....I've already introduced myself on here, but I AM NEW, so for those on here who haven't heard from me yet, a little background. Never owned a handgun before, never shot one a couple days ago, and have only gone hunting with a 12 guage a few times several years ago. Just now decided to take this up as a hobby. I have a work buddy that runs the local shooting range/gunclub who is going to help me out with some tips/pointers/training. My first gun will be a Ruger .22 slab side that he is going to teach me proper technique, mechanics, etc. I want to be sure that I have good habits down before I go any larger.....though I so badly want something bigger as soon as I know what I'm doing. I am 40 years old, and a bigger guy (if that matters) and most definitely want to have a good weapon for self defense...but that will be my NEXT purchase, not the first one as mentioned above. Just the other day on here, I found out that there is a difference between what a person would get for target shooting, versus what somebody would get for self defense. Over the next couple of months, I plan on hitting the gun stores/sporting good shops and checking out handguns just to get an idea of what I want to get next. Keep in mind, this will be for self defense, and I will be getting a conceal & carry permit for it here in my state of Iowa. Any suggestions? What would YOU get as a first self defense weapon, or what would you recommend to a friend who asked?