I figure I will just bite the bullet and show my inexperience and maybe learn somethings in the process. I have searched and read until my eyes hurt and maybe you all can help me narrow some things down. Background: I'm looking to purchase my first handgun. A recent crime scare in the area has got me looking real hard at a handgun. Having kids, leaving a shot gun out in the open in my bedroom just isn't an option but I know it's easy to store a handgun safely on the nightstand in a gun safe. My father does own a Glock in .40 and a few other handguns so I do have some pistol experience but not a lot. I do have a concealed carry permit so while I am looking for a home defense weapon first I would like the option to have something that can be carried when I want to. I plan on holding many types and even trying to shoot some at an indoor range. Based on my budget and reviews I'm pretty much looking at the XD, Glock, S&W M&P. Not a deal breaker but I would prefer not to have to disengage a thumb safety although I understand with lots of practice it wouldn't be a problem. Sorry for the long post, but now the questions: What should I be looking for other than feel in hand? Are the compact and shorter barrel guns less accurate than longer barrels? Does it need to be a compact to be easily concealed? Is there that much of a weight difference between compact and full size when being carried? Is recoil and muzzle rise a problem with compact versus full size? I also still need to decide if I want the 9mm, .40, or the .45. From reading, it seems to come down to personal preference and budget for shells. Really been leaning towards the .40 or .45 though. I'm sure I have more questions but I've taken enough of people's time and I appreciate any answers I get. I'm just looking to have a little background info before walking into the gun shop clueless.