What Women Want

image courtesy of www.weaponoutfitters.com

There is one thing the gun industry has a lot of trouble understanding: women.  Despite the push in recent years to get women more involved in the industry and the tremendous success of that push as shown by campaigns such as Women of USPSA and the appearance of blogs such as the Girls Guide to Guns the industry is still mostly staffed by men.  That means there are men in the back rooms designing us pink plastic guns and purses that my grandma would find fashionable.

NEWS FLASH: THIS ISN’T WHAT WE WANT!  I don’t care how pink your piece of junk, breaking down, awful to shoot, itty bitty “adorable” gun is, I don’t want it.  Women have a right to awesome guns same as anyone else.  If I want a pink gun I’ll go buy my M&P JG (oh wait, I already want one) or get a Sig P238 and put adorable pink grips on it.

Not that Sig isn’t guilty as well, take a look at the P238 Lady model:

Photo from Sig Sauer

It’s bright red with tacky gold embellishments, really Sig? I have been known to drift toward one firearm or another for aesthetic reasons, I think my Kimber is pretty but it’s also a functioning lightweight carry gun that’s not bright pink and over embellished.  I can carry it around and my fellow gun shop employees don’t make fun of me.

One thing that 1911s and P238s have going for them the gun industry should take into consideration as something “girly” is the ability to personalize the gun.  I can go buy whatever kind of grips I want for either of these firearms and suddenly I have a nice gun that I like to shoot and is mine.  This is the real reason we all have 50 pairs of shoes; so we can personalize our wardrobe and come up with unique outfits on a daily basis.  We like things to be our own and be different, continue to give us the ability to make our guns how we want and you will continue to sell guns to us.  Try stuff pink plastic down our throat and we’ll throw it back at you.

The only way to really get women interested is by giving them good guns to shoot.  Stop marketing things to women by making guns pink, give us good guns and then let us make them ours.


  1. Nicely said and it really would be a refreshing change if those in power actually listened. I’m tired of frigging midget guns that are chambered for calibers that I’d use for snakes rather than two-legged critters.

    Of course, my next question is when S&W is going to release a 3.5-inch M&P 9 with a FULL-SIZE grip rather than being exclusive to the midget M&P 9c?

    1. That’s a good question! I think it’s funny how often women are inclined toward larger guns and even larger grips. I had a girl with her boyfriend in the shop yesterday looking at a G30 and he was like “Dang, that’s a big gun!” and she insisted it was the one she wanted because she’d shot everything a few times and that was her favorite. So he got it for her, it was fantastic.

      1. My wife had the same reaction. It was a large part of why we ended up with a GP-100 instead of a SP-101 for a first house gun, because she much preferred how the big gun fit her teeny tiny hands…

      2. It’s surprising how often people will get put off by how a thick grip feels… until they shoot it, and realize that fat butt gives them a lot to grip and control the recoil.

        I’ve dated a few women like that.

      3. My first Christmas present for my now ex-wife was an H&K USP in .45ACP. She loved to shoot it one handed.

        Which reminds me, I still need to get some video of my 66-year old mom loading, chambering, and accurately shooting my Springfield Operator. Women can’t rack the slide my ass.

      4. I used to work at a gun store. I’ve never sold a gun to a woman that was “girly” unless she wanted one.
        My wife’s engagement preasent was a Glock 19, because that is what she liked. I came home from a deployment, and we went shooting. After blasting all my .45 ammo though a full size USP, she took her gun down to a gun show and traded it in on a Glock 38. Women want the right gun, not a “girly” gun.

  2. Word.

    My wife claims that my full size SS Kimber belongs to her. She has also been eyeballing my p238 HD.

    Seems like “female” CCW guns could actually be larger because women typically have a purse to hide them in… as my wife has demonstrated with my Kimber.

    Also WTF is with people suggesting revolvers to women as if they are somehow more appropriate?

      1. I have a Springfield Operator and S&W 625JM. My mom prefers the 1911, but not because of the trigger. She just doesn’t care for how the revolver, in the same caliber, feels like it’s driving straight into her arthritic wrists. Semi-autos just do such a wonderful job of softening the recoil.

        With some coaching on how to bend at the elbows instead of the wrists to absorb the recoil, she likes it a little more. But she’s still far more comfortable operating the 1911.

      2. I always thought the reason women were pointed toward revolvers was because of the strength and grip needed to cycle the slide.

    1. My wife has absolutely no mechanical ability whatsoever, and she will be the first to admit it. Any type of jam in a semi-auto will stop her cold, and she hands the gun to me in complete frustration. It was her decision to go the revolver route – just point and pull the trigger, with extreme reliability. Revolvers served the police for how many decades? And who would want to mess with a lady shooting a 357?

  3. Great piece! There is of course the added fact that shockingly some women…like me hate pink, what a concept. Great job Shelley.

  4. Back when I worked behind the display case I was never sure whether Taurus was marketing to women or pimps. I NEVER pointed my female customers to the “ladies guns.” They got to coon-finger the same Glocks, Sigs, and Rugers that the fellas did.

  5. After a visit to a ranch in Montana my wife’s best friend fell in love with shooting … shotguns specifically. She asked my wife if I would be willing to take her to the range. Why wouldn’t I?

    I brought along four guns: Kahr P9, Springfield XD 9mm, XDm .45, and my Walther P99 in .40 S&W. She shot all of them except the .40 S&W. After watching me shoot it (using some Black Hills loads) she decided it looked like a bit too much recoil.

    Her favorite was the XD 9. It fit her hands, had manageable recoil (didn’t want to tell her it was a hotter load than normal), and she shot it better than the others.

    On the way out she looked at the display cases and was HORRIFIED that anyone would make a pink gun. She liked that the XD had an olive drab frame, but pink had crossed a line.

    I always wondered if other women had the same reaction. Thank you for confirming that it really is as bad as my wife’s best friend implied.

  6. After she shot just about everything in the case, I bought a Sig 226 Elite for my lovely wife. For her, it was the most accurate and most comfortable to use. Though, she does like the 238 Rainbow, too!

    I actually prefer the more slender grip of a 1911 or a CZ but, that is the pistol profile I first learned how to use in the military ages ago. I would like to try the new Kimber Solo and a Para Carry 9, some day.

  7. I’m a guy with little hands and by listening to Jerry Miculek and stealing a reloading technique from his wife Kay, I’m able to shoot a double-stack STI comfortably. I have sculpted it with a dremel and thinned it down but I shot if for a couple of years with the full size grip. Hadn’t thought about preferring the big grip but now that you folks mention it, the STI does feel better than a 1911

  8. Amen sister! I like some pink but not ALL PINK. I do however try to buy whatever I can that supports breast cancer awareness!

  9. I think we need “special guns for girls” about as we need “special door handles for guys.” Given the tremendously wide range of hand sizes for both men and women, most companies who have any thought of large institutional sales (LE/mil) have removable backstraps or similar ergonomic customization.

    I don’t want an eggshell blue gun, why would I expect a girl to want a pink one? (breast cancer awareness excepted, of course)

    I don’t want a remote control or IROC Camaro engraved on my slide, why would a girl want flowers and kittens?

    BTW the really bad news is that it’s not just the industry’s inability to market for WOMEN. As a rule, there are very, very few people in the firearms industry — especially at larger companies — who have the foggiest idea about guns or shooters.

    1. I like my “Lady Smith” Model 65LS. I wanted a 3″ stainless, K-frame, fixed sight .357 — and that’s what I could find.

      When Kahr came out with their “Lady’s” versions of their K9, I liked the trigger on it better than the standard. I think they’ve discontinued the “Lady” K9, or maybe they just incorporated the trigger work into the “standard” production.

  10. I have two stories that relate to this. Went to a local gun show with my girlfriend. Walked up to a table with a pink Charter Arms revolver.
    Me: ” Hey what do you think about this?”
    GF: ” Ehh, I’ll stick to my Glock 19.”
    Second story. When into the local gun store. I found a pink overmould grip. Showed it to her, she loved it. She loves the fact that now her pistol is different than all the other pistols we see. It’s her own.

  11. I like the P238 Lady, I also like the STI Elektra and have a Beretta 92 with pink Hogue grips. I always know which one is mine! lol Though I do wish they were in purple!

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