The answer should be simple go to a local gunshop and hold each gun and dry fire to test the trigger(ask first). I would suggest posting a max price you would like to spend and ask for suggestions a gun in your range. Also because you mention inexpensive I would suggest a 9mm because ammo will be much cheaper and a good defense round will rival that of most other calibers. Find an indoor gun range/store and go there and rent some guns to see what you like or join a local gun forum if available members will usually be happy to allow you to shoot their guns.
It seems to me your price would be around 400 max so Ill suggest a few. All suggested pistols are 9mm.
1. Arcus 98dac Its a wonderful pistol and very reliable(not well known) 339.99
Arcus 98DAC 9MM Compact Size. New
2.Stoeger Cougar 8000 ~350 9mm 15+1
3.bersa thunder 9 17+1 ~350
4.you can sometimes find glocks for around 400 used I will not be specific here any glock works