Women in the Gun Industry

Over on her blog, Western Shooting Journal editor Shelley Rae has a terrific post about women in the gun industry. Although I think Shelley is spot on with her post, I think she’s being a bit nicer about it than I would be.

As someone who’s been involved with other male-dominated pursuits, I know well the “oh, gee gosh, a lady ___” phenomenon Shelley speaks of. When women are brand new to any arena, a certain amount of gawking is par for the course. The first female military pilots were the subject of plenty of attention (and not all of it welcome, either.)

The problem is that female gun owners are hardly a rare breed in this day and age. When a recent Gallup poll reports that 23% of women surveyed say they personally own a gun, it’s time for the “aww, isn’t that cute” contingent to get over itself. When folks like Julie Golob and Randi Rogers and the talented Women of USPSA and dozens of others are out there kicking butt and taking names, enough is enough.

That’s not to say all men have this attitude toward women, of course. Some of my best friends and shooting buddies are male. The Match Director of my local IDPA club told me pointedly that women are unequivocally welcome and that anyone who has a problem with that has a problem with him. I’ve never experienced firsthand some of the chauvinistic attitudes I’ve heard other woman describe from gun shop employees. (Helpful tip, though: I can shoot a Glock, a 1911, and the full-sized M&P just fine, so if your store tries to convince me I should buy a .22 because it’s “a woman’s gun”, you’ll have lost a customer.)

That said, I agree wholeheartedly with Shelley’s final statement: “This is our time to shine and it is on us to set our own expectations, to demand that we be taken seriously and to act in a way that supports how we wish to be treated.”

Amen, sister!

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