"I wouldn't recommend either as a first or even last choice. Why?"
Being really hesitant to reply, he says, "I have a friend that's wanting to get something cheap."
".22 is great for plinking, but unless you know your friend is a magical head-shot machine, I wouldn't get either caliber for defense."
He then softly quips that 'she' needs something small to fit in a purse.
"So, wait." I say, "Is this their first gun?"
"Yeah" he replies.
Oh, jeez, here we go.
For this particular situation, I obviously recommended a lot more range time before buying, along with taking a particular try at a PPk or similarly styled pistol, then giving some others a shot. But, just then everyone gives me a loud objection, saying that a small .38 revolver is the way to go.
All right, I don't know how these idiots get it into their thick heads that the perfect gun for a new shooter (woman or man) would be a small .38 revolver. Even my boss was insisting that it would be the absolute best thing to get. His reasons being, that a girl would have a hard time racking the slide.
Look, let's think about this. First off, you shouldn't be thinking "What can I get that weak, little scared girl?" That's just plain sexist. What you should be thinking is: "What would I want if I were a new shooter?" Women aren't freaking weaklings to be coddled, that's just demeaning and insulting. Now, if your girl has that much trouble racking a slide, something is seriously physically wrong with her, and you should take her to see a doctor (really).
I've thought about this many a time, and I have come to the fact that caliber and size will never matter as much as education/experience and ergonomics. Certain things should happen before anyone decides to get their first carry pistol, the chiefest among them being lots and lots of shooting with lots and lots of different pistols. Everyone's preferences are different and I have found through personal experiences, that an overwhelming majority of the women I know have ditched any revolver for an automatic pistol after a very short order. It just makes sense. Automatics are quicker to reload (for most newbies), easier to shoot (no super-heavy double action trigger pull), they can be just as compact, and most have a very light recoil compared to their airweight revolver counterparts.
But ultimately, it's all up to the shooter themselves to make a choice on what they will carry. Helping to ensure they are properly informed, educated, and experienced before making this decision is what you should be doing. Not making it your own arbitrary, chauvinistic decision for them instead. And that is your thought (rant) of the day.