[Editor's note: Sabrina "Gun Girl Bree" MacHaffie is joining Bearing Arms as a contributing author, providing us with the point of view of a highly-competitive competition shooter who adores all things Tiffany Blue. This is her first article.]
In the not so distant past there was rarely a female on the range, much less one that sported feminine clothes, colored firearms and accessories and gear designed for the female figure. However, the era of the “cigar and brandy” boy’s club gun ranges is fading into memory.
Ladies and female junior shooters are being drawn to sport shooting in increasingly larger numbers and I personally couldn’t be happier. I encourage women daily to get behind the trigger with the guys on the range. It doesn’t matter your skill level, background, or motivation for shooting. Whether you’re learning to defend yourself and your family, or your sights are set on competition matches, now is the time to listen to the call from the range. Ladies are being welcomed into the community with open arms by most men, and of course seasoned female shooters, who are more than willing to help new female shooters gain valuable knowledge, support, and recognition. As my first experience can attest, the right group of shooters makes all the difference. Although there was plenty of friendly banter going on behind me as they all waited for my inevitable “chick moment,” the guys were more than encouraging while constructively correcting anything I did improperly.
The surge of capable female enthusiasts has not gone unnoticed by the industry.
Most firearms manufacturers, tactical clothing companies, and aftermarket accessory makers are putting in a genuine effort to cater to the unique needs of the booming female contingent. Whether you are a pink, purple, or green lady the ability to add a refreshing pop of color to the range is almost limitless. Custom re-finishing offers a kaleidoscope of color options to provide personalized style to otherwise “blah” production firearms and helps brighten your overall shooting experience. Today, there really is something for every woman out there, and that has an appeal most women can’t ignore. Although it’s not just the multitude of “pretty gear” that has women standing on line at ranges across the country; it’s finally seeing how companies are listening to what women want and need out of firearms and other related items. It’s a big draw for us to know large companies are actually keeping female shooters in mind when they design and market new products.
The encouragement also comes in seeing accomplished and competent female shooters holding their own against the guys in competition, all the while doing it with flair.
Although the various marketing techniques aimed at enticing women to join the guys on the range are absolutely helping, the truth is more women are finding their way there through the men in their lives or friends that share the interest in firearms. Rarely do I hear from a fellow female shooter on the range that she became interested in the shooting industry of her own accord, but to me it makes no difference how you end up there. So long as you practice safe gun handling, learn proper fundamentals, and have fun doing it then it’s an all around win.
New female shooters certainly aren’t alone. To encourage more women to get involved with the shooting industry there are tons of women’s shooting groups growing the sisterhood both on and off the range and doing an outstanding job establishing solid basic shooting principles. Groups like A Girl & A Gun, Well Armed Woman, and Aphrodite Shooters Club help bring ladies together while breaking the tension on the range. As a female shooter surrounded by men on the range there can be nothing that’s more intimidating, nerve wracking, or off putting than feeling out of your element or outnumbered. These groups show women there are many others just like them, with similar backgrounds and various skill levels that they can learn from or grow along with, and just as important, women they can share their frustrations with. The ultimate goal of course is to help ensure no female shooter is ever outgunned.
It doesn’t really matter why or how ladies are finding their way to the firing line the fact is they are coming in droves. Whether it is the camaraderie of fellow shooters, feminine firearms, girly accessories, or the allure of ranking higher than the guys… the women are seeing the draw of firepower. From learning fundamentals to being a competition shooter the ladies are making their mark at the range with no sign of slowing down in the immediate future. Young, female and urban shooters—often all three in the same person—are the fastest growing segment of the shooting sports.
Shoot straight, ladies.