Ramen Noodle Guns — How Much is Your Life Worth?


“Lol, the poors are at it again.”

That’s a phrase that used to be mildly entertaining in certain situations, but like anything on the internet, it gets overused and abused by anyone trying to get invisible internet points.

There is a time and place when you can say, ‘No an Olight is not as good as a Surefire’, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for the Olight.

The gun community’s tendency to poo-poo anything beyond mid-tier guns can be more or less a practice in masturbation and self-fellation. I’m not writing this for the guys and gals who’ve been owning guns for years now. This isn’t for the guys out there shooting hundreds of rounds every weekend.

This article is for new gun owners, or people looking to become new gun owners…particularly those who might be operating under severe financial constraints. This is an article about new gun owners and what we’ve come to declare as Ramen Noodle Guns.

Ramen Noodle Guns?

Ramen Noodle Guns are what we call guns you can buy on a Ramen Noodle budget. Firearms vary in price so greatly I really can’t think of a means to compare them to anything else. For example, I have a 12 gauge shotgun that costs $1,700 dollars and 12 gauge that cost $69 bucks. Handguns can cost as little as $99 dollars like the Cobra pistols, or as much as 4,000 thousand dollars. Hell, finely tuned double-barrel shotguns can cost more than a car.

A Ramen Noodle Gun is typically a firearm that costs less than 200 bucks. Admittedly with firearms, there is a good level of getting what you pay for. Will a $175 dollar Taurus last for tens of thousands of rounds? Likely not without some repairs here and there. A Glock can last for tens of thousands of rounds but also cost three times as much as that same Taurus handgun.

A Ramen Noodle Gun is typically a firearm that costs less than 200 bucks.

Admittedly the Glock is a better gun, and if you can afford the extra cost, I’d say buy the Glock. The problem is a lot of people can’t afford a Glock or an S&W, or an F.N., or any other duty rated handgun. Are those people better armed with Ramen Noodle guns or no gun at all?

Setting Expectations Properly

As I mentioned, Ramen Noodle Guns are not going to last as long as a higher quality gun. They are also more likely to need maintenance and cleaning more often. This includes magazines. My cheap 1911 needs to be cleaned a lot to keep it running. Every few hundred rounds, it needs a wipe down and some oil.

On top of that, the guns may be pickier with ammo. For example, my 175 dollar Taurus G2S had magazines that would stick with steel-cased el-cheapo ammunition.

Ramen Noodle Guns Taurus G2S.

Other compromises will be in the looks-and-fit department. My Hi-Point C9 is a giant brick of a gun that is butt ugly, and heavy to boot. The Hi-Point is the same size as a Glock 19 but only holds eight rounds too. Another of my Ramen Noodle Guns is a Rock Island Armory G.I. 1911, and both it and the Hi-Point C9 are major rattle traps that feel loose and make a ton of noise when shaken. However, as ugly as they are, and as much as they rattle, they both go boom when I hit the trigger.

Lastly, you shouldn’t expect a lot of accessories, aftermarket parts, or tons of holster options out there. You are going to have to suck it up and deal with what you can find.

What Ramen Noodle Guns Don’t Suck?

There are some that suck, and some don’t. I spent my fair time dead-broke as everyone does. That’s lead me to purchase several guns due to their low price, and I’ve got some experience in what works and what doesn’t. As a gun writer, I’ve also gotten my hands on a number of different firearms in the Ramen Noodle Guns category. Here are a few specific Ramen Noodle Guns I’ve seen that work more than they fail.

Hi-Point C9

Yep, it’s a big brick of a gun, but damn does it go bang. The Hi-Point series are some of the cheapest guns on the market, and they aren’t special, or good looking, and everything from the trigger to the grip texture kinda sucks. However, the gun goes bang.


Up next: Defensive firearm modifications

Rock Island Armory 1911

I’ve handled a lot of RIA 1911s, from the basic G.I. model to double-stack 10mms and even those cool 22 TCM models. The classic G.I. models are the only ones I’d consider a Ramen Noodle Gun. It works, has a very long break-in period, and needs to be cleaned often — but it works for better or less. Also, since its a 1911, you get lots of holster options too.

Ramen Noodle Guns - Rock Island Armory 1911.



Taurus G2S

This single-stack Taurus is uber cheap and can be had for less than 200 bucks. It’s reliable but ammo picky, as I mentioned above. The new Taurus automatics seem okay, but I’ve never seen a Taurus revolver work worth a damn.

Just As Good

If there is an inverse to “Lol, the poor are at it again,” it’s the phrase, “Just as good.” It’s a phrase used by people to justify lower-quality guns and to say they are just as good as guns with long-proven track records of success and service use. The thing is, Ramen Noddle Guns are rarely as good as a mid-tier, duty-level pistol.

Understanding this is part of understanding your weapon and having reasonable expectations. With this said, the best thing you can do after buying a Ramen Noodle Gun is to go and shoot it. Shoot it as much as you can and identify it’s weakness. Give it some test runs and see if it works. Problems will often present themselves quite quickly and will give your gun some exercise.

The VR series from Armscor are good Ramen Noodle Shotguns

The VR series from Armscor are good Ramen Noodle Shotguns

Plus, you can learn its kinks and needs for cleanliness and what ammo it will eat. If you are a new gun owner with a cheap gun, the best thing you can do is shoot the hell out of it. You’ll see what it can do, you’ll learn it, and best of all, you’ll are improve your skills.

If you have a cheap gun, you’re gonna need to fill the gaps it creates with personal skills. Having a gun doesn’t make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician.

Getting Your Ramen On

Ramen Noodle Guns can be good guns, and for beginners on a budget, they may be the only choice you have. It’s easy for a lot of people to make jokes on the internet, but when a single mother with a Hi-Point defends her family against home invaders, the jokes suddenly stop. If all you can afford are Ramen Noodle Guns, then get one. If you can save a little more and get a better gun, then do that. At the end of the day, we are better off as a society with more good people who have the goods.


Welcome new gun owners: we’re glad to welcome you to the community & happy to help you learn.

Need a magazine loader? We will hook you up.

Ramen Noodle Guns. Read more about ’em.

Travis Pike: check out a list of his articles.

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner, a lifelong firearms enthusiast, and now a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is the world’s Okayest firearm’s instructor.

  • GomeznSA

    Ramen noodles will keep you alive (more or less) – ask just about any college kid. A noodle gun will likely do the same 😉

    Not all of us can afford Purdy shotguns (much less sell them at our spouse’s ‘insistence’).

    • BraveNewWhirled

      My body feels bad after eating some ramen noodles.

  • VBrady9981

    Using very cheap ammo for the G2S does not make the firearm temperamental. That is a fault of the user, not the firearm.

    • tCotUS

      I once owned three Taurus’s..Thank God I moved on to to a better diet. You get what you pay for, & their customer service sucks.

      • Sergi Kent

        Taurus has customer service? I guess if you can call some angry lady denying that there could be something wrong with one of their guns, “customer service” they might.

        • George Rosenberg

          Lol… Exactly!! Lots of great reliable pistols out there for
          under $400..Boils down to
          what is your life worth?

    • imachinegunstuff

      But why can every other gun use that same crappy ammo jus fine?

      • VBrady9981

        Just using regular gas in your Ferrari doesn’t make it crappy just because a lot of other cars use regular gas!

        • TravisP

          Youre equating a Taurus to a Ferrari?

          That’s silly. A custom race gun with ultra tight tolerances may not function with cheap ammo and that males sense.

          A Taurus is a cheap gun and should be reliable with cheap ammo

  • James S.

    Good points all. Ramen noodle guns will keep you alive for the most part. They will experience failures more often fir sure, but doesn’t mean they can’t go the distance, they just won’t be ahead of the pack. You mentioned you had a Rock Island 1911 and it rattled a lot, I think maybe you got a lemon, as I have owned a Rock Island CS tactical compact 1911 for 5 years now and have had zero failures, and it is as tight as a 2000 dollar custom 1911. The only thing I have done is to put adjustable night sights on it. I use Wilson Combat mags and have had zero failures to function, but as with anything, even a Rolls Royce will break now and then. Again great article especially for new buyers.

  • darrell_b8

    I have a Hi-Point PCC in.45; wow does it run. Yea, there are some minuses, but it goes BANG every time and with my ‘high dollar’ $40 dot sight, you don’t want to be on the ‘dot’….AND it LOVEZ Russian ammo…

    • GomeznSA

      darrell – any idea where I can acquire some inexpensive magazines for mine? The ones I can find are almost as expensive as the carbine was!

  • Pa John

    Even anti-gun YouTube can still serve a purpose. For example, at least as I post this, searching for videos on YouTube for the make and model handgun of your choice will likely get you lots of videos on what other people who have that gun think of it. I have no experience with the Taurus G2S, but there are several 9mm G2’s and a G2C in my immediate household, and they all function quite reliably, and shoot about as accurately as any typical shooter is going to be capable of with a subcompact little handgun with a little 3.2″ barrel. Hitting what you are aiming at is not a problem as long as you are applying proper shooting techniques.

    Searching YouTube for the Taurus G2 and G2C – (G2 is older with a key lock built in. The G2C where the C is for “Compact”, is newer and identical to the G2 just minus the key lock in the slide, and the S in G2S simply means Single stack magazine for a bit skinnier version of a CCW handgun) – will net you lots and lots of video on these handguns, and it won’t take you long to see that the vast majority of people who actually own these firearms tend to like them very much. That speaks for itself better than any amount of pontificating from any one individual. 🙂

    AFTERMARKET PARTS and accessories are not nearly as limited with the Taurus G2’s and G2C’s as they may be with whatever other lower cost firearms. A couple of examples to prove the point:
    Lakeline LLC
    Be sure to hit their home page and search around to see all the firearms they make aftermarket goodies for:

    Galloway Precision
    Also be sure to hit their home page and look around to see all the make & model firearms they make excellent aftermarket upgrade goodies for as well.

    I would recommend Galloway’s $34 18lb stainless steel recoil rod & spring assembly (factory spring is 16 lbs) if you are going to hand load or otherwise use “+P” hollow point rounds to keep those velocities safely up there (1100+ fps) ,so they will consistently expand and penetrate well. Short barrels net lower velocities than longer barrels do, and even super well known and well proven rounds like the Speer Gold Dot can get kind of iffy when the speeds drop too low. See that issue well documented here
    Ammo Quest 9mm: Speer Gold Dot 124 grain tested in ballistic gelatin test review

    Later videos show how “+P” and Speers’ “short barrel” loads solve this issue quite well – but new shooters need to be aware of this issue in the first place. Buy the right ammo!

    Speaking of hollow point hand loads at practice ammo prices, see the following link, and note their minimum 1100 fps muzzle velocity requirements for *consistent* expansion / penetration performance. Such honesty is refreshing, and 1000 124 grain HP’s for $99 makes it affordable to practice with full power HP rounds all day long. Good SHTF ammo and having lots of it works for me:

    My comment contains links for good quality aftermarket fiber optic sights, recoil spring / rod assemblies, and so forth, along with info on how even good quality hollow point ammo may not perform so well from shorter barrels which net lower velocities, AND how to avoid that potential issue by using “+P” rounds or rolling your own. (Also, Federal HST rounds do well at lower velocities and Hornady makes “Critical Duty / Critical Defense” rounds specifically designed for short barrel handguns!). I hope my attempt here suffices to show that sufficient information wins the argument over simple opinion every time. There is simply no replacement for learning everything you can and applying it accordingly, and if you do that then yes, you really can do just fine even with the lower cost handguns which have aftermarket upgrade / replacement parts available, as long as you are using appropriate ammo…! 🙂

    Hand loading your own – once you get past the initial investment of getting set up – is far and away cheaper than being dependent on whatever is available on the local store shelves… and for some new shooters that can perhaps be a back burner goal to strive for later on down the road…!

  • Bob

    good article for “newbees”
    My first 1911 was a Llama…… it didn’t go bang I was probably lucky.
    the next 1911 was a Colt 1911 that was a LW commander pre 1968 model. (alloy frame).
    Been buying name brand stuff ever since.
    “pay Once Cry Once!” “pay 1/2 or less and CRY OFTEN”

  • Richard Kilibreaux

    I don’t know why, but when I first saw this article I thought it would be about what an exceptional value so-called Ramen Noodle guns are, but alas it was nothing more spectacular than another hit piece in favor of the high-dollar club! But even that wasn’t terribly distressing until I reached the part about the Rock Island Armory GI model 1911. When people pretend to be unbiased writes who are knowledgeable about about firearms, but really aren’t, they must ensure never to get too detailed about any particular gun lest their lack of knowledge and experience expose them as a fraud, regurgitating the comments of others they believe to be “cooler” than themselves.
    See, I happen to own a Rock Island GI. It was the first RIA I bought and not the last for a very good reason…it’s a great gun and by no means a “Ramen Noodle” gun unless you are considering cost alone, but even then, Rock Island GI models don’t sell for under $200…more like $400-$500 retail I”m sure. To be specific, the RIA GI I own is very “tight” with no rattle at all. It’s well-finished, came with a superbly reliable magazine, and a trigger pull as good as anything that ever passed down the line at Colt! It has also been 100% reliable in terms of function since the first shot – no “break-in” needed! I’ve have and still do own quite an assortment of 1911 pattern pistols including Colt, Kimber, SA, RIA, and even “home-made,” so I KNOW 1911s, and therefore I KNOW the person who wrote this article is a “poseur” who doesn’t know jack about the subject he has somehow managed to get paid to write about.
    I even took a RIA 1911A1FS nickel plated and installed a Clark .460 Rowland conversion despite reading all the tripe about how the RIA is not on the list of approved models. Turns out, some 1,500+ rounds later of shooting full-house, 1,100 lb-ft of kinetic energy .460 Rowland rounds, that Rock looks the same as when new! The frame has not disintegrated into powder, nor even become excessively worn. The slide face is as flat and even today as when new, and with a plated gun, any deformation of the base metal will show up instantly in the form of fractured plate material! Not on THIS Rock it hasn’t. I do consider 1,500 rounds of full-house .44 magnum level loads to be an outstanding test of the Rock’s durability…and not a single part has broken.

    • imachinegunstuff

      Are you insane?

      • reaganisashamed

        I guess the letters SAAMI…. Don’t matter much to him…

  • Sick-of-it-all

    Regardless of whether a Hi-Point works or not (and it does,apparently) life is just too short to buy butt-ugly guns….and that thing is just that……6 ways to Sunday. Ughh.

    • Boogaloo Jones

      Hi-Points don’t have to be butt-ugly with all the different patterns and grip styles available. Heck, I chose their desert camo .45 ACP because it matched the interior of my truck!

  • Richard Kilibreaux

    Yet another BS write-up that ignores debunked rumors and slander!
    While not “pretty” unless you appreciate “form following function,” the Hi-Point line of pistols have proven to be quite rugged, reliable, and DURABLE! Now that’s based on video-documentation versus some wanna-be article!
    While I don’t own a Hi-Point, I also have a deep-seated aversion to bullying and “piling on” whether it be other humans, or inanimate objects. Pure blowback pistols tend to be highly reliable because none of the major parts need move. This means no shifting angles to the feed ramp, no issues with locking and unlocked, or barrels that tilt or rotate. I own a Beretta Tomcat this is straight blowback and the slide has exactly ONE moveable part – the firing pin. The slide moves back and forth and is actuated by the pressure of the .32 auto case against it. Slides with locking systems tend to need extractors to ensure the case is extracted due to lower cycling energy. But a blowback slide is actuated by the case head itself acting as a “gas pistol” and it’s a proven, reliable way to build a gun. And no, it’s NOT limited to low-powered cartridges unless you consider the .44 magnum, 10mm, and .460 Rowland to be low-power! Even the mighty .50 BMG can be tamed by a pure blowback mechanism!
    Other than that, the Hi-point has very few moving parts which means very little to go wrong or break. Awhile back TFB did a video showing the Hi-Point being dumped in mud, water, thrown around, and still functioning perfectly. The conclusion reached was that the Hi-Point is an exceptional VALUE – period, full-stop! There are a whole lot of EXPENSIVE, brand name handguns that come out of the box as malfunction queens, and break parts, yet somehow those posing as gun-reviewers have no problem ignoring these little quirks, while completely over-blowing even the RUMORS they’ve heard about Hi-Point! Even when their own “testing” proves the gun to be tough and reliable, they always end by stating they aren’t ready to “carry” one over their “such-and-such” (expensive gun). That’s called the ultimate in hypocrisy and gun-snobbery!

    • imachinegunstuff

      Did you read the article? It recomends the Hi Point. They reviewed a Hi Point positively on this very wesite.

      • jay

        Yeah, you should look at the hk Creed. Looks the same, double stack, and has a better trigger.
        Just saying.

    • jay

      Yeah, whatever.

  • Brett Dean

    How much is your life worth? I’ve had several people ask me about a self-defense gun and when they find out what a Glock, S&W, Sig, FN, SA, etc. costs, many say they can’t afford it. But they have the latest Iphone, drive a newer car, eat out all the time, etc. Their priorities suck. When they say that’s a lot of money when the odds are I won’t ever need it, I try to tell them it’s not about the odds- it’s about the stakes.

    • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees Godless Monster

      You’re right. For those with skewed priorities, you can always ask them if they have insurance (health, auto, home, etc), and if so, how much do they pay each year.

  • Coverage Genius

    Nice article. I think this is the most I’ve read the words “ramen noodle” in a post. lol. That maruchan ramen you have is garbage. Like guns, there are a whole variety. I’ll send you some good ones if you want any. 🙂

  • Morie Graham

    I have a Taurus 357 mag with 4″ barrel that we have probably put 700 rounds through it since 1993. Still tight as ever and shoots straight. We have 3 Taurus.45 acp and 9mm. Love them. Plus few other guns. Enough said. As for Hi-Points, they are ugly but will not jam, no matter who owns it, if goes bad they will fix it for life time or replace. Ruger is fine gun and S&W. Glocks are over rated. Seen them jam on shooting range. Myself I’d bet my life on a Ruger before a Glock. That’s my say.

  • Orion A. Bennett

    I read the article …. I laughed and laughed …. and happily threw it in the trash, in an attempt to prevent it ever being seen or read again. Putting on my Mr. Rogers sweater and slip on sneakers, “Can you say BS?” I am a frugal man. I have been all my life. It was how I was raised, and how I raised my son. Never spend too much, nor too little, as yes … you can get what you pay for. That said … this article is still BS. I owned a Taurus revolver 30 years ago, that for some reason I sold, and I’ve been kicking myself ever since. Round for round, it held up better than S&W, Ruger, and Colt revolvers. I personally don’t buy plastic guns …. (got out of that when I moved from water pistols, and nerf guns). I prefer tried and tested 1911’s, 92’s, and PPK’s … I have, Rock Island, Ruger, GSG, ATI, Taurus, and Bersa … and have never been disappointed with reliability of any of them. Sure they require cleaning and maintenance … but what doesn’t? A Ferrari, Maserati, Bugatti, that isn’t cleaned and maintained is ultimately no better than a Yugo.

  • harold Johnson

    So , you’ll drove the most safest vehical out there and always drive no faster than the speed limit. Right?

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