For a FIRST handgun, would second the Ruger Mk III. It is a .22 LR, runs around $300 new, acurate, little recoil- and you will shoot it a LOT.
For a defensive firearm, for new shooters I am partial to double action revolvers, such as the S&W Mdl 60 family. Yes, they are old school- but they work- and are as simple as you will get- which, for a new shooter, is an important point.
What we have here is... failure- to communicate.