Summer is here and so are the opportunities to have some fun at the range! A new range has just opened in Lakewood, NJ and S.A.W. Shooting Club is spreading our wings to start a new southern chapter of our women’s social and shooting club.
Garden State Shooting Center, a newly renovated twelve port, 25 yard, indoor range, opened its doors a few weeks ago to an excited shooting community. The range is open to the public and also offers memberships and rentals. A spacious, well stocked firearms retail area is connected to the range as well as a comfortable lounge for relaxing or waiting for your port to be available.
The entire interior has been remodeled and updated both inside the range with spacious updated ports and in the lounge area with televisions, couches and a large classroom for training classes.
With the S.A.W. Club going strong in North Jersey with our monthly port meet ups for women and many events for new and more experienced shooters, we are taking the group just a little bit South, to grow our social circle and include as many women in New Jersey as possible. Our first event at the Garden State Shooting Center will be on July 9th at 7 pm. Like our Port Meet Ups in Woodland Park, this event is for women with all levels of firearms experience. Whether you bring your own firearms, or choose to rent something from the range’s inventory, we will also have firearms available for sharing and instructors on hand to help with beginners. If you have never been to a S.A.W. event, now is the time to see what it’s all about! The cost for this event is $15 per person. For more information on how to register for our upcoming events and become a member, please go to our website S.A.W. Shooting Club or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also join us on Facebook in our closed group (Closed Group) or follow us our public page (SAW).
Our upcoming events include beginners classes, member only events, port meet ups, self-defense for women as well as kids events!
Last night the Second Amendment Women Shooting Club hosted a safe gun handling and Introduction to Shooting event for children ages 8-15. What an amazing night! For all the instructors out there, we don’t have to tell you how incredible it is to watch new shooters take their first shots, and when its kids, its smiles all around.
To begin the night, our instructors presented the Eddie Eagle Gun Safety program, which informs children what to do should they encounter a firearm without an adult present. Everyone who participated received an Eddie Eagle Challenge Coin for being able to correctly identify the four rules – Stop, Don’t Touch, Leave the Area, Tell an Adult. This is an important lesson even though we would continue on to learn the rules of safe shooting before moving to the range so the kids could take their first shots. Our range portion took place under the careful supervision of parents and certified firearms instructors.
For most of the children in attendance, this would be the first time they would be inside a shooting range, however several had a chance to go target shooting or hunting with their parents before coming to the event. After going over gun and range safety, as well as introducing the kids to the firearms we would be using, we put on our eye and ear protection and headed into the range.
We had the range to ourselves which made for a very comfortable, relaxed atmosphere and all the firearms we used were .22 caliber. The choices included a Ruger 10/22 rifle, a KSA Crickett, a Ruger SR22, a Smith and Wesson Model 63 and for some extra fun, a Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22. Each participant had a chance to try each of the firearms available. After everyone had a chance to try everything once, the parents were welcome to enjoy some family target shooting with their children and their own firearms.
As you can see from the pictures, it really was smiles all around. Hugs and high fives; and targets were saved to be hung on bedroom walls at home. The environment was safe, friendly and fun. On the way out the kids were already asking when the next event would be!
This event would not have been possible without the continued support of the Woodland Park Range, providing the venue and as always, anything we needed. Parents and friends donated ammunition and snacks and of course our experienced, NRA instructors volunteered their time – we couldn’t have done it without you!
For the past several years, the NSSF Shot Show has held a press conference to present the latest on women’s involvement in the shooting sports and industry in general. The first year the topic was presented, it was revealed there were more presenters at the podium than attendees; but certainly not any more. This year, it was standing room only! The room was packed with interest in the incredible increase in participation and buying power of gun owning women in the past year.
A comprehensive report was revealed by the NSSF with topics researched including everything from what women are buying, how much they are spending, whether or not training is important right down to how comfortable we feel at the gun counter. For those of us in the field, women who are involved in hunting and competitive shooting, as well as teaching, and outreach to increase accessibility to gun ownership to an ever increasing number of women, the new report brings no surprises.
The study is chock full of wonderful statistics based on a majority respondent profile of an educated, middle aged, married, Caucasian mother. Leading women in the shooting industry were consulted on the types of questions and topics that would reveal the true interest and involvement of today’s gun owning women.
The average women in the study owned a gun for at least five years, however a large proportion owned a gun for over ten years. A significant portion, about 30% of participants in the study became a gun owner in the past three years, showing a demographic change in female gun owners, since the newest gun owners are between 18-34 years of age. It does not come as a surprise that most women are still purchasing with the main purpose of self-defense and home protection, but more and more are seeing the social aspect of shooting with family and friends as important as well as an interest in learning to hunt.
Overall, women felt more confident and safe as gun owners and the fit and feel of a gun in their hand was extremely important. Guns are not typically an impulse purchase for women. According the study, 67.3% of women are spending at least a few months and up to a year choosing the right gun. And of special note to manufacturers, their research includes visiting the websites of manufacturers as one of the main sources of information in order to make that purchase.
The buying power of women is also significant as the study reveals that female gun owners spent an average of $870 on their first gun purchase in the last year and the majority are buying semi-automatic pistols. Women also spent an average of $405 on accessories in the past year, including items such as gun cleaning kits, targets and ear protection. The availability of feminine accessories was not a factor in gun purchases. When it comes to non-traditional colors and patterns on guns women either liked them or did not. There isn’t much gray area here. However if women specific accessories were available, such as holsters, grips and apparel, the study indicates that there would be a market for them among a select segment of women. And as women become more involved in hunting and shooting sports and begin to seek out guns and apparel that fit them better, about a quarter of the women polled said that they had trouble finding items that fit them.
One of the more interesting outcomes of the study reveals that women are seeking out training in high numbers. Almost three quarters of women have taken at least one training class whether it be a concealed carry class, hunters education or range safety instruction. And on average women continue to take around three gun training classes. In general, women are not buying a gun and a box of ammunition and throwing it in a drawer. The amount of training a woman participates in also has a correlation with how much women spend on guns and accessories. Not surprisingly, as women increase their confidence and knowledge of guns, they are willing and enthusiastic to become more involved in shooting activities. Women have a tremendous amount of buying power and this should be of significant interest to ranges with training programs and retail sales.
Certainly many women’s shooting clubs are already seeing this trend. At the Second Amendment Women Shooting Club (SAW), the NSSF research confirms what we already know, that women will seek out other women, will value training more, and spend more on a gun and accessories than those that don’t train. Our monthly port meet ups for women only are packed and our members are showing increased interest in advanced training, classes in gun cleaning, and assistance with well thought out and researched gun purchases. The research indicates that women respond positively to other women shooters. And that “women only events” will encourage some women to participate more frequently. We have certainly seen that trend.
We have all heard that women are the fastest growing segment in the firearms industry. Whether the introduction to firearms came through a family member, friend or some outside influence, we want to learn more, increase our confidence and get out there and have fun.. and we will do it safely.
(All statistics are from the NSSF Report – Women Gun Owners 2014 Edition)