I tend to be a bit of a brand snob and say a person would be better off saving up the ~ $300 for a Ruger P95 or Smith & Wesson SW9VE, but I've also been of very limited means before and I understand that every dollar matters sometimes.
Hi-Points are pretty good for what they are, but I wouldn't rely on one as a truly lifesaving tool (others may disagree).
If the options really are limited to those two brands, I'd look at any of the Kel-Tec 9mm pistols to be pretty solid basic-level performers. Please, though, give some consideration to very, very slightly more expensive guns like used Smith & Wesson revolvers, the Ruger P95, or the Smith Sigma or SV9VE.
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