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Getting your carry permit is a good move you'll not regret.

In that price range I like the Kel-Tec P32,P3AT, and PF-9. I carry the .380 and 9. If I could afford it (and find them) I'd carry a Seecamp .380 and Rohrbaugh 9mm.

For .45s I really can't improve on my Kimber Ultra CDP--other companies in the same price range are fine-just not better. I know Armscor makes a steel framed .45 this size sold under the RIA brand, but I don't know how dependable it is. Based on my experience with my Armscor I'd give one a try since it's in your price range, if I didn't mind carrying something that heavy.
 

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I'll add this: weight really matters to me when I carry all day.

The RIA with 3" barrel is over 30 ounces. My kimber with aluminum frame is 25 ounces. The PF-9 is about 13 ounces and the P3AT is under half a pound. All weights are empty. A lot of people say they get used to the weight. Maybe they do, maybe you will--I find I usually carry the 9 because it's light but still fires a powerful enough cartridge to feel secure.

If you can, shoot before you buy. Whatever choice you make, you'll feel as well as be more secure.
 

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While I agree that the Rohrbaugh and Seecamp are overpriced for what they provide, if you've got the money and want them go for it. I would, but if you've read my posts you know I have the much more affordable and still reliable Kel-Tecs.

Price-wise, I've never actually seen a Rohrbaugh on a shelf here. I've heard of prices in the 1100+ range. The only ones I've actually seen have been in AZ. I've seen one Seecamp in a shop here, a .32 at over $400-used.
 
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