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Yep. This will probably be a can of worms. Always is when you as for opinions. :)

My personal experience with the HiPoints is they are good "last-resort" type pistols. Don't look for long-term longevity out of them. There are way too many die-cast aluminum/zinc and stamped sheetmetal parts in em to have a long lifespan. When they're fairly new, they are a dependable machine.
BUT...I've noticed that they do have way too much wear on the fire control parts after 2000 rounds or even before. Things start wearing and binding, making a lousy to start with trigger pull even worse.
My recommendation on a High-Point...pretty much any old beater DA revolver is a better deal than a HiPoint and it'll last longer too.

Taurus. I don't care too much for their new models either but they're definitely higher up the list than than the HPs. I can't give any specific good or bad points on any of the polymer-frame Taurus pistols...have never shot one.
But with the PT1911 and 92 series', I've owned and shot quite a few. No complaints on those for the pricetag.

Keep a close eye on the used rack at your local shops and you will probably find something that will your budget.
I just dragged home an EAA Witness 9mm for $350+tax the other day. Almost like new except for ugly marks in the finish from an ill-fitting Kydex holster.
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