DSenette wrote:also...the shot spread thing isn't me supporting the idea that a shotgun is better for home defense....it's just one of the things that people cite as a reason to suggest a shotgun for home defense.
the only reason I would suggest a shotgun for home defense is the near idiot proof functionality of most shotguns.
Understood...yeah, shotguns usually tend towards easy maintainability and use, which is a plus. Like with most activities, your introduction into shooting is best done on something simple. Make it easy to understand, and encourage practice. An AR isn't THAT hard to learn, but it's not all the way at the simple end of the spectrum.
Firearms are fairly accessible regardless of stature. My little sister started shooting seriously at twelve. She's always been a fairly small person, but she was fine with a 12ga then. Practice, posture, etc make a huge difference, but firearms are largely not about physical stature. In fact, women are considered to have an advantage when first learning to target shoot, thanks to a lower center of gravity. This isn't so important later in a target shooting career, but determining what to use should be a matter of what you're comfortable with, not based on what is "appropriate" for your gender.