If you want to know what women want, don’t go to the movies; go to the gun store. However, American women are not waiting for a birthday or Christmas to get their hands on a firearm; they are trekking to their local gun shop and plunking down credit cards in record numbers. Can you say, “Charge it”?
A Manicure and a SIG
It’s gratifying to see the Wall Street Journal and The Hill catching up with news sites like Liberty Nation, which noted the uptick in women purchasing handguns back in March. We also pointed out that racial diversity among gun owners is changing along gender lines, with blacks leading the charge:
“In 2020, retailers reported ‘a 95% increase in firearm sales and a 139% increase in ammunition sales over the same period in 2019.’ Guess who bought a boatload of guns and ammo? ‘The highest overall firearm sales increase comes from Black men and women who show a 58.2 percent increase in purchases during the first six months of 2020 versus the same period last year,’ wrote NSSF Director of Research and Market Development, Jim Curcuruto.”
Traditionally, women made up about 20% of the gun owners’ market. However, a 2021 National Firearms Survey by two academics from Harvard and Northeastern University tells a different story. This study shows about 3.5 million women purchased a firearm compared to 4 million men during the same period between 2019 and April of 2021. The reasons for the massive change in female gun ownership are various; some say it’s for defense, others for offense.
The next obvious question is, what kind of guns are women buying? Surveys show they prefer handguns over long guns. In 2020, 62% of women purchased handguns versus 22% who bought long guns.
Their pistol of choice appears to be the SIG Sauer P365. According to The Well Armed Woman, this was the most popular handgun purchased by females in 2020. Why? Well, it comes with a high-capacity magazine (15 + 1) in a compact model that is “… small enough for most hands.” They also point out, “The slim design makes this gun a great concealed carry option.”
Since gun grabbers are always whining about how large-capacity magazines are “unnecessary,” they may want to sit up and notice the magazine capacity of this SIG appears to be its most desirable selling point. This summer, gun-grabber-in-chief Joe Biden ignorantly waxed about this issue, saying, “The idea you need a weapon that can have the ability to fire 20, 30, 40, 50, 120 shots … whether it’s a 9mm pistol or whether it’s a rifle, is ridiculous.” But then, Mr. Biden is well known for saying stupid things about guns.
Round capacity and simplicity are the name of the game for female gun owners. Thus, it comes as no surprise that number two on the list of most popular handgun models purchased by women was the Smith & Wesson Shield EZ 9. “Racking the slide is extremely easy with the EZ series (hence the name!) and loading a magazine has never been easier,” according to The Well Armed Woman.
At Home on the Range
Women don’t just want to own a firearm, they want to learn how to use it, and in large numbers, they are heading out to the range. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has a course called Women on Target® “designed to teach you firearm safety and the fundamentals of marksmanship.” The mission, says the NRA, is to give women “the confidence you need to safely handle and operate a firearm.”
But there are plenty of female-to-female classes springing up as well. NotMeSD is one such gun-rights advocacy group based in San Diego which offers handgun training to women. A national conference organized by A Girl & A Gun Womens Shooting League plans to offer beginner to advanced courses and hands-on “How To” clinics. An internet search of handgun training for women reveals pages and pages of community-based educational opportunities for ladies who want to learn how to properly handle a firearm.
What does all this mean? Gun control activists have long played upon the fears of women regarding guns – a fear fueled mainly by unfamiliarity. With increased ownership and training, more and more women are replacing that anxiety with knowledge of and respect for firearms. Should gun control advocates seek to enlist these women in their cause, they may be surprised to find they are aiming at the wrong target.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.