Originally Posted by wjnfirearms
I've been asked this type of question for both sexes many times. The answer is always the same.
Everyone has, or develops, a "comfort zone" as I like to call it. This is a combination of capabilities, knowledge, what gun feels good to a particular person, and budget. This is why I seldom recommend a particular gun to newbies. Obviously, a revolver might be preferential to a newbie simply because of it's simplicity, and this might be of importance especially considering the shooting experience of any particular person. This isn't a hard and fast rule I have, though. Everyone's different and this is one of the most important things to remember.
Take her to a shop or gun show to handle a number of guns. Then, get her out to the range and go at her speed. Make suggestions, but don't push her to a particular style, caliber, or type of gun. Don't be surprised if she changes gears down the road and a second purchase is in the future.
This. I also add that my wife is 5'0", 125 lbs. I taught her to shoot with a .45 ACP Colt Gov't Model. I taught my sisters to shoot with the same gun when they were 14 after I demonstrated shooting the same gun with my thumb and forefinger only.
After shooting several types of guns, I say carry the most powerful weapon they can comfortably carry and hit with. That said, a small framed .22, such as a S&W 317, Ruger 101, or 22/45 would be an excellent beginner's pistol because,1) they have little recoil and report, 2) are relatively inexpensive to shoot, 3) you can pack a small gun in a holster that is light weight, have a couple of boxes of cartridges, eye and ear protection, in a small, easy to carry package which is lots of fun for an outing in the country and picnic, or at a range in town and lunch out together. Additionally, they are a reasonably good carry gun, until you can afford to buy a proper CCW gun.