The fastest growing demographics in gun ownership are young, urban, and female, a fact that is having a substantial effect on firearm manufacturers, retailers, and ranges alike.
Ask a woman what she has in her purse, and you’ll get a mixed bag of answers.
A growing number of women will tell you they are packing heat.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation says there’s been a 77 percent increase in female gun ownership since 2005. More women are also taking an interest in concealed carry classes.
Frontier Justice in Lee’s Summit opened last February and has a number of classes for just women.
KCTV5 News sat in on one of these classes. Front and center was Jamie Gleim of Raymore and her mother, Leesa Dawson, taking the course together.
Gleim says she signed up for protection. Her husband is in the military and she wants to feel safe when she’s home alone with their 3- and 5-year-old daughters.
“My husband travels a lot,” says Gleim. “I’m home alone a lot with a Yorkie and she wouldn’t hurt anybody. So, I wanted to feel safe.”
She admits she was slow to warm up to the idea. She decided to take the class after her husband wanted to keep his 9mm Glock in the home. Her mother says it was more of a natural fit.
“We hunt. We fish. We ride motorcycles. So this is my bucket list as far as defense,” Dawson said.
Bren Brown, owner of Frontier Justice, says at least half of her business is women, mostly ages 18-34. The shooting range and gun store opened one year ago with their sights on this growing demographic.
While it appears that most women are first buying a handgun for self-defense, an impressive number of them are branching out into hunting and rifle target shooting as well. As a result, we’re seeing a lot of guns, gear, and associated clothing being created to cater to this growth market. We’re also seeing an increasing number of highly-skilled female instructors teaching both dedicated “ladies only” and co-ed classes.
It’s frankly surprising that shooting has been male-dominated for as long as it has been, considering how well women perform with a wide variety of different firearms across a wide range of interests.