I've heard good reviews on the small frame Bersa 9. One from a cop who had a high score with his testing. If it's good enough for a cop, it's good enough for me. The size of the pistol is not that much larger than the S&W airweight 38 and it's good for close range or longer range shots. Probably the best lower priced 9 out there...based on info from people I've talked to who have shot them and info I've read, not based on personal experience. I'm thinking seriously about purchasing one.
I agree with the Bersa 9 recommendation.. It shoots like a much bigger gun. I hate compact semi auto's in general, but the bersa is a gun i dont mind burning through a few boxes with at the range. I think the right gun is one she doesnt mind practicing with at the range.