In the past, it has been more common for men to own firearms than women. But, as we entered the 21st century, women became proponents of firearms, participating and excelling in shooting sports.
From 2006 to 2015, shooting sports saw a large increase in the percentage of women participators. Specifically speaking:
- 70% increase in bowhunting
- 56% increase in target shooting
- 75% increase in women shooting pistols
2015 saw women representing more than a quarter of all American handgun users and a fifth of shotgun and rifle shooters. Even more traditional shooting like muzzleloading found a 49% increase in females participating. The only shooting sports that found any decrease (both less than 2% decrease) was hunting with firearms and paintball participation.
This increase and participation has become more evident world-wide as women are showcasing their skills by capturing championships and titles as not just part of a team, but as leaders in the sport. During the 2016 Summer Olympics, several women took home titles including Ginny Thraser with the gold in the 10-meter air rifle competition, Kim Rhode with a bronze in the skeet competition and Gorey Cogdell with the bronze in the women’s trap.
The rise of women in shooting sports has inspired countless younger women to learn, train, and excel in their own competitions, some of which have their own rifle team composed of all women like Texas Christian University’s team.
Competition isn’t the only place women are excelling. They also have taken to hunting, especially bowhunting. Women are hosting and co-hosting hunting shows, like Eva Shockey who co-hosts “Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures” with her dad, Tiffany Lakosky who co-hosts “Crush with Lee and Tiffany.” Catch the two aforementioned shows on the Outdoor Channel. These are just two of several women-led hunting shows you can find.
Women have also tapped into the outdoor clothing market. Previously, women generally had to wear mens’ and boys’ outdoor clothing, but best friends Jen and Norissa started their Girls with Guns Clothing company to change it. Kirstie Pike also founded Prois Hunting Apparel to provide high-performance hunting gear for women. They’re even forming their own hunting program non-profits in an effort to teach women outdoors skills.
Shooting sports, hunting and general firearm ownership is no a longer a boys-only club. In recent years, women have shown an increased interest and it doesn’t seem to be waning anytime soon.
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