When I first started carrying concealed, I selected a Smith & Wesson 642 with a CT grip. People were lined up at store counters to look at them; It handed well in a store; and it slipped easily into a jeans pocket. The conventional wisdom held that "the average gunfight is over in three rounds". What else was there to consider? I bought it, with a pocket holster. I had been shooting handguns off and on for just under fifty years, at cans and bulls-eye targets, but I knew absolutely nothing about what might be expected to unfold in the event of an attack in a parking lot, or how to react. A couple of scary local incidents, and JohnKSa's excellent post on ammunition capacity, led me to want a pistol with more capacity. S&W had a special offer that included some pricy extra magazines for the M&P Compact; I read about it and drove out to Cabela's. I liked the way it handled, and I bought it. At the time, I just had to have the one with the manual safety--a no-brainer, thought I. The pistol was reliable, and I could shoot it. I bought an IWB holster. What else could I need? Two ugly issues manifested themselves. First, that "safety" switched on and off with no perceptible detent, and it became disengaged rather often when the gun was in the holster. Secondly, there was something about the trigger that caused my finger to sting painfully after firing fifty rounds. Lesson: try before you buy. Our gun club hosted a good defensive pistol shooting class shortly after that. That was ten years ago this Spring. Two days, bring at least 1200 rounds of ammunition. No revolvers. Service size pistols were strongly recommended. I needed to acquire one. I had had a lot of experience with 1911 type guns, and I was still laboring under the conventional wisdom about the alleged superior effectiveness of the .45 ACP. I zeroed in on a high-end firearm with an Officer's size steel frame. This time, I tried one out at the range before buying. (Actually, I tried a similar Kimber; they did not have an STI Guardian for rent). The class was an eye-opener. We spent a lot of time learning to shoot rapidly. Steel plates, modified El Presidente drill, rotating instructors, one for each student all the time. During the time I was reloading magazines, and that was considerable, I noted that the students with service size .40 S&W pistols could shoot much more rapidly with controlled fire than those with .45s, and those with 9MM, still more rapidly. HMMM.... About that time, the old saw about the .45 and the Moros was being thrust into the harsh light of reality as a combination of technology improvements made the 9MM more viable. I learned that here on THR form people who had done more research than I, and from Special Agent Urey Patrick. I established for myself a new requirement: a concealable 9mm with a double column magazine, and a safety. I divested the M&P, and after a lot of looking, I chose a Ruger SR-9c. It was reliable, shootable, carryable--and it was not painful to shoot for fifty rounds or even much more. I have tendonitis. I am responsibly told by medical experts who shoot handguns that recoil heavily long enough will ultimately end up with it, along with some permanent nerve and joint damage. Ask John Taffin. The Ruger seemed perfect. The safety was in about the same place as the one on a 1911; I learned to disengage it consistently; and it did have a positive detent. But it was possible to bring the gun into firing position without disengaging the safety. That happened to me when I was under the "stress" of drawing and firing under the eye of a trainer whom I had seen many times on television. Once. Considering what might have occurred in a real "Tueller scenario", I divested the Ruger. Still having little faith in that Glock-type "safety", I chose a single-column Croatian semi-auto with a grip safety. It meets my needs, but the trigger could be better. A lot of things have to happen inside the gun when the trigger is pulled to make it fire. A neighbor of mine worked for Ruger, and he brought home a new Ruger American pistol. It has a better trigger than the Springfield, and less effort is required to rack the slide. By the way, I had open heart surgery a year and a half ago, and that takes a bit out of one for a while. My friend's Ruger has been 100% reliable, and it has digested every kind of ammunition he has tried, flawlessly. I bought the Compact model, without the safety. I again carry the Springfield, however. The four inch model of the Springfield is no longer listed. I have recently been looking at the new Smith and Wesson Shield 9 EZ: single column magazine, grip safety, easy slide, and the reviewers like the trigger. I looks good to me, and so does the price. The trigger, the grip, the bore axis, the safety provisions, the caliber, the size and weight, and the sights are all something that an individual has to choose for him/her self. So is the slide racking effort. The choice should be an informed one. Playing with one in the shop won't cut it. Relying on the advice of the guy in the store or the gun guy at the office doesn't qualify. Videos are god but insufficient Shoot it yourself, and equip yourself with the best possible appreciation of what it is that constitutes realistic defensive shooting, both, in terms of speed (much higher than most people think) and accuracy (combat accuracy is all you need). For me, that involved taking a couple of good training classes. Perhaps you will purchase fewer pistols and holster than I have, before landing on the right square.