Skeeter beat me to it. The solution for many a female in our family has been wad cutters in her 642/638/637, etc. They shoot with them and carry them and feel very confident. They are plenty for self defense too. I cannot figure out why everyone forgets about them. Maybe too old fashioned?
Now I am not a huge kydex lover, but these things are nifty for purse carry:
I would recommend something like that.