Olympic gold medalist Amber English (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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March is Women’s History Month and there’s no better opportunity to celebrate the contributions American women make to the firearm and ammunition industry – past, present and future.

From the early days of Annie Oakley shooting the ashes off cigarettes in the mouths of wild west show volunteers and Calamity Jane gunslinging and scouting on the early frontier through the decades to today’s world-renowned women competitive shooters for Team USA, women have held an integral and rightful place in the industry supporting Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

What’s more is that women are leading the charge in growing and diversifying the gun-owning community in America by the millions.

The Past

The firearm folk heroines must include Annie Oakley. Born in 1860, Annie shot her first squirrel outside her family’s cabin in rural Ohio at 8 years old. Her skill and creativity shooting firearms from that day forward propelled Annie to worldwide fame as well as American folklore.  Martha “Calamity” Jane Canary was a famous gunslinger, sharpshooter and promoter during the late 1800s and appeared alongside William “Buffalo Bill” Cody during his traveling Wild West Shows.

Calamity Jane
Calamity Jane (Shutterstock)

Even before those women achieved renown, women were instrumental in the firearm industry and gunsmithing that helped propel a young America to victory and independence more than a century before. Among the earliest gun manufacturers, women often helped their husbands operate successful gunsmithing businesses, producing firearms for militia units and private sales dating back to the 1650s and 1700s.

The Nicholsons were a well-known gunsmithing family in Philadelphia in the early 1800. When John Nicholson passed away, his widow Rebecca took over and grew the family gun manufacturing business. It was somewhat uncommon, but women were noted trailblazers in the firearm industry centuries ago.

The Present

A flourishing firearm industry requires leadership within as well as among those charged with protecting and upholding the Second Amendment, providing for the exercise of the right to keep and bear arms.

Women leaders continue to prove their mettle in the firearm industry today. Laurie Aronson is the Chairman and CEO of Lispey’s LLC, a firearm and sporting goods distributor. She’s also on NSSF’s Board of Governors. JoAnn Weisenford, is President of RSR Group, another firearm and sporting goods distributor.

Joyce Rubino is the Vice President of Marketing at Colt’s Manufacturing Company and previously served on NSSF’s Board of Governors. Kelly Residorf is the Chief Communications Officer and General Manager, Venor, responsible for all facets of external communications at Vista Outdoor. Kirstie Pike is the Founder and CEO of Prios Hunting Apparel for Women.

These are just a few of the women leading the firearm industry and hunting market into the 21st Century.

In Congress, numerous women are stalwarts when it comes to standing up for the Second Amendment, including U.S. Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and U.S. Reps. Stephanie Bice (R-Okla), Kat Cammack (R-Fla.), Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa), Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.), Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Nancy Mace (R-S.C.). They have been spotlighted by the firearm industry but there are many more. Plus, those numbers are very likely to grow after the Congressional midterm elections with numerous strong Second Amendment-supporting women running for office.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem Shotgun
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (courtesy Twitter)

Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey recently signed constitutional carry into law in her state and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds have unquestionable Second Amendment credentials and the political track record to prove it.

Some of the greatest ambassadors for a thriving firearm industry include award-winning competitive shooters and Second Amendment advocates are women too. Team USA Shooting captured six medals during the recent 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, including medal winners Amber English (gold), Mary Tucker (silver) and Maddy Bernau (bronze). Olympian Kim Rohde is a six-time medalist, and the first Olympian in any sport to medal in six straight Olympic Games.

Kim Rhode
Kim Rhode

Lanny and Tracy Barnes are Olympic biathletes. Tracy once gave up her spot on the Olympics so Lanny could compete. Lanny, a three-time Olympian, is also a 3-gun competitor. Gabby Franco shot for Venezuela in the Olympics before immigrating to the United States where she continues to shoot competitively.

Julie Golob is a U.S. Army veteran and competitive shooter, hunter and advocate for NSSF’s Project ChildSafe. Her YouTube channel boasts more than 40,000 subscribers and is full of videos promoting women in the shooting sports. Kay and Lena Miculek are fierce marksmanship competitors. They’re regularly seen on the range with the likes of Di Muller, Becky Yackley, Maggie Reese Voigt and Jessie Harrison.

Dianna Muller
The DC Project Founder Dianna Muller speaks at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on “assault weapons” on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Today there are numerous Second Amendment advocacy groups focused solely on women firearm ownership, training and education, helping to cultivate current and future generations to keep women gun owners thriving and growing.

The Future

The bedrock foundation of firearm ownership among women is concrete and the future is bright for it to continue to be so. Perhaps the most important reason for this is the sheer number of women joining the ranks of gun owners.

Black Women Guns michelle tigner
Marchelle Tigner, a firearms instructor, goes over a firearms safety tips during a class in Lawrenceville, Ga. Tigner’s goal is to train 1 million women how to shoot a gun in her lifetime. She is among the nation’s black women gun owners who say they are picking up firearms for self-protection. (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

For comparison, in 2003, only 13 percent of women identified as gun owners. Fast forward to 2020 and that number totals nearly 25 percent. What’s more is the figure is definitely even higher today, as women have accounted for 40 percent of firearm sales over the past two years as law-abiding Americans have purchased guns in record numbers – totaling nearly 40 million. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 25 percent of those female gun owners say self-protection is their main reason for owning a gun, and 70 percent say owning a gun is essential for their personal freedom.

black women guns gun
(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Demonstrating the growing diversity among gun owners has been the membership growth at the National African American Gun Association (NAAGA). A report from Essence magazine showed that African-American women are one of the fastest-growing gun-owning groups in the United States, significantly adding to their numbers through 2020 and 2021, noting African-American women comprise the largest share of the 40,000 members of the NAAGA.

women gun range first time new shooter
Dan Z. for TTAG

Ladies’ Night training and practice courses at local shooting ranges are jampacked. Hunting excursions are looking different as more women head afield and into the woods. And the face of the American gun owner is quickly changing and in large part it’s due to women taking up their Second Amendment rights.

The future of the firearm industry is bright.

Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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31 COMMENTS

      • You have a whole gang of us living in your head, nameless, faceless and d#ckless troll.

        If it wasn’t for lamp, geoff and many others you’d have no human interaction.

        How sad is that.

        • About as sad as the first commenter, on an story full of comment potential,

          can only think of…

          one person..

          >>>>dacian<<<<

          So tell us about sad jwm.

        • Weak sauce, brah. All those years of being ignored in school. No life then or now and that’s the best you have? You’ve never made a valid comment under any of your names.

          Desperate and sad.

        • Ah, projection…you project as well as the best Leftist.

          Didn’t know you were ignored in school. Explains why you are the most prolific (yet devoid of substance) poster here.

          But tell us who is your contact at TTAG ?

        • Aw. Peegee. That old schoolyard ‘I’m rubber and you’re glue’ thing doesn’t work in adult world.

  1. Now when we say “woman” we are also including trans-men. The democrat party, our dear heavenly father, has embraced not hurting the feelings of these poor people, the LBGBTQAAIP#23ZWH¿N!N92¶4Ѡ♪, et al. need our support, because they are having a hard time in life, and are depressed. All they need to quell that depression is for you to acknowledge their identity. It doesn’t matter what you think their identity is, real or imaginary, you need to acknowledge it. And if you don’t acknowledge it, we are going to “vote” and force you to acknowledge it, or be punished, severely.

    And if any of you dare ask “what is a woman?” as has been proven at the golden globes, words are violence, and I can legally slap you and you can do nothing about it.

    #BanGuns #SupportTrans

    • All those ‘trans’ guys driving women out of women’s sports will open a few eyes in the female community. They’ll rethink their support of the dems.

      • Happened in the Olympics back in the 60s-80s. Those east European “woman” shotputters were well known. And the East German women’s swimming team were a tribute to their nation’s pharmaceutical industry. Shame about the athletes and the long term health effects. National honor and glory at the expense of the athletes.

    • dacian, the Dunderhead, Who says we include “tans-men”? We do not accept the nonsense of this trans propaganda. A Man is a Man and a woman is a woman with bodies God gave us.

  2. The only downside to any of this is that it has focused ammo and firearms production in pistols to 380 and 9mm and made other options a bit slower to recover/become available. Ah well few more months for 10mm.

  3. THANKS THAT A VERY INFOR ARTICLE .
    THAT’S WHAT OUR CONSTITUTION IS AND STANDS FOR .
    PROTECT IT ALL OF IT .
    GOD BLESS AMERICA AND OUR BELOVED CONSTITUTION .

    • Hopefully it will continue. Please take your caps lock off when you comment on an American blog. Americans hear that as yelling.

  4. Lol
    Best of luck trying to convince certain judges that there actually are people that get refered to as women.

  5. Very nice article…Hopefully the days will soon be all over for sleazy Gun Control zealots like rosie o’donnell who instructed women viewers to find hubby’s guns and get rid of them. And for security advice she told women just to watch themselves going in and out of home, work and vehicles to discourage a potential attacker…which of course says the perp will shop somewhere else meaning he’ll wind up at the home or workplace of an, “expendable woman.” All while the hypocrite democRat rosie had armed security.

    How acquaintances feel about firearms and self defense generally reveals a whole lot about them and often it’s disappointing.

  6. 70 years ago, Mom carried a .38. All 5 of my sisters carried a pistol. My wife carries. My daughter, stepdaughter, foster daughters and adopted daughters carry a pistol. My son’s girlfriend, my stepson’s wife, and foster son’ and adopted son’s wives or girlfriends either have a sidearm or have expressed interest in learning how to use a pistol.
    Dad had his 1911. All but 2 of my brothers-in-law carried or still carry a side arm. The 2 who didn’t had felony convictions and couldn’t. Didn’t stay married long either. I have carried a sidearm for many years. My boys all have weapons. I encourage anyone who can legally do so to buy, learn to use and get some good training with a handgun.
    A woman at a buck 20 and lacking the strength of a large man needs some means of defense. Whistles, martial arts, alarms, pepper spray, stun guns, etc. are not as effective as a handgun for personal defense. In many cases, no shot needs be fired. Just the sight of a gun, and the threat of being perforated is enough to convince a would be attacker to vacate the area. And, if the fool is determined to continue his attack, a well placed bullet will stop even the most drug addled idiot. Just understand if harm is imminent, don’t threaten, wave the gun around, or fire warning shots. Shoot center mass and shoot to stop the threat. And understand if anyone chooses to carry a weapon, you may need to actually use it and possibly end another person’s life. If you feel you can’t do so, best to use other means, or not carry a weapon.

  7. If I were “Queen of Earth” for a day, and some minion told me it was time to celebrate womyn’s herstory month, I would order the planet nuked from orbit.

    Then I would don my fuzzy slippers & drink 3 bottles of Pinot Grigio. In my diamond-encrusted Royal Space Station.

  8. Great. More purse-size micro-9s on the market. Large bore revolvers? Nope. Sorry. We need to serve the “new market.”

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