lagrl - My fiancee' had never fired a weapon before she met me, but she wanted to learn, so we started her out on my Kimber Rimfire
which is a .22 caliber version of a full sized 1911. She spent about 10 or 12 range visits learning safe gun handling and proper technique before moving up in caliber. She currently carries a 4" Nighthawk Talon 1911
in 9mm and likes it very much.
As for some things to consider, as you live in Kalifornia, there are quite a few firearms that you won't be able to have access too - so do some research before you fall in love with something that you can't get due to the Nazi's in power down there.
In picking the Springfield XD
I think you started with one of the top pistols in that category given your size and your experience level. Springfield makes a good product and it's reliable. As this won't be your carry piece, and good luck getting a permit to carry in LA County
, I think you are safe in choosing just about anything that is 1) legal where you live and 2) fits your hands.
makes a model called the PPS
that we looked at during the Shot Show and it has several features that might appeal. The back strap is replacable, so you can size it to your grip and the weapon is thinner than other weapons in that class. You can get it in 9mm and it has two inherent safeties, plus it's an ambi mag release, so great for a lefty like you. A new storage feature called Quicksafe was added on this weapon and is one of the first of it's kind in the production market. With it, when you remove the back strap, you can safely store the weapon and never have to worry about someone shooting it "accidently" because it can not fire without the back strap in place. If you have kids, and don't have an expensive gun safe, this would be a key feature I would think.
makes the model 17 and 19, but I think they might be a bit big for your hands as they have a bit of a larger handgrip on them. I personally do not care for the brand, but thousands and thousands of people swear by them, so I am definitely in the minority.
H & K
makes a couple of models you may like: The P2000
This has an ambi slide & magazine release, which is good for you and it also has the adjustable back strap. I personally don't care for the weapon, but you might like it. They also offer the P2000SK
which is a thinner version of the standard P2000. This might fit your hand a bit better. Same features.
has a model that may not be legal in Kalifornia, but if it is, you might like to check out. The 24/7 Pro
has some good features and I believe you can reverse both the slide release and the mag release. Taurus has an unconditional lifetime warranty on their weapons, so they stand behind their products and this one features an "exclusive" foam molding rubber hand grip that is designed to fit "every hand". I don't know about that, but it is a comfortable weapon to hold.
Anyways, those are a few to look at. There are a ton of choices out there, so I kind of tailored this list to weapons kind of what you have already looked at. Do your homework before you buy - make sure that the company will be around in a year and will stand behind their product.
Stay safe. Have fun. And welcome to the club.