make the wife happier and stay away from 357 magnums - too expensive for the range. For a semi-auto that you won't have to worry about CC I'd look at full-size ones like
Ruger P95 or SR9
Beretta Px4 pr 92FS (they might be over the $500 by a little)
CZ-USA P-07 or a 75 if you can find one in the $$ ballpark
S&W M&P (sometimes on sale around $500)
Stoeger Cougar (basically a older model Beretta Px4 - Beretta owns Stoeger I think).
These are ones that are more likely to be found in your $$ ballpark and have pretty decent reputations. Only differences are striker-fired vs hammer (and so maybe DAO vs DA/SA) and different safeties/decockers. I have the Px4 compact which I like. Just pick the one that feels best in the hand and seems to point more naturally for you. Otherwise they all pretty much shoot the same.