History reflects that men have long been associated with firearms, whether it was purpose-driven for survival, or for love of the sport itself. We have heard of exceptional female shooters as well, but until recently, guns were typically associated with men.
That’s changing. For several years now, I have noticed an increased interest in hunting among women. Female friends and associates love to share stories about their first hunting experiences and subsequent return hunting ventures. The excitement and sense of pride is evident as they describe the details of single-handedly tracking down an 8-point deer or a ferocious wild boar. Women have proven that they are very capable of learning the various aspects of hunting, all the way down to field dressing their recent catch, and that they are very interested continuing their participation in the sport.
In more recent times, I have noticed an increase in women’s interest in guns in general. I have had the privilege of witnessing many women shoot a gun for the first time, and feeling their excitement after firing off that first round. I’ve noticed that it can be nerve-wracking to pull the trigger for the first time, but once they do, it’s usually something they want to continue doing for a long time.
Whether it is with a friend, acquaintance, or a complete stranger, it is such a joy to help someone shoot for the first time. Patience is such an important component. Women like to understand what to expect, and if a trust can be developed between teacher and new-shooter, it will be a positive experience for both. Shooting is an excellent medium for women to improve their abilities and gain confidence; it is rewarding to see new shooters grow. I can’t help but to make mental note of how well new shooters progress, handle their firearms more confidently, and are more willing to try new guns.
Just in the past year, I have noticed an increase in the number of women that participate in female-only shooting clubs, and co-ed shooting matches. In many sports, the expectations for women are lower than their male counterpart due to physical strength and agility, but shooting provides even ground. There are not separate classifications for men and women, and there is no reason to change that. Classifications are based on shooting skills and firearm specifications, not on how much someone can bench press or how fast they can run. Equal ground.
Some individuals have gone above and beyond to promote women in participating in the sport, and I give much credit to those leaders. The support and encouragement they give help females realize that they can do this, and there is a solid place for them in this community.
Many manufactures have also realized there has been an explosion in the number of women interested in shooting. Many gun accessories are geared toward women in color, style, and functionality of a product. There are many pink, purple and blue gun parts out there, as well as an increased number of products designed specifically for women such as concealed carry garments and options. Firearms themselves are much more female-friendly since some even have interchangeable grip sizes to better accommodate smaller hands. And of course, we can’t forget the pink “Hello Kitty holding an AK-47” stickers.
One of my many reasons for falling in love with shooting is that it is a wonderful activity for couples or close friends. It is wonderful to be able to share my passion for shooting with my husband who shares those same feelings, and grow together in the sport. While shooting is an excellent tool for women to experience solo or with other women, it also provides an excellent opportunity for couples to do together. Whether it’s going to the range to practice, or taking classes together, or a little friendly competition at a match, developing my shooting skills while my other half is doing the same right next to is quite rewarding.
One of my other favorite benefits of the sport is that it has allowed me to make some wonderful new friends. The women in the shooting community have always made me feel comfortable and welcome, which has opened the door for new relationships. Many people have told me that they feel like they don’t have many friends; shooting is an excellent way for women to meet each other and bond, and feel like they are part of something fun and important.