As you are beginning to see...one gun doesn't do it all.
Seems like you're looking for a general purpose handgun.
I would agree that 9mm is a cheap round to practice with.
It's also a proven round, although I don't rely on 9mm for self defense.
I usually recommend a revolver (.38spl or.357Mag) for somone's first firearm.
But, if you're interested in a pistol style handgun and not a revolver,
I would have to recommend the Smith&Wesson M&P series. Great dependable, accurate pistol w/easy field stripping maintenance for a beginner.