Just my opinion, but the Ruger SP 101 in .357 magnum would be a good place to start. It's a revolver and pretty simple to operate, get it with a 4" barrel or longer as the longer sight radius will make accurate shooting a little easier. It can be loaded with .38 special for target work and to get acclimated to the gun, or it can be used with .357 for more oomph if so desired. Malfunction drills are pretty simple, pull the trigger again. If you get to the point where you think you may want to carry concealed - then think about the autos, but with you height, a 4" revolver shouldn't be too bad to hide. Ruger is a well made revolver and will serve you well for many many years. I have broken S&W's (M19) using a lot of .357 loads, I have not broken my Ruger. After you get the gun, get instruction from someone competent (Gunsite is in Arizona, Front Sight is in Nevada), expensive but oh so very much worth it.