FNG here. I intro'd myself awhile back but have been lurking heavily without posting ever since. Have been plinking more and more with my brother's 10/22 and a friends HK USP compact 9mm. Heavy window shopping is getting me closer and closer to finally making my first purchase. I have little firearm experience, and am looking for a solid first purchase. Home defense and carry are not priorities/considerations, at this time. Plinking and FUN, learning safety, ownership responsability, and maintenence fundamentals are. I have considered a .22 pistol (Buckmark seems to be the one) as a first purchase but after shooting a couple (fun) and my brother's 10/22 rifle quite a bit, I have put a value on learning to manage some felt recoil. 9mm seems the logical choice. Perhaps I am wrong but it seems like the right caliber choice at this time for me. I am a little dude with small hands, and from what my limited experience has shown me fit in the hand and muzzle flip/recoil seem to be bigger factors in my comfort and performance than most. I am also a southpaw so ambi controls shoud be a priority for me. I think lighter weight (with the recoil tradeoff) and smallish grip size will probably be ideal for me. I would like something DA/SA but only have the friends HK USP with the de-cocker/safety and external hammer vs a Glock 17 I shot a few times one day to base that off of. As a learner I think I want the external safety and de-cocker. I like the USP Compact that I have some familiarity with, the quality and fit finish seems on the extreme end of good. The mag release bothers me however? I can't seem to get my thumb to intuitively hit the thing on the first try no matter what. It just seems different than all the others for no good reason other than being ambi. Cost is not a big issue but the fact it is about the most expensive option bothers me. I gotta believe some of the lower cost options will satisfy me, for a first purchase. A lesser consideration but myself (and my buddy) want to get something different just to have a quality alternative when we are shooting together (we don't have many shooting freinds). This is getting way longer than necessary. When my friend chose the USP a few years back I pushed him to get a 1911 heavily (nothing to base it off of just that I "liked" them). I still like them, history/desireablity/cool factor is off the charts for me. He decided against them mainly based on weight (smaller dude like me). Also his quality/$$ priorities are different than mine, once he started looking at 1911's I don't think he could handle buying a "cheaper" (sub $1K) product in that range. He really only considered HK, Glock and Sig based on rep. for better or worse. Don't think the USP is a great option for me. I will still have plenty of exposure to and if it becomes something I can't live without it can be a purchase down the road. Right now its like my neighbors pool, appreciated but I didn't pay for it, don't have to clean it, and its always available for fun times. This finally brings us to the FNP-9, I don't think this was even an option when my friend chose the USP probably '03-04 when he was shopping. I have read and youtube'd several solid reviews. I have only handled one at the store (doesn't seem that popular?). Grip feels good to my smallish hands even with the bigger of the two backstraps. Feels lighter than the USP compact but its probably about the same. Appears high quality in fit and finish. The reviews seem to say it has recoil on the lower end, weight on the lower end, and grip size on the lower end. All should be good for me. Mag release is more traditional although it seems many feel it should be raised some or the thumb ramp shaved to reach it better. All controls are ambidextrous which is probably a neccassity for me. Accuracy sounds solid to above average and the trigger in SA at least sounds like its pretty good. Reliability sounds great with virtually no issues across the board. I must say the USP has never had an issue. IMO this kind of reliability is a big plus for noobs like myself, we still need to learn and practice how to clear jams but I don't want that to be a major part of the experience in my first weapon. Value seems good in the $425 range around here, comes with 3 mags as well. I believe there is an SAO only version and a DA/SA which I would want I think. I need some clarification here, I believe the USG model would be the one for me, a bit more money as well I think. Whatyda' think? I'm told I should be looking at a few others as well, XD, and SW M&P. I need to do the research on them yet. The one Glock I experienced felt weird in my hand and I didn't care for lack of external cotrols vs the USP I am more familiar with. 1911's I still need to explore, the weight of the all metal weapons seems like a deal breaker, but the ergonomics seem to make the most sense to me. I don't want to pay for .45 ammo to scratch paper and learn, so 9mm would still be preferred in a 1911. I need to shoot or handle a 9mm 1911 or even a 92 or CZ 75? To summarize: 1. Inexperienced shooter 2. Sammy Davis Jr. body type 3. Learning and education tool, HD and carry are not priorities. 4. Money not a big deal: but like buying my first car, no reason to overdo it while learning. My maintainence, and safety/responsability skills are still underdeveloped at this point. What are some thoughts on this as a first choice? Giant can of worms I know...Huge thanks to anyone that hung on through this babbling brook of a post.