You are (or might become) part of this growing group of female gun owners, and let’s look at a few key points you should keep in mind for responsible firearm ownership. Whether you are a first-time gun owner, or you’re thinking about adding another firearm to your collection, we’ll cover a few important topics including the ideal firearm for a female, gun accessories for women, and how to safely store guns in your home.
The new Walther PDP- F series might be the best 9mm pistol for women: it’s designed specifically to fit the grip of the female hand, requires less force to operate the slide, and has a shorter reach to the trigger.
Thinking beyond the Walther, let’s cover the main categories of firearms:
If you're looking at carrying a gun for self-defense you're likely looking at a pistol. Pistols are small and easily concealable, making them a great choice for everyday carry. Handguns are the most common guns in the country: they make up over 60% of the firearms in America. Pistols are extremely popular attributed to their capacity, ease of use, and compact size. Great pistols for women include the aforementioned Walther and Sig Sauer P365.
Shotguns are available in pump-action and semi-automatic variants and offer a wide range of different loading styles; from bean bag to metal shot to solid slugs. Shotguns are more forgiving in terms of accuracy than pistols or rifles, which can be valuable in scenarios like hunting. Shotguns have a minimum barrel length of 18.5”, making them heavier (around 8 lbs) than other firearms, something to consider if weight is a concern.
Rifles are available in many different shapes, sizes, and hundreds of various calibers (including low-recoiling calibers), and are easily customizable. Rifles are usually semi-automatic, but bolt action rifles are used for hunting and competition shooting. You’ll have the widest variety of customization when you choose modern carbines, such as the AR15. On this platform, options include adjustable stocks and grips. Other accessories that improve the shooting experience include muzzle devices like brakes, flash hiders, or suppressors to limit recoil and reduce hearing damage risk. Rifles have a minimum barrel length of 16” and are lighter (about 6 lbs) than shotguns, making them easy to maneuver and accurately fire.
Safety comes first when shooting and you need good hearing protection and eye protection. Hearing protection comes in a few different forms, either in-ear or over-ear models, with both active/electronic sound mitigation and passive sound dampening. No matter which style of ear pro you decide on we recommend pairing that protection with a silencer. Silencers lower the volume to your ear which results in more hearing protection, they also reduce recoil and harsh muzzle blast. Eye pro is next: ANSI-certified glasses should be worn when firing guns to reduce the potential for eye damage. These glasses are available with clear or tinted lenses and you can choose the right level of lens opacity that’s optimal for the environment. You may also want to consider a bag to carry your firearm and accessories. Handguns/pistols can be carried in a small bag and for larger firearms, consider a well-made rifle or shotgun bag.
Other wearables to consider for your range day or hunting trip are outdoor-centric pants, shooting gloves, and sturdy footwear. When you optimize your outfit to be gun-centric, your shooting experience can be even better.
Currently, 24 states have Constitutional Carry, allowing for permitless possession of firearms. For example, in Texas, Constitutional Carry affords residents the right to freely possess and carry a legally-owned handgun, without permits or licensing. 14 states (such as Michigan, New York, and Nebraska) have licensing or registration requirements to purchase a handgun, and 7 states (including Illinois and California) have these requirements for purchasing long guns. These requirements vary from purchase permits to ownership licenses. The NRA-ILA is a good resource for compliance with your local legislation.
4. Do You Need a Concealed Carry Permit?
As of September 2022, 26 states require a license to conceal carry a firearm. 48 states are “Shall Issue” states: if you meet the state's legal requirements (age, criminal status, citizenship status, etc.) a concealed carry license “shall” be issued to you. Connecticut and Delaware are the 2 “May Issue” states: the state has the authority to authorize and “may” (or “may not”) issue the concealed carry permit, even if you met all of the requirements. On June 23rd, 2022, in New York, a judicial victory was won for firearm owners: NYSRPA v Bruen overturned handgun licensing restrictions. Check out this map for state-specific details about Constitutional and Concealed carry.
For more specific training and information, your local gun shop may offer a Concealed Carry Weapon/Concealed Pistol License (CCW/CPL) class. There is often good information about local laws and regulations, as well as gun ownership tips that you may find very helpful.
How do most women conceal carry? Many women carry in a purse, sling bag, or other forms of off-body carry. For women who prefer to have their firearm on them, there are many holsters made for women. You may want to wear a holster, such as a suspended holster, as the majority of dresses, skirts, and legwear at shopping malls and chain department stores don't have the appropriate belt loops to secure holsters. Inside-the-waistband (IWB) holsters attach to the beltline, while suspended holsters, use their own belt to suspend a common Kydex holster, making it usable with almost any outfit. Check out concealed carry clothes and women's gun accessories; from leggings to joggers, belly bands, and even ankle holsters.
5. How Will You Use Your Gun?
Hunting is a pastime that’s grown in popularity, especially for females: women hunters have increased by 25+%. If you enjoy nature and seeing the wilderness you might really enjoy hunting! You can experience first-hand the best parts of the great outdoors, while also shooting with your firearm.
Shooting competitions are becoming more popular among women thanks to ladies like Lena Miculek and Allison Zane. Competitions offer a great environment to train with firearms, meet new people with similar interests and have a great time shooting guns. There are matches for every type of firearm: you might be interested in pistol matches, precision rifles, and tactical shooting competitions. Consider looking into a local match, you can learn a lot and have a great time at a competitive range.
There are many groups and organizations aiming to educate and train women and advocate for women’s 2A rights. A mainstay is emPOWERed 2A, a project of Gun Owners of America (GOA) to empower women for their right to bear arms.
6. How Will You Store Your Gun at Home?
Traditional gun safes, locks, vaults, biometric safes, and more options are available for gun storage at home. It's important to securely store your firearm so that only responsible parties can access them. The best choice for you will depend on your household, local laws, and your preference for speed of access and reliability of an electrical system:
These devices are for securing a single weapon; they can be accessed fairly quickly compared to a large safe or vault, and are portable so you can safely lock up a weapon in a vehicle or place it inconspicuously in the home, such as under the bed.
Biometric Gun Safes
Biometric gun safes operate by simply scanning the fingerprint of the gun owner and parties that should have access. Some women prefer a biometric vault like Vaultek for the peace of mind that they can access their guns without entering a code or carrying a key.
Traditional Safes and Gun Vaults
These safes are accessed either by a key or a combination. Some people prefer these safes due to not relying on electricity for the safe to operate. Most safes that are accessed with a key or combination don’t require batteries for motorized operation, which prevents failure due to a lack of power.
As GOA would say, gun rights are women’s rights. Women account for 42% of gun owners in the country, with more ladies purchasing guns every day. Firearm ownership is for women and they serve many different purposes such as recreation and hunting. Eye and ear protection are paramount, get a good set of safety glasses and consider picking up a suppressor to protect your hearing. Whatever firearms you decide to purchase, make sure you understand the legalities of responsible firearms ownership in your locality.