Other people have a preference for a frame size or design. The 1911 lovers are the prime example of this type of gun lover. They love the 1911, and can easily move from manufacturer to manufacturer. Variety for the 1911 lovers comes in frame size and barrel length, and sometimes in caliber. These people would push for a hundred years of unchanged design to be on the list of required attributes. They would also have the question “Does the pistol have a polymer frame? No: possibly buy it. Yes: don’t buy it”
There is one more category of gun owner who would demand to weigh in on the “perfect pistol checklist” and that is the people who are fiercely loyal to a caliber. Just like the “Glock Guys” only promote Glocks, and the 1911 guys will only promote the 1911… Your 9mm fans and .45acp fans will in turn only recommend a gun in their respective caliber. These folks will care less about the material the frame or slide is made of, and will focus their attentions on magazine capacity and penetration power of the rounds. The checklist questions from this group will depend on which group you ask, and will focus on the strengths of the caliber of preference.
So you’re the new gun owner, going in to purchase your first pistol. You have your checklists in hand, and yes I said checklists… as in more than one. But don’t worry, you can throw them out and still select the perfect pistol. You’re not going to find the perfect pistol based on any arbitrary list created by random people. You are going to find the perfect pistol by trying them out.
The perfect pistol is a personal choice. There is no universal perfect pistol, but rather a perfect pistol for you! Go to gun shops, preferably ones with rental walls and shooting ranges. Handle pistols, work the slides, make sure you can eject the magazine. Put some rounds through them to feel the recoil to make sure that it isn’t going to be too much. You may have a friend or family member who loves their revolver and you may think you want one for the reliability of it. Make sure it’s a gun you’re going to be able to shoot regularly before you buy it. You may find yourself surprised by what you choose if you open yourself up to try calibers and manufactures you may not have though to try. That perfect pistol is out there. And it’s up to you to do the leg work to find the one that is perfect for you.