KOAA- The face of a billion dollar industry is changing. More women are buying guns than ever before. Market research shows they are the fastest growing clientele and the industry is taking notice.
50 years ago, Dakota Rogers had an incident. She felt like her safety was in jeopardy.
“I thought by golly that’s not going to happen again,” said Rogers.
She silently cocked the gun, but never had to shoot it. With her safety resting in her own hands, would she have been able to? She never doubted it, until that moment.
“Well, I had a second incident,” said Dakota, “and I thought ‘Aw man you didn’t learn did yah?’ This time, I learned.”
Dakota learned that just having a gun doesn’t cut it.
“You have to know what that gun’s about,” said Dakota.
And that’s how she became part of The Well Armed Woman. Corisa Hopingardner is the president of the Fremont County chapter.
The Well Armed Woman Empowers and Teaches more and more
“We meet bi-monthly for these fun shoots and we work on basic skills- safe gun handling, loading, trying out new guns, of course, trying everyone else’s new guns out,” said Hopingardner. “Then the other bi-monthly we actually have classes.”
Dakota had so many questions: what kind of holster is best for me? Am I going to carry it or go to the range?
Hopingardner says Dakota isn’t alone. More and more women are joining training programs that are geared toward them. Many have questions they feel uncomfortable asking when walking into a gun shop.
“It’s kind of the new glass ceiling we’re breaking through,” said Hopingardner
Hopingardner says for every chapter you see on The Well Armed Woman’s website, there are five new ones starting up.
According to the National Rifle Association, enrollment in its Women on Target program increases up to 20 percent each year.
Nikki Carroll teaches a women’s only training course at the Whistling Pines Gun Club, where she says classes are always full.
“I hold classes that are sometimes with victimized women. Sometimes, this is a part of their healing process. Sometimes, it is to feel like (they have) control of their own safety,” said Carroll.
Over at Paradise Sales, Ellen Jackson sees more and more women walking through its doors, dominating the training courses.
“It empowers them,” said Jackson.
How is This Impacting the Industry?
The industry is taking notice with pink, purple and pretty accessories.
If you simply search gun accessories for women, dozens of items, from purses to holsters, will pop up.
“My first gun, it was defense; It was utilitarian; It was useful. That’s what I wanted,” said Dakota. “My next gun was pretty, you know? It’s like buying shoes! Yes, I have to have that one.”
“We’ll have a Mary Kay demonstration in (a meeting), you know? We keep it fun, like Christmas exchange. It’s not just guy stuff,” said Hopingardner.
For Rogers, knowing how to use and embrace a gun is empowering and feminine.
“I am a deadly feminine. You wouldn’t want to mess with me.”
For more information on the instructors and training programs featured in this story: