A number of news stories this year have shown how more women, nationwide, are buying and carrying firearms. Retailers and gun ranges haven’t let the trend go unnoticed, and are learning how to serve this new demographic.
According to a story in the Review Journal, a National Shooting Sports Foundation study found 74 percent of gun retailers saw an increase in female patrons from 2011 to 2012, with women making up 20 percent of total gun sales.
Since 2005, female gun ownership in the U.S. has doubled. The same study found that the number of women who practiced target shooting jumped 60 percent, to 5.4 million between 2001 and 2013.
Additionally, when women do decide to purchase a firearm, they typically buy a semiautomatic handgun, with 56 percent of women reporting they own at least one. Statistically, a woman’s second choice is a shotgun.
The study revealed female firearm purchases are mainly influenced by fit, quality and practicality, which means gun companies are racing to manufacture guns that aren’t only pink, but are suitable for shooters of smaller stature and with smaller hands.
There are other businesses besides shooting ranges and gun shops that are catering to the influx of female shooters.
Leigh Hitt is the co-owner of Hot With Heat, a company that teaches women gun safety and qualifies them to apply for a concealed carry permit. They also help women choose what type of concealed carry holster to employ and also offer other resources like holster reviews, one on one training, guest speakers and concealed carry coaches. They also host Nevada CCW permit classes through Old SheepDog Defense and SureFire institute.
This story also does a good job of highlighting some reasons women gave for owning and carrying, with many citing personal safety, especially those who spend a lot of time alone. One woman shooter, identified only as Karen S., said it’s a symptom of our national mood.
“I think it’s the state of our union,” Karen said. “I think it’s the lack of confidence we have in our government, that if you’re going to protect yourself and your loved ones in your home, that you have to know how to do it safely. And you’d better have something to do it with.”