Thanks for the suggestions.
Regarding having a round chambered, that is NOT something I would want her to do. It is just something we have discussed (and has been suggested to us).
There are a lot of guns out there that she can rack with proper technique, but the concern is, in a moment of stress, she'll not do it right. BTW, I've also had her cock then rack -- which helps alot, but again, she wants something as simple as possible.
There has been a spate of robberies in the parking lot of our local malls. We live in a VERY safe neighborhood (and we have a monitored alarm system), but my wife also always takes out a gun for her nightstand when I'm away on business. She doesn't want a revolver because she wants to have the gun unloaded at home, but loadable in an instant.
I've had her work with the speedloader for a .38 special we have, but she still wants a semi.
I think what I'm looking for on this thread are specific pistols that users know to have a very very easy slide and light trigger. So, please, keep the specific suggestions coming. I'll then go to local stores, try them out, and if I find one just right, I'll bring her to try it.
Lastly, I've decided to get a D-spring for my stoeger cougar (imho a very good gun for the $). It is actually very easy to rack (vs. her Bersa, my CZ, etc.). She can't pull the trigger, but maybe the D-spring will lighten it enough. It is a bit bigger than she wants, but if I can reduce the trigger, that may be the choice at least for home defense... but still a bit too much for her purse.