More Women Own Guns, Go Target Shooting, Hunt

New NSSF Report: More Women Owning Guns, Going Target Shooting and Hunting. The Women Gun Owners‰Ûª Report and infographic highlight the fastest-​growing segment in shooting sports. Nearly all women surveyed (95%) have tried target shooting, and more than half (58%) have hunted.

More than half of women (55.6%) who participated in a study commissioned by the National Shooting Sports Foundation said they intend to purchase at least 1 firearm in the next 12 months. That finding and many others reflect the growing popularity of firearms ownership by women, who represent the fastest growing segment of the shooting sports.

The report shows women are attracted to shooting activities such as practical pistol, clay target shooting, long-​range shooting and plinking; they were not as active, however, in gun collecting or 3‑gun and cowboy action shooting.

According to the National Sporting Goods Association, female engagement in target shooting grew 60% to 5.4 million participants between 2001 and 2013, and was up 85% for hunting to 3.3 million participants during that same period.

‰ÛÏIn the past decade, the number of women owning firearms and participating in target shooting and hunting has soared. This study helps us understand why women are choosing to purchase firearms and accessories and what shooting activities appeal to them most,‰Û said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti.

The study, conducted in 2014, focused on women ages 18 to 65 who owned at least one firearm. Over a third of women in the study were new gun owners, having purchased their first firearm within the past 3 years. This group of new gun owners, who are primarily between the ages of 18 and 34, reflects the changing demographics among women choosing to own firearms‰ÛÓa change captured visually in NSSF‰Ûªs infographic, ‰ÛÏGirl Power,‰Û which complements the report.

‰ÛÏThe women‰Ûªs market is a force in our industry, and manufacturers, retailers and shooting ranges are making changes to their products and services to satisfy women‰Ûªs tastes and needs. This report will assist anyone interested in knowing more about women‰Ûªs enthusiasm for and attitudes toward firearms,‰Û said Jim Curcuruto, NSSF Director of Industry Research and Analysis.

Among the report‰Ûªs findings:

  • The most commonly owned firearm by women in the study is a semiautomatic pistol, with 56% of women reporting they owned at least one. Shotguns ranked second, with 50% of women owning at least one.
  • Women say their purchases are mainly influenced by Fit, Quality and Practicality.
  • Women purchasing a gun in the past 12 months spent an average $870 on firearms and more than $400 on accessories.
  • The majority of women report they are not driven to buy a gun on impulse but rather considered their purchase for months before deciding.
  • Nearly all women (95%) have tried target shooting, and more than half (58%) have hunted.
  • More than 42% of women have a concealed carry permit for their state of residence.
  • 73% of women reported having taken at least one training class.

Placing a premium on safety, women say the single most important reason why they decided to purchase or own a firearm is protection‰ÛÓboth personal and home protection. Learning to hunt and going shooting with friends and family were also cited.

Growth of the women‰Ûªs market is quite visible among firearms retailers. In NSSF‰Ûªs Annual Retailer Survey, more than 74% of retailers reported an increase in women customers in their stores in 2013 over 2012.

AudienceSCAN found that 6.3% of adults enjoy hunting/​shooting for exercise or sport, and 25.5% of them are women. They are 95% more likely than average to have bought or sold an item in a pawn shop, so try to highlight the gun/​rifle inventory your pawn shops have in your ads for them. In the next 12 months,åÊ33.1% want to buy things that help them feel fun/​exciting. In the past 30 days, 34% of Hunting/​Shooting Enthusiasts received emailed ads or newsletters and took action. You can reach them through newspapers too ‰ÛÒ 54% took action after reading a print ad in the past year.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports inåÊAdMall.

Courtney Huckabay
Courtney is the Editor for SalesFuel Today. She analyzes secondary customer research and our primary AudienceSCAN research. Courtney is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.