Young, I was reading a couple of articles recently by reputable experts on the topic and both agreed that, for handguns, one should shoot on the heavy end of the spectrum. Not necessarily the heaviest but not necessarily not. So you seem to be in excellent company.
BTW, I've never before seen anyone recommend against using hand loads for self defense rounds. I'm not a hand loader, but if I were I'd have sufficient quality control to trust my life to them, whether its for a reliable round in a once-in-a-lifetime self defense scenario, or for weekly range use.