I began a tangential discussion in this Ruger SR9 thread about potential candidates for a first-time handgun purchase. Of course, the SR9c was among those candidates, but it was brought to my attention that I should consider the alternatives. In short, I'm hoping to find an affordable and reliable handgun, preferably in a compact frame. Whether the gun is hammer- or striker-fired, steel or polymer frame, I'd like to consider all options, but I want to stay below the $600 price point. Out of all candidates, I've given the Bersa Thunder 380, CZ-83 in .380 ACP, and the Ruger SR9c the most consideration. The ideal gun for me would be one that is pleasant to shoot at the range, simple enough for a new owner to operate, and small enough to be considered for concealed carry. 9mm and .380 ACP are widely available in my area, but in case you're wondering, I do have a hard time locating 9x18 Makarov locally. Do you have any suggestions for a new shooter? Or can you offer some commentary, positive or negative, on the guns that I listed? Thanks!