Let me run through the basics of what I was looking for and why I chose these two pistols to compare. The two exact pistols are the Springfield XDM compact 9mm and the the Beretta M9A1. I already own a Glock 23 and and don't have the desire to own another one just yet. I liked 1911s in 9mm but they were too expensive. I will NOT have the opportunity to shoot either of these before I buy. (which is also why I'm looking for input here) The gun will be used for plinking and fun, nothing serious except as a possible backup HD pistol behind the G23 should I decide to sell it. Characteristics I am looking for: - A gun that has many positive reviews (well tested) - 9mm - One that I REALLY like the grip on (I have held both and enjoyed them) - available for around <= $600 - It must be aesthetically pleasing (to a degree) - getting the most for my money So what do you all think? Which one should I start really looking into? I am interested to see what you all say P.S.- If you have another gun that you think would fit the bill please say so! I'll gladly consider it, but I do still have these two in mind.