Most beginner shooters will google this into their search bar and try to sift through the mass amounts of infomation and recomendations from various "gun gurrus." In reality there are many valid options for everyday carry, but if you don't train with that handgun, you are setting yourself up for failure. Generally speaking there are 4 catagories that you want to look for before making a purchase:
1. Price point
3. Mag compacity
Let's brake down each of these points. Price point is understandably the first and sometimes most considered item on this list. There is an unspoken rule amungst the majority of trained and experienced shooters, " Don't spend less than $500.00." Is your life worth less than $500.00? I mean if you think about it 99% of handguns on the market, that are $500.00 or more, if oiled and maintained will outlast you and your kids. There are some handguns that are viable candidates that may be $400-$499 range, but usually are either pre-owned or lack night sights. And how important are night sights? Well if you don't have them, you will probably end up buying a pair ($150.00), and if you don't know how to install them, you are looking at +$70 from your local gunsmith. So moral of this point, and if I may share some wisdom gained through my own mistakes, "buy once cry once."
Comfort is a tougher point to address, because no one has a broad stroke solution. Caliber, size, trigger pull, and barell length are all personal preferance of the shooter. I usually tell a new shooter to consider going to a local range that rents handguns to try. Have a list of 3 or 4 guns you are considering and try them out. If you are a female shooter DO NOT listen to the gun shop employee who tells you that you should have a revolver. The logic is trash, and what that person is basically telling you is that you do not have the strength or mental compacity to manipulate and/or use a semi-automatic. With proper training a female shooter is just as effective, sometimes more, than a male shooter. With that being said I have nothing against revolvers if that is the gun you shoot well with, and is comfortable with using. Although there is plenty more to say about comfortablilty, you need to play around with what you carry on your person and what clothes you wear when you carry. Train-Train-Train. I cannot stress this enough, those seconds it takes to draw and get on target can be the diffrence between life and death.
With a revolver you are usually limited to 6 and sometimes 8 rounds, reloading under stress is no easy task. Generally, it is accepted that semi-automatics are the way to go because you will have a higher round count and a mag change is going to be faster.also, Semi-automatics are just as reliable as a revolver. I don't want to endorse any brands specifically, but just to give reference, Glock(19,43,43X), Sig Sauer(p365,P365XL,P938), CZ(Rami), HK(VP9SK), and Smith & Wesson (M&P Shield) are all popular manufacturering company's and their top selling compact guns. Almost all of these guns listed have at least 10 round magazine compacity, some as much as 15.
Reliability is the easiest point to cover because honestly if you are willing to spend $500.00 on a carry gun, the battle is mostly won. If you are using brand name ammunition and have trained with that ammunition, you will see that malfunctions are very rare, but can happen to the best firearm on the market. Train for clearing jams, keep your handgun properly oiled, and don't skimp out on the tool that you will carry that can save your life.