My chick (5' 7") and 160 shoots her Taurus .38. She likes my smith and Wesson .38 s&w (its a true .38 but short, about the length of a 9mm). The heavier frame with smooth trigger and less muzzle rise (full length barrel, British length). She likes the ability to shoot single and double action. Just my .02. We started her off with a .22lr revolver. But once she got used to that she quickly moved up. I say its a good idea to rent the smaller caliber handgun first. She likes revolvers better aswell, for the simplicity and ease of use.