Weight and guns: All other things being equal, twice the weight means half the recoil. There is more to taming recoil that weight, but weight is a big factor.
But weight makes it more awkward to carry around, and comes with size that makes it harder to conceal. If size & weight don't matter, then a full size semi-auto or a S&W 686+ are hard to beat. In that situation, I like carrying a Ruger Blackhawk - 46 oz and a plow-shaped handle that makes it fun to shoot.
But for concealed carry, concealed
is pretty important. In cold weather, concealing under a coat is great. Most anything conceals under a loose coat. In Arizona, in the summer, a coat makes people suspicious. Something about that 110 deg heat...
Also, stores have the right to post no guns allowed. Tucson has a lot of them. In most states, if you don't see the sign, all they can do is tell you to leave, although you need to know the law for YOUR state. However, if someone panics & calls the cops, you could be shot exiting Costco
. If you decide to carry, you will need to think about how to deal with cops who stop you. The law varies from state to state, and cops vary from cop to cop.
Most of the people I know who carry concealed started with a full sized gun, switched to a smaller gun, and then either switched to something even smaller or quit carrying. My ex-Marine Infantry son-in-law first carried a 44 magnum, and now is down to a 22 for daily carry.
How you balance those concerns is up to you. My SIL carries a small 22 everywhere, and carries something bigger if it is night or a riskier part of town. I carry my 23 oz S&W at night, but tend to carry a small thing of mace or nothing during the day. That is why I am considering buying a little 22. You can control and comfortably shoot a 22 that weighs 11-12 oz and fits easily inside your pocket, and a 22 is a lot more dangerous to the bad guy than a small container of mace.
I believe being able to shoot well with a gun is more important than caliber. I used to own a Ruger Alaskan - a 44 Mag with a 2.5 inch barrel. With enough concentration, I could shoot very well with it...but if I didn't concentrate enough, I'd flinch like crazy and miss. There is a reason I used
to own it...
If I could only own one gun, it would be a 22. I can afford to shoot 3-4,000+ rounds of 22 each year. With factory 357 ammo, that would cost me $1200-1500+. If you can afford 2 guns, then something more powerful than a 22 is great. Modern 380 ammo comes pretty close to the FBI standard for power. If you can carry and shoot something bigger, such as a 9mm or 38 special on up, great!
But here in southern Arizona, I don't know anyone who carries a gun daily where the gun weighs over 1 lb. I know there ARE people, but I don't know any. Food for thought.