The National Shooting Sports Foundation conducted a study in 2009 concerning the purchase of firearms. Results indicated that three-fourths of gun shop owners claim that females outnumbered males in gun purchases. The most common reason given involved self-protection. Of the women volunteering to complete a survey, 80 percent shared that they bought a gun for self-defense, according to reporters Rachel Dubrovin and Tony Nguyen. Little more than one-third planned on using a weapon for target practice and one-fourth purchased a gun for hunting. Nationwide statistics suggest that between 12 and 15 million women in the country own guns. Some expect this number to continue rising.
Female Gun Owners Represented
Though the National Rifle Association and the Gunowners of America are traditionally all male organizations, during the 1990s, Women Against Gun Control emerged. Armed Females of America is another organization that represents women owning firearms. The organization entitled Second Amendment Foundation created the magazine “Women & Guns,” which features articles written by and for women. Within the pages of each issue, information includes gun reviews and female-oriented gear. The publication also offers information concerning shooting related sports.
Increasing Female Interest
By 2009, the National Sporting Goods Association noted that the number of women participating in hunting or recreational shooting increased by 20 percent. The National Rifle Association developed the “Women on Target” program that offers women the chance to learn about and use firearms in a clinic-based environment. By 2010, the program noticed a 20 percent increase in interest. The number of women attending clinics across the country was recorded as being more than 10,000.
Overall, the objective of females making gun purchases remains self-protection. Some make the purchase to have at home in case of break-ins. Others conceal carry in purses or on their body. Previously, women relied on pepper spray or knives for self-defense. However, many believe that firearms offer more protection against a male attacker, especially in preventing rapes.
One Size Does Not Fit All
While men may be tempted to make the purchase for a spouse or significant other, gun purchases should be made by the individual intending to use the weapon, according to this article at The Well Armed Woman. As the calibers and styles vary, women must feel comfortable with the overall design, size and function of the weapon. The gun must not have extreme weight and fit well in the hand. Instructor and shop owners report that women traditionally prefer .22 or .38 caliber handguns. These models are easily carried in a pocket, a purse or concealed in specially crafted holsters. If interested in learning how to shoot, before making a purchase, women should make arrangements to complete a shooting and safety course.
In addition to the many styles and types of guns available, manufacturers are also attempting to appeal to potential female gun owners by creating weapons and gear designed especially for ladies. Virtually every type of hand gun is available in pink. Holsters allow for carrying guns concealed within bras, around the waist or on the thigh. There are purses featuring quick access pockets. Women may also purchase jewelry, clothing and accessories advertising their interest in firearms.