My first was a P226 as well, over 20 years ago. I still have it I was a 24 fan before they jumped the shark but that's a discussion for another thread.
No need to go "testing" things unless you just want to. Any of the currently produced JHP ammo will be sufficient for SD/HD purposes. It looks like one of the newer "E2" variants with a thinner grip, especially just below the hammer to accomodate those with smaller hands better. I'm glad to hear how happy you are with your new acquisition.......and that your girl friend is now green with envy, hehehe
As for the Hogues, most gun shops have or can get a counter disply where you can "feel them out" on different makes and models as they would be if they were actually on those model guns. It's a great and informative disply for customers to get more information before making a purchase. They do make the overall feel of the grip a bit thicker so it's something for you to keep in mind, though. I have them on all of mine, but I gots big hands.