Hunting and shooting have traditionally been male activities, but that is changing. NSSF President/CEO Steve Sanetti noted the trend to an increasingly urban, ethnically diverse and urban fan base for the shooting sports during his State of the Industry talk the first evening of the 2014 SHOT Show.
Products on the show floor reflect the change. For years, pink has appeared as an accent on guns or on camo patterns, of course, but now companies are developing entire lines to appeal to women. The two events that precipitated the awakening (other than a terrible and unfortunate string of well-publicized shootings) were perhaps the 9-11 tragedy and the election of the current national administration in Washington, D.C.
At the EAA booth, Sharon Lacy says she was charged with designing the new Pavona line of handguns. In studying the market, they developed semi-auto line in .380, .40 and 9mm. Pavona guns are incorporated into their Witness line and built for them by Tanfoglio. The frames are brightly colored with reflective flecks mixed in the polymer.
"They have a little flash," Lacy says, "but they're serious guns."
At the Taurus booth, Aurora Carias showed their new line of small personal defense and concealed carry handguns to Italian buyers, Luca Meca and his friend Giuseppe. The new element this year is the increased appreciation for the spending power and interest of women.
In a nation of 325 million people, enthusiastically opening the industry's doors to half the public is a terrific business decision and helps ensure the long-range success of the shooting sports.