Thanks for the reply.
She loves the look and feel but the last thing she needs is a gun for personal defense that she can't fire in an emergency.
So, my plan it so take it to the range every time I go (2-3x per month) and just run 100+ rounds through it each time. Maybe after a few trips, she'll start to feel a difference.
Alternately, I can have her cock the gun before racking it -- never thought of doing such a thing before, but it would lessen the force needed (though not particularly a safe move!)
At least with this gun, she can (a) load the magazine without a speed loader and (b) pull the trigger... better than anything we've tried (above a .22lr).