Smith & Wesson 640, or a Model 60 with a short barrel. The Lady Smith is a Model 60 with wooden grips, but I'd rather have rubber to absorb recoil. These are available in .38 & .357; the .357 will chamber the lower-recoil .38 special cartridge. These are full weight guns. Being small-frame revolvers, they take practice to shoot well, but I can't think of a better all-around small carry gun.
Taurus makes copies that a lot of people swear by too; the ones I've held had smooth triggers as well.
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