Welcome to FTF, take some time to introduce yourself on the new members thread.
I own and carry a M&P 45 for going on three years and find it to be the best for my needs and carry habbits. I owned a M&P 9mm compact for about a year, I bought it to carry in the warmer months. After my adult daughter shot it she had to have it so she gave me her Glock 27 and I gave her the M&P 9mm. I sold the Glock as I don't care for the grip angle on the pistol.
Neither of the M&P's I own/owned had external safties. The trigger prevents AD as long as your finger isn't on the trigger. I highly recommend the M&P but that is a personal choice.
Find a range that rents handle and shoot the top five on your list or suggested and decide what fits your need the best.
Good luck and let us know what you decide to purchase.
Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not." ~ Thomas Jefferson
Originally Posted by Benning Boy
If you're really bored, I'm your huckleberry. If you really want a challenge, I'm the one.
If you're really smart, you'll just peddle your paint.