Gun marketers have found a new target group (bad pun intended) for their weapons--women. The female market for guns is estimated at $285 million this year for firearms alone, and gun manufacturers are tweaking their products accordingly. The result has been shorter, lighter shotguns, new grips on handguns and flashier designs, all of which attract women buyers. There's also a market among women for ammunition, accessories and hunting equipment. Overall, there appears to be two primary aspects to the women's gun market: one is related to self-defense; the other to sport hunting. Regarding the former, National Rifle Association President Sandy Froman says: ''The women of America are very concerned about safety and security for themselves and their families. I think many of us realize ultimately we're the ones responsible for our own defense." Concerning he latter, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the shooting, hunting and firearms industry, says participation in hunting and target shooting has risen 50 percent to 6.3 million women from 1999 to 2004, and women now make up 15 percent of the marketplace when it comes to shooting sports and hunting.
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