go to a range, ask friends and actually shoot these guns and you will probably narrow your choice further. i don't know much about 1911 except there usually big and heavy. s&w sigma 9mm i have its a real nice gun but the trigger is tough to get use to. the xd i don't know anything about except it gets good reviews on this forum. imo if you want a good all around home defense, carry weapon, etc move up to 40 caliber and get a glock. they make three different sizes depnding on your hand size. model 22,23, or 27 should be priced in the mid five hundreds even though you may be on a budget i would never buy any gun based solely on a cheap price. but if you really can't afford a glock then i would go for the sigma 40 caliber cost no more than 9mm it will get you by and should be about two hundred dollars cheaper. happy hunting!