S&W J-frame say a model 60 snubbie or one of their airweight models if you prefer. They are 5 shot revolvers chambered in either .357 or .38 special. There are quite a few options as far as barrel length and sight style. Grips are also plentiful.
It all depends on how you plan to dress. I can conceal a 6" m-29. My personal favorite and smallest revolver I own is a Smith M-65 3". 6 shots of .357 magnum in a package that can control full power loads. Round butt and no adjustable sights to snag. I got the factory DAO hammer for it and now it is virtually snag proof. IWB hoster and shirt tails hanging out concealed with out a hitch. Throw a bianchi speed strip in the right front pocket and I have 12 rounds of the best one shot stopping handgun ammo at my disposal.
I seem to be carryin' my 3" model 60 more than anything. Although it chronographs 100 fps slower than my other .357s, there is no difficulty keepin' it on a critical mass target at 45+ yds. It is truly a delight to carry!
The S&W 442 airweight "hammerless" (dao) is the exact same revolver I got my wife and she LOVES it! The advantage of hammerless is there's NO hammer to get hung up in clothing so if absolutely needed,you can fire from inside pocket or purse without fear of it jamming up-all you would have to worry about is catching the material on fire. The only change I made was to install a wolf spring kit-EXCELLENT 20$ investment!!! With only changes being spring kit,it actually lowered pull weight by 1/2-measured on pull weight gauge. I'm thinking about getting her a set of crimson trace lasergrips. If you do opt for 1 of these excellent S&W J framed guns,and think you'll ever want the lasergrips-buy it that way so you'll save roughly 100$ over buying revolver and grips seperate. Sidenote-I have PLENTY of firearms for her to choose from/fire/try out and she chose that 1.
My wife has a lady smith in 38spl.Nice revolver, we paid $300 for it 7 years ago.I go with the kiss principle when the wife has a firearm in her hands especially in a stressful situation.I make sure we keep it simple stupid so
there's no room for error and I don't lose my honey because of equipment failure.
A S&W J-frame, loaded with proper ammo, and you can carry it with confidence. Mine is a 642 Airweight, and at times I have to double check to make sure it's still in my front pants pocket in its DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster. Very comfortable carry.
There is a wide selection of good .38 spl. ammo on the market. I like Speer's Gold Dot. Short Barrel rounds, specifically designed for short barrels, to perform as if fired from a longer barrel revolver. Good penetration & expansion.