Those of us who have been packing defensive handguns for a number of years often forget how confusing and frustrating the search for an ideal concealed carry gun can be for folks who are new to defensive carry. It's not that they don't have any choices; the trouble is that they have too many good guns to choose from. In addition, they've got every gun writer and shooting expert touting his favorite as being the absolute handgun that all real warriors carry. The whole thing can be more than a little bit confusing.
In my case, as a young peace officer required to carry a revolver, I quickly noticed that the two top shooters on our department's pistol team both used Colt Pythons. Clearly, all I really needed to be a first-class handgun man was to own one of these fine Colt revolvers. So, I got one. As you can imagine, what I actually became was the same mediocre shot who now owned a really nice double-action six-gun.
In the course of my continued search, I harkened back to the writings of Elmer Keith, one of my heroes. Elmer packed a 4-inch Smith & Wesson Model 29, .44 Mag. Geez, why didn't I think of that first? Obviously, all true Western men needed a .44. So, the Python went for a Model 29 and I quickly found out several things...the .44 Mag. is a wonderfully accurate cartridge, and it was too much recoil for me to do fast double-action work, and it was too big for my small hands to manage with any speed out of the holster.
Fast forward through a number of gun trades, and I finally settled on the Smith & Wesson Model 19, especially the 2 1/2-inch version, and the 1911 .45 ACP. I could manage these, in and out of the holster, and could shoot them about as well as any handgun that I had come across.
No, I'm not suggesting that everyone run out and buy those two guns. My point is that I had to do a good bit of experimenting before I found the guns that suited me for personal defense. It doesn't matter whether they suit anyone else; they suited me. Barring a bit of blind luck, the new defensive shooter has to conduct a similar search.
The key is to limit that search to only quality guns. Don't bet your life on junk. Set up a little shooting drill of your own to test accuracy, reliability and speed from the holster. That way, you can judge each gun's qualifications against the same set of standards. As you learn, don't be afraid to upgrade to any good gun you find that will improve your performance in that drill. You will find that some really top quality guns don't meet your needs; that's just normal. But, with due diligence, you should eventually wind up with that defensive handgun that you've been looking for all along.
Along the way, you'll make some gun trades, you'll spend some money on ammo and you'll build your defensive confidence. Besides, I can nearly guarantee that you'll have some fun and enjoyment while doing it.