I had similar issues as to what was good or bad before I bought my first handgun. However, I probably did it backwards. I couldn't understand how a Hi-Point could possibly be as bad as the gun snobs portrayed it. Therefore, I bought a used C9 and found out even though it is heavy and ugly, it performed fine. I figured if they were that wrong about Hi-Point, maybe they were wrong about Taurus so I traded the Hi-Point for an old Taurus revolver. They were very wrong about Taurus and as a result, I have bought five new ones. I also had the same experience with the Phoenix HP-22A. I also have S&W as well as Ruger but I don't find them any better than my "affordable" guns like the gun snobs said they were.