This is for those of you who for some reason or another want to get into firearms without breaking the bank. Maybe you need some home protection or just a fun new hobby. I hope you find this helpful.
In order to be on this list the firearms must meet the following criteria; <$500, reliable and availability.
Ruger P95: The Ruger P95, 9mm can easily be had for under $300 new. 15 round magazines can be found for less than $20. The pistol also includes a picatinny rail for attaching accessories. These pistols are well liked by most who have shot them.
Mosin Nagant: The ultimate in budget firearms. This 7.62x54r rifle carried soldiers through two world wars and can be yours for the excellent sum of $80. Recoil is stout so it's recommended you put a recoil pad on the end of it. There are plenty of after-market stocks and scope mounts available if you want something a little bit more modern looking.
Taurus 605: The 605 is exactly what it looks like. A compact revolver meant for concealment in .357 magnum. For those of you wanting a gun to carry around daily this would be a good place to start. At $330 it still leaves you enough for ammo and a holster
Rock Island Armory 1911: The 1911 is a historic firearm nearing it's 100th anniversary. It still remains in wide spread use a century later because of its ease of use, and reliable operation. RIA has been putting very affordable 1911s onto the market for years now and they are perfectly reliable and functional firearms. They're usually seen for around $400 new. I wouldn't pay much more then that myself. Like most 1911s it is in .45ACP. Magazines are available for as low as $5 for 7 or 8 rounders.
WASR-10: The AK-47 is possibly the most iconic firearm in history, with millions made and numerous versions available, it can be yours for around $450. The Romanian copy of the Kalashnikov rifle is imported by Century Arms International, who has had some problems in the past with quality control but seems to have finally gotten stable. When buying a WASR-10 be sure to make sure the magazine does not wobble too much and that the sights line up properly. If you walk out the door with these things checked you will have a reliable, versatile rifle in 7.62x39. There are countless accessories for AK-pattern rifles out there for whatever you want your rifle to be.