I also had all the problems you encounted with the 26, hard to rack, very hard to lock slide etc. I was having second thoughts about whether this was the right gun for my wife.
When my wife fired it at the range she had a couple of FTF problems which were a direct result of limp wrist. I fired 100 rounds with no malfunctions.
I'm thinking about keeping this for myself and looking for something else for my wife. I'm going to try a couple more range trips to see if she can handle and fire the 26 without the above mentioned problems.
Good luck Bill