You will find a different opinion or option from literally everyone that owns a firearm. I prefer to use a caliber/firearm that will not penetrate walls and potentially harm someone else. I like my 1911, but it is heavy and some people have not had good experiences with reliability and this platform.
You hit the nail on the head with user friendly. But, user friendly is different to everyone. There are a few shops that you have the opportunity to rent a firearm and see what is most comfortable to you. Make sure you can operate the firearm in the dark and in high stress situations, adrenaline can be counterproductive when you lose fine motor skills. I am more confident with a SBR in the middle of the night than I am with a pistol, I have fired thousands upon thousands of rounds with rifles. I am confident in my ability with my pistol, but ideally I would have an SBR in a pistol caliber (someday soon). That is my preference and it is definitely different than other enthusiasts.
I would suggest after purchasing a firearm to take A LOT of time and get to know the weapon. Fire hundreds of rounds through it. If you buy a semi-auto make sure you know what ammunition will cycle and feed reliability and what ammunition will not. Know how much lubrication your firearm likes. Some like to be "dirty" and some like to be wet (insert dirty joke here).
I would be available to email back and forth with you if you have any specific questions that you would not want to be in an open forum. I am a firearm enthusiast and I think and talk about this all the time. Make sure you get as much information/opinions as you can to make sure you make the best choice for you and your family.