I have to agree with most of your thinking but the sad reality is the best some folks can afford is, the low end stuff. The other thing is many people can’t understand buying a used piece in really good shape is way better than new. Furniture comes to mind as well. Unless you buy custom made furniture made now, it wont be nearly as good as a common 1950’s piece or earlier manufacture. Almost everything is like that now.
On the other hand nothing is every so clear cut. Most people buying Savage or whatever aren’t thinking about self defense and only few shots fired hunting. Until recently most firearms I bought were for sporting purposes. Only a few were for defense. I have an old New Haven (Mossberg 500) with a polychoke, a 1100, an OU and a side by side for shotguns. Not one was bought for SD obviously.
It’s also pretty hard for me to buy a $500-$1000 dollar scope to put on my sporterized $75.00 Swedish Mauser and feel good about it. I do have a Leupold on it though that I bought for a fair price.