I would advise against any adequately powerfull centerfire pistol in a compact format. Too much recoil to learn to shoot with. The small size makes handling more dangerous and is more likely to get pointed at the wrong things while loading/unloading. A small, short handgun is much more difficult to index on target for inexperienced shooters. Just a whole list of reasons NOT to go directly to the compact noise makers.
I won't disparage your father's profession but assume he has the resources to buy and learn to shoot with a small caliber (22lr) and increase bore diameter as skill increases. It would also indicate he can likely afford some "professional" training(I use that term liberally since many trainers are dufus individuals just sucking money from others even less knowledgeable than themselves).