Sunday, March 28, 2010

Guns: The "Junk Gun"

Shiny custom 1911s dominate the covers of many gun magazines, but visit a store and you'll see that the big sellers are usually small, inexpensive firearms - .380s and .38 revolvers. That's because most people can't afford to drop $2000 on a pistol, no matter how well it's made. Accordingly, common handguns sell at around the $500 mark, give or take a few hundred.

The big exceptions are the so-called "junk guns," also know by the pejorative "Saturday night special." Vilified by the anti-gun crowd and sometimes criticized within the shooting community, these sub-$200 guns are noticeably inferior to firearms sold by the mainstream manufacturers. Expect subpar design, fit and finish, accuracy, and reliability.

These guns are usually safe to shoot, though, at least when new; the flood of product liability lawsuits would doom any company who tried to sell a defective gun. With enough modifications, fine-tuning, and gunsmithing, you can even turn one into a decent plinker, like this Lorcin:

More importantly, these super-cheap guns fill a niche - they allow even the poorest citizens to arm themselves. These are the people who are most likely to be the subject of a criminal attack, and the difference between a $100 Jennings and a $300 Kel-Tec may be the difference between having a gun and not having one when some crackhead breaks into your apartment at 2 in the morning.

It's also telling that as early as the 19th century, jurisdictions passed laws banning the sale of cheap firearms. In those days, it was all about keeping poor black freedmen from protecting themselves. In the 21st century, the increasingly onerous regulations in some states requiring internal locks, biometric ID scanners, and other useless paraphernalia serve a similar purpose: to make guns expensive, reducing the number of guns sold, and eventually reducing the number of gun owners.

Does that mean I recommend that you run out and buy a Lorcin .32? Of course not. Yet while everyone has a constitutionally protected right to own a gun, understand that not everyone can afford the name-brand pistol in the gun store. So the next time you see someone with an inexpensive handgun, just be thankful that we can still own 'em - believe me, they'll come after the "junk guns" first.


At 10:34 AM, Blogger Huey148 said...

nice post...I have owned a couple of Hi-Point firearms in the past (C9 9mm and the 4095 carbine) and being that they are made in my home state I went ahead and called the company and actually got to talk to one of the presidents. He was reluctant to talk at first but once he realized I wasn't some anti-gun nut trying to catch him saying something he opened up. They know their guns fill a niche and he regrets the image they have as "gansta" throw away weapons, but they are what they are. I never had issues with mine.

At 3:20 AM, Blogger James R. Rummel said...

Let me echo Hey and say that it is, indeed, a nice post.


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