So thanks to all of the great advice here and lots of trips to gun shops I finally bought my first handgun (XDm 9mm 4.5") and took it to the range. I had never shot a semi auto before, and the last time I held a handgun was 30 years ago -- and that was a revolver.
My husband didn't think I would go through with this...
My eyesight is not stellar and lucky me I am right-handed and left-eye dominant.
Here are the results from my first two trips!
First 30 rounds at 15 feet: OK, I was totally hooked by the end of the 2nd magazine.
After 100 rounds, the last 30 or so at 21 and then 30 feet. Overall I was pretty pleased for my first time. But I clearly had the classic "low and to the left" thing going. So I sent pics of my targets to a Marine friend for advice. He suggested some dry firing drills and more attention to trigger control. So I practiced during the week and headed back to the range with another 100 rds and some snap caps mixed into my magazines.
My practice paid off a bit -- this was after ~ 30 rounds at 15 feet. Not rapid firing, but concentrating. All of a sudden the rangemaster came up and asked me if I was "bored" shooting through the same holes and drew me some new targets
Moved the target back to 21 and then 30 feet. Obviously need some serious practice, but overall I am encouraged and most importantly, had a really great time. The last 10 shots were rapid and "aimed" at the top target
Already warned my husband that the ammo bill is about to go up and after another 1000 rounds or so will start thinking about my next pistol.. hmmm, maybe that new XDS .45ACP
Thanks to all for all of the help and encouragement!