My Bulgarian Mackarov is of course a good budget pistol, but the ultimate "budget" gun I have is a Hi-Point C-9, 9mm.
I got it to see if they are as bad as "everyone" says they are. Somewhat, but not totally to my surprise at least this one isn't.
I've put about 2,000 rounds through mine, and had maybe a half dozen malfunctions. Four of those came out of one box of ammo, so it may have been a "bad" batch for all I know.
No, it's not pretty, but it's not much uglier than a lot of modern semi-auto pistols. I think it's pretty comfortable in my hand, and just has a solid, workmanlike look and feel to me. Heavy for a "compact" pistol, but no heavier than my wife's G-19 and not as heavy as my Commander.
It's no target pistol, but it shoots about as well as I shoot any 9mm.
Hard to disassemble? Yea, it's not easy, but on the other hand you don't really have to. I've stripped mine down exactly once, and didn't find enough stuff to clean up to make it worthwhile. I just spray Gun-scrubber on it, swab the barrel, clean around the ejection port with a q-tip, and let it go.
If I was broke, and really needed or just wanted a gun, this one would do just fine.