“As good as…”

I’m not a gun snob. I own my share of cheap guns. Heck, I even wrote a post extolling the virtues of cheap guns. But if you think your cheap gun (or whatever) is just as good as more expensive (dare I say better?) guns, you’re probably wrong. What really got me thinking about this was the Wuhan virus crap. Before, I always figured if my gun broke I could get it fixed under warranty or fix it myself. But what if the company went out of business? What if I can’t get parts? Then I started finding forum posts about bad ammo, poor metallurgy, and cheap parts breaking. So it is an issue to address…

As good as what?

Even though it should be obvious that higher quality guns are better than <ahem> cheaper guns, I see tons of people claiming their HiPoint is just as good as a Glock, or their PSA AR-15 is just as good as a BCM. Some even go so far as to say their cheap gun is BETTER than the more expensive one. So lets look at that… I do have some cheap guns, so I’m not just talking out my butt…

Is a HiPoint as good as a Glock?

People like to bash Glocks for some reason. It seems like HiPoint owners especially like to talk smack about Glocks. So let’s look at that. I own a HiPoint JHP 45 and a Glock 30. Comparing the two… well, they both have polymer frames, they’re both black, and they both shoot 45 ACP. Beyond that, they really aren’t comparable. The HiPoint weighs 35 oz. empty. The Glock weighs 24 oz. empty and 34 oz. fully loaded. That’s correct, the Glock weighs less fully loaded than the HiPoint weighs empty. The G30 is also narrower and shorter than the JHP 45, making it a lot easier to CCW.

The G30 holds 11 rounds, vs 10 for the JHP 45. The sights are easier to see on the Glock, and easy to change if you don’t like the factory sights. The front sight on the JHP is molded into the slide, so you couldn’t change it even if you wanted to. The trigger on the Glock is also better, and again if you don’t like the factory trigger it’s easy to change. The HiPoint has a heavier, grittier trigger pull and there is no aftermarket alternative – you’re stuck with what came from the factory.

There are many other issues as well, enough that I could do a whole post on just the difference between the Glock and the HiPoint. In fact I think I will. But is the HiPoint “just as good as” the Glock? I would have to say… no.

Is a PSA AR-15 as good as a (S&W, Ruger, Windham Weaponry) BCM, etc?

The AR-15 is a little more complicated. PSA themselves offers the AR in several grades, and their “Premium” line is actually pretty good. For this discussion I’m talking about their base and “Freedom” lines. For cheap guns they’re OK, but not as good as more expensive guns. What makes one AR-15 better than another AR-15? Well, lots of things…

What materials are used to make the parts? How were they made (machined from billet, forged, cast, MIM)? How were the parts finished? For hardened parts, were they surface hardened or through hardened? How accurate are the parts’ dimensions? What about hole sizes and location? What testing does the manufacturer use on the individual parts and the gun as a whole? How is their reputation for customer service?

What drives me crazy is people claiming expensive guns are the result of some conspiracy by certain manufactures to “jack up prices.” Here’s a reality check. Better materials cost more money. Better finishes cost more money. Highly accurate parts production costs more than less accurate parts production. THAT is what you’re paying for with a more expensive gun – not “just a fancy roll mark.” At least it usually works that way if you buy from a reputable manufacturer with a good reputation. The idea that a cheaper gun is just as good as a gun made with better materials, to tighter tolerances, and with a better finish???

So what about cheap guns?

I like cheap guns. If my life depends on a gun though, a cheap gun isn’t going to be my first choice. I want quality and especially reliability. That usually means a more expensive gun. Is your cheap gun as good as my expensive gun? Heck, are my cheap guns “as good as”? Most likely not. Until next time…

Peace out,

Related links:

Palmetto State Armory vs. Everyone
Junk, Budget Builds, and Gear Reviews

Hi-Point JHP45 first impressions

hi-point jhp45A few months ago I got interested in
cheap guns
after watching some video reviews of the Hi-Point JHP45. I bought one about a month ago but I didn’t get a chance to shoot it until yesterday. It cost $166.98 (including shipping) so it’s definitely a cheap gun. I hope to do a full review of the Hi-Point JHP45 in about a month, but for now these are my first impressions.

Hi-Point JHP45 out of the box

Out of the box is literally “out of the box.” The Hi-Point JHP45 comes in a cardboard box. That’s not a complaint, just an observation because it’s the first time in awhile I’ve bought a handgun that didn’t come in a plastic hard case. Actually you can get the JHP45 with a factory hard case for $11 more than I paid, which is a pretty good deal. I decided to go as cheap as possible though…

The first thing I noticed was the looks. I’d seen pictures, but this gun is even less, uhmm, “aesthetic” in real life. The second thing is the weight. Almost all the weight is in the slide, which makes this gun feel really top heavy. The 2 color (red front, yellow rear) 3 dot sights are pretty easy to see, but the dots could be bigger. The front sight is part of the slide and not replaceable. The rear sight is adjustable and replaceable. In fact the JHP45 comes with an extra (“ghost ring”) rear sight. I haven’t tried it yet but it looks interesting.

The trigger feels about the same as all the other striker-fired pistols I’ve shot. Not as nice as a good single action trigger, but better than a DAO trigger. There’s a magazine disconnect safety that only works about half the time on my sample, and the gun comes with a single 9 round magazine.

Two things I really don’t like about this pistol are the safety and the ejector. The safety only blocks the seer, so if it fails the gun can fire even if the trigger isn’t pulled. The ejector in this gun is… the firing pin. If you rack the slide with a live round in the chamber, the firing pin WILL contact the live primer. If you’re going slow and careful it probably won’t be a problem. If you rack it a little too fast and hard though, the gun could fire. For these reasons I don’t think it’s safe to carry a Hi-Point pistol with a round in the chamber.

First time shooting

I took my Hi-Point out for the first time yesterday with three magazines of Winchester 230 gr. FMJ. Racking the slide takes a lot more effort than I’m used to which could be a consideration for some. Also, the first round on the first try was a FTF. Not a good sign, but once I messed with it a bit the gun functioned fine. I stepped up to the line and cut loose…

The first magazine was disappointing. I had a B-27 target set up at seven yards. Eight of nine shots stayed in the black. Meaning ALL the black. If this thing shoots that bad… I mean I’m not the world’s best shot but I’m not THAT bad… WTH is going on???

After the disappointment I decided to slow down and think a little. What went wrong? First, those 3 dot sights weren’t as easy to pick up when aiming at an actual target. Second, the JHP45 doesn’t track during recoil like my other pistols. Maybe it was just new gun jitters. For the second magazine I put on my reading glasses so I could see the sights better and slowed down a bit. This time all nine shots went into an area that could be called an actual group. Still not the accuracy I usually get from my Glocks though…

One thing that really surprised me was the recoil. I was expecting it to feel like something between a 380 and a soft shooting 9mm. Almost every comment I’ve read about the Hi-Point JHP45 says the heavy slide soaks up recoil like a sponge and makes it a very soft shooting gun. That wasn’t my experience. It doesn’t kick hard, but t doesn’t kick soft either. Feels about like my Govt Model 1911. Definitely more muzzle flip than my Glock 30 (a compact 45 ACP pistol).

Thoughts so far…

I didn’t have time to really wring this gun out. I wouldn’t carry it but it might make a good home defense gun. So far it seems reliable, and the accuracy issues I think are on me, not the gun. I’m looking forward to really putting this thing through its paces and seeing what it can do. I can’t recommend (or not recommend) this gun yet, but so far the Hi-Point JHP45 seems like a very interesting hand gun.

Peace out,

Cheap guns

hi-point-cheap-gunsWhen I was a kid there were two kinds of handguns: ones that worked and ones that were cheap. I’ve pretty much lived my life believing that most cheap guns are junk. I always bought the best I could afford. For pistols, that usually meant Glock. The cheapest I’d go was an RIA 1911 pistol. Anything cheaper was junk in my mind. I was reading an article on affordable handguns though and it got me thinking – what if the day came that I needed to buy a gun but I couldn’t afford a Glock? Will I be stuck buying a total p.o.s.? I decided to start looking for cheap guns that weren’t junk. Surprisingly (to me at least) I found some that might be OK guns…

Cheap guns – what is cheap?

First, cheap is relative. Compared to my RIA 1911 GI model, a Colt Delta Elite is an expensive gun. Compared to a Les Baer 1911, the same Delta Elite is a cheap gun. That’s not the kind of cheap I’m talking about though. I’m also not talking about a cheap piece of junk that doesn’t work. A gun like that isn’t a cheap gun, it’s an expensive paper weight. I’m talking guns that are affordable and reliable, and I’m defining affordable as $300 or less.

It was an accident…

I got into cheap guns by accident. I was reading one of the Glock forums and someone was making fun of Hi-Point pistols. Someone else (a Hi-Point fan) posted a link to a torture test on YouTube. The way the Hi-Point in that video stood up to the abuse was really impressive. In fact, after watching the video I decided I had to have a Hi-Point…

I bought a Hi-Point JHP 45. I’m sure it will be reliable, but it has some other issues that I’ll address in a full review once I have a chance to wring it out. Lets just say there are certain things the JHP 45 is “not optimal” for. So I started looking for other cheap guns…

New, not used…

I don’t have anything against used guns. There is one problem with used guns though – it can take a long time to find the one you want. Besides, I want to test guns that anyone can find, not just bargain sleuths. So far things look promising. Some of the cheap guns I’ve found so far are the Taurus G2C, Kel-Tec P-11, and S&W SD9VE. I haven’t found a good cheap revolver yet, but I’ll keep looking.

So are all cheap guns junk? I’m starting to think maybe not. I can’t afford to test every gun that tickles my fancy, but I have the JHP 45 to test. When I’m done with that I’m getting a Taurus G2C. Hopefully my Glocks won’t get jealous…

What’s your take on cheap guns?

Peace out,

Buying guns at Walmart

buying guns at Walmart Would you buy a gun at Walmart? I’ve had mixed experiences with any gun related purchases at Walmart. A few years ago I bought a Ruger 10-22. The clerk was nice until he found out I wanted to buy a gun. Then all of the sudden I’m being treated like a suspected felon (though they did sell me the gun). Buying guns at Walmart? You’ve got to be kidding me.

A year later I tried getting a hunting license. The clerk insisted that I needed a copy of my Hunter’s Safety Certificate. Never mind that I’m over 50. Never mind that I had the previous two years’ hunting licenses with me. Nope, according to the clerk I needed a 42 year old document from a different state that’s probably been lost for 40 years. I finally convinced her to sell me the d@*! license, if I could remember the exact date my safety certificate was issued. So I made up a date and got the license.

Usually that kind of crap would make me want to never buy any sporting goods at Walmart ever again. Small problem with that idea though. A few months ago Backwoodsman Magazine published a piece on the Hatfield SGL shotgun. I decided I needed one and the only place in town that has them is Walmart. Hmmm…

Buying guns at Walmart

I went to look at their gun display and a clerk walked up and asked me what I was looking for. I viewed this as an interruption because usually the Walmart clerks don’t know jack about guns. But since he asked, I told him I was looking for a Hatfield SGL single shot shotgun. Wonder of wonders, he actually knew what I was talking about. He pulled a 12 gauge out of the display case to show me and mentioned they also had the 20 ga. and 410 versions in stock, but not on display.

I told him I was interested in the 410. He said that’s a fun choice, but pointed out that 410 ammo is over twice the price of 12 or 20 ga. so I might want to consider the 20 ga. instead. We talked a bit and I thanked him for his time. I wanted to check 410 ammo prices online before deciding between the 410 and 20 ga. He agreed that was a good idea and thanked me for coming in. Wow, where was this guy before?

My Walmart gun purchase

After checking ammo prices online, I decided on the 410. I went back the next day hoping to get the same clerk. No luck, he was off. The lady clerk asked me what I wanted. I told her I wanted to buy a gun.

“Oh. Do you have a CCW?”

I told her yes, I do.

“Good. That way you won’t have to pay for a background check.”

WHAT??? Two clerks in two days that are knowledgeable about guns? Unbelievable… So I did my FFL form and walked out of the store with two guns…

Two guns for less than $200???

The same issue of Backwoodsman Magazine that had the article about the Hatfield SGL also had one on the Daisy 880 pellet gun. I decided I needed one of those too. Since Walmart had them on the shelf for only $35.00 (with scope!!!) I decided to get one of those while I was there.

Price for both guns (including tax): $148.08

Not a bad way to spend a “buck fifty” and 20 minutes of my time. I guess that just like you can get crappy customer service anywhere, you can also get good customer service anywhere. Even at Walmart.

Peace out,