Interesting senario. There's no potential for carry, so this is strictly for at home and the range.
Get a 1911 at some point, but not now...
Get a 22lr pistol, but not for home defense...
Get a 12g/20g SG for home defense, but you asked about a pistol...
Here is what I would recommend:
1) Steel/Alloy 9mm. At the top of the list goes BHP, CZ 75, Sig 226/228/229. Also consider Beretta M9/92, S&W 4-digit service 9mms, etc. These are high performance "combat/service" guns of exceptional quality that are also relatively easy to shoot well if they fit your hand.
2) A 3"-6" 357mag, from Ruger or S&W. High quality, will last and hold their value, and are great learning platforms. 357mag will be easier to handle in a longer barrel, and 38sp handles and performs almost identically to 9mm.
3) Polymer 9mm. Glock, XD, M&P, FNP, Ruger SR9, etc, etc....most of the poly guns you can find in the $400-700 range are of similarly excellent quality and reliability. Find the one with the fit and features that you prefer. Plastic is not a favorite of mine, but you can get a heck of a reliable gun for the money.
"The Future is Unwritten"