Beretta Px4 Storm
CZ 75 Compact
SIG Sauer P226 (9mm)
SIG Sauer P229 (.40)
Only the Sigs are cost prohibative. You really can't go wrong with any of the guns listed here or by Dan. My list revolves around 9mm pistols, though and is a mix of all metal guns and polymer-frame guns.
Things you'll need to figure out:
- Pistol vs Revolver
- Metal vs Polymer
- .22 vs .380 vs 9mm vs .40 vs .45 vs etc...
- Hammer vs Striker
- If Hammer, Decocker vs Thumb Safety vs Both
- Full Size vs Compact vs Subcompact
- And the list goes on...
My advice: 9mm, Polymer, Striker-fire, pistol (GLOCK G17 (G Series), S&W M&P9, or SA XD(M)9)
Alternate advice: 9mm, Metal, Hammer w/Decocker, pistol (CZ75 or Beretta 92FS)
My personal opinion is that you can't go wrong with the 5 I've listed above and it is a matter of which you shoot the best, which you'd be the most comfortable with under stress, and which one feels the best in your hand.
"Ideology deludes, inspires dishonesty, and breeds fanaticism. Facts, experience, and logic are much better at leading you to the truth."
"Despite the conviction and seeming depth of knowledge with which ideologues speak, they are intellectual weaklings--joiners--who defer to systems of belief and charismatic gurus for their ideas." -- Daniel J. Flynn