Women handling semi-auto's
I teach a class for women on self defense for the S.O. here and the link posted by Steve is an excellent resource. As my fellow instructor points out avoid teaching the shoot at your off elbow method of racking the slide. The method shown has worked very well for all my students and I have printed the info for all to read in addition to the required "Stayin' Alive, Armed and Female in an unsafe world" by Paxton Quigley and published by Merril Press. The S&W M&P 40 with the smallest grip insert has been the favorite of all my students over the past year. The M&P 9 is a close second. After that they tend to like my FNP 40 DASA with the smaller backstrap. The next choice is the Sig 2340 with the smooth grip option first. The Smith & Wesson 908S is a favorite with the narrow grip single stack magazine, but is a bit pricey for most. The first choice in revolvers is the S&W M&P 340 as the range has one with Crimson Trace Laser grips for rent and the ladies sure like the laser, especially the intimidation factor at night. I encourage you to take your wife to the range and let her shoot a wide variety of handguns and to have her take a course like the basic NRA course. Inquire at your local range as to class availablity. I have found that women do much better in a predominately female class environment. They are generally more comfortable than with a coed group or being a lone woman in an all male class.