Starting on .22 pistol is a great idea. Revolver or semi, whatever is your style. I third the LCR in .22 if you want to go the revolver route. If you want to get a small semi, there is the Beretta 21A in .22. A little more power in the same size would be the Beretta Tomcat in .32. For general plinking/target shooting the Ruger 22/45 would be my choice. As for self defense, bullet placement is critical. Bullet size is helpful.