Women now represent 25% of all gun owners in America with a total of 25 million women reported personally owning a gun according to the National Firearms Survey. And their numbers are growing as females accounted for 3.5 million out of the 7.5 million people who reported being new gun owners between 2019–2021.
Women who purchased guns are strikingly similarly to their male counterparts in that they are primarily white, suburban or rural and protection is the number one reason for purchase. The National Firearms Survey notes the primarily distinctions are that female gun owners are more likely to buy only a handgun and own fewer guns overall.
There is a lot we don’t know about female guns owners including whether they are single and live alone or previously served in the military or law enforcement or as likely to fully embrace the American gun culture including conceal carry and attending gun shows as their male counterparts. We do know from a Pew Research survey that women tend to buy their first gun at a later age than men; 27 years versus 19 for men.
Another thing that we know from Pew Research is that women are less likely to engage in shooting practice or go to a firing range than men with 57% rarely or never engaging versus 42% of men. In general women are more isolated than men on the topic of guns with research showing they far less are likely to visit firearm websites or watch videos on guns or have as broad a network of gun owning friends.
All this points to the need for more education and training for women who own guns and in some cases new approaches. Some women might be intimidated going to a firing range or being in a training class with almost all men. This suggests more female only firearm training classes or specific hours at firing ranges just for women perhaps with female only discussion session on guns. Not surprisingly we at Smart Firearms believe our non-live training guns are an ideal solution for women who want to complement their live firearm training or learn more about a handgun in the privacy of their home. Now with our target platform solutions and visible and infrared red laser guns we can provide a safe at home solution to improve shooting accuracy and ensure safer overall operation.
The surge in women buying handguns represents a significant new opportunity for all of us in the gun industry and especially firearm instructors, owners of firing ranges and manufacturers of non-active training guns. But its an opportunity that can only be capitalized on if we recognize the different needs, habits and motivations of this very important and growing audience
Michael Farrell Founder and CEO Smart Firearms Mike@smartfirearms.us