You can't beat a Single-Six for a first gun. Probably the safest way to get started whether adult or minor. Never start with a semi-auto. My dad never allowed them as kids and I didn't with my kids either whether rifle or handgun. Now, of course, they can shoot what they like as young adults
Always take my Ruger Single-six to the range..... You can't go wrong with the SA. As for unloading/loading.... I don't see the problem. Not a pita at all! There is no reason for 'speed' when having fun, point shooting, and target shooting. Been doing it this way since I was knee high... well hip high anyway
. As for DA ... never found a need for it. Not a LEO or Military. Always SA for hunting, hiking, fishing, target shooting, long range shooting, can shooting, etc.. Nothing like burning lots of .22 to sharpen the skills. In fact, I like to start shooting my .22 when I get to the range. Then shoot some big bore and then back to more .22. Good cheap practice. And with a Single-Six you'll be passing the gun onto your kids, and their kids...
Also, this won't be your 'only' handgun.... Everyone here can attest that they just seem to 'multiple' over time