A number of bloggers have set upon the meme regarding cheap firearms. Some involving getting started when young and not having the funds, others of an economy bent.
The first gun I thought about purchasing (in 1973) was a 4″ Rohm (RG) .38 revolver. Some guy at work was trying to sell it. $65? I knew nothing of revolvers and a more-gun-educated friend rapidly steered me away from doing so. It seemed they were cheaply manufactured in Germany during the 60’s, largely of pot metal. The flash gap between the front of the cylinder and rear of the barrel was not only not parallel, but one could throw an elephant through it, and his feet wouldn’t touch the sides! Glad I didn’t buy it.
I bought my first gun, in the Spring 1974. A Smith & Wesson Model 39-2, 9 mm. from a reserve university cop buddy of my Dad’s, for $125.00. With two magazines.
I purchased it largely because of it’s look, and more BB’s than a six-shooter. Knowing what I know today, I probably should have saved-up another $100 and bought a 1911. This particular Smith shot okay, but had an alloy frame. Some folks think all steel is more durable.
Over my firearm purchasing career, most of the guns I bought were based on price and gun lust. Sometimes, just because I’d a few extra dollars (a not very-common occurrence).
And I always lusted after firearms I had little or no chance of obtaining. Colt Python. (There’s a parallel to women here, but that’s for another post.)
I traded the 39-2 for a Smith 59 (with cash-thanks again, Dave!), because it was more BB’s, and, I thought, the same gun. WRONG. While similar and of similar materials, the action was worse, and I couldn’t hit much with it. A clunky ammo-burner.
Later acquired was a S&W Model 49 revolver, because it was $100 cheaper than the stainless model 60 Smith snubbie. Again, a wrong choice. Mostly because blued guns dissolve instantly upon contact with my perspiration.
I bought a Keltec 9mm, because I liked my little Keltec .32. It was well worn and didn’t shoot well at all. A waste of money.
What did I learn from all this?
For me, in the gun world, price is important. Generally speaking, one gets what one pays for.
Back in the 70’s, a Rohm at any price was worthless. Still is.
A Smith 39-2 was ‘okay’. Much depends on how hard one intends to use it. I suppose the Keltec 9 was ‘okay’, if the target was not much farther than arm’s length.
Some would say (and have-I’ve seen them on gun forums) ‘any gun is better than no gun.’ A Rohm, for instance. Perhaps.
But, do I want to count my life on it?
I always believed a Smith revolver was like a Ford or Chevy; a Colt revolver – a Cadillac (trading on the name, but good). A Ruger, like an old work truck – not stylish, but works forever.
That was in the 70’s. Today factor in Sig, Kimber, Springfield Armory, Glock and a hundred others.
You get what you pay for – but, know your subject! – Guffaw