mayosligo: I think I'm looking for a longer barrel. I don't have a need for a short barrel.
SRH78: Truthfully, I wasn't even aware that these types of action types existed. I went ahead and started reading more about these types, and here's what I found. I will likely be re-stating what you already have, but for my own reference and to verify that my understanding is correct.
Single Action pistols require the hammer to be cocked the first time. The slide then re-cocks the pistol on each consecutive shot. Modern single action designs are noted to automatically cock the hammer during the insertion of the magazine and sliding of the slider to chamber the first round. Pulling the trigger without cocking the gun first does nothing, and the pistol can be easily de-cocked. The 1911 as I'm reading is a single action pistol that functions in this way. I would not mind having a single-action pistol. It would appear to me to be a rather simple design.
Double Action Only pistols cock and release the hammer on each trigger pull. It seems that this would create a heavier and longer trigger pull. I'm not too fond of that idea. Just from my understanding and limited experience, it would seem that I would need quite a bit of practice to really become proficient at using a double action pistol due to that heavy trigger.
DA/SA pistols are able to cock and fire on the first trigger pull (which is heavier), but also have the ability to single action fire every consecutive action. The difference between is the ability to cock and fire on the first trigger pull, which the single action cannot do, and the ability to single fire on each consecutive shot, which the double action cannot do. A DA/SA pistol also has the ability to be cocked manually as a single action pistol can, so that each shot will be a single action shot. A Beretta 92 functions in this way.
I'm reading that 1911s generally don't respond well to hollow point rounds. Isn't that what I'd normally use for self defense?
I think I can narrow down my options a great deal with the requirements that I've figured out so far. This discussion is really helping me determine what my priorities are.