I have no personal experience with Hi-Point but from what I can tell they are a decent firearm if they are all you can afford. From what I have heard they tend to be reliable and they company is great about working with you to get it reliable if it is not. If you decide to go with the Hi-Point you should probably buy elsewhere as the MSRP for the 9mm Compact is $140. I have found that prices at pawn shops tend to be really high.
With a price limit of $300, you should be able to find a used gun from a better manufacturers. I would look at Ruger, S&W, and Taurus if you want an auto. If you are also interested in revolvers those manufacturers that I listed are also a good place to start.
Bersa automatics and Rossi revolvers are also within your price range new. I do not know much about Rossi but have heard good things about Bersa.
The best thing to do would be to go to a gun show and look at what you have. Preferably take someone with you who knows guns. Maybe someone from this forum would be willing to meet up with you at a gun show and help you look. I know we have members in your area of VA. I would help, but it is a little far for me.