Females and Firearms 101

Top 10 things women want gun stores to know before we shop.

I attended the SHE Expo this weekend in Fort Wayne with ONE purpose in mind. Single focused, and on a mission, I grabbed my daughter and we headed out!  

hildaWe skated past the vendors who wanted to update my home with “free estimates” for brand new windows. Even the sparkles coming from the jewelry booths and aromas from the perfume n’ lotion tables didn’t beckon us in. We were headed to one place– Hiding Hilda’s, the treasure trove for concealed carry for firearms and self defense for women!

Evidently I was not the only one who had this goal, because the booth was packed full of women who were chit-chatting and in search of the perfect purse! As I do so often, I turned on my ears. I wanted to hear what these women were saying about the products. Woman after woman expressed their excitement about their favorite firearm, and others listening in, said, “it’s really time for me to purchase a firearm.”

Women have gotten it.

They sense a need and responsibility to protect their cubs and empower themselves! In fact right here in Indiana, the number of women with concealed carry permits is literally skyrocketing. There are no political party boundaries. According to the Indy Star, by the first quarter of 2016, more than 174,000 Hoosier women held permits, up nearly 90 percent from the roughly 92,000 women who held permits in 2012.  This means….

Boys, it’s time to learn how to sell firearms to the ladies! 

For years, gun shops have been the ultimate man caves of comfort, familiarity and financial transactions for men. Countless men have been known to migrate to these caves {grunt} lined with hundreds of manly-man guns. The smells and sounds of the shops beckoned men of all ages. Store inventory didn’t matter. If it went bang… the men salivated! Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with this love and comfort for our guys! I know I’m thankful for my tough Bible carry’n, gun tote’n man! 

However, times have changed! Women are now one of the leading purchasers of firearms and concealed carry licenses. This has caught the guys a bit off guard!  A woman walking into the shop is different!

How should they act?

What does she want?

Does he dare ask how he can help her? 

I’m here to help!  Because gentlemen…. we have cash and we are ready to spend!!!

Last week I asked my social media girlfriends to take a survey for me. I had over thirty responses that were stunningly similar. I asked two questions.

  1. As a woman who’s never stepped foot in a gun shop… what are your fears, and what do you need the salesman to know about you and your purchase.
  2. The second question I asked was to my more experienced firearm friends. I asked, “what has been your experience as a woman when walking into a gun store? How were you treated?”

The answers were stunning and all similar. There was a pattern to what women need and how they are treated when walking into a mans world. (By the way ladies, I also interviewed local gun shop and asked him what HE needs from us when we walk in. We’ll talk about that at the end.) In full disclaimer: I am certainly  not a firearm shopping expert! I probably left items off of this list! This is just a compilation of things I’ve experienced and my social media survey data! Comment below with your thoughts!

To the gun shops, let’s talk:

Concealed Carry

Concealed Carry Purse from Hiding Hilda.

I decided instead of simply copying and pasting, I’d take the content from my survey and give you the Top Ten Do’s and Don’ts when a woman (who btw is most likely loaded with cash) when she walks in your door. Yes, you heard me correctly! You see, most women don’t just wake up one day and say, “you know, I’m just gonna go to the local gun shop and browse the inventory! There are some exceptions to that rule, because I LOVE gun shops and I’ll go there any day to browse, (put some shoes and jewelry in there and I’d never leave!) but generally women are on a mission and they have cash!!

So what are the top ten things you should know when a woman walks into your shop?  Let us tell you!

  1. Do greet the women who come in your store with a smile and an “I’m ready to help you” attitude. A woman has the intuition of a lioness. She knows when you would rather be over with the group of guys talking about the newest high powered machine that just came in the shop rather wasting your time with her.
  2. Do ask her how you can help her. This is important! Take time to LISTEN and do a mental interview. Find out if she is brand new to firearms, or if she knows exactly what she wants and why she is there.  Not knowing this could allow a potential new customer to walk out of your store empty handed… or berate a seasoned firearm woman. Don’t know where she stands? ASK HER!  Educate… but do not berate. This is why the first interaction with her is so important. You will find out the keys to your sale in the first few minutes you are with her! Remember, she has cash!
  3. Do let her touch, handle and feel as many guns as you can. Purchasing a gun is personal and different for every woman. We will know when we find that “right” one. One of my favorite places to shop for a firearm is Two Bear Arms Gun Shop. Do you know why?  Because when I go in there, they never complain about placing 5 or 6 guns on the counter so I can pick one gun up and then try the next and go back to my first choice. It’s never a bother for them to open the cabinet up to help me. I’ve been to some shops that you nearly hear a HUFF when you want to see a gun… let alone two! Open up your cabinets and let the women touch the guns! 
  4. Do talk straight to us and WITH us. If we come with our husbands, don’t look over our heads to talk to him. Don’t talk around us. Talk to us. It is patronizing to be talked around. If we are there looking at firearms… talk to us. 
  5. Don’t assume that you know what we want. What may work for one woman, may not work for another. Some women like the designer guns, and that’s OK! I’ll never apologize for liking the pretty guns. I’m a girl!  However some women might want something different! Some women might a gun to conceal. Others may want a home defense gun. Some may want a big monster of a firearm. This goes back to listening. Find out what she wants.
  6. Do (if at all possible) let her rent or shoot several kinds of guns. It’s not always possible to do with your store setup, but if it is… offer to let her test it for “her fit.”
  7. Do encourage her to take a firearm safety class. This is extremely important. I believe a class is just as important as the gun purchase itself. Learning how a firearm works, along with the laws and responsibilities of owning a firearm come with the privilege of the 2nd Amendment. In fact, if you want to be the coolest gun shop in the world… offer a free gun safety course with the sale of a firearm!
  8. Do be prepared to answer questions such as: What kind of gun do I need for personal protection? What kind of gun fits my hand? Which sight do I like? Which grip works the best for my hand? Is this trigger better than another. What happens if I like this trigger but not that sight? Can I shoot several kinds of guns now? What do I have to do to buy a gun? Can I buy a relatively inexpensive gun? 
  9. Don’t forget to talk about safety.  Many of us are moms with little curious children. Please suggest the proper safe storage and how we can we best protect ourselves and our children AND have our firearm accessible if we would ever need it. 
  10. Do engage—>Do listen—> Do be present. Know that when a woman walks into the store with her husband, she may be the one that will hand you the money. She’s brought her spouse to help give her input.  But she is your customer. Not her spouse.

Remember, when you spend time with her…she will return. It’s a win-win situation for you! One visit to your store could make or break her desire to protect herself!

Now ladies… its our turn to chat!

Before I close, let’s go on a virtual shopping trip and talk about the do’s and don’ts of purchasing a firearm. We also have a responsibility when walking into a gun store!  Let’s talk about it:

  1. Do understand there are NO stupid questions when shopping for a firearm. If the retailer makes you feel stupid, take your cash and walk right out the door! There are plenty of others who will help you. Don’t forget to tell them why you are walking.  Also girls, when you find a store who is awesome with women clientele, tell all your girlfriends about it!  (Make sure you comment below if you have had a good experience!)
  2. Do research. Be willing to know their language. When you know the basics of the firearm world, you will be better prepared to ask he right questions to help your salesman know what you want! If you don’t know… speak up and ask him to slow down and explain. 
  3. Don’t let your husband, boyfriend, or family friend pick out your firearm for you. This is a very personal choice. We have different body shapes, sizes, strength and frames. This is YOUR decision. YOU have to be comfortable.
  4. Don’t buy a firearm just because it is cheap. Shop around. There are lots of reasonable prices and lots of different sizes and shapes. I found an awesome article this week from the Well Armed Woman about the top ten guns women are buying! It’s a great article. I have shot most of these guns and would agree! 
  5. 3705-ruger-lcp-raspberryDon’t forget to take a gun safety class. This is the truth ladies… it’s one of the best things money can buy.  I recommend taking it BEFORE you shop for the right gun. I took mine at Tactical Edge Training Services. I made the mistake of purchasing my gun first. I think I remember telling you how cute the little gun was!  I found out it wasn’t a fit for me. It hurt to shoot. When Steve, my instructor, put the “right” one in my hand, I was hooked. I soon became addicted and enjoyed shooting! Find a class that has several firearms you can shoot and enroll TODAY!
  6. Do be prepared to tell the salesman what you want. Be specific. For example: Will you carry on your person or in a purse? Do you want a home protection firearm? What caliber would fit you best? What safety precautions should I take?
  7. Do practice practice practice! Now, instead of going to the local coffee shop to gossip with your girlfriends, you will find yourself gathering the chicks and heading to the range. Of course we meet for coffee afterwards and by the end of the night we have swapped every story we could get out between breaths! One of my favorite times spent with my husband is on the range.  I love that time with him. Grab the ear protection that has the volume control and you can talk just like you are on a date!

Most importantly ladies… have fun empowering yourself. We are living in a crazy, backwards world. Story after story appears in the headlines of bad guys taking out the good guys who are unarmed. Well, lets become part of the solution to protect those we love! There is a sense of accomplishment when you learn how to safely operate a firearm. There really is!  

I’d love to hear your comments at the bottom of this page! 

When seconds count… police are minutes away! 


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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