Well, for the price...Glockety Glock Glock Glock...
Or an old Star B, BM, 30, 31, etc...
Sigs are great, but they tend to be a bit on the pricey side.
XD feels funny to me...the grip feels kinda manky. Not fun.
Brownings...very nice, but hard to find under $500.
Colt you won't find under $500 unless you get WAY lucky at an estate auction/etc...
FN, never happen under $500...pricey little rascals...but if I ever did, I'd go with a 5.7
S&W...they lost me a long time ago with the Sigma...worst piece of donkey doo to ever come out of Springfield.
Their revolvers, Top Notch...can't say I care for their semi's.
Taurus, my wifey carries a 24/7-C compact 9mm...and she shoots IDPA with it. Tougher than either of us thought it would be
If it ever dies, it gets replaced with a pink one.
I like Taurus revolvers...made at the old S&W factory in Brazil...carried a model 66 for almost a decade. Tough stuff.
I have instructed my wife to "Gibbs" me, if I should ever be so stupid as to pick up another Ruger & consider purchasing it. 3 bad ones is enough.
In that vein, I'd rather have an RIA 1911 than deal with another Ruger. At least one can fix up an RIA with enough filing
Meanwhile...we wait and wonder if Glock will do a 1911...I'd definitely buy one.