When I went to buy my first handgun I went to a long-time family owned sporting goods store that has a fairly large gun counter. I had the good fortune of having an older guy who was a retired border patrolman help me. I told him I knew nothing about firearms but want to get a handgun for HD. He brought out three, all in 9mm, a Sig, a Glock, and a Springfield. All "full size". The Sig was obviously very nice but way out of my budget range, the Glock had a very good rep from my sales guy, but didn't feel good in my hand and though irrelevant I thought was butt-ugly, but the Springfield had good rep also and fit hand and budget well. The sales guy was very kind and took the time to show me basic field strip breakdown, cleaning and ammo needs. So, a week later, very excited but feeling like I had just joined The Dark Side, I began. After a friend at work had shown me a spot up on the mountain to shoot, I practiced and practiced every week until I felt I could actually hit something with a fair bit of confidence. Not long after I got a Mossberg 500, also "for HD" and quickly discovered the delightful joys of really being able to blast stuff, but also learned its limitations.
Well it wasn't long before I wanted to start carrying, so the wife and I (she was all gung-ho at the time) went and got our carry licenses, and I started try to carry my XD9, first on the hip (hadn't discovered good holsters yet) and after that hadn't worked out well, then tried to carry with a shoulder rig (nylon, very uncomfortable) which really wasn't working out either, and obviously wasn't going to work for warm weather. So, I started investigation of the idea of a smaller, yet hopefully accurate and reliable gun for carry. I chose the XDs .45 and the wife chose the Ruger LC380. Once again I practiced and practiced, and found the XDs to be everything I wanted, put into a DeSantis holster good for comfortable conceal even in warm weather, fairly accurate out to 40ft., and reliable, plus the power of the venerable .45 cartridge. Good to go. And I'm still using it to this day. The wife's LC380 though, different story. We took it out numerous times trying to "get the feel" of it, both of us. We found the recoil to be snappy and obnoxious, the trigger pull way too long, and the accuracy all over the place even at only 7yds. It was (is, we still have it, sitting in the corner of the safe) however, reliable. It goes bang every time, thats about it. We eventually got the wife a Charter Arms .38 snubby "Undercover" model, put some Hogue grips on it, and she is absolutely deadly with it, far better than me. I still want to upgrade her to a S&W.