My Christmas present to my wife was an NRA basic pistol and CCW permit course at Centennial Gun Club in Metro Denver CO. She learned a lot - had a good time - and as a result now enjoys shooting. Truth is, she's been going to their "Ladies Night" events twice a month and thus gets way more range time than I do.
Now here's something you might not know: First time women shooters can have very upsetting emotional reactions. After the first time she shot she became upset and began to cry. Before you think less of her, it turns out that's not an unusual reaction for women. Another woman in the class had the same reaction - the instructor said in his experience that's not uncommon. Girl thing...go figure. She couldn't explain it - she wasn't afraid if it - it just was. My wife is from a gun family - Up Nort' Wisconsin hunters all. As a child her dad taught her and her sisters to shoot bow - and still she had that reaction.
Had I been the one there with her I probably would have handled it poorly and absent other women - as in the class - it might have put her off shooting.
Prior to this I bought her a Beretta Tomcat with CT grips. It was about a year later that she took the class. Among the things she learned was that she didn't like the Tomcat. At all. We went shopping at the Tanner Gun Show and found that the Charter Arms J Frame .38's fit her hand like a glove. Mine too so that's even better :-) . She has put a couple hundred rounds through it so far without difficulty. Her groups are really good - she's on her way to an NRA Marksmanship certificate.
I bought a S&W 642 for myself since she's made the CA her own. She took it to the range last Tuesday and did well with it - slightly more recoil due to the reduced weight, but it was all good.
"When the Going gets Weird the Weird Turn Pro"
Hunter S. Thompson