Nothing proves that a gun is good for defensive use like being used by the military or a police force. That makes surplus guns a great choice for self defense, especially since they also tend to be fairly affordable. The best surplus guns for self defense combine a good value with high reliability, proven stopping power, and a simple design. There are a lot of brands that offer a variety of surplus guns, so we sorted through the options to find the top ten based on their defensive value and ease of use.
10. Sig Sauer SP2022
The SP2022 from Sig Sauer was part of Sig’s first line of polymer pistols, and it found a market in police forces in several countries. It comes with an integral Picatinny rail, which makes it one of the few surplus guns that can easily take accessories. Some models also have threaded barrels for further enhancements. In addition to easily accepting accessories, this model has a large magazine and shoots quite accurately. These features make it a great choice for users that want to upgrade their gun, but it doesn’t offer as much to shooters that want to use it right out of the box.
9. Steyr M9-A1
The Steyr model M9-A1 is a law enforcement model with an unusual shape. Many people find that shape comfortable, but shooters do need to get used to it before relying on the gun. The triangular sights also take a little bit of adjustment, but perform well after some practice. The gun’s general performance is high, but it doesn’t stand out from other quality pistols in either accuracy or reliability. Try this if you like the way that it feels in your hand and you need a pistol for general use.
8. Glock G19 Gen 3
The Glock model G19 Gen 3 pistol from a police force is one of the most affordable options for shooters that want a Glock. They’re reliable guns, but surplus models usually have more wear and tear than many other guns, so it’s best to check all the parts before use. The gun’s size straddles the line between a truly compact weapon and a full-size pistol, which makes it acceptable for both roles without excelling in either. Try a surplus G19 if you are looking for a balanced pistol, or if you are specifically looking for an affordable Glock.
7. M1 Paratrooper Carbine
The paratrooper carbine from the M1 family is a rifle that is short enough to be used in a building in an emergency. This model has a folding stock that adds to its maneuverability. As a rifle, it offers much greater power and accuracy than most defensive pistols. It can also serve as a hunting or target shooting gun, which can help to consolidate a large collection of guns. The price and quality of these rifles vary more than most surplus guns, so smart shopping is critical for buying them. However, they’re a great choice for situations when power or versatility is vital. You can see here more rifles that can be successfully used for home defense.
6. CZ 82
The CZ 82 pistol was developed for the Czechoslovakian military, and still sees occasional use in other organizations. It comes with a chrome lining in the bore that helps to prevent corrosion and also makes the barrel easier to clean. The design is ambidextrous, which combines with the ease of cleaning to make this into one of the most convenient surplus weapons. An extraordinarily low bore angle makes this a reasonably accurate choice, especially when multiple shots are necessary. Try this gun if you want something that is easy to maintain and simple to use.
5. Beretta M9
The M9 from Beretta saw use in both the armed forces and law enforcement, which makes it fairly easy to find on the surplus market. It is one of the most reliable pistols available. It both lasts a long time and resists most environmental hazards. Also, it holds more ammunition than most people will need in a defensive situation. That can make it uncomfortably heavy when worn for long periods, and it is too large to be concealed comfortably. The size issue is the main disadvantage, and this remains one of the best surplus guns for self defense when size isn’t a factor.
4. H&K P2000
|Manufacturer||Heckler & Kock|
The P2000 pistol from H&K is one of the newest surplus pistols, with most examples on the market coming from law enforcement agencies. It benefits from the unique LEM trigger, with a light and consistent pull. It combines the benefits of a DAO pistol with a cocked striker, and it is one of the best trigger mechanisms available. Aside from the trigger, the gun offers reasonable power and accuracy without standing out from many of the other surplus guns. This is among the best surplus guns for self defense for people that want a modern pistol, but it will cost more than most options.
3. FEG Hi Power
FEG’s clone of the Browning Hi-Power is one of the best surplus guns for self defense for people that prefer a heavier pistol. It offers a much better value than Browning’s original production, but it has a comparable level of reliability and accuracy. It also offers more ammunition than many other surplus pistols, which gives the shooter more room for error in an encounter. However, it isn’t a great choice for people that need a concealed weapon, but new or experienced shooters who aren’t worried about concealment should consider it.
2. Mosin-Nagant M38 Carbine
The M38 is a carbine from the Mosin-Nagant family of rifles, and it is one of the best surplus guns for self defense in rural areas. It has a relatively short barrel that makes it easy to maneuver, but it still offers the range and power of a rifle. It relies on a bolt action system, which makes it light and reliable, while still being reasonably quick to shoot for a practiced user. This is a poor choice for use in a small building, but it is ideal for fields and other outdoor areas.
1. Zastava M57
Zastava started producing the M57 in 1957, and it still produces new weapons to add to the supply of surplus guns from the Yugoslavian army. The M57 is small enough to be comfortable for daily carry, but it is a little bigger than average for concealed weapons. It is reliable and easy to handle, with controls that are similar to those of the 1911 pistols. It can be hard to find ammo in the right caliber for the M57. But it is one of the best surplus guns for self defense for any shooter with a regular supply.
Making The Right Choice
Shooters can be confident that a surplus gun will be a powerful tool for self-defense because they have already proven their value to the armed forces. The best surplus guns for self defense offer a blend of reliability, power, and value that is hard to find anywhere else. If you discover a good surplus gun that we missed, be sure to bring it up in the comments in case other shooters want to try it.