haha all kidding aside I've heard a lot of bad things regarding reliability in their pistols with the exception of the 9mm, everyone who I know that has the 9mm ruger loves it and swears by it. I personally have had many bad experiences with rugers, from jams to takedown/cleaning problems, thus i stay away.
Look for a used Glock? Or perhaps raise the spending price a little bit. For a first time handgun, especially if you intend to shoot it a lot I'd recommend a 9mm, you can find fairly cheap practice loads and some really hot defensive loads. Defensively the most important thing is practice practice practice.
Mostly, go to local shops/ranges. Handle/shoot a variety of makes and models. When you find what you like, you will definitely know it.
Good luck and welcome aboard.