When you go to the grocery store to purchase cereal or cough syrup, do you head straight to the name-brand cereal, or are you more prone to selecting the Great Value or Western Family brand? With the economy in shambles, many people are selecting generic food and medicine items to help them save money. There’s no reason to pay more just for a brand name or a label when it all tastes the same in the end. Lucky for you, the same principle can be applied to guns.
In all our experience, we’ve never felt like we paid too much just for a brand name when buying a firearm. There are some brands that are more expensive than others, but many of them can justify (or at least claim to justify) their higher cost because of their greater attention to detail, fit and finish, quality control, etc.
Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a great firearm at a great price there are many clones or imitations available to you on the market today. Here is a list of some of some of our favorites along with their brand-name brothers.
Taurus PT-92 vs. Beretta 92
The Taurus PT-92 is a licensed reproduction of the Beretta 92 made in Brazil. Taurus acquired the machinery to make the 92 after Beretta had completed a 40,000 pistol order from the Brazilian military. Although the PT-92 started off as an exact clone, a few changes have been made over the years including moving the selector switch from the slide to the frame – a feature that a lot of people prefer. Taurus has been able to keep the gun quality on par with the Berettas for about $100 less.
Beretta 92FS $599
Taurus PT-92 $502
Smith & Wesson SD9VE vs. Glock 17
What happens when the most iconic American firearms manufacturer copies the most iconic polymer handgun? Lawsuits! And while we may never know the details of the case since it was settled out of court, we know that the Smith & Wesson Sigma was a pretty good copy of a Glock at a great price. Now the Sigma has been replaced by the SD9VE and it’s an even better firearm. So while we can’t call the SD9VE an exact copy of the Glock, it’s one of the closest clones (for now) that you can get of the popular polymer pistol.
Glock 17 $575.00
S&W SD9VE $350.00
Kel-Tech P3AT vs. Ruger LCP
This one’s a little backwards since we all know Ruger copied Kel-Tech with the LCP. However, Ruger also added some features to the LCP, improved the fit and finish, and as a result priced it higher. In other words, if you would like an LCP but want to save a few bucks you should consider the original in this case – not the clone.
Ruger LCP $300.00
Kel-Tech P3AT $255.00
Maverick 88 vs. Mossberg 500
Yes, a company can clone its own firearm. We see this in the case of Mossberg and the Maverick. Mossberg deserves credit for making every Mossberg 500 shotgun here in the States, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a cheaper imported version if you so choose. The Maverick 88 is essentially a clone of the Mossberg 500 except it’s manufactured in Mexico and assembled in the U.S.
Mossberg 500 $336.00
Maverick 88 $233.00
NEF Pardner Pump vs. Remington 870
The NEF Pardner Pump is a Chinese-made version of the Remington 870 and is the result of the Freedom Group acquiring both companies. Make no mistake, the Pardner is no Wingmaster, but it does come very close to matching (if not passing) the fit on the finish of an 870 Express.
Remington 870 Express $345.00
NEF Pardner Pump $213.00
Bushmaster Patrolman’s M4A3 vs. Colt M4
We realize there are about a thousand companies that make clones of the AR-15. However, Bushmaster is one of the largest and the Patrolman is unique in that it strives to replicate as closely as possible the rifle our soldiers use in the field.
Colt M4 LE6920 $1100.00
Bushmaster M4A3 $900.00
Bersa Thunder vs. Walther PPK
The Walther PPK is one of the most iconic compact pistols. Developed between the wars in Germany it was issued to many German police and Nazi officers. And while it is known as the gun that killed Hitler, it is even more famous as the weapon of choice for 007. Unfortunately, nostalgia and German engineering don’t come cheap. Instead, consider the Bersa Thunder as a high quality, lower cost alternative. In fact, most agree that while the Bersa might not help you pass for MI5 on a date, it is less picky with ammo and has a few welcome upgrades like a slide release.
Walther PPK $550.00
Bersa Thunder $288.00
If you’re on a budget and want a proven firearm, you should definitely check out some of these clones. They may not have the same brand recognition but they’re just as fun to shoot.