The Beauty of the .22 Pistol
Even after a person becomes an adept marksman, the .22 pistol retains it's allure. Five holes shot by a .45ACP can be touching and measure an inch across. Five touching holes of .22LR is half that. In short, an accurate .22 pistol is a precision instrument that demands the best in a shooter. If a man can shoot one hole groups with a .22, he can shoot one hole groups with anything!
I was at the range today training a new shooter with a Ruger MKII when the typical air bag wandered up and began his diatribe about the takedown power of a .44 magnum. He asked my student if she would like to shoot a "man's gun". She politely declined, batting her eyelashes, and we sat back on the bench to watch our antagonist pepper his target with a 24 inch group. We then went back to shooting one inch groups with our little gun. He never did get the picture.
If you are new to handguns and want to learn marksmanship, seriously consider a .22 pistol such as a Ruger MKII. In my opinion, the Ruger MKII is the best overall .22 package out there to learn on. A used one will run under $200. Ammo is around 2 cents a round. It will give you lots of practice to build your proficiency quickly. That proficiency will transfer directly to every handgun you shoot. Later you can use the MKII to instruct new shooters with. I prefer the Ruger MKII, but that is because I like to customize my guns. The MKII offers the most options for that. I have a lot of parts, and the aftermarket is only exceeded by the 1911. The Ruger 22/45 is actually a better choice if you are looking for a trainer gun. Reassembly of the Ruger, often touted as akin to neurosurgery, is not that difficult once you learn what to do. It's kind of like a secret handshake, once you learn the trick, it will never confound you again. Both the MKII and 22/45 are durable, and accurate. I would avoid the MKIII types until the bugs are worked out.
Browning also makes a good gun in the Buckmark. The Buckmark is the only alternative .22 auto pistol I would buy in this price range. All the others are not the first line gun of the company. They are "me too" guns, and IMHO not that well done. The Ruger MKI and MKII are great pistols, very durable, and will likely never wear out if cared for. It is neglect that kills these guns, not use. If they are reasonably cared for, they will last generations, training hundreds of new shooters the joys of precision marksmanship.