The 146th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits opens tomorrow evening in Atlanta, GA. It is estimated that 80,000 people will attend the show this year to visit the over 800 exhibitors and other events throughout the weekend. Pre-registration is now closed, but attendees can register on-site starting at 2:00 PM tomorrow. If you are already a NRA member, there is no additional fee for attending the show. If you are not already a member, you can still purchase your membership ahead of time to make the process a little quicker.
The exhibit hall is open Friday through Sunday. Many exhibitors display their new products at this show and this is a chance for the Attendees can expect to see: the new Cloak mag Carriers and the new ShapeShift modular holster system from Alien Gear; the new Taurus Spectrum, new optics from Holosun, new laser and holster combos from Crimson Trace, and many more. The Shoot Like Girl mobile training trailer will also be in attendance. The NRAAM, unlike SHOT Show, also allows sales on the show floor. Many exhibitors will have show specials on the floor, so keep an eye on the mobile app for advance notification of sales.
Many of the exhibitor booths will also feature celebrity appearances. You may find Eva Shockey, Lou Ferringo, or Mark “Oz” Geist sitting in your favorite booth. Brownells will also have a special guest appearance by Matt Uhrin, the Fed-Ex employee who saved a flag from being burned. Throughout the show, there will be many seminars to cover everything from concealed carry methods to choosing the right dog for your family. There is something for everyone in the family.
On top of the exhibitors, attendees can purchase tickets to attend a variety of other special events. The National NRA Foundation Banquet is tomorrow as well as a concert by Matthew West. Friday will be filled with the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum, which will feature speeches from President Trump, Sheriff David Clarke, Lieutenant Colonel Allen West, and many more, and the Women’s Leadership Forum, with Kellyanne Conway as the keynote speaker. Also on Friday, attendees can purchase tickets for the NRA Country Jam. The show will feature performances by Chris Janson, Josh Thompson, and Lindsay Eli. The feature concert on Saturday is Hank Williams, Jr.
Female participation in the shooting sports is on the rise and that is a good thing! Having a bigger tent with more people involved and enjoying firearms can open eyes (and minds) to the reality of how safe, practical, and fun firearm ownership can be.
According to both the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the National Rifle Association (NRA), women are one of the fastest growing demographics in the shooting sports. From 2001 to 2013, the number of female hunters increased 85% to 3.3 million and the number of target shooters increased 60% to 5.4 million. When polled on why they wanted to own a firearm, the top three answers were: self-defense, learning to hunt, and to enjoy shooting with friends and family. Another point from the NSSF study that I found interesting is that nearly 75% of all women gun owners have attended at least one training class with either a professional or a family/friend.
Roughly half of all women gun owners will visit a shooting range an average of one or more times each month for practice or training. You may have noticed an increase in the number of first time women shooters at your local range; I know that I have. Unfortunately, not all of that range time is necessarily productive. During my range visits, I have seen some really terrible “training” sessions at nearby shooting tables. I watched one guy hand his girlfriend a .410 revolver, show her how to hold it, and then – with his hand over top of hers, reach in and pull the trigger for her from across the bench. He seemed to find it amusing that she was frightened of the large, heavy recoiling handgun and did not want to keep shooting with it. On a different trip, I saw someone hand another female shooter a semi-auto pistol to shoot before standing by to watch as she gripped it in her left hand and supported it with her right hand… directly on top of the slide. Once was enough for that new shooter, who stopped shooting for the day and waited while her partner finished his range day.
Since many women receive training from someone close to them, and many women feel encouraged by family and friends to go shooting, it is a disservice to the new female shooter to not offer proper instruction, especially if it is their first time shooting. As Olympic shooter Kim Rhode said in a recent interview, shooting is a family sport. Everyone should actively participate in the entire shooting process for everyone else in the family to help build relationships based on this common interest and to ensure that everyone in the family is familiar with the firearms in the house. This becomes even more important because a NSSF study showed that more than 40% of women prefer having male present when purchasing a firearm and a similar number feel that they need more training. This is an enormous opportunity to promote the shooting sports and the Second Amendment within a family.
I am fortunate that my significant other has been my primary instructor and he takes it seriously. It is one of our many hobbies that we both enjoy and enjoy together. While the actual activity is an equal playing field between the genders, the firearms industry has been slow to catch up to the growing number of women shooters. As a female shooter, I have had to learn to adapt to a sport that is largely designed by and for men.
Despite the push for a bizarre progressive agenda, men and women are different. Let’s start with the obvious differences. The average American man is ~5’10” and weighs 196 lbs whereas the average American woman is ~5’4” and weighs 166 lbs. Men are typically taller, weigh more and have less body fat, larger hands, different muscle mass, different lung capacity, and so on. Women are generally shaped differently than men, especially in the hips and chest – a product of being built to produce and care for offspring. All of this should sound like common sense right now, but what does it mean?
Women, on average, are smaller in every aspect of the body. Many full-sized pistols are too large (sometimes too heavy) to hold comfortably and consistently for extended shooting periods. However, smaller compact and sub-compact handguns – which may fit better in the hands – tend to have stiffer springs to counter the low mass of the slide, which can prove problematic when manipulating the slide. Fortunately, many manufacturers are designing both new firearms and ammunition offerings that address this recoil issue. Some manufacturers have designed pistols that are balanced differently to help women manage the recoil.
Staying with the smaller theme, women have shorter arms and proportionally longer necks than men, placing the shoulder-pocket slightly higher than the average man. This means many rifles and shotguns are uncomfortable to handle and could explain why your lady may bruise more easily and have problems getting a consistent cheek weld (the answer is not a youth stock). While a child-sized stock may work for some women, the fact remains that most women are larger than children and the smaller, shorter stock will make a weapon front-heavy which could prove burdensome, especially when walking in the field (speaking from experience). Being smaller also means being shorter. This can make shooting from a kneeling/sitting position feel like a battle to find the happy medium between comfort, stability and getting the appropriate elevation to hit the target. As I have consistently found at SHOT Show Range Day and various shooting ranges, many shooting benches are not designed for a short person. A few companies have been tackling the issue of women shooters in rifles and shotguns with success. At least two companies have rifles designed by women, for women and two more companies make pricey shotguns that are balanced and proportioned with a woman in mind. Continue reading
Wind-Powered Projectiles Garnering Much Attention in Shooting Industry
With the hustle and bustle of racing around four days of SHOT Show 2017 and an extra day of range time behind us the GunLink team is now working to organize it all and bring our readers info on the latest developments from the shooting industry. While it seems like many companies were conservative with their R&D last year, likely due to the unknown outcome of the election, there were a few themes that I noticed; one of which was air guns.
It may have just been me, but it seems like a lot more companies than usual were displaying air guns and it got me thinking about what could be driving all of the interest behind this segment of the shooting sports. The answers to this question are likely as varied and diverse as they are to the question of why anyone is interested in any kind of shooting activities. Airguns can be quieter, less expensive, and, in some regards, safer than shooting traditional firearms. Another reason for their popularity is likely that there are fewer regulations on air guns since they are not considered firearms – making them more readily available to a wider audience. It may also be the case that positive role models from last summer’s Olympic Games shooting sports events may have sparked more interest in air guns. Continue reading
Before heading to SHOT Show this year, I consulted with a few other female shooters that I know to ask what they were hoping to see new this year. In general, I was surprised to find that they were actually in the same KISS school of thought that I am: something that works well, works consistently, and is not difficult to understand how it works. One thing that did surprise me was more interest in fully automatic firearms than I had expected. I have been fortunate in that I have had the opportunity, on more than one occasion, to shoot automatic weapons. If you have not experienced full-auto mag dumps yourself, to be completely honest, it is even more fun than it looks.
Fully-automatic weapons, or machine guns, are regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA). The law basically says that the only legal machine guns for civilians are the ones that were lawfully possessed prior to May 19, 1986 and those require payment of a $200 transfer tax, lengthy approval process, and federal registration in the NFRTR. This makes for a very limited supply of weapons that are in circulation, which – as we learned about supply and demand in Economics 101 – drives the price sky high – often into the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Unless you either join the military or have some pretty cool friends, you may not get the opportunity to shoot a machine gun.
However, a shooter and their ammo (ergo, their money) are easily parted and the firearms industry has come up with some innovative ways to turn a pocket full of money into a hot, smoking pile of spent brass. Thanks to that innovation, there are some legal ways to simulate full-auto firing power. Continue reading
Women have myriad problems when considering a holster for concealed carry. It can be difficult enough to find a product that conceals in everyday clothing, but it can be even more difficult to find something that can be concealed in dress clothes or athletic clothes.
Given that women are among the fastest growing group of shooters, it is no surprise that many enterprising women have already come up with a number of innovative solutions to the CCW issue. While many traditional holster companies do create holsters that they market to female shooters, they are typically for standard IWB or OWB, which can be challenging for women since our clothes are typically more form fitting and our hips are shaped differently than men’s. Continue reading
When women shop for accessories, we shop for looks as well as function and fit. A common problem with many IWB and OWB holsters for women is that our tops are typically more form fitting than men’s shirts and women’s jeans tend to ride around the hips rather than the waist. This can make it difficult to effectively conceal a pistol on the waist. A common solution, since many women already carry a purse, is to opt for off-body carry and make the purse their “holster”.
There are a number of companies on the market that make purses designed specifically for concealed carry. Features can include a specific pouch or pocket in the purse (or outside the purse) for carrying the weapon. This pocket can be accessible from inside or outside (sometimes both) the main pocket of a purse. Some companies include locking zippers and some even include a cable-lined strap for reinforcement (and to prevent theft). Continue reading