Originally Posted by Death_Stalker
pistol, i would like to keep it at home mostly but i would also take it to camping with me so it has to be compact. my budget is $500 which hopefully is not too low. My prefrence is semi-auto.
I would not recommend anything smaller than a 9mm for self defense period. If it is for self defense you need a quality firearm, not a cheap plinker. There is nothing wrong with having a hi-power, but I wouldn't trust my life to it.
If you are looking for a smaller gun without going too small, maybe a Glock 23 (which is a .40 cal)? You could pick up a nice used one for under your limit, or a new one for a little more than your limit. A used Springfield XD is also an option. Both are KISS guns (Keep it Simple Stupid) and are easy to fire under stress without too much training.