Read thru some of the threads here, and see what people are liking, or having problems with. Examine your budget, so you don't waste a lot of time gathering info about something you either can't afford, or just don't want to spend that much money on.
Once you have your choices narrowed down, go to a gun store and handle each of your choices, and see what you like best. If the store has a range and will let you rent and fire the guns, by all means do so.
Personally, I'm a 1911 guy, and I've had really good results with my Springfield.
Hard to go wrong with Colt, Springfield, Kimber, or Rock Island. I don't have any personal experience with the Ruger, S&W, or new Remington 1911's.