I jave to ask though, have you heard of the taurus pt 145 millenium pro? Its a great 45 cal in a way smaller package but still carries 10 on the mag...and at only 350 (in phoenix) its pretty hard to beat, you should do yourself a favor and check it out!
+5 on that suggestion! The PT145 is a fabulous gun for CCW but of course you aren't looking for a CCW gun in the Land Of Lincoln (they stole him from Ky
). Man you couldn't pay me enough to live in that state. I used to travel across it fairly often but I won't even go there now. I usually had my pistol with me back then but I was a wild and crazy guy in those days and preferred going to jail instead of the morgue. I was going to St. Louis and just trying to cross town on the interstate there was taking your life in your hands at the time. I had gang bangers shadow me all the way through town to make sure I didn't stop I guess. I mean they would drive right beside me in a big Caddy with 6 guys in the car with all of them staring right at me including the driver. No way I was going through there unarmed!
The PT145 is a great gun but you're looking for a shooter's gun. I'd suggest at least a 9mm if you expect to get good accuracy. It's just harder to get good accuracy from a smaller caliber gun in my experience though I have seen a few that would shoot accurately.
Personally I'd suggest you get a 1911 for what you're describing. I don't particularly like them as a carry gun (my personal choice - I know others love them) but for a target gun they are very hard to beat especially in .45. A Rock Island 1911 would be a good choice for a shooter on a budget. They're inexpensive for a 1911 but they still shoot very well.
I know .45 ammo is more expensive than 9mm but not by that much. It depends on what you're doing I guess. For plinking you will probably save some money. For target shooting not so much. But IMO there's a reason people shoot targets with .45. I think it's been developed for target shooting and you can generally find more accurate ammo as a result. I've shot lots of both and IMO a .45 will be more accurate when you're shooting guns and ammo that are about equally priced. Yes you can save some money with a 9mm but at the price of accuracy IMO. Now excuse me while I get in my bunker and wait for the bombs to drop.
Actually there won't be any inherent difference in accuracy between the two rounds. Either can be made to shoot accurately. All I'm saying is that more research and development has gone into making .45 ammo more accurate because it is used far more often in competitions. I really have no way of knowing this for sure. I do know what my experience has been and in my experience a good .45 is more accurate than a good 9mm. I've shot very well made guns in both calibers and it's been my experience that the .45 is generally more accurate. I'm sure plenty of people will disagree.