I tend not to recommend any individual firearm or carry method. As evidenced by our members' posts, the perfect carry gun for a 250 lb., 6'4" man is not the same one for a 110 lb., 5'2" woman! I can only recommend going to a range that rents weapons and trying as many as possible. TIP: Tell the manager that you are trying to determine a good carry weapon and they might make a deal for you to try out many of them. When I took my wife to shoot every possible caliber and determine what she was comfortable with, the manager of our local indoor range agreed to only charge for 2 rental guns (we took two at a time but went through almost every gun they had) and only charged for the ammo used, not by box for the calibers she hated. It was a great experience and she became well-acquainted with different models, actions and calibers.
Second suggestion: A gun that falls to the floor is at the very least embarrassing, and at the most can land you in jail (inciting panic with a weapon), with your CCW being revoked being most likely. Do not buy generic or nylon holsters to carry your life-saving tool in just to save money. allot around $70-110 of your budget for a custom molded leather or Kydex holster that will hold your weapon regardless if your rolling down a hill or using the stall in the bathroom. Finally, a thick, hardened leather belt will round out your CCW carry system and provide the correct support for your holster. This is the most often neglected part of the system and it is the cheapest ($45-60), but it is the foundation of the whole system and absolutely necessary.
By all means, have fun and ask questions! The more you ask, the more you learn, and the more intelligent your decisions will be. Ask on here as well - although members of this forum are not very likely to give their opinion.