Originally Posted by audiomechanic
Thanks so much for this input! I don't want to be discouraged but challenged and I don't think snubbies are the way to go for me. Getting something "over my head" would not be smart. I need to be able to comfortably control what I ultimately end up with.
My advise is for you to try to master basic marksmanship first and that means get some good professional trainings and then put to practice those trainings with lots of rounds being fired out of a .22LR pistol or revolver.
Carrying a firearm for self-defense is not something that should happen overnight. Many people get a wild hair, go out and buy an XYZ because so & so said to do it, fire it once or twice and put it away in a purse or night stand.
That's not protection. That's liability.
What I said about snubnose revolvers also go with mini pistols. They're just as hard to shoot as a snubbie, not to mention very finicky and cantankerous. Given the choice between a mini pistol and a snubbie, I'd take a snubbie - 5 for sure instead of 6 or 8 maybes.
Learn how to shoot fairly well so that when you go out and rent a gun or borrow a gun, you can evaluate on your own how well that gun shoots for you. Then put a price range to what you want to spend. Then think about what you want to do with the gun and how you plan on toting it around, or it will just sit at home in a drawer/safe/night stand. Then and only then buy the gun that fits you the best.
Also, if you were to plan on packing the gun, then you'd have to think about the mode and method of carrying: purse, ankle, thigh, belt, shoulder, armpit, belly band, ad nauseaum. Then you'll have to put a budget for purchasing said carrying devices.
Of course, don't forget about fund for ammo and range time for continual practice. Or additional training.
If you have money to spare, then buy a gun that strikes your fancy. If it turns out to be the wrong gun, then buy something else. Lather, rinse, repeat.
If your fund is limited then be smart about it and spend the time and effort up front getting trained up to the point where you can start to evaluate guns on your own with some inputs from others.
Maybe by then you'd realize that a snubnose revolver is what would suit you the best.
But if you really, really want some advices about getting something like right now, then I'd recommend a medium size pistol. Not a compact or mini pistol for the reasons above, but a medium size one. There are essentially four sizes for pistols: Large (or standard/service size), Medium, Compact and Mini (pocket pistol/super compact/whatever they want to call it).
A medium size pistol would have a barrel length between 3.5" and 4" depends on makes and models. Not too small and not too light. Smaller than service size for better carrying and concealment but not too small so as shooting is difficult.
Let's take Glock 9mm for instance, a G17 is full/service size, a G19 is a medium and the compact is G26. They don't have a mini yet.
Or a Beretta 9mm PX4 family for example: Full size PX4 has 4" barrel, compact (they used this word instead of medium) has 3.2" barrel, the subcompact has a 3" barrel. Then the Nano; which is not related to the PX4 model at all, is considered to be a "pocket pistol" BUT the barrel length is 3.07" barrel. It's small but still too big to fit into many pockets.
Of course there are the true pocket pistols that are generally chambered in .380 or smaller (.32ACP, .25ACP, .22LR).
There is always a trade off between convenience of carrying/concealment and shootability. Only YOU can determine which factor is more important to you. Some people prefer maximum concealment over shootability. Some prefer shootability over maximum concealment. Some want a compromise in the middle.
For the longest I preferred shootability over concealment so I tried to pack full size pistols. Nowadays, I go with the medium ones because they aren't as sensitive as the compact or mini. Actually, nowadays my main carrying pieces are snubnose revolvers. I realized that with the lifestyle that I have, the chances of me having to fight off a horde of gangsta thugs/biker gangs/terrorist jihadists are pretty slim, so I prefer the simplicity and portability of a snubbie.
However, that's just me and I can't speak for others. It's my choice to make based on my wants, needs, etc.