For years, gun stores were predominantly patronized by men. These days, says NPR, shooting ranges and shops selling firearms are seeing more female customers than ever before, and that has them changing the way they do business. In a brand-new shooting range at Eagle Gun in Concord, N.C., shots from Sharon Skoff’s handgun boom behind glass that separates the range from the rest of the shop. “I just refuse to be a victim if I possibly can in life,” says Skoff, 47, a flight attendant. “I actually went and got my concealed permit a couple months ago so I can carry.”
Rachel Parsons of the National Rifle Association says women are a huge emerging market. The National Shooting Sports Foundation says gun store owners reported a 73 percent increase in female customers in 2009 from the year before. Parsons says the trend is even being reflected by the number of guns made just for women. “You see firearms being developed that have smaller grips to fit a woman’s hand,” Parson says. “Maybe they’re pink, or maybe they have pearl grips. And they’re a little bit less intimidating.” The NRA says it’s organizing more hunting excursions for women than ever before.