I must be loosing my mind. I'm a self employed plumber and had a service call close to a gun dealer (Gander Mountain) and I just had stop in. I was able to see and hold all the popular brands and I liked all of them for the most part.
Based on just holding them and judging by feel only two guns really stood out among the pack, and both are Beretta. The two models I most liked are the 92fs and the Storm. They both felt really good in the hand but the Storm felt great.
When I left I was running out of time for my next service call but I still had time to make a quick stop at a shooting range. They were more than happy to help me out and said I could shoot any of the brands they have, and they have them all. I inquired about shooting clinics and lessons and the owner gave me a card of an instructor so I thought that was pretty cool as well. I just don't want to pick up any bad habits and want to be as safe as I can. I'm gonna try like hell to make it to the range next week and do some shooting, that should go along way in making my decision. Rent on a gun is only $8 so it's hard to go wrong.
On another note one brand beside Beretta that also feld good was Walther, I can see owning a couple of those some day.
Good deal! $8 rentals sounds nice to me. If I were you, I'd take my time and rent everything under the sun, getting a good feel for all that interests you before making your purchase. This way you will be truly happy with whatever you choose!
I have to admit the best gun I've ever held and shot is the Walther, it is freaky how good it feels in the hand. If the dealer has a S&W SW99 you might want to look at that too, it's the cousin to the Walther for about half the price.