The trigger is heavier, but for a small affordable 9 the Kel-Tec P11 gets generally good reviews. A used S&W 3913 is a good manageable size, but they're getting harder to find and are going up in price. Ruger SR9c or LC9, as mentioned above, could be good, but I'd worry about the LC9 recoil for a new shooter.
For .380, a Bersa Thunder is affordable and a sweet shooter, but ammo cost is high and you have concerns against a large attacker.
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