Ranges, Gun Dealers Welcoming Women
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, there was an 85-percent increase in the number of female hunters between 2001 and 2013. photo from Windigo Images

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, there was an 85-percent increase in the number of female hunters between 2001 and 2013. That same time period saw a 60-percent increase in female target shooters to over 5.4 million. Such a huge shift in the consumer base has resulted in some very significant business changes, too, as seen across the country at gun shops and shooting ranges.

“More and more ladies are coming in,” said Andrew Jones, owner of Last Resort Guns told Many of these new customers come to this Madison, Alabama, gun shop for concealed-carry permit training and small, concealable handguns.

“Ladies with children or families to defend—they see that as something that they want to do, and they’re doing it in a very proactive way,” Jones said, noting that one-third of his store’s sales are now to women.

This influx of new female gun owners has many gun shops and ranges hiring female staffers.

“We employ females in all departments of our store including range, retail, and gun sales,” said Don Langworthy, owner of Arizona Shooter’s World, which has two locations in metro Phoenix. “Female customers tend to be more comfortable and talkative with our female employees; they feel less intimidated and more likely to ask relevant questions. A female salesperson can also help them with their gender-specific needs, such as conceal-carry issues for women.”

You will also find “Ladies Night” offerings at Shooter’s World as well as at many ranges cross the nation. Some provide free range time and reduced firearms rental rates, as well as instruction for novice shooters.

Founded in 1981, H&H Shooting Sports, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma may be the originally “female-friendly” gun venue; after all, the name “H&H” stands for “His and Hers,” a reference to owners Janey and Miles Hall. What started as a smallish shooting range has evolved into a 90,000-square-foot facility complete with retail space, its own café, 61 indoor shooting lanes, and an extensive list of training classes.

“We noticed the big surge in female shooters and customers about three to four years ago,” said Miles Hall. “Right now we’re at about a 50-50 split, female to male customers.”

The Halls launched H&H with a specific visual point of reference in mind: the suburban shopping mall. That means a facility with high ceilings, good lighting, softer color schemes, and very clean restrooms.

“For our staff, we stress having good and positive attitudes, in our training sessions and on the floor,” says Hall. “Women will tell you what they want and need, but you have to listen. Present good information, yes, but ask questions and then listen to the answers. That’s a must for selling to our female customers—and getting them to come back.”