First, welcome to the TFL forum.
In short, there are a few "new handgun owner" & "what should I do" topics here.
Keep in mind that firearms are NOT
props, toys, political or protest signs, fashion statements, or accessories. They are lethal weapons that can injury or kill.
If you are new to handguns, learn & understand the local gun/use of force laws.
Read a few books & get a few books/training guides. When you know how to safely handle weapons & can master basic marksmanship, you can advance to other drills.
Classes or seminars may help to if you have the funds or time. Take a 4hr class or workshop first then gauge the quality of the cadre/instructors.
1000s of new firearm trainers have sprung up since 2000 or so due to the new gun laws.
Top trainers include Clint Smith, Massad Ayoob, Duane Dieter, Larry Vickers, SIG Sauer Academy.
Keep your firearms clean & check them often. Also, only use factory made ammunition for defense, no reloads or hand loads.
As for choices, I'd agree the .38spl/.357magnum is great way to start. Many gunners start with robust, stainless 5/6/7 round revolvers or guns like Ruger's top LCR. My friend who's new to handguns, just bought a NIB(new in box) Ruger LCR with a Lasermax.
The SP101 DA only, .357magnum the L frame 686+, the S&W 442 or 638 .38spl.
A new 3" or 4" barrel wheelgun is good to start.
www.NRA.org www.gunlawguide.com www.mylegalheat.com www.gunvideo.com www.brownells.com www.gunsamerica.com www.natchezss.com www.midwayusa.com www.gunzilla.us www.weaponshield.com www.sgammo.com www.uscav.com www.magpul.com