Hello & welcome to TFL forum,
In short, I suggest learning more about handguns(firearms), taking a few classes or work-shops with a respected/qualified instructor. Not a guy you met in a sports bar or in a Bass Pro Shop parking lot. Know & understand the firearm/use of force/concealed carry laws of your area. The NRA, www.nra.org
, is a great resource. You should join & support 2A/gun owner issues.
I'd suggest renting or shooting a few well made(high quality) handguns first before you spend a lot of $. For a new gun owner, I'd buy a new .357magnum 3"/4" stainless steel revolver(med frame) or a LE trade-in .38spl revolver(5/6 shot). A good model like a Ruger GP100 4" or a S&W 686 L frame(7 rounds, 3" barrel) can teach you the basics like marksmanship, recoil management, gun cleaning, proper use of sights, etc. You can start with .38spl training rounds then move on to powerful .357magnum loads for carry/protection.
Stainless handguns are easy to clean and hold up to rough conditions. As you get more training & feel able to move up, you can buy a modern DA only pistol like a HK P2000 LEM or a SIG Sauer P229R DAK pistol. These pistols are issued by many police agencies because they are safe, robust and avoid false claims of "cocking hammers" or misuse.
Only use FACTORY made ammunition for carry/defense. No reloaded or hand-loaded rounds. Your statements & actions will be reviewed in a lethal force event. Be smart and be ready to address any legal issue.
Keep your firearms clean and check them often. Don't allow grit, gunpowder, dust, etc to cause a problem or jam. Many well made gun oils & cleaning items are available. Good brands include; Hoppes #9, Mpro7's LPX, Ballistol, Weaponshield, Gunzilla.
For more details see these websites;
www.natchezss.com www.mpro7.com www.gunlawguide.com www.brownells.com www.gunsamerica.com www.policehq.com www.handgunlaw.us www.boatmanbooks.com www.paladin-press.com www.berettausa.com www.gunvideo.com www.shopcorbon.com www.gunzilla.us