Rossi, Charter Arms, Taurus all make fine inexpensive revolvers that will make nice first handguns. If you are looking for a "do everything and all around" cartridge, I would suggest the .38 special as the caliber of choice for the beginning handgunner with the thought that your brother in law may want to do something more than plink with.
The new Charco line of revolvers do look nice and generally can be had in .38 special through .44 special, but the retail price points on them are much higher than what they used to. The Rossi revolver design is much more similiar internally than the other two to the proven Smith and Wesson design.
My suggestion is to look for a used and decent condition older S&W for practical shooting. There are lots of them around and many can be had in .38 special which is a good round that can serve double duty for target shooting and home protection.
I recently picked up a used Model 60 Chief's Special for around $250.00 that was someone's boat gun at one point in time. They don't get much less expensive than that around where I live.
If your brother-in-law decides that he really enjoys shooting, than he will want to invest in something that will retain its value over the long haul, which the less expensive brands will not.
As Chris suggested a .38 caliber revolver is a great choice to start with. J&G Sales currently has a DAO version of the 4" model 64 or 3" Model 10s in .38. Either would be a great choice for beginners with .38 out of a 3 or 4 inch barrel not having too much recoil in the lighter loads, and with the ability to fire +P for defense. Either weapon can be had for less than $250. In fact the 3" 10s are going for $189+Shipping+Transfer.
used ones without "the lock" can be had at reasonable prices. and the caliber isnt expensive, easy to master yet still authoritative enough for defense use, and the guns themsleves are top of the line.
My very first "real handgun" was an ex-service 4" Colt Official Police .38. Lots of holster wear, rubbed off blueing and worn grips drove the price down to a hundred bucks, cash out-the-door. With a Tyler T-grip grip adapter, it made for a great revolver to start out on, that's for sure.
I've owned excellent Taurus, Rossi, S&W, and Ruger revolvers; but my favorite revolver is the Security Six. My current Security Six is a 2.75-in stainless model (manufactured in 1978) that I bought for $260 earlier this year. You should be able to find a good used .38-spl revolver in the brand of your choice for $200 to $300 without looking too hard.
I am a great fan of the Security Six and Speed Six Rugers. They are built like bank vaults. They are getting harder to find in good shape, particularly at a good price.
As far as budget revolvers, the Rossi 971's (stainless, mid-size, .357) are great buys when you find one. I have had a 4-inch and have one of their unique 3 1/4 inch compensated models. I bought the 3 1/4 new in box off Auction Arms for about $220.
The original Charter Arms Undercovers were great little snubby's.. I've read where the later incarnations (Charco, etc.) are not as good. I bought one new in 1970 and it was very accurate and easy to carry cc..
Later when I started making more money I became a "gun snob" and started preferring Colts/Smiths, etc. But in truth looking back on it none were any more reliable or accurate, or easy to conceal than the little Undercover.
On the other hand there are a tremendous number of used Smith revolvers with very little wear available on the market. A lot of these revolvers were traded in when the "pistol" craze started and are great bargains. Also if you buy a good used Smith you can always sell it later and not take a bath.
I would recommend the Smith, plus the Ruger Security Six and Speed Six's are excellent firearms, built like a tank, and reasonably priced on the used firearm market. I still have a blued Security Six I bought back in the early 1970's..