Guns N Ammo on Why Women Buy Guns

Why do women buy guns? How many guns do they buy? What kinds of guns do they buy? Those and other questions found answers with the release of a new NSSF report on women and firearms. The report itself is available to NSSF members and the media through their blog, but have released their own analysis of the report, which helps shed light on common stereotypes about guns and the women who own them:

Based on the data, it appears that many long-held stereotypes regarding women and gun ownership are wrong. More women are buying guns, many are buying more than one, and it appears as if they are shooting them with some regularity.

So how many ladies made their decision based on a firearm’s feminine look and feel? Only 19 percent. Even fewer, less than 10 percent, chose a firearm based on a feminine color and fewer still were impressed by firearms adorned with leopard spots and flowers. This trend was consistent across both age and geography with younger women and women in the Northeast only slightly more interested in pink guns than women in older age groups.

Get ready for this: Nearly 25 percent of women chose a firearm for its “military look and feel.”

The traditional stereotypes regarding women and firearms have proven to be largely misunderstood. Women are buying guns that best fit their needs and bodies, not those that fit in the traditionalist’s view of what a woman should have.

It became clear to G&A from the data in this report that women are highly informed buyers when it comes to making a firearm purchase. Women are spending a great deal of time considering their purchase and are actively seeking out multiple information sources before joining the gun-owning fraternity.

Women today are buying guns for everything from collecting to competition shooting, but the primary factor influencing women to purchase a firearm is clearly their personal safety and that of their loved ones. This is perhaps the least-surprising conclusion that we’ve seen from the data and one area where the stereotype meets reality.

When we examine the NSSF’s report in its entirety, the data tells us that women are buying guns for self-defense, buying the right hardware for that purpose, and that they are seeking professional training to use them safely and effectively. As gun owners, we should all be supportive and encouraging this movement forward and avoid reinforcing age-old social stereotypes.

While these excerpts give the general picture of the report’s contents, I – as always – highly recommend our readers read the whole analysis, which comes in four parts: Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • BixNood

    So much for the antis and the “compensation” arguments…

    • UCSPanther

      When antis use that argument, I tell them that if I were to buy a gun to “compensate”, I wouldn’t be buying an AR, I would be buying something in .458 Winchester Magnum…

  • lurpy

    Really? You mean “MAKE IT PINK!” is an insufficient marketing strategy for the female demographic? Who knew?

    • Grindstone50k

      Pretty much anybody who isn’t a misogynistic ass?

      • Kevin Harron


    • Will

      It drives my girlfriend insane that if a handgun is not black or stainless its pink(generally speaking). She wrestled in HS, models some, and hates the stereotype that women cant be pretty and strong at the same time.

      I built her an AR and the lower is a dark red. She loves it. Blows my mind polymer framed guns haven’t had a lot of offerings considering how easy it is to coat/dye them.

    • Anon. E Maus

      Some like pink guns. Hell, I’m a dude and I like pink guns, I think pink plastic with matte black metal makes for a really slick looking gun, like a Glock 17 with a pink frame, or AR-15 with pink furniture, etc.

      I don’t think that a gun has to be pink to be marketed to women, however.

      • lurpy

        Pink guns can be cool, but it seems like a lot of gun companies have gone the route of “Hmm, how do we market to women…I know! We’ll make everything pink, because girls like pink things!”

        It’s kind of like marketing to a younger demographic by going “Well, the kids these days like that zombie stuff, let’s make it green and hideous and call it a zombie edition!”

  • john

    Maybe I’m in the minority, but I think a gun instantly makes a woman more attractive..

    ..come to think of it..that’s probably why I always have trouble when I’m pulled over by a female police officer…

    • ghost

      Take my word for it. If she asks “where is the fire?” do not respond with “between your thighs?”.

  • The Democrat Party

    We support a woman’s Right To Choose ™, unless we disagree with her choice.

  • nadnerbus

    My sister took her time, looked around, and decided she wanted the S&W 1911 with the tac rail (I think. It’s been a while. It had an aluminum alloy frame). She came up with that on her own, with no input from me. I only own a G19. She shoots it better than I can too. She also picked up a Mossberg 500 because why not?

    I hate when people talk down to women and say a gun is too big, or a caliber too powerful. If a guy can handle it, a woman can too.

    • Grindstone50k

      My wife picked an M&P9 full size for herself. Only asked for my opinion on it, did the research herself. She’s now wanting to sell it and get an M&P45.

    • Will

      My girlfriend handles my M&P40 Compact better than me and we all know how snappy they can be.

      • Crumbo

        We all know how snappy _girlfriends_ can be… or the gun? 😉

  • Grindstone50k

    I got my wife into shooting. She decided she wanted one of her own on her own. Now she bugs me to go to the range. Invited her sister along last weekend, it was her first time shooting a gun ever. My wife taught her a couple of the basic (since her husband failed to). I was very proud!

  • Cymond

    My mother bought an AR-15 back during the 2007 scare. Why? I’m not sure. She’s always been good with firearms but is usually only mildly interested in them. She’s not at all concerned about home defense, and I doubt she considered herself a part of the unorganized militia. She rarely shoots, especially as her eyesight has deteriorated (far sighted).

    My best guess is that she bought it because it might have been her last chance, and “because I can”.

  • noguncontrol

    a full auto full sized uzi would be nice for women.

  • ghost

    From Texas to Mississippi to Louisiana to South Carolina, and a few stops in between, women with firearms was not news. Most had .357/38 specials at the time. Shotguns for the house. Fortunately, none were pointed at me.