Re: what's best
Overall, gunlearner, I would probably go with the revolver in .38 special for her, mostly based on its simplicity of operation. The PT-111 is an excellent pistol and certainly do the job adequately, but if, as you indicate, she has trouble with operation of the slide, that could create a major problem at the worst possible time. If possible, get one of the smaller revolvers, a J-frame Smith & Wesson if you can, or perhaps an old Colt Detective Special if you can find one. Another good choice would be one of the Rossi revolvers that are made by Taurus of Brazil now. They are very good quality and about the size of the old Colt Detective Specials with a six-round capacity. If they are available to you, I would also pick up a speed loader.