When choosing a gun to protect your life with one of the most important criteria after fit is reliability. I wish I could say just go with one of these brands of guns and you’ll be fine, but the truth is even manufacturers known for producing quality firearms can let a lemon through and sometimes they’ll go through a period where most of their guns are crap.
With that said you still are much better off going with a manufacturer known for quality work. Just before to check it out thoroughly before heading to the range. I once took delivery of a new firearm from a well known manufacturer and discovered the chamber hadn’t been properly finished. Attempting to fire the gun like that would have likely resulted in catastrophic disassembly.
So before choosing a defensive firearm spend some time reading up on people’s experiences. Keep in mind that some people aren’t happy with anything and others are satisfied with a turd sandwich. One of the best places to help you get an idea of what to expect is View From The Porch written by Tamara Keel. Tam will take a firearm and document 2,000 rounds down range with no cleaning. Including stoppages, the causes and parts breakages.