I too would recomend a semi auto pistol for the following reasons. A hundgun can easily be stored in a small safe, either biometric or push buttom combination lock (less exspensive),to keep the kids safe yet have it quickly accessable. Also, you can store it with no round chambered and still get it into action quickly with a little practice. Its easier to reload under stress, and she can keep it on her person if needed even if only at home. The biggest complaint I've heard from new women shooters is being able to rack the slide on a semi-auto. That can be learned with a little instruction and practice once she understands that it is a matter of technique rather than strength. She should be able to find a decent pistol with an extra mag, and a small safe in the $500 range. The lower dollar pistols like Keltec can be had new for around $300 or less and unless you plan on putting thousands of rounds through them should be plenty servicable for home defense. Just be sure she puts enough rounds through it to establish its reliability. I've owned 5 Keltecs and never had an issue but the lower cost guns may have a higher percentage of "lemons" so make sure you can count on it. That leaves money for a bedside safe, ammo, maybe even a little formal training.