painted - Good for you! I am glad to hear that you are having more of a positive exprience in handgun shooting this time around.
As for specific pistol "training" questions, we have several NRA Instructors that are members here, G21.45; Robo10mm & Mr. Clean I know of for sure, so perhaps one of them will stop by and be willing to weigh in on your questions. If not, send one of them a PM, I have known them all to be very open and willing to help.
From what I have read, and mind you I have yet to get into a face to face pistol fight - thankfully.
But, from FBI Stats over I don't know how many police/criminal shoot outs, the average distance of engagement was 7 yards. 21 feet, give or take.
25 yard pistol shooting is great - but at that range, how many places in your house, in your garage, or in your office work environment do you have 25 yards between you and what you might be shooting at?
I don't have a big house, it's average for this area, and I don't have 25 yards, in a straight line, except from my house to my back fence, and if I have to shoot at someone at that distance, I can close the door and make my way upstairs to get one of my ranged weapons instead.
Personally, when I was teaching my fiancee to shoot, we started with my .22 cal 1911 at 10 feet. She had never shot a pistol before and I didn't want her to get discouraged. We probably spent 500 or 600 rounds shooting over a span of about 4 trips to the range shooting at targets at 10 and 12 feet.
I am sure there were other people in the range that thought it was ridiculious, but she got to where all 9 rounds from the mag were in the 10 ring on the target, and not just once, but plenty of times.
After she got comfortable with that distance, we moved the target back to 15 feet and then to 21. She shot slowly, with the .22, over and over again, but concentrating on using the same sight picture each time and doing it safely.
Eventually we moved up to a 9mm in a rental gun from the range. Then we got her a 9mm Sig, which only lasted about 6 months before she was dropping subtle hints about liking the 1911 more than the Sig. Now she has her own 1911, in 9mm, that has been customized for her likes ( pink grips were not my first choice.. LOL ) but she is now a very formidable pistol shot.
Start with a small caliber, and at a comfortable range so you don't get discouraged, and slowly work your way out. It takes a bit of time, but the results will speak for themselves.
Best of luck and keep on shooting!