Well.......for the money you speak of, you can pretty much pick and choose what you want. But, that doesn't necessarily mean you'll be getting the best gun possible.
For under $1000.00, you can still get a very good handgun. Brands like SIG, Beretta, HK, and Colt, are just some of what would be available.
I have a lot of handguns, and not one of them cost me more than $1000.00. I've looked at some that sell for upwards of $2K, but they didn't do much for me. I'm not into fancy grips, scroll work, or gold plating. Just because a handgun sells for a lot of money, doesn't mean you're going to shoot any better with it.
You said that you have shot before, but I'm not getting any indication that you are well experienced. Save some of that money that you do have, for maybe a future purchase when / if you definitely know what you want.
In a nutshell, don't overspend just cause you have the $$ to do so.