The firearms industry has been going like gangbusters since 2019, and that’s been both a blessing and a curse.
The Bad News
First, let’s look at the curse. (It’s always good to get the bad news out of the way first.) All over the country, we’ve witnessed higher-than-normal (and in most cases, higher-than-ever) prices, a historically low inventory, long lines at stores that stretch for blocks in some stores, limits on how much you can buy of certain items like ammo and magazines, and more. We all thought that Barack Obama was a great gun salesman, but it turns out that social unrest, a pandemic, and Joe Biden create quite the combination as well!
The Good News
Despite all of this, there actually is a silver lining. Part of the shortage of guns and ammo has been driven by a huge influx of first-time gun buyers. The NSSF found that 21 million NICS background checks were conducted in 2020 and that 40% of them were for first-time gun owners. That means we got 8.4 million new gun owners last year! Of those millions, a whopping 40% of them were women, whereas only 10 to 20% were women in past surveys. Of that 40%, we see that 28% of them were Black women.
These huge numbers are being noticed outside of the industry as well. The 2021 National Firearms Survey, designed and conducted by Harvard and Northeastern universities, polled 19,000 adults – one of the largest surveys of its kind.
New Industry Standards
Even with the promising surge of new female gun owners, the gun industry as a whole is still seen as a man’s world. Thankfully, though, the industry is taking notice and making changes that actually make a difference.
In the past, guns and other shooting products that were marketed toward women were essentially just the same products but in different colors such as pink, purple, and “muddy girl camo.”
This has begun to change. A lot of companies have shifted away from the gender colors in their products and have instead begun to focus on actual user compatibility.
Impact on FFLs
It’s always a good thing for FFL dealers any time there’s a surge in new gun owners, regardless of whether it’s men or women. With so many new women shooters, though, it’s a good idea to reevaluate your sales and marketing tactics.
If you’re an FFL who has employees, make sure they aren’t talking down to female customers. If you’re looking to hire new staff, give serious consideration to the woman who drops off her application and resume. People are always more comfortable dealing with sales staff who are “like me,” and you’ll likely see a surge in female gun sales if you’ve got a smart woman behind the counter.
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