Although gun manufacturers are continually reducing the size of their large caliber handguns and marketing them for concealed carry, small caliber handguns continue to be a popular choice because they are compact by nature and usually offer less recoil.
They also more readily fit into the hands of men or women (although men with large hands may require a grip extension).
Because of the popularity of these small caliber guns, I'd like to consider the Taurus 738 TCP and the Sig Sauer 232.
The Taurus 738 TCP is light--10.2 ounces when unloaded--and also reliable and unbelievably easy to conceal.
It has a polymer frame and a steel slide.
The 738 holds 6 round in the magazine, and 1 in the chamber. That's seven shots of .380 ammo, which can be very potent if the shots are well placed. It is a big enough round that a woman could stop an attacker with it, yet it's small enough that recoil is manageable.
The only thing to keep in mind with the 738 is that the trigger pull is extremely long. This is not a problem if you shoot the gun enough and get used to it after buying it. And it's certainly no reason to forgo owning this pistol.
Now, the Sig Sauer 232.
When I think about this gun, one word comes to mind-- indestructible.
This gun is heavier than the Taurus 738--it weighs 18.5 ounces empty--but it is compact in size and extremely reliable.
Moreover, the 232 has a hammer that can be cocked before firing. This shortens the trigger pull and provides greater first shot accuracy than you might get out of the 738.
Also, the 232 has "SIGLITE Night Sights," which glow in the dark to allow quicker target acquisition in low light settings.
However, you pay for these features. For example, the Taurus 738 can be acquired brand new for about $360 while the Sig Sauer 232 will cost you between $650 and $700 (maybe more in light of recent demand).
In my opinion, the guns are equally reliable. The question of which to buy comes down to which one would prove most durable in adverse conditions. The answer to that question is the Sig Sauer 232, but I would trust my life to either gun if I were in a tight spot.