many threads on this here in the Ladies Forum. not to be totally rude but "search" is your friend....actually, i think you could find some of those threads on the first page of this forum.
the mantra is this: you cannot buy a gun for your mother, especially given the issues you've described re her limitations. she must be involved in the process. first take her to gun shops to handle guns to see what fits her hand. then take her to a range and rent guns to see what actually fits her hand when firing. they are two different things. then make sure she gets her certificate to legally own a pistol. then give her the $ to buy her own gun. take her to a range to practice.
i'm glad she realizes she needs to be able to protect herself. i'm sorry it took an actual break in to make that happen.
a .22 is better than nothing. a santa clara county sheriff told me that more people are killed with a .22 than any other caliber. of course, more people own a .22 and people do practice with a .22 more than any other caliber. so it makes sense. however, placement is everything and your mother will still need to practice.
i think you are wise to understand that the guns you and your father own may not be appropriate for her. and you are wise to check into this forum to get info. search around in here and you'll also see feedback from men that have taken our advise and their report back in after the fact. in short, they are glad they did.
also, if any of your friends have women in their lives that shoot, perhaps they'd be up for a range date to let your mother try out their weapon[s] of choice.
again, you can't just buy your mom a gun....she must be involved in the process, especially given her physical issues that will effect how she shoots.
another thought: she may be happier with a revolver. easy to operate, easy to clean. make sure it is all metal....none of the lightweight materials. metal will absorb more recoil and be easier to handle. a snubbie may not be ideal for her. something with a 3 inch barrel.
please keep us posted re your progress. you could give her a gift certificate to a gun shop!
"Her hands, her comfort, her confidence, her choice.", Mr K re buy a gun for a woman.
Gun Control: "The theory that a woman found dead in an alley, raped and strangled with her own pantyhose, is somehow morally superior to a woman explaining to police how her attacker got that fatal bullet wound."-- as seen on a t-shirt