Having recently faced a similar set of criteria I chose the .40 in a Ruger SR40c. What recoil the .40 has is effectively minimized in that pistol. I have the "firepower" and larger bore of the .40 in a very packable package (it may be the perfect packin' pistol). It is also very accurate and eats hard cast LSWC like a fat kid on a bag of M&M's.
.44 Special: For those who get it, no explanation is necessary. For those who don't, no explanation is possible.