Re: Best Gun for Beginner/Female
+1 for hitting up a local gun store that offers classes. Don't be afraid to drop a few hundred bucks for a couple of good instruction sessions if not more.
learning and shooting a variety of guns before buying one is for certain wise advice.
Revolvers are generally easier for most folks to operate, load/unload, perhaps start with a .22 LR revolver and then move up to a nice 38 special revolver.
Stick with S&W or Ruger for revolvers is my .02, both make great small frame 5 shot 38/.357's in more flavors than you can ever want.
"Loud noises don't end gunfights.... well placed shots do."