International Women’s Day is a celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Right now, no place is seeing a stronger impact from women than the shooting industry. Traditionally, shooting and hunting were seen as a man’s world. Whether you were in a hunting lodge, at a shooting competition, or browsing a gun show, you were pretty much going to see just men. There were occasional exceptions, but women tended to stay away from guns and their only exposure would usually come from their husbands taking them to the range.
Except that women are just as interested as men in defending themselves and their families, hunting, and shooting recreationally or competitively. Despite being seen by some as encroaching on a man’s hobby, women increasingly bought guns of their own and sought out classes on firearm basics. As more women learned to shoot they encouraged their friends and family to try it for themselves, showing them that firearms weren’t just for men.
Today it’s never been easier for a woman to get involved in shooting. There are dozens of guns, accessories, and communities specifically geared towards female shooters. Visit a hunting lodge, shooting match, or gun show nowadays and you’ll see women all over the place with their families, with their friends, and by themselves – just like the men. Women are a massive segment of the shooting industry and their presence only continues to rise. In fact, gun ownership among women in the United Statesclimbed from 13% in 2005 to 27% in 2011. Women shooters are so prevalent and do so well competitively that matches are no longer requiring them to compete in their own category.
And there’s no going back. Women are changing the face of the industry and the shooting world couldn’t be better off for it. They’re accomplished shooters, lethal hunters, patient instructors, skilled gunsmiths, knowledgable defenders of the Second Amendment, and they’re just as good as men.
Below are 12 women leading the shooting industry into the 21st Century on behalf of women and men and you’d do well to remember their names.
Team Smith & Wesson Captain Julie Golob is a former member of the US Army Marksmanship Unit and has a list of pistol championship wins a mile long. Besides being an accomplished pistol shooter, she’s a hunter, writer, and a mom.