Always when buying a gun, try it first. Find a range with plenty of rental guns,and get a multirental pass. Bring ammo for any and all calibers you're looking at. Shoot lots. Like they said, 100 answers, 99 of them are different. YOU, are the only one who can say which one is best for you.
That said, for SD, and HD, look at .380 acp and up. Check out the plastic wonder guns. Glock m&p, xd etc...
Springfield 1911 black loaded target. 460 Rowland.
S&W M&P9 pro 5in.
To be voluntarily disarmed is to rely on the honor of the dishonorable.