I'd agree the IFG/EAA/Tanfoglio Witness would be an excellent choice. They're offered in many different configurations to fit anyone's needs. 17+1 cap, poly or steel frame, amby safety offered directly from the eaacorp website for like $35 bucks.
You can opt for the carry version in 3.6" barrel, or 4.5" full size version. While some shops I have checked have these just under SRP at $500+, you can grab one from Gunbroker.com or Budsgunshop.com right now for $300 shipped to FFL. Then you're looking at another $40-60 depending on your area for transfer. This will put you under your budget and from personal experience I can assure you will be getting the best bang for your buck. Also keep in mind you can purchase complete slides in 10mm, 45 auto, 40 S&W, 9mm, 38 super (if you're lucky to find one), and 22LR for $215-250. It is essentially a CZ75 clone from the modern day.