Re: First pistol purchase
I'm a little late to this party it looks like, but let me say WELCOME.
You asked about why people are down on the SD line of pistols. I think a lot of that stems from the fact that the SD line is Smith's latest attempt at fixing their old Sigma series of pistols, which had a reputation for being problematic. Now don't get me wrong... plenty of people have Sigmas and have never had a problem with them. But a lot of others have had them and they never quite worked the way they were supposed to. Our department bought a few Sigmas for undercover work and had some problems with springs breaking.
Have they fixed those problems in the SD line? I honestly have to say I don't know. The SD's are pretty new and I have not had a chance to try one out. I do have a lot of experience with the M&P line and like them better than most polymer guns, though I'm not a fan of polymer in general.
I suggest what the others have said... try to actually shoot different pistols and different chamberings to see what feels better and shoots better for YOU.
A 22 Long Rifle shot through a bad guy's eye and into the brain will stop him much quicker than a 40 shot through the shoulder.
"...As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body, and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks."