...could be caused with a "toothpick". That being said, I would take a .22 over a toothpick, and believe a .22 to be a good choice for a starter. This caliber pistol will impress a BG without intimidating it's shooter with recoil.
As with anything, you get what you pay for. This is true with the reliability of the pistol, and the ammo. I own a Ruger MK II that was built in 1982. With proper care this pistol will fire 250 - 300 rounds in a hour before a stove pipe. The magazine must be released to clear the stovepipe and the release is at the base of the grip which is awkward. Once released, pull the slide back to clear the spent shell, it will drop out. I had a Torus PT .22 and it was junk. I don't know about the other Rugar models as I'm fine with the one I have. boar out.