First, thank all of you for your input. It was a REAL help!
My final decision was to go with the Browning Buckmark URX Standard .22 caliber. My decision was based on cost of ammunition, ease of use, accuracy, low recoil, and most importantly comfort for my hand and comfort firing. After shooting .45 (WAY too much firepower), .40 (too big), 9 mm (loved the Springfield XDM), and .22 LR, I had my decision. I also bought a basic .22 cleaning kit, a bore-snake, a Hiviz Buck Mark Pistol Sight , an AAdco STJR Super Thumb Jr. Speedloader, and pair of Caldwell Electronic Ear Muffs.
I've shot a total of 725 rounds (CCI Blazer and American Eagle round heads?) through it, and I'm super happy.
Cost of firing 725 rounds: $58.73!
compared to if I had bought a larger gun:
Cost of firing 725 rounds 9mm: $217.50
Cost of firing 725 rounds .45: $282.75
I feel like after shooting this many rounds, in a stressed situation, I could place 10 shots into the thoracic cavity missing, at 15-20 feet, within 15 seconds. I think for me, with a 9mm or higher, the sound of the first shot (I WON'T be wearing ear protection), and recoil would make time to reset too long, and I'd end up shooting up the wall, and through to my neighbor!
With a simple CCI Blazer round, it won't be as loud, recoil is VERY low, and it's more like shooting a BB gun. So, for self-defense, IMHO, a .22 caliber is just fine in a close quarter situation. I don't buy the "what if the guy's on crack (or angel dust, or LSD)" argument for bigger guns, enough holes in a body, and the guy will stop moving, period. And if I've reach a point where I've actually had to push a full magazine into my gun, flip the safety, cock it, and take aim, then that means my life or my family's life is in mortal danger, and then I ain't gonna stop 'til the clip is empty. If he's still moving after that, he gets my S&W boot knife in the neck. If that does't work, well then I guess I'm screwed...
One drawback I have at this point is it fails to autoload every 50 rounds or so.* A minor mention is that it weighs a lot (2lbs+), although this helps to stabilize the gun when resetting. Other than that, I am very happy with the purchase.
At $4.05 a box for 50, I can shoot all day. However, I'm wondering if the subsonic rounds just aren't powerful enough to make the gun feed reliably. CCI's are awesome, but it's $1.00 more a box, so I want to be sure.
I'm also looking for a video specific to cleaning this particular gun. Lots of debate out there...
*The previous casing doesn't get ejected properly, and gets stuck in the breach, causing the slide to get stuck partially opn. I have pull the slide back, let the round drop, then if the next round is visible and in position, let the slide snap shut, pushing in the next round. Also, sometimes the next round simply does not pop into the chamber from the magazine. I pull the slide back, and I can see the round stuck in the magazine. Sometimes, it'll pop back into place while I'm inspecting it, and other times I need to remove and reseat the magazine. Around when this happens, the trigger pull is harder. I clean it after every trip to the range, so I'm wondering if it's cheap ammo...(American Eagle, not CCI) Any ideas?