I know its starting to sound like a broken record, but it really is a quandary, because the experienced golfers among you are absolutely correct when you suggest getting an entry-level iron. That advice simply cannot be wrong for all of the great reasons already mentioned. And yet, as a beginner who hits most irons reasonably well and a driver really well, if I were to purchase a set of GI- or intermediate-level irons, I've either gotta learn to hit 'em or I'm faced with selling them, right? And I just can't see that happening.
I know how I am, and I just don't see myself spending $700+ for a 5-9 set of GI-level irons (or to some extent, even player-level irons) and getting so frustrated that I'm forced to sell them. Rather, as I believe I may have said earlier in this thread, the more mis-hits and the more frustrated I get, the more I see myself striving to improve, and rapidly getting to the point where I'm hitting those irons properly or the way they were intended to be hit. I'm sure mileage my vary for others, but that's just who I am, and I think this may be why others here on this thread have suggested that I simply buy what looks and feels good to me, and stop obsessing about groupings or ratings or handicap classifications.
Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm inclined to run right out and buy the MP-69s or even the MP-64s, but it does mean that I'm more inclined to buy the MP-64s (or something like them), and eventually learn to play 'up' versus buying something for $300 at Sports Authority and floundering (playing 'down') out there indefinitely.
Anyway, the weekend is rapidly approaching, so rest assured, this saga of mine will end, and soon. I'll finish up a proper fitting, talk with a few more sales folks about the various GI vs. SGI offerings, and hit a few balls. Then at that point, I'm just gonna go with my hunch (go with what feels right), pull the trigger, and start hitting the driving range in the evenings with my new purchase. At some point, you've just gotta stop the nonsense and jump, right? After all, we're not talkin' about a zillion dollars. I've already got my three wedges and putter sitting here - its high-time to get going.