This is just my opinion and I hope you'll get many to help you make your decision. First there is no best handgun, but there is a best handgun for you. Depends on your physical attributes (big, small), experience, and comfort zone with what you might have to do. I am a medium build male who has been around firearms all my life. I started shooting with my father and uncles at the age of 12 and have good self discipline developed through the military. I have been through several training classes for handguns including CCW and constantly go to them to keep my skills fresh. This is not a commitment to be taken lightly. Best thing I'd advise is to go several different gunshops and look them over--beware if you are female as there is a lot of testosterone in the air as my wife says--find the one where you feel comfortable. Most places have rentals handguns and will provide an introductory lesson to renters. Try several different arms, ask lots of questions. Most shooters are more then happy to share their knowledge and skill. Also, there is a tremendous amount of info on the net, hope I've been of some assistance.