Re: Need advice/ recommendations
I would suggest the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380 with the integrated laser which costs about $350 or maybe less. The laser on these is very bright and can be seen at SD ranges even in bright sunlight. For someone that isn't a practiced shooter this can make a huge difference. If you put that laser dot on something and pull the trigger chances are that something will have a hole in it soon. That's a very good price on a great weapon system IMO.
I haven't lived with any of these pistols so I'm not commenting on potential problems. My friend does have a Walther .380 and he's had some problems with it. His wife was using it as a carry piece but they went with a Bodyguard because of those problems. I generally carry a larger gun myself so I can't say for sure about smaller caliber guns. I know my Taurus has been absolutely flawless through about 6000 rounds or more. It has not failed to function perfectly even one time and that's using a wide variety of ammo when I was looking for the best ammo for it. It holds 10 rounds of .45 ACP ammo plus one in the pipe and it's only 1.25" thick. Most single stack pistols are that thick and that's 9mm pistols. For a double stack .45 to be that thin is just amazing. There's a lot that's amazing about that gun actually.
I also have a Sig P220, a SA XDM in .40, a S&W 629 revolver in .44 magnum and a piece of junk Raven P-25 that used to work fine but hasn't in a long time. I wouldn't be scared to carry any of the other guns for SD at any time. I currently carry the XDM because it holds so many rounds but I carried the Taurus for years and still do sometimes and I carried the Sig for even more years than the Taurus and it has been a great pistol. I do carry the Smith sometimes but that's usually more for protection against dangerous game instead of two legged skunks.