don't go too big, but small guns are not the best for ladies, hand size and strength being factors. She want something she can shoot accurately. Take her to a shop with a good selection and have her handle several or many options, any good gun shop will take time and show her options. My wife has a 9mm witness/PAVONA from EAA. it is made for women. slide is easy to rack. grip size is right for smaller hands. She just stumble into it. That said Ruger, Glock ,S&W and many others make quality handguns that will fill the bill. I think the 9mm or 38 are best options, but I cannot decide that for her.