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
A recent study released by the Connecticut-based National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) examined the economic impact of the gun industry and gun control laws on state jobs and revenue in the Constitution State.
The firearms industry has a long history in Connecticut, including companies with roots that date back to before the Civil War. According to the NSSF, though, in 2016 Connecticut had 4,900 people employed in the firearms industry and related fields, a drop of almost 40% from 2013.
Tax revenues paid by the industry also dropped substantially, from $134 million to $85 million during the period. Similarly, the industry’s total impact on the state’s economy was down by nearly $700 million. One firearm manufacturer, PTR Industries of Bristol, Connecticut, in announcing its move out of the state, pointed to new gun laws, adding that “we feel that our industry as a whole will continue to be threatened so long as it remains in a state where its elected leaders have no regard for the rights of those who produce and manufacture its wealth.”
These are jobs and revenues that the state can ill-afford to lose. As noted in an earlier alert, Connecticut is in the midst of a fiscal crisis, facing a two-year, $3.6 billion budget deficit. The state is already treading water on jobs: one commentator estimates that the employment level in Connecticut in 2016 was below the level of jobs that existed 27 years earlier, in 1989. Employment in Connecticut’s manufacturing sector, in particular, has decreased drastically over the last 25 years. Continue reading
There is great news in the gun rights community today.
The New Hampshire Governor signed a GOA-backed permitless carry bill into law today, allowing the Granite State to become the 13th member of the Constitutional Carry Club.
Gun Owners of America will provide you more information on this, and other recent gun-related victories, later in the week.
Moving to the Congress, there are efforts underway to prevent the UN from continuing its crusade to destroy the Second Amendment.
A good percent of UN member nations consist of genocidal totalitarian regimes. And they certainly don’t want anyone other than government butchers to have access to firearms.
Just within the last eight years, the UN has tried to saddle us with the anti-gun Small Arms Treaty and the anti-gun Arms Trade Treaty – or ATT. Continue reading
The ATF’s associate deputy director, Ronald Turk – second in charge only to acting director Thomas Brandon – recently penned an internal white paper which was leaked to several media outlets, including the Washington Post, who published the letter this week.
In the letter, Turk makes a number of proposals, mainly expressing support for reducing firearms regulations by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE).
The white paper includes 16 “Points of Discussion,” including expanding licensing of “kitchen table FFLs” without a brick-and-mortar storefront, moving forward with approval for new manufacture of armor piercing ammunition, allowing interstate sales of firearms by FFLs at gun shows, expanding the permitted use of the NICS background check system by FFLS, and providing clarification on several demand letters.
Likely of more interest to many gun owners are several other suggestions that may have a more immediate impact on their firearms collections and uses.
What a New Regime Could Mean for the Second Amendment
After decades of battling just to keep hanging on to whatever shred of gun rights that we still have left, capped off by eight recent years of renewed and intensified attacks on those rights, many see the recent election results as a turning of the tide in the fight for Second Amendment rights.
While this fight is certainly not new, anti-gun (and anti-Constitution, apparently) zealots seem to have gained steam in recent years – at least in their own minds and among their echo-chamber groups – taking the role of the squeaky wheel that bends sympathetic leftist politicians’ ears. The growth of social media during the previous president’s term led to a handful of cranky anti-gunners (and their bot-net armies) working themselves into a fervor and making complete fools out of themselves.
Given recent changes, it is time to go from being on the defense and take up an offensive position to fight back and regain Second Amendment rights that we have lost over the years at local, state, and federal levels. Continue reading