Alot of people suggesting a revolver ( which I am not saying is a bad suggestion) but don't rule out an auto-loader. Holds more rounds and generaling loads faster (although someone good with a speed-loader can reload very fast).
If you are looking for an auto-loader, Glock makes a good gun. People tend to either love them or hate them. Their trigger is a little heavier because it's a double-action only design (DAO). SIG also has an excellent reputation. The S&W M&P has gotten good reviews; my son has one in .40 S&W and it's a fine gun. Another thing to consider is if you want it for conceal carry. If so, you want to go with something light and compact. If it is not, you will probably give up on carrying it. Kahr makes some good compact designs as well as the Kel-Tec P-11 and PF-9 which are 9mm and the Kel-Tec P3AT in .380. Another maker to look at would be Taurus. I've looked at their new 800 series and I like them. I'm a lefty and they are fully ambidextrious. Haven't read any reviews on them yet or talk to anyone who owns one, but Taurus has a good reputation and covers their guns with a lifetime warranty.
Best thing you can probably do, is visit several guns shops and look and as many guns as you can. Check out how they feel and look. You find something you like, google it and read as many reviews on it as you can find. You may discover it is a great guns or that it is plagued with problems.
Good luck on your search. :thumb: