860 Colt Army is considered the best. I believe you can order directly without going through an FFL dealer.

Best Cheap Pistols Under $350

1. Canik TP9-SA 9mm: $330-$350 From a Dealer

Weight: 28.8 oz., Barrel: 4.47″, Mag: 18/9mm

What started out years ago as a Walther P99 knockoff, evolved into an awesome weapon Canik made their own. The single-action 4.5lb trigger is sweet. You can swap out backstraps for hand fitment. The Canik TP9 is good enough for IPDA.

 2. Taurus TH9 9mm: $290-$310

Weight: 28.2 oz., Barrel: 4.27″, Mag: 17/9mm

The Taurus TH9 is pretty much a makeover of the PT809. This is good, as the PT809 was one of the best Taurus handguns ever made. DA/SA hammer action, Interchangeable backstraps, and Novak sights. The 40 S&W; is in the works.

 3. Ruger Security-9 9mm: $310-$330

Weight: 23.7 oz., Barrel: 4.00″, Mag: 15/9mm

I love this gun. The Security-9 is the size of the Glock 19, but thinner. It has an internal hammer, but the trigger is good as most striker-fired handguns. The grip fits medium to small hands just fine. It is ultra-reliable and so fun to shoot. Way to go Ruger!

4. Walther Creed 9mm: $320-$340

Weight: 26.6 oz., Barrel: 4.00″, Mag: 16/9mm

Can you believe a German-made Walther at this price? The Creed is the Gen2 version of the PPX. Walther made the Creed trigger much better. However there some trigger takeups. The Creed is kinda chunky, but you get used to it. Great shooter!

 5. FMK 9C1 G2 9mm: $330-$350

Weight: 23.5 oz., Barrel: 4.00″, Mag: 14/9mm

California built a budget handgun made to compete with the Glock 19. It will even fit some Glock holsters. Get the FAT (Fast Action Trigger) version, as it is very good. It is a great shooter. Why did FMK not make the magazine 15 rounds?

6. Smith & Wesson SD 9mm, 40 S&W: $290-$310

Weight: 22.7 oz., Barrel: 4.00″, Mag: 16/9mm, 14/40 S&W;

High-quality budget gun! Very safe too. It has a long 8lb trigger pull that reminds me of a Colt DA revolver. Some ladies may have problems with it. Buy inexpensive trigger & spring to get the pull-down to 6lbs. The SD feels so good in the hand.

 7. Sarsilmaz B6 9mm: $290-$310

Weight: 28.2 oz., Barrel: 4.50″, Mag: 17/9mm

What would a CZ 75b be like with a polymer frame and grip? It could be like the SAR USA B6. I tried a friend’s B6 at the range, and what a darn good shooter. Feels good in the hand too. Long term quality? Made in Turkey, so it should be OK.

 8. Kahr CT40 40 S&W: $320-$340 from a dealer

Weight: 21.0 oz., Barrel: 4.00″, Mag: 7/40 S&W;

The Kahr CT budget series is also available in 9mm and 45 ACP. This is the thinnest 4″ barrel pistol on the market. It looks good in an open carry holster but will work for CCW. If you could only have one handgun, this is it. Durable as heck!

9. Remington RP45 45 ACP: $310-$330

Weight: 26.6 oz., Barrel: 4.50″, Mag: 15/45 ACP

I have always been a fan of Remington rifles and shotguns. After reading reviews that the Remington RP 9mm had problems, I purchased the 45 ACP version. It holds 15 freakin rounds! Zero ammo feeding problems. Good Alaska handgun!

 10. Diamondback DB9FS 9mm: $270-$290

Weight: 24.2 oz., Barrel: 4.75″, Mag: 15/9mm

This is a darn good shooter for the money. I got mine to run great with Sellier & Bellot 124gr ammo. As big as it is, the magazine should hold more. Why make the DB9FS look like a race gun, but have the capacity of a compact? Awesome budget bargain!

11. Taurus PT111 G2 9mm 40 S&W: $240-$260

Weight: 22 oz., Barrel: 3.2″, Mag: 12/9mm, 10/40 S&W;

The PT111 Millennium has evolved into one of the best pistols on the market. It is small enough to work for concealed carry but has the firepower for home defense. Great weapon for your woman. Cheap Price! Buy an extra one for the truck.

 12. EAA Witness Pavona 9mm: $330-$350

Weight: 29.0 oz., Barrel: 3.60″, Mag: 13/9mm

Owning several Witness pistols, the quality is top rate. You can see by the weight, the Pavona has a lot of steel in it. The extra heft really tames recoil. With the light recoil and pretty colors, chicks dig it. Small enough to tuck into an IWB holster.

More Worth Checking Out – not ranked

Concealed Carry Pistols

  • Walther CCP 9mm (pictured)
  • Bersa BP9CC 9mm, 40
  • Kahr CW Series 9mm, 40, 45
  • S&W; M&P; Shield 9mm, 40, 45
  • Ruger LC9s 9mm
  • Taurus 709 Slim 9mm, 40 S&W;
  • SCCY CPX-2 9mm 10+1 Rounds
  • Kel-Tec P11 9mm 10+1 RoundsDouble Action Revolvers
  • Taurus Model 82 38 Special 4″ (pictured)
  • Rock Island M200 38 Special 4″
  • EAA Windicator 357 Magnum 4″

Hard To Find Top 10 Shooters

  • Arcus 94 & 98 Hi-Power Clone (pictured)
  • Zastava EZ9 CZ99 CZ999 Sig Clones

Muzzleloading: Tips For Tighter Groups

If your muzzleloader isn’t as accurate as you’d like, the problem might be “operator error.”

“Ian, you know all about in-lines. How about helping me sight-in this new Encore?” A friend had just opened a big cardboard box from Thompson/ Center and handed me his shiny new muzzleloader. Because my friend has a 100-yard shooting range in his backyard, we grabbed my muzzleloader supplies and headed for the door.

I placed a box of Hodgdon’s Triple Seven pellets on the shooting bench, as well as a box of Winchester No. 209 shotshell primers, some moistened and dry patches, my trusty range rod and a box of 250-grain T/C Shock­Wave saboted bullets.  I then proceeded to teach him the basics of how to get the most out of a muzzleloader.

Basics For Better Groups

For the best accuracy, you should swab the barrel after each shot when sighting-in at the range. Swabbing can be done with pre-soaked patches from the factory or “spit patches,” whereby you chew on a patch until it soaks with saliva. Swabbing the barrel with a damp patch removes ignition residue and prevents build-up in the bore that results in difficult bullet loading and poor accuracy. I believe the tiny amount of moisture left in the bore after swabbing also makes it easier to seat the bullet.

Swabbing is a simple job, but I regularly see shooters doing it wrong. Don’t push the rod to the bottom of the barrel in one stroke. Doing so piles up residue on the patch, and as this accumulation increases the patch gets tighter in the barrel, to the point the ramrod is almost impossible to pull back out. Instead, push the barely moist-to-the-touch patch down the bore in 4- to 5-inch jabs. These short jabs prevent the ramrod from getting stuck in the barrel.

Always discard the first moistened patch after removing it from the bore. Next, you can swab a second time with a moist patch or simply run a dry patch down the bore. I’ve found that one slightly moistened patch followed by a dry patch results in excellent ease of loading and accuracy.

I prefer commercial patches because they’re cut for the bore-size of your muzzleloader. Many shooters prefer to cut their own, using cheap flannel or similar material. I haven’t found any significant advantages between patch material, size or shape as long as the patch fits snugly in the bore. T/C and Knight offer round patches that work great, and I’ve also used 2-inch-square patches with fine results.

I use T/C pre-lubed patches for the damp patch with one warning: To ensure the patches stay moist, T/C places a surplus amount of solvent in each container, and I suggest you remove five or six patches and squeeze the juice out of them before use. Having the patches just moist to the touch is best. I also make my own moist patches by placing a bunch of them into a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid, then pouring T/C’s Number 13 solvent over the patches and letting them sit for a while so the solvent is fully absorbed.

If you shoot a lot, consider buying a range rod for swabbing the barrel and seating bullets. Heavy-duty one-piece range rods are longer than the rod supplied with your gun, and they have a comfortable handle that makes pushing and pulling easier.

Always exert the same amount of pressure when seating the bullet on the propellant charge. I like to give the rod a smart tap when I get to the bottom of the stroke, regardless of whether I’m using loose powder or pellets. An important reminder if you’re using powder in pellet form: You don’t want to crush the pellets with too much force as this will result in uneven ignition and marginal accuracy.

When my friends and I have a new in-line muzzleloader to sight-in, we like to experiment with a variety of propellants and projectiles. Although pellets are by far the most user-friendly, some in-lines don’t shoot as accurately with pellets as they do with loose powder. I start my accuracy test with Triple Seven pellets and then try Pyrodex Pellets, too. Then, if I’m not happy with the accuracy, I’ll switch to Triple Seven and Pyrodex loose powder.

I always start with two 50-grain pellets (measured by volume) and a 250-grain bullet (measured by weight). Then I’ll try three 50-grain pellets to let the rifle determine the combination it prefers. Shooter’s tip: The best accuracy is usually achieved with bullets and sabots of the same brand as that of your in-line muzzleloader. That means T/C bullets typically shoot best in T/C in-lines, Knight bullets in Knight rifles and the same for CVA and Traditions.

Primers are a non-issue in my opinion. I haven’t found any accuracy improvement with the new primers designed specifically for muzzleloaders, and as a matter of fact I prefer to send as much flame into my propellant as possible—we’re trying to set off a detonation here, not start a progressive burn. When my rifle is cold, maybe sweating or whatever, I prefer as much fire as I can get to ignite the charge. I don’t buy into the claim that too much flame can push the powder charge forward because I’ve seen far too many sub-1-inch groups shot with three pellets and standard primers. But if you believe the new primers work well for you, then go to it.

Some shooters are surprised to learn that many popular saboted muzzleloader projectiles are actually handgun bullets. Velocity loss frequently ranges as high as one-third in the first 100 yards of travel according to my chronographs, and terminal performance isn’t much better. (I once said that most muzzleloader bullets have the ballistic efficiency of flying trash cans.) And even at low impact velocities, these handgun bullet cores and jackets frequently separate.

Thankfully, today’s shooter has aerodynamically shaped bullets specifically designed for muzzleloaders, and they feature relatively sharp tips that retain velocity and energy better. I’ve tested the new T/C ShockWave, Hornady’s SST and the Spit-Fire MZ from Barnes and found that these bullets retain their velocity significantly better than the flying trash cans. This extends long-range killing potential significantly. I particularly like the new Bonded ShockWave from T/C and the Barnes Spit-Fire MZ. These are tough bullets that shoot superbly in my test rifles.

Getting back to my friend and his new Encore: He insisted I shoot first to get the scope zeroed and determine the best load. The scope zeroed with only a couple of shots because we had a large backboard to catch every bullet. Then I fired three shots, each loaded with two Triple Seven pellets and a 250-grain ShockWave. The group measured exactly 1 inch. “There’s your deer hunting load,” I said. “We got lucky and got great accuracy with the first try. But just for fun let’s try three pellets.” After firing a three-shot group using the 150-grain powder charge, we walked to the target. I knew the bullets had hit closely together but was amazed when we measured the group. My three shots measured just under a half-inch!

At the range, you must determine the loading procedure that works best for you. Uniformity is the secret—do every step of your loading process similarly and good accuracy will be the result.

Remember—the more you shoot, the better you’ll shoot, and this holds true for pistols, shotguns, rifles, and muzzleloaders. Unfortunately, after I shot those groups for my friend with his new Encore muzzleloader, he proved this axiom. He sat down and fired three shots at the target and only one bullet hit the paper! Needless to say, he intends to do some practicing with his new in-line before taking it into the field.