Okey Dokey. I took a ride to my favorite LGS today, to see what I could see. After all of the consternation through which I put myself over this issue, it seemed a bit anticlimactic. I also feel a bit silly for getting so wound up about it all.
Thanks to the great advice offered by many here, I've decided to keep my S&W Model 10 revolver. The Taurus revolver goes on the block, though, if anyone ever might want it.
As for the outcome of today's little journey.....
After a lot of looking and discussing with a friend (who accompanied me)....I came to a decision. A Sig Sauer P250c (9mm Para) came home with me. I had finally decided in the store on the sub-compact P250, but I decided to look also at the compact version at the last minute. As it happens, the dimensions are almost exactly the same as my Stoeger Cougar. Rather more brick like in shape - but just about the same overall size. I've had no problems concealing the Cougar.....so I decided to go for the compact P250.
The price was not bad, $379 (same as I paid for the Cougar, as it happens)....and I like the way the Sig feels and handles. The grip is long enough as is, too, so no mag extension needed. I am a small bit put off that Sig only ships the gun with ONE 15 round magazine, but I'll get over it. I really do like the DAO trigger....and I like the modular construction. It is really easy to strip the gun for cleaning and maintenance. It IS quite different than the Cougar, but that only makes it interesting.
So now to find a holster that will work with the P250...and get another magazine or two (the LGS was out of them). And, of course, see how it shoots.
Many thanks to all who offered opinions and advice in this thread. I appreciate it - you guys helped a lot.