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Women like guns. OK, some women like guns. Some don’t. And that’s OK. But I was recently asked by a very intelligent young lady to please explain how I feel being a female in a male-dominated industry. She was referring to my writing for TTAG and my guns as a hobby and for self-defense. It’s not like she was looking for any particular answer or prodding me to answer in any specific way; she was genuinely curious. Truth be told . . .

I’ve never experienced sexism with regards to my writing or the fact that I own guns. Yes, gun store employees have been shocked when I sidle up to the counter knowing exactly what I want, and why I want it. And I’ve received negative comments and feedback on some of my articles. But a lot of female customers are new to guns. And I don’t consider negative comments “sexist.”  They’re just a difference of opinion; a man would receive the same criticism for writing the same things.

I also don’t think I have to know more than men who know a lot about guns to be respected. If I don’t know something about a gun or a cartridge or firearms law or anything gun-related, I’ll say so. I welcome the chance for education, clarification or correction. Ever hear the saying, “Correct a fool and he will be angry with you; correct a wise man, and he will thank you”? I attempt to learn from my mistakes. I don’t take being corrected when incorrect as sexism, nor does it bother me in the least.

Men have never made me feel a lesser person for being a gun owner. (Some are actually impressed that a woman my size can not only handle shooting a Mosin Nagant, but quickly and effectively dissemble and reassemble a bolt from the rifle.) I repeat: I’ve never actually been discriminated against because of my gender with regards to the People of the Gun and I’m certain I won’t be.

A gun store that assumes I don’t know about guns isn’t sexist, it’s providing customer service. (Once the gun store clerk realizes I’m more interested in a Ruger Super Red Hawk than a pink revolver, the conversation changes.) Some gun salesmen see a woman customer and immediately push a small pink Taurus at her. Do I consider this sexist? No. Manufacturers make pink guns for women, not men, so it’s entirely understandable. These “women’s products” welcome us ladies to the gun world, not alienate us.

At the moment, the firearms industry is male-dominated. But more and more women are permeating the gun business at all levels; as customers, competitors, instructors, sales people, factory workers, executives, marketing professionals and more. As far as I know and based on my experience, there is no “glass ceiling” in this industry. Or color barrier. In fact, the firearms industry is one of the most inclusive business sectors in America today.

I don’t consider RF sexist for hiring me to write for TTAG. I’m honored that the TTAG team values my opinion as a gun enthusiast and a woman. In fact, we are all gun enthusiasts and something else. By acknowledging and accepting differences, gun owners strengthen their respect for individual liberty. Of course, there are gun owners who don’t “get it.” But I’ve yet to meet one. And when I do, I’ll learn from them, too.

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  1. “Male-dominated” is a lying, cynical phrase that is well-designed to cause a specific, negative reaction. What it means is that, historically, women did not contribute to that sector and now there are more men than women in it. And so what?

    Off the cuff, I can think of three industries that are “female-dominated” — nursing, grade school education and sex. I wonder which of them the “intelligent lady” works in. Or thinks you should.

    • I never thought about it like that. Guns are a boys club, but I think it’s great that women are interested.

      We could use them around the gun world. I don’t see a down side.

    • I disagree, I think it does mean exactly what you think it means: historically, women did not contribute to that sector and now there are more men than women in it. Of course sometimes it means that historically women where not allowed to contribute but thats just history at this point.

  2. I am a male and visit TTAG frequently. I value your opinion and articles. Wish there were more female writers. I love hearing their point of view on every thing gun related. It keeps things fresh in this “mostly” male dominated web site.

    • It would be seriously awesome if TTAG had a writer (or series of articles) that appealed to the Coach-wielding soccer-mom set. Then I could have a chance at having my wife read up a bit. That is one area the Moms demand action crew certainly knows how to target, and I regularly have concern that if my wife reads/encounters some of their propaganda, she’ll be all in.

  3. Good for you. Its awesome that you can realize that what most people consider pandering to females is an attempt by a marketing wing of a company to get women interested in guns. I think that that is important because they arent sexist per se, they are just actively attempting to get more women involved in firearms ownership. If that means pink revolvers Im all for it. I think that the more diverse the offerings the more people will purchase firearms and I think that the more diverse the people talking about firearms the greater chance self defense, shooting for sport, RBKA, and the second amendment in general get more attention from people who may not have understood it previously. Kudos to you and your excellent writing

  4. And I don’t consider negative comments “sexist.” They’re just a difference of opinion; a man would receive the same criticism for writing the same things.

    A curious question: Do you think the negativity is toned down because you are a female?

    • I honestly don’t know. I don’t type the comments. But I hope not. I don’t wish to be given special treatment because of my gender. But I do understand that most men will more than likely tone it down a notch for a woman. I just want to do a good job, learn, and shoot. And sometimes that means hearing harsh criticisms.

      • I doubt it. If you look at the comment section of other historically male interest groups usually women get trashed more than men. You just usually don’t write stuff so bad that is makes people mad enough to trash you.

        • Thank you. However, you, kind sir, did not read my articles about the pope. 😉 but, I am told to tell the truth, and that’s the truth in my opinion. But again, thank you.

  5. Some gun salesmen see a woman customer and immediately push a small pink Taurus at her. Do I consider this sexist? No. Manufacturers make pink guns for women, not men, so it’s entirely understandable. These “women’s products” welcome us ladies to the gun world, not alienate us.

    Except, that is sexist. Making something pink and labeling it “for women” is the very definition of sexism. Hell, the idea that you have to make something pink in order to appeal to women is sexist at it’s very core. Making pink guns is fine. Making guns in all sort of different colors is great. Marketing towards women is awesome. But to make something a different color specifically “for women” and claim it as such is sexist. Some women may like it, some women may not. But the marketing geniuses who thought “How do we get more women interested? I know, make all the things pink!” watched too much Mad Men.

    That having been said, I agree, the vast, vast majority of POTG are not sexist. While many may have some out-dated opinions on women’s roles in society, in the context of guns nearly everyone my wife and I have encountered have been very welcoming.

    • The problem is, women really do like pink guns. No, not all women, but a lot of them do. Yeah, I don’t get it either but their really are fundamental differences in the sexs.

      • Color preference has nothing to do with sex. In many western cultures, purple was a color of nobility. In the last century, it’s been relegated to a “feminine” color. There’s nothing objectively gender-specific about color, it’s a societal construct. Reinforcing that construct by making guns pink and slapping a “for women” label on it is condescending and puts the idea that guns (and gun accessories) are only for women if they’re pink.
        A lot like pink, yes. But a lot don’t. To alienate that group is a folly. We need to appeal to EVERYONE.

        • Valid point but a minor nit:

          The Roman “purple” was in fact more of a deep red, with maybe just a touch of purple in it. I have no idea what happened with royal purple after the Roman empire fell, maybe it did become what we today would call purple sometime between then and now.

        • Women that like the color pink have chosen to like it on their own accord, right? If they choose a pink gun, are they alienating themselves?

          There is no sinister force here. Adding pink to the product lineup is not alienating anybody. In fact, exactly the opposite is happening. It is attracting customers that like pink things. This is just old fashioned capitalism. A company is providing goods that are desired by people with money.

          Gun companies have been adding tons of color options lately. Look at Sig’s P238 line. You want purple, they’ve got it. You want dark red grips and an engraved slide, they’ve got that, too. Rainbow? Yep! These color options, including pink, are INCLUSIVE. I don’t see how you could think they are excluding people.

          Nothing is stopping anyone, even women, from pointing at a black version and saying “I want the plain old black one.” Ruger, Sig, Glock, etc. don’t care which color a person, man or woman, chooses, as long as it’s one of their guns. A sale is a sale.

          If you’re a man, you need to stop trying to make women’s decisions for them. Just kick back and enjoy the diversity.

        • Women love pink. More women than men would color their weapons. Most women would prefer to do their own decorating, and they can with today’s gun coating technology. That’s why they would reject a store colored gun. I watched an all female shooting match and more than half the women had all or part of their weapons decorated with pink or a combination of pink and other colors.

          It would not surprise me to see gun stores display decorative design guns on their walls, with a female sign saying “you can color your own gun”.

        • The fact that purple used to be a color of royalty is unrelated to the topic at hand. Since the dyes of that color were expensive, they became symbols of the rich and connected…like everything else that’s expensive in every society ever.

          None of that has to do with what colors are used to represent genders, and nothing to do with pink in any regard.

          Before the current scheme, it was reversed. Pink for boys, blue for girls:

          “One of the earliest references to this original color scheme appeared in a June of 1918 edition of the trade publication Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department,

          ‘The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink , being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.’ ”

          That is sexist as FUCK! So if you believe that the current associations are just arbitrary assignments imposed upon society to reinforce sexist ideas…then why did it change? We can see that the earlier, reversed scheme was imposed out of sexism, how does it compute that the current one is being imposed for that reason?

          “For reasons unknown, this all started to change around the 1940s when clothing manufacturers decided on pink for girls and blue for boys. It has been suggested that boys simply like blue more and girls like pink more, but studies to date trying to see if this is true have come up with mixed results, except firmly showing that the vast majority of humans prefer blue to pink, and pink is actually one of the adult world’s least favorite colors. (As you might imagine, it’s difficult to perform large scale studies to determine if boys and girls are naturally predisposed to one color or another without the introduction of existing learned color biases, even in countries that don’t popularly follow the pink-girl/blue-boy scheme.)”

          All I can tell you is that I’ve known more girls who like pink than boys…in fact I’ve only known girls to like pink (or purple, as is one woman’s favorite), and it’s not very many, and I don’t believe it’s only because society forces it upon them. In fact, the only real reason to believe this I can see is out of an assumption that everything about society is somehow unjust and needs to be fixed. That idea is currently being used to claim that reason and logic themselves are “white male” attributes and are therefore unjust and sexist. That is the current bleeding edge of progressive feminism. I really wish I was making this up.

          If you really want to change the world, instead of rallying against pink guns and barbie dolls, just ignore it and raise your girls if/when you have them to like the things they like and to walk past the assumptions of others. The others that want to sell to them will change their offerings, and those that insist on pushing unwanted items will lose out.

          When you rally against these perceived injustices, aside from being a dick move, it puts others on a defensive and induces them to push back and resist what you are presenting in that manner. If you don’t believe this just read this post. In fact I believe the strategy was created, or at least applied to these minor issues, purely to invoke such a response so that otherwise reasonable people could be more easily painted as villains.

          Don’t get me wrong. It’s a good way to deal with things like Jim Crow laws and slavery. But it’s totally inappropriate for pink guns.

          The article I quoted from:

        • Color preference has nothing to do with sex

          Most of your posts on this subject are classic “strawman” arguments.

          And you are also wrong on the facts. Actually color preference among most members of a gender is well documented. You (or I) may not like it and it maybe mostly culturally derived instead of innate, but that does not mean those preferences do no exist.

          If 8% of men want a pink gun and 10% of women do, that is a statistically significant 20% gender based color preference.

        • Wait… purple has been fully ceded to femininity? Damn… it’s my favorite color. 🙁 Oh well, I’ll wear it anyhow.

    • From

      Full Definition of SEXISM

      1: prejudice or discrimination based on sex; especially : discrimination against women
      2: behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex

      You will have to explain to me how pink guns = sexism.

      • 2: behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex

        You will have to explain to me how pink guns = sexism.

        Seriously? I already laid it out.
        Stereotype: Women only like things if they’re pink; therefore, make pink guns.

        • Uh, no. “Social roles” and color preferences have nothing to do with each other. But thanks for playing.

        • the “only” makes it a straw man argument. The fact that pink guns may be available at one store does not imply an assumption that only girls like them or that girls only like pink things. It is one option of many. To show sexism you must reveal the thought process of the clerk in question.

        • Stereotype: Women only like things if they’re pink; therefore, make pink guns

          Strawman: Grindstone saying anyone here is saying “women only like things pink”

          No one is saying that, Rather they are pointing to the statistically significant preference. A preference does not mean only. And noting preference is called science.

          Is it some kind of bigotry when the polls note women are more likely to support Hillary? Is it bigotry to note market research showing women spend more on shoes? Is it a stereotype to note market research shows men spend more on firearms?

    • Half the women I have dated over the years have ONLY been interested in the pink or pink/purple anodized pistols. Show them something black or stainless steel and they don’t care. Show them pretty colors, and they are willing to buy.

      As for stereotypes, it’s why men like museums with machines, and women prefer art that looks like a blind monkey threw it together. Meh.

      • There is nothing objectively factual in your post. Women like machines, and men like art. Of course, not all do. But that doesn’t mean either activity should ONLY appeal to one sex or market itself in a condescending and patronizing angle. Even in your own personal anecdotal sample, the “pink” stuff doesn’t appeal to half of those women.

        • Um…half of the women he has dated being only interested in pink guns IS objectively factual. Are you saying he’s assuming this to be true and has not actually observed it?

      • Engraved blued steel, the engraving picked out in gold, with gorgeous presentation grade wood. This was my dad’s idea of a “unisex” rifle. He wasn’t sure if I was going to be a boy or a girl yet.

        Sorry, but next to something like that, bubblegum pink plastic always just looked… well… cheap.

        Pink does not make something pretty, or ergonomic, or better, it just makes it pink. Is it bad? Not really. But don’t stop there just because you like it. The color doesn’t change the ergonomics of the firearm, or the fact that it’s usually something small and lively under recoil. Shop around some in terms of appearance, fit, feel, and the like. Maybe the firearm that is most comfortable and easiest for you to shoot is ugly parkerized black. Maybe you’ll find a little work of art. Or maybe the pink pistol really does kick ass for you.

    • No, it is not the very definition of sexism. The very definition of sexism is viewing someone as lesser or better in someway due to their sex. Sexism would be believing that a woman would ONLY be interested in the small pink gun and not any of the larger weapons with more common color schemes. The fact is that girls and women do tend to like pink and otherwise “girly” things more often than boys and men do, but it’s no where near absolute. Sexism would be an assumption that a woman would be unable or uninterested in looking for the pistol that best suits their needs without regard to color which is WAY different than assuming that it’s a possibility that she MIGHT be interested in a pink gun.

      It may have been sexism when the first pink gun was produced. It may have been sexism for the store owner to have ordered the pink gun that was offered. But once it’s in the case and it’s being offered by a clerk who had nothing to do with the process of getting it there, it’s not necessarily sexism to offer it to a female customer. It COULD be, of course, but that depends on the thought process of the clerk offering it up.

      Sexism exists in the mind of the actor and ONLY in the mind of the actor, and colloquially in the actions performed from such a belief. But the belief is requisite.

  6. One of the local gun stores I go to is owned by a woman. She has two female employees and one male employee currently. All of them are very knowledgeable about firearms.

    At a different gun store in town the male staffer there suggestioned politely to a woman new to guns that she try renting some guns first to see how they shoot and feel to her. I thought it was good advice so it did it my self and eliminated guns I was considering purchasing this way.

  7. It’s a funny thing, but I recently gave advice to a female friend that keys in nicely with the thesis of your article:

    This friend was lamenting the lack of good quality single men. She said that she goes to church, flea markets and farmer’s markets, but the pickings were slim. My comment was “Go where the men are”. I told her to get a rod and reel and teach herself to bass fish, and then go to tournaments. Find a friend that shoots and go to the gun range. Join a dance group (I was in one for a while and they’re always doing something).

    I can’t tell you how many single men I know who would love to find a lady who can fish, shoot, hunt or dance. All four is going to be a slam dunk as long as she’s not a dope head and doesn’t make messes in the house!

    Just my $0.02,

  8. Sara, would you give some thought to the impression created by having your name appear in the headline of the articles you write, as well as the byline? it comes across as awfully narcissistic.

    • I do not title the articles. I write them. I do not own the website and I write opinion based personal experience articles. That is what I am asked to do. I have a job and my goal is to do it well. But again, I don’t title them for the most part. Should the team decide to no longer put my name in the titles, I’m ok with it. Until then, I’m ok with it being there.

  9. The “sexist” card is a PC card often played with no other good reason than to hope for emotional reaction. Laugh and ask, are you?

  10. My local gun store is a family run small business. The wife is the most knowledgeable member of the team. She also runs all the training and IDPA and other pistol competitions She is one of the most respected handgun trainers in the entire state. No sexism there.

    Also an important dynamic at work for me and others. While I loath the man hating feminazis, I love strong, independent women. And there is nothing more empowering for women than to take the responsibility for her own safety by learning to shoot and carrying a sidearm. I am also an instructor. Love my female students Nothing cooler than that grin when they realize, “I can do this!”

    Women with guns, or on their own motorcycle, are incredibly attractive. Sorry if this comment is deemed sexist. But for me and others, it is true.

  11. Don’t worry about any sexist crap. My wife likes black guns and never ever have I seen her wear pink(in 27 years). Glad you’re aboard TTAG and don’t think any non positive comment is “trolling”.

  12. Sara–I’m a man, and I often initially get treated as if I am 100% ignorant when I walk in a gun store. It’s not just something women experience. Customer service people do the best they can, but they have to feel out where you are. Customers range from newbies to experts, and on first sight, who knows? Once I was talking about 22s when I was asked by another customer what a 22 was. I was flabbergasted, but then explained.

    More often than not, when I walk in a restaurant with my three other family members, the person at the front desk will ask how many are we? Can’t they count? I also get asked silly questions about half the time I walk through a Walmart, when people assume I work there. It doesn’t matter that I’m not wearing the blue Walmart uniform. So don’t take it personally.

    Keep up the good work–the firearms industry needs all of us. I’m working with my wife and daughter just as much as my son, to make sure the great intermingling of freedom and firearms that is nearly unique to the greatest nation in the world continues long after I’m gone.

    • This, precisely.

      The man who’s condescending to you and asking you “stupid” questions is doing so because he doesn’t know you, and he doesn’t know what you know.

      That’s why I *don’t* get upset when a tech support person treats me as if I am a complete clueless wonder. He has no way of knowing otherwise to start with, and the last thing he wants is to confuse the person on the other end of the convo by assuming they know more than they do; then he gets a shitty rating for making himself clear if they survey the caller.

      I’ll eventually let him know he can skip over explaining X, Y or Z and at that point they’re usually relieved.

      Now, if you stepped into a gun store, and the guy insisted on treating you like some brainless frill even after you’d shown you knew exactly what you wanted and why, THEN he’s being an ass, and that’s true regardless of what YOUR sex is.

      Remember the other person’s context. You’re just some voice on the phone, or some guy walking into a shop. He doesn’t know what you know–he can’t possibly–and he doesn’t want to talk over your head, because people hate that too.

    • When I was growing up my mom would often get treated like that at car dealerships. Not that she bought new cars often. I remember her walking onto a toyota lot with her maximum monthly budget for a car payment and being shown a convertible cellica at nearly 3x the budget she had stated. The sales man was reluctant to show her anything other than this one car because she had mentioned ‘convertible’ in passing as something that would be nice but was a distant second to the stated budget. She ended up with a Geo Metro, to give you an idea of the budget she had in mind vs. the $30k car he tried to sell her.

      Years later when I started looking at my first car from a dealership I ran into a similar problem:

      “I bet you want something sporty, this is a nice sporty thing here.”

      “I dont’ care about sporty, I wand 4 doors and not-red to keep insurance rates lower.”

      “Are you sure? Look at this one, it’s real sporty…”

      etc…, ad nauseum.

      I bet many of the men who walk onto a car lot and are treated “with respect” are frequently being taken just as hard as the women who feel disrespected.

      Never trust a salesman, too bad I work for a few now.

  13. ‘ …. we are all gun enthusiasts and something else. By acknowledging and accepting differences, gun owners strengthen their respect for individual liberty. Of course, there are gun owners who don’t “get it.” ‘

    ^THIS ^

  14. pink has other connotations as well. if i see a gal wearing a pomkit skirt that has “blue” emblazoned on the rear i’ll be scratching my head as i stare.

  15. Alot of women don’t play into the stereotype. When my wife first got into guns I jokingly pointed out a pink Taurus and said “Ooh, how about that one?” She replied with “F**k no!” and bought a black Glock 19. I love my wife!

    • My wife is the opposite. She pretty much hates guns, but the thought of a pink one is infinitely more palatable for some reason. She’s not there, yet, but hopefully I’ll get her there someday.

  16. Great article Sarah. My wife loves her Kimber and Sig 1911’s. Nothing makes her angrier at a gunshow than someone pulling out a pink or purple lcp or TCP when she was looking for a new 1911. It has cost more than a few of them a sale.

  17. A lot of people do not realize the Important role that Women Played in the so called Gun culture! Grand Mothers, Mothers, Aunts, Wives and others
    My Grand mother, could out shoot Grandad with rifle or shotgun, only saw her use a hand gun once { Goose was for dinner but would not get close enough to catch,} in the House she went got Granddads pistol a .38 and promptly removed its head form about 7 yards on a moving target She taught my mom and Aunts, Did they want to own a weapon don’t know for sure as they were always available and Very few men argued with them saying you can’t shoot, or you actually can, neither did they try to snow them!
    A lot of Russian Women became Snipers! Too the poor put upon women who claim sexism about guns Grow up! study history

  18. I’m a female who owns two pistols. One is a S&W SD 9mm which holds 16+1. The other is a S&W M&P 9 C, which holds 8+1. my first gun was a Ruger LCP, which I traded in for the 9mm fairly quickly. I also own a savage axis 270 rifle. I LOVE guns. I’m at my local range so much that many of the RSOs know not only my name, but my preferred brand of ammo for both my pistols and rifle!

    On the other hand, my father had only shot a gun ONCE. that was the day I TAUGHT HIM TO SHOOT! You don’t hear of that often, but it happens. He grew up in the city, a bit afraid of guns. On the other hand, my mom grew up in the country shooting BBs and rifles regularly as a child. She has some limited experience with handguns as well. My grandmother once defended her younger siblings by shooting a would be intruder in the leg with a rifle. So I come from a long line of women who know how to shoot.

    Regarding sexism in the gun world, I really haven’t run into it much. My range/gun store, which is one of the biggest in the state, is very female friendly. They have female store staff and female range officers. As I said, most of them know me now and are aware that I know what I’m doing. But even when I was brand new, I never felt they were talking down to me. No one there has ever tried to steer me towards any pink revolvers just because I’m a woman. That being said, I always know what I want before I go to the store. But you are right, I’ve experienced more sexism outside the gun stores than in them.

    One thing that does bug me though is when I see a couple come into the gun store to buy a gun for the woman, and her man does all the talking to the sales clerk. If you are going to buy a gun, do your own research and pick it out yourself.

    As for pink guns, I HATE THEM WITH A PASSION. I’m what some people call a “soft butch” or “tomboy” (I’m a lesbian leaning bisexual). I can’t stand pink. I have nothing against women who like pink and am glad that they have a choice to have a pink pistol if they want it. But I don’t like it when gun stores assume all women want pink everything. My favorite colors are camo colors, which brings me to another thing I hate, pink camo. With the exception of Muddy Girl, which I like sometimes, pink camo looks stupid. Most of my time at Bass
    Pro is spent in the men’s clothing section because I can’t find affordable women’s camo that hasn’t got pink in it. Drives me nuts!

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