To answer the posted ?, a firearm is not a prop, toy or fashion statement.
It's a lethal weapon that can kill or injury someone.
It would be difficult for a jury or judge in open court to accept the "I bought a cheap, worn out gun." excuse in a use of force shooting.
Okay, so what's the minimum amout of money one should have to spend to defend himself? If a man can only afford $100 for a used, "cheap" gun he's out of luck?
That's like assigning a poll tax to our 2nd Amendment rights. I would never support anything like that.
You'd also need to make sure the pistol worked correctly, so if you are in a lethal force event, you are not killed.
A "beater" car make break down & cost you $$$. A beater gun may get you killed.
Not everyone can afford to carry a Wilson Combat 1911 nor should they be forced to. I agree you should carry something you have confidence in or at least the best you can afford and still feed your family. I wouldn't knock anyone for carrying an old RG revolver if that's all they could afford.
If the shooting's good the jury isn't going to care one whit about the gun. I can't imagine why you think they would. Heck, if anything the shooter would be giving the perpetrator a better chance.
But that's court. I can see it being difficult to explain to your children why you couldn't protect their mom because the gun you cheaped out on didn't work. I do support getting the best you can afford when money is a concern.