I'm looking for a wide net right now so that I can try them out and see what my preferences are. I'm really looking for a starting place.
1. It must be consistent, reliable, and have enough power to stop whatever realistic threats I would face (crazy animal, bad guy).
2. It has to be able to be concealed easily as its primary purpose would be CCW.
3. The safer it is to have around children, the better. Nothing that would be easy to have an AD. Edited to add that this was not apparently worded well to convey my intent. I'm paranoid about this and the gun will not ever be in a place other than in my direct control, holstered, or locked up. I'm commenting on even more safety than that--not wanting a super easy trigger pull that could be easily and accidentally set off by the normal activities of my day, like having children on and around me, for instance.
4. It can't be too difficult to function or take too much hand/body strength.
5. It will preferably be comfortable for practice shooting and will minimize recoil.
6. It will be about 6", about the size of my hand, and the less it weighs, the better.
7. It will be at least moderately comfortable to grip, hold, and shoot. (Realizing, of course, that this is subjective and dependent on hand size but some are known to be more or less comfortable so I thought it worth mentioning.)
8. It would be great if it used a bullet that is inexpensive and easily attainable, though not necessary.
9. The less expensive it is, the better. lol
10. I already know about Glocks so no need to mention them as I'm looking for what else is out there that might also be worth considering. Modifications to stock guns which would make a gun worthy of consideration would also be appreciated knowledge.
11. It would be great if it had some aesthetic worth as well.
What would you recommend considering the above?