I find it curious here how many here consider you an outcast if you don't go with the .45 in a 1911 or something of the like. I will probably be damned to eternal hell for saying this but the 1911 is the most uncomfortable and ugliest gun I have ever had to shoot.
My last gun shop visit was not one of my better ones. Being a woman and not exactly an ugly one I am told, I always seem to draw a crowd of guys who want to educate me in the way of firearms. It is the quiet ones you want to listen too. They are usually the older guys who have some "real experience" in using firearms.
I bought a SR9c after being told and argued with that I should only buy a 45 to serve for my defensive purposes and only in Kimber, Springfield, Glock, and on and on. The fact is 45s are simply too big for me on recoil. I can shoot them if I need too but they are not my fit in any of their sizes. I carry in my holster bag a FNH Browning Hi-Power and got the SR9c for wearing on my person. Poor me and my little 9mms.
In one of my last posts I was told that I said the same thing as one of the experts. Did I step on someone's xxxx? So sorry... I have been traveling a lot these last six years I am still learning the communication style on the west side of the pond.
Listening to it all from the experts will be very educational and mostly entertaining. Just go get what fits you from a reliable gun maker that shoots a caliber you can afford, make sure it is functional, and practice like hell with a good qualified instructor so you can hit what you aim at. You will find it a very fun thing.