Josh, lots of good opinions here.
Find a 22 pistol that feels good in your hand, it should also feel good to the wife.
Being comfortable with a hand gun is just as important.
I own a Ruger Mark II, also a Bear cat. I can't hit the inside of a phone booth standing inside with the Bear cat. But I can take the eye out of a grouse with the Mark II.
All about comfort.
OK my 2% or a dollar. I also am a long time shooter and ex instructor. I have to agree with going with a revolver. Ruger and Taurus both make excellent not too expensive revolvers. to me revolvers are easier to use.
perfect for plinking or if need be taking out a rabbit for dinner. Having read some recent reviews of the Taurus 94 I would stay away from the 94 and buy the Ruger. apperiantly the taurus is hit or miss on quality.
I bought a P22 for my wife to get her into guns and have her learn a little about semi pistols in a combat style before I spent the money on a pistol she could use for protection. I know she will either buy a small framed revolver or a sub compact auto when that time comes. When we picked it up we had holo sights front and rear added and after her second time at the range, she was allowed to shot a guys with a small laser and she went out to buy one the next day. We only shoot minimags or velocitors from cci and never worry about jams. If I had to do it again I would go the same route, she loved the semi auto due to being a girl and loving the feel of the power, she also like to learn how to break them down. Since then she has shoot glocks, xd, sw revolvers and is always excited and very careful with the handling of guns. The P22 turned my wife into a gun girl!
Why I don't tend to weigh in on many opinions with regards to fly fishing (still a newbie) I do indeed know quite a bit about this topic. First and foremost I own and have shot thousands of rounds through my P22, it's a great little gun. I just use cheap federal walmart ammo and clean my walther after each session. I have never had issues, the only FTF's I have had, were caused by the 22 ammo it's self. As you might or might not know 22 (rimfire) is just not as reliable as most centerfire rounds.
As far as some of the other recommendations, if I were to just buy a pure shooting .22 it would be a browning buckmark or a Ruger M2 or M3. Both are great and pretty accurate. As far as the Sig Mosquito, they have a ton of jamming issues if you do not use high velocity ammo like CCI. I love Sig's and have owned both pistols, get the P22.
Now you may ask why not go with the other options or recommendations as I have posted above. Well there are two primary reasons. The first one being that a P22 is more fun to shoot that buckmarks and the Rugers. I like shooting combat style pistols! The second reason is that a P22 or Sig is more like a real pistol in which I would defend my life or families life with. I use a P22 as a training tool as well as fun. The controls of a buckmark are nowhere near modern day combat pistol designs. For example, if you shoot a P22 then you can pick up an HK with ease.
Now you may ask why not go with the other options or recommendations as I have posted above. Well there are two primary reasons. The first one being that a P22 is more fun to shoot that buckmarks and the Rugers. I like shooting combat style pistols!
I'm not going to argue that the P22 isn't fun, I think it is very much so. But the Buckmark is equally as fun (though in a different way) and I would expect that the Rugers are as well given how many fans they have. Don't get me wrong, the P22 is fun. But claiming that it's MORE fun than the others is such a subjective opinion-based statement as to be useless for someone trying to decide which gun to buy.
The second reason is that a P22 or Sig is more like a real pistol in which I would defend my life or families life with. I use a P22 as a training tool as well as fun. The controls of a buckmark are nowhere near modern day combat pistol designs. For example, if you shoot a P22 then you can pick up an HK with ease.
The Buckmark's controls and grip angle are the same as the 1911's, a gun that has more fans around the world than just about any other. In fact, one could argue that the Buckmark replicates the 1911's controls better than the P22 replicates the HK's (mostly due to the HK's frequent inclusion of a decocker and lower placement of the decocker/safety). But that is likely bordering on another "opinion" type statement that isn't very useful. Suffice to say that the P22 isn't the only .22 that replicates the controls of a larger caliber "cousin".
And to be honest, neither gun perfectly replicates the controls of a Glock, probably the most common/popular self defense handgun out there today. This is mostly due to the fact that nobody makes a safety-free striker fired .22, but still, you get the idea. If someone really wants to have a .22 that replicates a defense gun, they should probably look into a 1911 frame gun with a Kimber .22 conversion for practice. Or at one of the Sig Saur P220/P226/P229 guns with the Sig .22 conversion. Then the controls will be EXACTLY the same between .22 practice and self defense use. Of course the recoil will be significantly different, but there's no way around that.
Josh, we have two P-22's. As you already know, they're fun to shoot, and ammo doesn't cost an arm, leg, and three front teeth. They're nice little guns, with a positive bar safety. You won't have a tack driver, though. The front sight came off one day when the pistol was withdrawn from the holster, which didn't impress me. We used High Standard silenced .22s in my unit, as well as the 1911 also silenced. There's been several guys who mentioned a .22 is a serious round, and it is! The way one grizzled ol` Sar-major explained over a beer one evening was "a double-tap with a .22 gives you a total of 11mm of hole. When you get to 20mm, it's considered a cannon shot." Made sense to me! I also don't usually carry it for personal pro: I'll go with the Sig P-226 Navy in .40S&W for that one. The Sig IS a tack driver.