Just picked up a brand new Ruger SR40C, all black, for $419. Now I've been a revolver guy for most of my life, but I just had to try one of the new (to me) polymer, striker fired, autos. I've been doing my homework for 3 months, checking out just about every make, model and caliber you can think of. There really is a plethora of really excellent choices. So it just boils down to personal preference. Don't bother to ask someone what you should get. What works for them may not work for you. Before you buy anything, go to youtube and do a search on any gun you're interested, be it auto or revolver. You'll find tons of video reviews on just about any gun you can imagine. But I'll warn you that watching all the gun videos can become addictive. It was/is for me. If you can, rent the gun your interested in before buying it. I shoot my 44Mag and 357Mag pretty regularly, so recoil doesn't bother me. The SR40C felt just right in my hand, and the price was unbelievable. Put one box of store-bought ammo through it without a glitch. Recoil feels less than a 38 special, and quick/accurate follow-up shots were no problem at 21 feet. It was dead on, but has adjustable sights so I can play with different loads. If you're recoil conscious, there's load data that turns the 40 S&W in to a 9MM. The SR40C isn't a target pistol, but it shoots nice groups at 50 feet in slow fire. Trigger is really nice. Removed the magazine disconnect (took just 5 minutes). It comes with a 9 and 15 round mag in my state (Wisconsin). 2 or 3 rounds is all it should take if, God forbid, I ever have to drop the hammer in self defense. But if it turns into a fire fight, that extra capacity will come in handy. I practice a lot at 50 and 75 yards with my handguns. 9" paper plates are no problem at those distances, even with a snubby or mouse gun, IF YOU PRACTICE!
I have a range on my property and recycle my lead from my home-made sand trap for re-casting. Ordered 2000 once-fired cases and all the other stuff needed for hand-loading and bullet casting for the 40 S&W, including the Lee Bulge Buster to remove the bulge in cases fired in the unsupported chamber of Glocks. Cost me around $2.00 to reload a box of 50 for any caliber that doesn't need a gas check as my only on-going costs are for primers and powder. If you're thinking of a CCW or SD weapon, don't get all caught up in caliber, or firepower, or knockdown power, etc. Most of what you hear is unsupported, fact-less, opinion. Even the diminutive little 380 in today's modern SD loadings is pretty potent. Those one shot incapacitating
(physical incapable of continuing the fight) stops with ANY
caliber are fiction unless you hit a vital area, which is the brain or spine, not the heart. Do your homework and dig up the facts. Ignore the hype and innuendo. Just get what ever feels good to you (auto or revolver) in a caliber that you can afford to practice with A LOT!
If all you can handle is a 22, so be it. Then buy 2 box of good quality SD ammo. Shoot one box to test the ammo in your gun, and pray that you never have to fire even one round from the second box (which will be your carry or bed-side ammo). For normal practice, if you don't reload, look at a 9MM as the ammo is relatively cheap ($10 a box) compared to other calibers. A 9MM which you can afford to practice with a lot will serve you better than a 45ACP, 10MM, or 40S&W which you can't afford to shoot very much. Ruger makes the SR9C. Same as my gun but in 9MM. There are probably more 9MM models available from all the manufactures then all other calibers combined. I'm thoroughly convinced that most people who own handguns can't hit squat because they don't practice enough to become reasonably proficient. I see it all the time. You probably do to. Most of my gun owning friends who aren't in to shooting, can't hit a pie plate at 21 feet. Yet, merely having a gun gives them a false sense of security. IMHO, if you're not shooting a least a couple hundred rounds each month, your gun probably ain't gonna save your butt. Remember, it's skill and presence of mind that count, not your gun or caliber. And your practice should include lots of SD drills, and clearing all manner of malfunctions for an auto (if that's what you use), not just target practice. Take your SD seriously, but don't become paranoid. It should be fun! Didn't meant to ramble so much but maybe there's something useful in here for newbies/rookies. I've been shooting for over 40 years, and I'm still learning. I've included some review videos of my Ruger SR40C. Hickok45 does an excellent job of reviewing guns. He has over 650 gun review vids at youtube. I also included a review vid on the Ruger LCR in 38 special for you revolver fans (like me). We bought my girlfriend the LCR in 38 special (not 357). It's one sweet little gun for SD/home defense and also as a play/range gun. She's become very proficient with it. It's light as a potato chip, reliable as dirt, butter smooth trigger and accurate as all heck. What's not to like!!! Note the long range accuracy which can be achieved with all of these small guns.
Happy shooting and be safe.