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The firearms industry bends over backwards to encourage and support women shooters, and not just for financial gain. While men are more likely to own guns — and have a higher likelihood of being victims of violent crime — the industry operates under assumption that all law-abiding citizens have the right to protect themselves by force of arms. The more people who support gun rights, the better. The question is . . .

Is American firearms machismo putting women off?

Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with men among men doing manly things. I’m asking if America’s male-dominated gun culture is still sexist. Assuming, of course, that it was.

Have you seen any evidence of sexism on the range or at the gun store? If you’ve seen examples of “how about a nice pink gun for your lady friend” condescension (or worse), is it better, worse or the same as before?

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    • I one up you by say no two people are truly equal and to attempt to make any or all people equal is an exercise in futility. All we can do is to treat people fairly in a trust but verify way.

    • That’s not what sexism means, and men and women are equal in at least two ways: under the law and as creatures of God.

      • Amen!

        Though as a libertarian, I will amend the thought by adding that we are equally sovereign over ourselves, under God.

        On this planet, all sovereignty flows from individuals, equally.

        • If you do not have an outside judge of your law, then your law is meaningless. I judge Africans to be less than human. Therefore, I can kidnap, rape and murder them. My law says it’s OK.

      • If you think men are equal to women in the eyes of the law I would ask you to file a… rape claim, spousal abuse claim, domestic violence claim, get custody of your kids in a divorce, try to keep the stuff you worked for in a marriage, try to find state-funded housing in a crisis, the list goes on. Not to mention women get lighter sentences, and….

        As to gods, If you’re a Christian, not what the deity or his prophet say in any version of the Bible I’ve ever seen

    • Being equal in some ways (as in natural, civil and Constitutionally protected rights) does not mean being the same.

      A pound of feathers and a pound of steel are equal – they are NOT the same.

      I believe the issue with firearms is that the uses men are apt to put them to differ from the uses women are likely to encounter. Men tend to be more aggressive (and macho) and confrontational. They are willing to go to the fight and to risk themselves in the protection of others.

      Women, on the other hand, are (generally) more suited to defensive action and protecting hearth and home and children.

      So perhaps gun stores do cater more to the macho image of their male customers. IMO if they want female customers they need to market more to defense than offense. And perhaps less ostentatiously flashy and “Operator” to impress the guys.

      Wish I could be more concise, but I’m tired and time to sleep.

    • They aren’t. It’s called sexual dimorphism. Men can’t have babies, and women can’t be the best warriors.

      Sure, women can fight, and with a gun, they can defeat a bigger and stronger man, but when push comes to shove, and the line is being held; it will be well trained, and battle hardened men, carrying over one hundred lbs. of gear, days and weeks and months and years in the field; that will in the end, win the battles, and hold the ground. This will make it possible for the women back home, to raise the children in a safe and peaceful environment.

      That is, in the end, is the only purpose of a culture, to make a safe and peaceful environment for mothers to raise the children, hopefully with a father that survived the battle field. . Any culture that forgets this, as Robert Heinlein said so well, is doomed to become extinct.

      • Here’s the entire quote, from “The Notebooks of Lazarus Long”

        “All societies are based on rules to protect pregnant women and young children. All else is surplusage, excrescence, adornment, luxury or folly which can–and must–be dumped in emergency to preserve this prime function. As racial survival is the only universal morality, no other basic is possible. Attempts to formulate a “perfect society” on any foundation other than “women and children first!” is not only witless, it is automatically genocidal. Nevertheless, starry-eyed idealists (all of them male) have tried endlessly–and no doubt will keep on trying.” – Robert A. Heinlein

  1. Is shooting too much oh really come on guys and girls. This country has neutered it’s males. With all this metrosexual liberal nonsense. Can you say political correctness. Give me a big MF break please people. We don’t want men to be men anymore we want them to be stay-at-home moms politically correct forgive us if we sound Macho but being a man is just as important as being a woman work equal men are Macho women our lady’s. I can’t believe we’re having this discussion on this website.

    • To further the idea that men are the only group left that are open game when it come to being belittled, I offer the commercials you see these days. Men are consistently portrayed as being stupid or clumsy. And it’s the women who are usually the ones to come up with the “solution.”

      • Not just commercials; that’s been the staple plot of every primetime sitcom for years, perhaps decades. The “men are goofy idiots and it takes a woman to save him from himself” mantra has been omnipresent for many years.

        I think “Last Man Standing” is perhaps the only modern example of a confident, intelligent, successful, opinionated “manly man” on a TV sitcom.

      • Yes, one of the most annoying examples for me is print advertisements for anti-snoring treatments that always show some frowning wife in bed next to her snoring husband. What…women don’t snore, too ?

    • I like how you ranted about neutering and PC, but didn’t address the article. Third comment. That didn’t take long.

  2. NO…and so what if it is? Last time I went to the gunshop AND range women were buying AND shooting…

  3. Every woman I know who has shot a gun has still gravitated towards pink, purple, and pearl handled guns in the gun store.

    • “There is no rule that says you can’t have agood-looking gun”, often said at my gun counter.
      I like pearl grips. And rosewood. And I’m carving a set of elk antler inserts for my SP101 this weekend. Why? Vanity, of course. I make no bones about it. And if showing a lady customer a gun that matches her personal tastes (while still being a good choice first) can persuade her to actually carry it rather than leave it at home then I’m all for it. As I told a lady just yesterday, “this gun is intended to be your daily companion: first we find the one that does what you need it to do. Then we find one that fits you. Finally we’ll find the one that makes you smile.”
      As for her husband? “You, sir, just stand there and keep the credit card warm for her!”

      • I don’t care what color or pattern a person wants to have on their gun. If it gets one (or more) in their hands and they go out and learn to safely shoot, I AM ALL FOR IT.

    • “They’re ivory. Only a pimp from a cheap New Orleans whorehouse would carry a pearl-handled pistol.” – George S. Patton

  4. The term you’re looking for is douche. Douchebags are all over the place and ruin the fun for everyone. Douchebags are at the range, they’re your FFL, they’re on the ski slopes, they’re on the road, they’re teaching classes, they’re everywhere.

    In my experience men are more likely to be douchebags and women are more likely to be upset by their encounter with douchebags.

    While “macho” is an expression of douchebaggery douchebaggery is not necessarily “macho.”

    That guy crying about the PTSD after firing an AR is a douche yet decidedly not macho. Many mocking him were acting as douches rooted in macho bullshit.

    TL;DR Everyone is an asshole.

  5. Yes, shooting is waaaay too macho — for metrosexual males cowering in their safe spaces between trips to Banana Republic.

    But women with pink guns aren’t shooting bullets made from bunny fur. They can handle firearms just fine, and they’re not intimidated by the fact that women can do it, but men own it.

    • I also remember that she could light a match at a hundred yards with a muzzle-loading Kentucky long rifle.

  6. My wife is as feminine as they come, but absolutely insisted her first gun was not pink, purple, or Tiffany blue, said she wanted it to be functional first, then look good. She chose a two-tone Ruger sr9c, and she shoots better than I do. Best part, at the gun shop the salesman never tried to talk her into a revolver, a mouse gun, or some other stereotypical “girl” gun. Now she wants her own ar, but this time it may have some pink, because she likes pink, and “who gives a shit about what color your gun is when you can hit the 8″ plate at 200 yards all day long” – her words. Yup, I got a good one!

    • “You had me at Ruger…”
      Show her the wood furniture for her AR from Boyd’s gun stocks. No reason she can’t spruce up her new toy without detracting from it’s functionality.

    • Yeah, when I bought my ex her first gun, I asked her if she wanted one in pink (her favorite color).

      Her answer was an emphatic “no!” She said, “if I have to draw my gun on a bad guy, I don’t want him to say “oh, pretty.” I want him to say “oh, sh!t.”

  7. I think shooting is a life skill needed by the whole family. I grew up where there was a shotgun behind the front door; that was open more than closed. A very polite, respectful society. My wife was first to bring up the color of a gun. It never occured to me. She settled for some pink Hogue units for her 38 special; and has her eye on a total color 9mm. Blue I think.

  8. Robert, you’ve made the assumption that only men read your blog.

    Yes, I’ve seen it…,however the gun range I use wants to be “family friendly”, not a men’s only club. Gun shops soon realize that I’m not interested in pink or raspberry .22 caliber. I make it pretty clear.

    • Our last reader survey put the percentage of women readers in single digits. Low single digits. Selection bias, but still . . .

      We welcome our female readers and have at least two writing for us on a regular basis.

      • Is Kirsten Joy Weiss no longer interested in writing for TTAG?

        …Or did we sexist pigs run her off?

      • Gun companies and associated down stream businesses market to males, because a larger percentage of males buy guns. You can market to one gender without being a douche(hats off to shire man) to the others. Just like race/ethnicity or religion. Just because Jews and Muslims don’t eat pigs doesn’t mean that Oscar Meyer needs to degrade their beliefs.

    • My LGS and range is being family friendly by NOT marketing to operators who operate operationally.

  9. I see women everywhere. At the gun store, at the range, in my concealed carry training class. They are the minority, but I have never seen a man belittle them or treat them poorly in those environments.

    Any man who shoots probably knows at least a few women who can outshoot him. And there’s nothing so sexy as a woman who can shoot and look good doing it.

  10. Yeah, but not from the guys at the range. Time before last that I went shooting a guy and his wife or girlfriend took a lane next to me, and I heard him say “you don’t want to start at seven yards, start at three or four.” She said “no.” She set up a target with five 10 ring size targets, sent it out to seven yards, first round was in the grey just high right of the X ring, the next four drilled each of the remaining bulls dead center. Absolutely a plus shooting. He didn’t say anything else while I was still there.

  11. Not many pajama boys or metrosexuals (whatever that actually means) out here in rural Wyoming. Men are men, and women are women and I don’t see many folks trying to change that. On the other hand, one of the toughest “cowboys” I’ve met here is a 75 year old widow. She runs her little ranch pretty much on her own, and she carries all the time. Trust me, she has no use for a “pink gun”… any more than I do. But neither one of us cares what anyone else carries, or if they don’t.

    This whole “gender” thing is so retarded…. 🙁 Be who you are, and leave everyone else alone to do the same. That’s my take on it.

    • Well said. I keep to myself, my family and the small circle of friends I have. Everyone else is just that, everyone else.
      Shoot, don’t shoot. Carry, don’t carry. Makes no difference to me.

  12. Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with men among men doing manly things. I’m asking if America’s male-dominated gun culture is still sexist.

    That was the question. Not “Has America become a land of sissies?” (The answer is yes.) Not “Should we emasculate ourselves to give women and beta males a safe space?” (Uh, no. RF specifically addressed that in the quoted passage.)

    Every endeavor dominated by a single group is chauvinist in favor of that group. Do stay-at-home moms shun dads on the playground? Yes. Do a lot of shooters put on macho airs? Hell yes — and not just to the ladies. I, for one, tire of those gun shop pissing matches where a man insists on a patently wrong “fact” and refuses to back down. Since there’s a lot of crossover from warfighters and LEOs into recreational shooting, you’re gonna get a lot of testosterone.

    None of that excuses boorish behavior. A gentleman doesn’t condescend to a lady, and women shooters don’t want your pity or handholding. If you believe in American virtue, let everyone stand on his or her ability to learn and improve.

  13. No examples from range or store, but reading the comments on The SAINT video series by Springfield Armory at a hugely popular blog, there is still a lot of sexism around. You know, given the attacks on firearms rights, many would think that men should be welcoming to female shooters, voters. But many still aren’t.

  14. The second amendment will be safe as long as men are in the majority to defend it. Women are not killers. You can read “Red Sonja” by Robert Howard and fantasize about a tough woman. The reality is women will kill to defend when they are cornered. A man will go looking to kill when the time comes. A woman is a terrible warrior. But they are great defenders of the home.
    A woman can be an excellent instructor. Historically there have been many great women who instructed men in sword fighting. It was a woman drill sergeant who instructed me in rifle marksmanship when I was in the army. She was outstanding leader. But as for modern firearms the world should be male dominated and I hope it stays that way for the sake of our liberty.

    • Don’t take this the asshole way, but as a serious Howard fan I’m gonna have to educate you on the “Red Sonja” bit. Red Sonja with a j is an invention of Marvel Comics. Robert E. Howard’s character was named Red Sonya of Rogatino, and is the secondary protagonist of quite possibly his best piece of historical fiction, “The Shadow of the Vulture.” It’s a story of the 1529 Siege of Vienna by Sulieman the Magnificent. Fantastic stuff. You can read it for free at Wikisource:

  15. For a different perspective on it:

    I went shooting with the Pink Pistols one time that this liberal politician showed up with his daughter (it was one of their “invite a politician” days) to try shooting. She’d never touched a gun before, but she was a natural; the safety rules she saw as obvious, and never had to be corrected on them. She started with my little Ruger Bearcat and progressed up through several rifles to finally try someone’s toy with three-round bursts.

    As she was knocking down targets in a steady rhythm with one of the rifles, one of the gay guys watching her commented, “I could marry a gal like that!” Sure, it was likely the poise and control and precision and all, but it makes a guy think, doesn’t it?

    • one of the gay guys watching her commented, “I could marry a gal like that!”

      I can only imagine what the gay gals were thinking. And no, that wasn’t an insult.

  16. Because women “need” to be encouraged and cultured into doing this . . . guys who have never shot before will go out into the woods (or the range) by themselves and in the words of chairman Mao “learn by doing”.

    Some guys don’t even need to buy their guns – they will make them (legal or illegal). Seriously, when was the last time you saw a picture of a garage gun and a female was holding said object?

    Biological differences in brain development favors guys for this kind of thing and it is not even hard or macho. It’s got mechanical stuff going on, its loud, and it can kill someone on the other end: this is right up Y-chrome alley. Males are less risk averse and generally try new stuff more readily – especially if they can get hurt doing it or it hurts someone (or something else).

    Yes, there are women who shoot but in those instances usually family members got them into it. Sometimes women who were victims (or were almost victims) gun up but it is not often. Even less frequent is the female who does it on her own without an immediate threat. Even less frequent to the point of rare is the one unicorn chick who built a slam fired shotgun in her garage after being grounded for spring break her senior year of high school.

    As living proof I submit to you “Royal Nonesuch” on youtube and Val Serbu, Mark Serbu’s daughter. She is not that into guns and is just now getting into it. RN is so into guns it is scary-awesome. Cuz you know somewhere in America there is a chick who just thought to herself, “I am going to make explosive arrowheads today.”

  17. We live in Albuquerque, where female shooters are fairly common. Since the subject of the treatment of females at gun stores arises at times, I usually do a quick count when we go to a local indoor range. Usually about 25-30 percent female, with a range of ten percent to fifty percent. (Exception when a tour group of college women from Australia came through. )

    On the other hand, for the FFL operated by my wife and me, the vast majority of our NICS checks are for males.

    I asked my wife if she’s ever run into any sort of sexism. She said once, about six years ago when she was new to shooting. She was looking for her first handgun, and visited a number of gun stores. Only had sexist treatment at one–probably the oldest gun shop in the city. The salesman kept directing her to petite revolvers. She described her desire and need for basically a service pistol for home defense, but he kept trying to get her to consider a small revolver for her purse. Besides, said he, ladies like small guns because they are easier to shoot and don’t kick as much.

    She ended up buying an XD-9 — elsewhere.

  18. Many of the staff at the two ranges in the area I live are women. Probably to assure that the ranges are friendly to female customers. There are plenty of women and couples at these ranges. There is a problem with the gun industry though. Very poor literature comes with the gun. We should not have to surf through YouTube to get decent instructions about how to break down or clean a new gun. The manufacturers must think that all their customers are former military but we are not. I suspect this makes choosing and owning a gun harder for a woman than for a man. All of this notwithstanding, my first CCW class was taught by a woman and there were plenty of women in both classes I attended (different states in case you are wondering.)

  19. If the girl wants a pink gun, purple gun, or red gun….why is that sexist. If You’ve noticed, women and men do tend to have different tastes in things.

    My wife wanted her SW 357 magnum done up in antique bronze and look like something outta steampunk…

    …so be it.

    • Which is what I kinda did with the Rossi 357 I bought cheap and she took with her….. which she gave to Jody, and afterwards sent me a link to the big deal on FB he made about getting rid of it (along with my Arsenal SLR-95) a buy-back.

      Anyways. I thought it turned out cool. Too bad I don’t have pictures of it anymore.

  20. My wife has a predilection for bright pink & purple colours for nearly everything she owns (even though we share inventories); yet her full-size snub .38 is a sinister beast. She wanted one that looked like a cannon and could serve as an impact weapon without flying apart… as long as it was black. Incidentally, the speed at which she can make it appear is vaguely unsettling.

    When we went to the LGS/pawn shop to buy her first pistol, I didn’t even approach the counter; I browsed the discount bin until she filled out her paperwork. But I was listening. She really didn’t say so, but the owner knew better than to suggest anything other than a mean black six-shooter. He’s kind of standoffish, borderline dickish, but he has a lot of repeat women customers who come in without their men. He doesn’t treat them differently, he’s just grumpy with everyone equally…. and does brisk business in once-worn wedding rings.

  21. Robert, missed your last survey, IIRC. Yes, I do know about the two women that write here.

    I remember the worst treatment was at one national chain, when looking for my first gun. I was ignored. One young man behind the counter, and he couldn’t look up from paperwork to say someone would be with me in a minute. Or find someone, who I happened to know was in the back. Sure, paperwork must be done, but I had the feeling he thought I would need my husband to approve my purchase.

    Found a Mom and Pop store. Walked out with my first gun. Brought Hubby back the next day, He immediately zoned in on a revolver, and bought it. We’ve never bought a gun at that National chain. Sometimes ammo and cleaning supplies.

  22. No pink handguns for me. There are weapons I own that that have a pink grip cover on some of them, only to indicate I don’t want men folks messing with the them! I brought a pink camouflage 20,gage shot gun. Husband has standard 12 gauge shot gun in case he needs to grab it in emergency need.
    Of course men and women are different but I don’t think one gender is better than the other, just different skill set. Even at that some skills can be done by either, equally.
    And, yes, most guys are more welcoming of women shooters. It’s gone from eye roll, dang its a chick, to respect, from younger generations or older guys who were raised to respect women. Twenty years ago I had to endure an awful attitude from some of the guys but really wanted to improve my shooting skill so just ignored rudeness.
    And, yes I’m a better shot than a lot of men but only because I shoot more. My husband had not been to a range in years. I usually go at least once a month, sometimes twice a month. Minimum of 100 to 150 rounds each session. I will tell a gal, let’s go to the range. I have a number of of pistols and revolvers in 22lr and 9 calibers. Always start with fun 22’s and maybe work up to whatever caliber is most accurate. Personally I shot 22lr and 9 caliber best and am very accurate with both.
    DNA mostly dictates the differences, that and way were raised. I’m not a candy a** woman and can stand up if needed but other wise, typicality feminine woman with a preference for pink or red colors.

  23. I’m sure that there are more than a couple of women who will complain that shooting is “too macho.” Hell, there’s women who are complaining that mathematics, science and engineering are all “too masculine” today, and in these pursuits, we’re mostly talking about thinking really intensely, then writing symbols and diagrams on a piece of paper.

    Back in the day when I was doing convolution integrals, I had no idea I was burning up so much testosterone. It took today’s women to bring that detail to my attention.

    Then again, there are more than a few women who complain that there are such beings as men who exist at all. Such complaints are the basis for an entire political movement and epistemology: modern feminism.

    Of course, these complaints come to a sudden stop when women have dire need of strength, boldness and aggression – eg, they need a tire changed on the side of a highway in the middle of the night, or someone to come out to their house in the middle of the night because someone is trying to break in. Then, hey, it’s OK that there are some men who are macho.

    If women think that shooting sports are “too macho,” it’s supposedly a free country, and they’re free to set up their own female-only sports, shooting leagues, gun ranges, ammo producers, gun companies, etc. But I’ll NB that it’s quite likely that they’re able to do so in the future because we didn’t elect the first female candidate for POTUS.

  24. “macho” is a Spanish word that refers to an essential element of maleness that is difficult to describe but is obvious to most women and men. Idris Elba would be described as “macho”, most male movie stars of the 50’s and 60’s would have the quality. Richard Simmons would not, nor would Justin Bieber.

    • Macho:
      Sheriff David Clarke
      Kurt Schilling
      Tim Kennedy
      Donald Trump

      Not macho:
      Lindsey Graham
      Marco Rubio
      Jake Tapper
      Barack Obama

  25. Video said “They hope to open 10 new gun ranges in the future.”

    Jesus, that is awesome. In Maryland we have like 3 gun ranges and they are all a pain in the ass to get to. Must be nice to live in America.

    In terms of women shooting groups/stores, I am all for it. We need more people to shoot in general and the nonwhite nonmale markets are ripe for the picking. More people need to be empowered through firearms so I hope more ranges like this take off and become popular.

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