If the lady is to be "steered" towards anything, it should be instruction, to learn fundamentals, learn how to "fit" a gun to her hands, how to shop for a firearm, and to experience different platforms and calibers BEFORE spending hundreds of dollars on someone else's preferences. I fail to see how anyone could suggest that a given firearm would be comfortable to another person. Just because a given firearm might be comfortable, controllable, and accurate for Sally Mae, doesn't mean that Susanna will will have the same experience. I have taught hundreds of ladies who have bought a firearm, then came to class, only to trade in their purchase losing a couple of hundred in the process because their newly discovered preferences led them to a different firearm.
Anyone buy a given pair of shoes just because someone else liked 'em ?
One comment that I would like to add about the revolver vs. semi automatic is that most revolvers, especially the smaller ones have very long, hard pull triggers and this can make them more difficult to shoot accurately.
My wife chose a Glock 26 as her first carry and it was a toss up between that and a Kahr (cm9 or cw9). Early on she had tried a S&W 642 Airweight in .38 spc and had a horrible reaction to it that left her with a numb hand for a week. Now, about a year later, with more experience she has tried it again on several occasions at our local range and is even considering buying one.
Another carry consideration for females, one that my wife is constantly pointing out, is clothing. A very popular carry option is IWB (inside the waistband) holster. Most of the pants that my wife wears don't have belt loops and carrying IWB would leave her pants at her ankles.
I have an LC380 and LOVE it. I am getting more and more comfortable with it. I am getting addicted to shooting now and go to the range often. I want to get another pistol and now I am looking at the 9mm and 45
As others have stated, get some good training under your belt before you look to buy a handgun. You'll get a lot of good advice from a training class as well. Take your time and become familiar with what's out there for sale.
Decide on either a semi-auto or a revolver. Once you have made that decision, decide on a caliber. Once that has been decided, stick to a name-brand manufacturer. Steer clear of Taurus, Rossi and others that aren't so well recommended.
S&W makes some revolvers in .38 Special and .357 Mag., that are more or less, designed for females. My SIL has a S&W model 60 in .38, and she loves it. Five shot, very nice trigger, light weight, and easy to carry and conceal, when the need arises.
I think I recall you saying you have a brother. Get him involved and have him help you when you're ready to buy.
Best of luck to you, and remember, get some training.
Pssssssst, the post is from May 2012 I am sure she has found a weapon by now........