Xtreme, I was in the same spot you are a few years back and spent a lot of time looking at and researching guns. I found what I thought was the perfect gun for what I was wanting. I bought a Springfield XD subcompact in 9mm mainly because of the concealed carry purpose. I loved shooting the gun and it still is a very accurate and dependable gun with thousands of rounds through it. I then bought holster after holster trying to find one that was suitable for my build. It was then that I realized that for concealed carry this was not the gun for me.
My next purchase was a Kahr CW9 that I found at a great price. It is very easy to conceal as far as size goes but I do not like to shoot it. The recoil is rather snappy and cleaning it proved to be a problem for me. I bent a spring the second time I cleaned it that caused the slide to lock back after every shot.
I then started looking at smaller .380's. I ended up buying a Sig P380. I understand that you are looking for a 9mm but I will say that this was a great buy. I love this gun for summer carry and it shoots great. I also bought one for my wife and she shoots it great. Better than me actually but that's not hard to do.
All this said, one of my favorite guns is the Springfield EMP 9mm. I had been looking at this gun early in my search and determined that it was too expensive for me to buy new. I am like you in the sense that I don't want to buy a used gun from just anybody so I kept calling and looking for used one at a local gun store that I trust. After I had given up on the search I got a call from them saying they had recently bought one. I picked it up and have loved it ever since. For some reason I shoot this gun better than any of my semi-autos. My wife does too. It has a great feel and I haven't had one problem out of it. It is also a great carry gun in winter time for me.
I will add that I also have a few revolvers ( S&W 66-1, S&W .38, Ruger single six, single ten) that are great guns too.
I know this is a lot to read but I was in your shoes when I first started looking for a gun and I should have taken the same approach as you have.
Hope this helps and good luck with the hunt.