A berretta is a well known manufacturer and makes guns of high quality. The .25ACp caliber is generally considered ok as a back up gun, but is on the small side for a standard carry gun. I use a 1911 style .45ACP as my normal carry gun. I switch to a Walther PPK in .
380ACP when my clothing won't hide a .45. Most people carry a gun that fires a 9mm parabellum, because it is a little smaller than a .45ACP, and is still powerful enough for protection. Of course, a .25ACP gun is a lot better than no gun, but it is a little small to be recommended as normal carry gun.
Hawes rim fires are not uncommon. That company is or was an importer of firearms manufactured. Many Hawes firearms were imported from Italy and were copies of American Civil War guns.
Giving people suggests on what they might want to use because I have a lot of experience with those. The major brands all make quality products, but I recommend that you first try a gun before buying one. Try to find a shooting range in your area that will rent you the type of gun you'd like. That way you can make your own evaluation. The range people will also show you how to use it and show the differences from other models. Another gun would be The S&W model 686 is indeed an excellent revolver.
If the price is right and its in good condition, I'd seriously consider purchasing it. The nice thing is that your wife should be able to shoot the revolver easily with 38 spc loads. In that frame/weight recoil will be relatively light. The only concern that I would have is her ability to grasp the grip. That is one you'll have to size up for yourself.
If the gun will fit her hands, you are good to go. As for you and your personal desire for "more oomph", go with 357 cartridges in a bullet designed for your intended purpose/s. Even if you too decide to shoot it with 38's, it still has way more "power" than the 22 semi-auto that you have been directed to by others. I think that you both will have a firearm that you can enjoy shooting and your shooting options are many more with this revolver than any 22 semi-auto.
In fact if you are purchasing it in part for home defense and/or personal protection. don't even think about a 22 cailber. The best thing is to practice, but you also need a way to see any mistakes you may be making. Assuming that you are somewhat proficient with strong hand shooting, you can compare that to your weak hand shooting. Many people ask another shooter to watch them shoot and note any flinching, creeping as the trigger is squeezed, anticipation, pulling, etc. But I think that a much more effective way is to position a video camera on a tripod and use it to analyze your shooting technique.
It is important that the camera be mounted on a tripod, and not handheld, so that any undesired motion is more easily detectable. First, video your normal strong hand shooting, using the same techniques that you will use with the weak hand. Then do it again with the weak hand.
Note anything found and then try it again, being conscious to try to avoid the problems that were found. (The video can also be useful to improve your strong hand shooting, if you saw any mistakes there.).
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for http://www.CombatCloth.info/. CombatCloth.info carries the best selection of combat clothing, gear, and accessories on the market.