First, I suggest you contact the area gun ranges and clubs to see if they offer the NRA Basic Pistol Course. Ask them how much time they spend on the range firing a handgun (there is no NRA requirement for the minimum time allow - at our club they shoot hundreds of rounds on the range during the course). Also be aware there can be a wide price range for the NRA courses, as the price is up to each individual club or instructor.
Second, I would start with a quality .22 Long Rifle handgun. Being that you are new to handguns, you will need to practice a lot on using the proper form for it to become natural. You will eventually save the cost of the .22LR due to the price difference of the ammo. Even if reloading a centerfire, it is cheaper to fire a .22LR using bulk ammo. I still fire my .22LR's more than my centerfires. My .22LR's like Federal's copper plated value pack (550 rounds for about $20 to $25). A .22LR can be very picky, so you will need to find the brand/type of ammo that works best in your firearm. Generally, a copper plated, lead bullet works better than a lead bullet in a .22LR. A Ruger 22/45 (has the same angle grip as most 1911 models), Ruger Mark III, and Browning Buck Mark are three good quality .22LR semi-autos. The Ruger models can be difficult for some people to disassemble and reassemble for cleaning. I suggest NOT dry-firing any rimfire firearm.
Ruger® 22/45™ Rimfire Pistols
Ruger Mark III
Ruger® MarkIII™ Rimfire Pistols
Browning Buck Mark
Browning Buck Mark Pistols, Product Family