Congrats on completing the NRA classes -- that is putting first things first!
In terms of your hand gun selection, you've got a couple of potentially conflicting priorities. A full size long barrel gun (5" or more) is going to deliver better accuracy for the range, but it is also going to be more difficult to carry and conceal. Weight (meaning both gun size and frame materials - poly versus metal) are factors here as well -- for both concealment and accuracy / handling.
Regarding gun brand... First I'd say that Reliability should be your top priority. From what I've read, Taurus does not fit that profile. But do your own research, check your budget and come to your own conclusion in terms of reliability.
Lastly determine your budget for gun and ammo (meaning caliber) -- keeping in mind what type of ammo you desire for defensive purposes.
I'm resisting giving specific recommendations for guns. I'd recommend you consider these points, do some research, and most important -- shoot as many different guns as you can. Then you can solicit specific input and opinions. Otherwise, people are just going to make recommendations based largely on their personal preferences.
It's fun looking and experimenting!