The first is hammer vs. striker
no difference in going bang - just is personnal preference - do you like an exposed hammer to cock it back to be easier to pull the silde - and other items to type
What would be better for general carry such as in a purse?
don't carry in a purse - CCW ON THE PERSON - how many times has you wife left her purse somewhere? similiar thread on this you can read
in a similar sized gun, how does the recoil between a.380 and 9mm compare
you said similiar.... so the recoil would be about twice - it's all related to energy vs weight of the gun -
i had an LCP - didn't like it - too hard on the hand - it hurt - doubt if you wife will like it - for 380 get the sig 238 - heavier and a bit fatter to absorb energy