I've carried a .45 all my adult life and can attest to its stopping power. In Vietnam, one round to the body cavity was sudden death, even a round in any of the limbs was a death sentence unless there was prompt medical attention to halt the blood flow and parts loss.
That was with GI ball ammo. I've used +P hollow points on 200-250 lb. wild hogs and they are a tougher breed than old Charlie as I have had to use a second shot on occasion.
Remember, sportsfans, it ain't nothing like the flicks! You don't call "Cut!" and re-shoot if you miss.
So, unless your are dead solid perfect on each and every shot even when coming out of a sound sleep or drunk, anything less than a .40 is foolhardy. A .45 anywhere in the body cavity will put just about any critter down-- Or atleast make 'em stop to recline and think while you get off that second tap to the headbone.
When I came back to the world, I slept with my cocked 'n loaded .45 under my pillow and my K-Bar under my right foot. I have mellowed with the passing ages, the K-Bar is now on the end table.
That's my "toe" story and I'm sticking to it.
I have carried a 1911A1 in one form or another - old rattletrap Army issue, Combat Commander, stainless Officer's Model - for most of my adult life. Recoil has never been a problem, and I'm a relatively small woman (5'6" and at the age of 47 I wish I still weighed 140!). The straight sides of the 1911 fit my hand better than the rounder grips of a revolver.
I recently picked up a SIG P245 and I like the double action feature. Once I got the bugs worked out of the magazine (heck of a spring - didn't want to accept that last round) it works like a charm.
I also like the .44 Special and if I carried a revolver that would be it. One of our more famous judges, Charles "Two Gun Charlie" Worrill, an ex-Texas Ranger and Industrial League baseball umpire (both high risk occupations), used to preside on the bench with two loaded .44 Bulldogs. He used one for a gavel (with an empty cylinder under the hammer - my dad asked him and the response was along the lines of "Think I'm a derned fool?") If it was good enough for Judge Worrill, it's good enough for me.