Looking for Gun Advice
I went to a shooting range on Sunday with a bunch of friends and had a great time. Over the day I fired several guns: a .22 bolt-action rifle, a semi-auto .22 pistol, .357 magnum revolver, .38 revolver, and a .30 cal M1 carbine of WW2 vintage. That last was a real treat cuz I've been a history buff since grade school. Unfortunately, I didn't have opportunity to try the .45 and 9mm pistols.
The rifles were fun, and I put down decent shot groups (esp considering it was my first time shooting since high school!), but I really liked the handguns more than the long guns. I'm thinking about picking up shooting as a hobby, but I really don't know where to begin. Just because it's the off-season, I thought I'd ask you guys what you have, what you like, and what you'd recommend for a beginner.
* I'm not likely to buy before next winter (Jan-Feb '13), so I have plenty of time for research.
* Shooting will primarily be a hobby, but defense is also at the back of my mind.
* My projected budget will be between $600 and $800 (not including other usefuls like a lockbox).
* I will be taking firearms safety classes, so that's a given.
* I'm left-handed and left-eyed, in case that makes a difference.
* Concealed carry permit is a definite "maybe." I haven't decided yet whether to seek it.
I'd love to hear your suggestions. Thanks in advance!