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You'll get a lot of ideas here, but one option to consider seriously is the Beretta Tomcat. It has a tip-up barrel so racking the slide is not necessary, and can run in SA mode. It has a safety and slide lock too. It is a 32 ACP pistol, which would not be my first choice for self-defense, but would certainly be an option to consider.

If she liked the Tomcat, you could also get her a Beretta 22 LR Bobcat for practice, which has a similar manual of arms. That could be a confidence builder with inexpensive ammo and limited or no recoil.

My wife had an extremely painful RS injury in her wrist and arm, combined with arthritis, and liked her Bobcat for practice. She gave up knitting and crochet, as well as a standard transmission and hand-brake on her car due to her injury, as well as her Glock 26 during that period. After an extended period of therapy she now shoots an LCR with some success. Left handed shooting is also an option for her.

I'd suggest you try to find a retailer where she can handle and manipulate some options, and even better would be shooting some of the options.

Best of luck, and keep us posted!
 
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