According to a new study commissioned by the firearm and ammunition industry's leading trade organization, women represent the fastest-growing segment of gun ownership and shooting participation.
More than half of women (55.6 percent) participating in the polling commissioned by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) said they intend to purchase at least one firearm in the next 12 months. Further, nearly half of those surveyed said they already have obtained concealed carry permits where required, indicating they are purchasing guns for personal and household protection purposes.
Conducted in 2014, the study focused on women between the ages of 18 to 65 who owned at least one firearm. More than a third of participating women identified themselves as new gun owners, having purchased their first firearm within the last three years. This segment of new gun owners, primarily between 18 and 34, reflects the changing demographics among women choosing to own firearms, the report concluded.
Among the report's findings:
- The most commonly owned firearm by women in the study was a semiautomatic pistol, with 56 percent of women reporting they owned at least one. Shotguns ranked second, with 50 percent of women owning at least one.
-Women participating in the study said their purchases are mainly influenced by fit, quality and practicality.
- Women purchasing a gun in the last 12 months spent on average $870 on firearms and more than $400 on accessories.
- The majority of women surveyed reported they considered their gun purchase(s) for months before deciding and were not driven to buy a gun on impulse.
- Nearly all those sampled (95 percent) said they have tried target shooting, and more than half (58 percent) have hunted.
- More than 42 percent of women participating in the survey said have a concealed carry permit for their state of residence.
- Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of women reported having taken at least one training class.
According to the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), female participation in target shooting grew 60 percent to 5.4 million participants between 2001 and 2013, and increased 85 percent for hunting—to 3.3 million—during that same period.