To test guns you may check local ranges- sometimes you can rent various guns. Don't be over inticed by looks. My Glock is not a pretty gun but it functions with no problems.
Concerning a threaded barrel- unless you plan on getting a liscence for a surpressor I would say no to the threaded barrel.
You can easily spend half the amount you talked about and get a great handgun. I would suggest you search over this site because this subject has been covered a lot. You will get many various opinions on handguns here and no one is right or wrong.
Good luck with your search and don't be surprised when you get one and then want another, then another, then another...