Originally Posted by tomrkba
I tell people to buy a Ruger GP100 with 4" barrel if they want a revolver
Under no circumstances should the OP buy an S&W J-Frame or equivalent small revolver. Experts have difficulty shooting them; don't expect a positive learning experience with one.
Budget at least $1,000 to the project because the gun is only part of the rig. The OP will need at least one concealment holster (lots of forward cant), a gun belt (just buy a Comp-Tac kydex reinforced belt), magazines or speed loaders, at least two ammo holders, cleaning gear, safety gear, practice ammunition, at least 200 rounds of defensive ammo, and tuition for class.
You really feel that a 4" GP100 is a good CCW choice? You also feel that experts have difficulty shooting a J Frame? Do you really feel this person needs to spend $1,000 to protect him/herself?
A 4" GP100 is a huge, heavy revolver that is very difficult, and for some people, impossible, to conceal. It also wont be long before most people would give up on a revolver the size of the GP100, for concealment.
The Smith and Wesson J Frame is an excellent, accurate revolver, that many people find very easy to shoot. A J Frame with 38 special ammo is very effective, controllable, and needs only a pocket holster, and no where near all the things you list, to be very capable of protecting a person.
A small J Frame sized revolver, or small autoloading pistol will serve very well, and doesn't need a $1,000 budget to be effective, and reliable.