My lady has a hi point in 380 that she enjoys shooting; it's a pussycat in her opinion and she likes her 9mm better but she does like the 380 as well. As far as how they compare with a 38 it's hard for me to say because the revolver I have is substantially heavier than the hi point but I have always felt 38's, even +p's, to be fairly tame even out of the ultra-lite revolvers. I also have a derringer in 38 and they are even mild in that; as a matter-of-fact the trigger pull is tougher than the recoil! Might be a good idea to try out some other small autos in 9mm just to see if she feels the same way about them. Enjoy the hunt! Searching for that new gun that fits the bill is always fun; best of luck.