Thanks for the recommendations and personal experiences, gents.
If it were up to me, I'd be OK with a mini-Glock, since I like the G-19. We'll try to take a look at those S&W's mentioned. We've looked at the SIG line and also the Kahrs at shows, but we haven't had an opportunity to shoot any of those models yet. Maybe on a trip to SA or Houston where there are bigger rental options. We've got great ranges where we are at, but the rentals are limited to a few "classics," e.g. K-frame revolver, 1911A1, Glock, etc.
"But the bottom line Mr. Dave, what you, I or other members may think woud be an excellent pistol for your wife is not the crucial point. ...
If at all possible find a range with rental pistols that you are considering and let your wife shoot the ones you are debating. Let her tell you which feels the best to her, and look at her targets. In my opinion, that would be the best way to make your decision. If there is no range in your area with rentals, maybe some of your friends own these pistols and will let your wife shoot them. If neither of these options are possible, I would suggest at the very least, you let you wife handle all of the possible pistols, so she can see which one feels the best to her. Do the grips fit her hands, can she reach all of the controls. Is it too heavy or too light to suit her. Let her give you the important feedback on the best pistol for her."
--Amen to that. Our concerns include working on speed, which practice will help, but for that reason follow-up shots and the non-subjective aspects of recoil are factors. The last handgun that met all the criteria (I'd guess she's about the size of your ex-no.2 more-or-less, i.e. tiny) was a Star M-43 Firestar 9mm, but while it is fun at the range, it has exhibited reliability issues. My sense is that concealability issues are leading to consideration of Tomcat-sized mini-guns and medium-sized .380s, so I thought I'd at least put in a few 9mm options too.
This list gives us more to think about. Thanks again for your considered opinions and appraisal.