Many good points but I would second a few.
1) A pistol with nothing in the chamber is nicknamed "suicide carry" for a reason. An instructor told me to have someone 10 feet away run at you and see if you can draw the pistol, chamber a round, (And click the safety if you have one), and then resonably aim. (Remember....... shot placement is KEY)
The fact is...... you are going to have someone that will kill you in that case if you are attacked. Why not just leave the gun at home? A big thug will take your half-loaded gun and then shoot you with it.
2) A safety. When I first got into guns I absolutely wanted a manual safety. no one could tell me different, I had ALL the answers.
After thinking about it, seeing that almost 100% of all cops carry a pistol without a manual safety, listening to others that carried, and shooting many DA/SA pistols and some smooth DAO triggers. I FINALLY came to the conclusion that the REAL safety is my brain. If I need a pistol quick, I dont want to have to be fiddling with a manual switch (Is it on, is it off?). I want/need to use the pistol NOW.
I also took a SIG226, with a good DA/SA trigger (unloaded of course) and saw exactly how much effort it took to pull the trigger.... If my holster covers the trigger, and my finger isnt in the trigger guard.... the GUN ISNT GOING OFF.
3) Go for THIN as you can and enjoyably shoot. I now carry a Kahr K9,
which to me is the perfect carry pistol, in a good crossbreed holster.
4) If you are carrying SPEND GOOD MONEY ON A HOLSTER. Dont scrimp.
The cheapy specials typically pinch and jab. BE COMFORTABLE. (or you wont carry)
5) A rock is better than nothing, a 32 is much better than a rock, a 380 is much better than a 32, a 9mm is much better than a 380, ...... get the picture? To me, the 9mm is the absolute minimum to have. (but this point is debatable)
Good luck !
An imperfect servant of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus
Buying American made, wherever I still can