The Best Budget Guns of SHOT Show 2023 By: Travis Pike


It’s easy to get drawn to the expensive guns at SHOT Show. When else do you get to handle a $2,500 gun designed for concealed carry? What about a $4,000 rifle? Or an M2 machine gun that costs lord knows how much? Most of us keep our purchases in a zone that’s more realistic. With that said, as someone who appreciates a good bargain, I always keep an eye out for the bargains I can find at the Show, and that led me to choose the five best budget guns of SHOT Show 2023 that won’t break the bank.

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MP5 clones are pretty dang expensive. Even the cheapest models are in the $1,000 range. The ATI GSG 9 isn’t exactly an MP5 clone. It’s a straight blowback design instead of roller delayed, but it does mimic and mock the MP5 in a few ways. This includes the charging handle and fire selector. This mini sub-gun-sized pistol is in 9mm, and users can pick from Glock or Sig P320 magazines.

GSG 9 on a rack - best budget guns
The GSG 9 is an uncanny valley version of the MP5.

What’s interesting is the way they implement the modular magwell. The magazines wear special adapters, and you can swap mags in no time at all. Just grab the Glock or Sig mags with the adapter and pop them in place. The gun comes with both adapters, and you can buy extra adapters to outfit your mags with. I can’t tell if I’m a fan of this system or not, but maybe we can get one to review, and I can find out.

The GSG 9 series has a long optic rail and a standard set of iron sights. The handguard features enough M-LOK slots to grind cheese and a rather fearsome muzzle device. At the rear, we have a 1913 rail for braces, stocks, or whichever you attach.

Anderson Kiger 9c

Anderson surprised everyone by producing a handgun. They were a company associated solely with AR-15 platforms. Out of nowhere, they pushed out a polymer frame, striker-fired pistol that takes Glock magazines. To be fair, it is a Glock Gen 3 clone, and to many, the Gen 3 is one of the best generations of Glock. The Anderson Kiger was its name, and Anderson sells the little gun for less than $400.

The anderson kiger with optic
The Kiger comes in numerous styles, and this would be a slightly higher-cost variant.

Different models have different price points, and you can expect to pay a little extra for features like an optic cut, a threaded barrel, and suppressor height sights. Kiger produces the pistol in a compact format that’s akin to the Glock 19. Unlike other 3rd Gen Glocks, the grip module is finger-groove-free, and the gun features a true Picatinny rail. On top of all that, they even installed a little overhang at the rear to prevent that 3rd Gen slide bite.

The Kiger series are new but proving popular. Anderson plans to begin releasing special cerakote models. It’s a value-priced gun that’s perfect for home defense, concealed carry, and beyond.

Hi-Point JXP 10

Hi-Point’s bread and butter are value-priced, American-made pistols that might be ugly, but dang, are they functional. I have a C9, and it continually impresses me. The JXP 10 is their first pistol entry in the world of 10mm pistols. A 10mm direct blowback pistol seems insane, but they have made it work. It’s not just a 10mm Hi-Point, but a slightly more refined weapon.

HI Point JXP 10 - best budget guns
The JXP 10 is a big beastly gun that’s quite heavy—heavy enough to be a melee weapon if need be.

It’s optics-ready and they’ve improved the grip texture and threaded the barrel to make it easy to attach muzzle accessories. Oh, and across the bottom sits a rail, which is new for the Hi-Point series.

The JXP 10 uses a ten-round magazine and is even +P rated, so you don’t need to use FBI loaded 10mm rounds. Go hot, go heavy, and get that true 10mm experience. This is not only a budget-friendly firearm but the cheapest way to get into the 10mm cartridge.

KelTec P15

KelTec showed us the prototype of the P15 last year, but at SHOT this year, they had working models at range day. The P15 is KelTec’s entry into the micro-compact world. The gun sports a 15-round magazine and is only five inches tall. The gun is remarkably slim at .875 inches wide. That’s the slimmest micro compact on the market. This gun sits on the compact side of the market that competes more with the Glock 19 than the P365.

Keltec P15 slide open - best budget guns
The P15 is only .875 of an inch thick! That’s crazy when you consider the gun holds 15 rounds of ammo.

With a four-inch barrel, you get a good sight radius on top of a barrel designed to maximize the potential of modern defensive ammunition. The P15 features a one-slot rail for small accessories like the TLR 7 sub or Surefire XSC.

The sights are a big, high-visibility design that catches the eye and are very easy to see. The gun does feature a grip safety, which I’m not a fan of, but can deal with. To be clear, only the polymer model falls into the budget side of the river. An all-metal model has a much higher price tag that definitely breaks the budget.


AKs make great shotguns. The long-stroke gas piston system just works well for shotshells. With Russian imports cut off, a number of companies have turned to alternative markets to make your AK shotgun dreams a reality. JTS is releasing a new variant of their famed MK12AK series in the form of the M12AKT2. The name might be long, but the price is fairly low. Retail seems to be around $499.

JTS MK12AKT2 Shotgun at range - best budget guns
The shotgun comes with a red dot, M-Lok rail, can use AR stocks, and it’s less than $500.

With that price point, you get a gun with a self-regulating gas system that feeds from either five or ten-round magazines. The gun comes with an optic mount and a red dot produced by JTS. The optic is a dual-fuel design that’s powered by both battery and solar operation. The gun features an M-LOK handguard and an AR-style stock. The stock is fixed, but if you happen to remove it and place an AR15 carbine tube, you could add a collapsing stock.

At range day, the gun handled like a kitten, and it was shooting the cheapest birdshot on the market, Monarch special. The folks at the booth let me drop round after round through the gun, and it chewed through everything they had. It’s a blast to shoot, and I even went four for five with the clay pigeons using the red dot.

Pinch a Penny

If you’re trying to pinch a penny but still want a high-quality gun, then there are some bargain-ready firearms coming later this year. From MP5 wannabes to mighty mean shotguns, we got a little bit of everything. In times when eggs and milk are skyrocketing, it is wise to pinch those pennies. I’ve only cataloged five of the best budget guns of SHOT 2023. What are your picks? Share below!