Business Blog

Who are the Women Gun Buyers?


In my blog post introducing this series, I asked the question that anyone in this business should be asking: How does the fast-growing segment of women gun buyers impact the firearms industry? The study, Women Gun Owners: Purchasing, Perceptions and Participation, commissioned by the NSSF and released to the membership in January 2015, takes a closer look.  In this post, I’ll provide a snapshot of the study’s participants.


  • The average age (mean and median) of women who participated was 42 with a roughly equal distribution of ages from 25 to 65.  However, the study was light on the youngest women ages 18 to 24 with only 9% in that age group.
  • The mean annual household income is $73,143 and median household income is $62,500 with a range from under $25,000 (11.1%) to $200,000+ (only 2.1%).  However, the study provides a nice representation of household incomes across the remaining ranges. According to the most recently available census data, the median U.S. household income is $53,657, which means the sample households in this study are wealthier, on average, than the general U.S. population.
  • The majority of women (73%) are married and have an average of 1.2 children under the age 18 living in the household.
  • The sample of women can be considered well educated with 76% having some college and of those 45% are college graduates.
  • Nearly half of the respondents (46%) are employed fulltime.


Most women are not new to firearms and are active in a variety of shooting activities.


  • Women in the study own an average of three firearms
  • Semiautomatic pistols are by far the most popular (56% own at least one)
  • Shotguns are second most popular (49% own at least one)
  • Traditional rifles are third most popular (42% own at least one)
  • The study was initially undertaken because of the observed rapid influx of women into the ranks of gun ownership. Although many women are new to firearms in the US, only 33% of women in the study acquired their first gun within the past 3 years. The remainder has owned at least one firearm for more than three years with nearly half (42%) owning firearms for over 10 years. 
  • Women in the study are very active shooters with 43% indicating they participated in hunting and/or other shooting activities at least once per month or more frequently in the past 12 months.
  • The vast majority of women (96%) have tried target shooting at one point or another and it is by far the most popular activity with 62% of women indicating it is the activity they participate in most frequently. A third of women (32%) indicate that they target shoot once a month or more. Hunting is a distant second with 58% indicating they have tried it and slightly less than a third (32%) indicating they hunt frequently. Women participate in practical pistol shooting, clay sports, and plinking at approximately the same level and frequency.  For each activity, over half of women will maintain their current level of activity and anywhere from 21% for clay sports to 35% for practical pistol shooting will increase their participation in the next 12 months.


In summary, although a significant proportion of women are new to guns and shooting activities, the majority are not. Women, on average, own more than one firearm and are reasonably active in shooting sports including target shooting, hunting and practical pistol shooting and clay sports. Women’s activity levels are anticipated to increase overall from the previous year.


The research was conducted and report written by Laura Kippen, Ph.D., President and Founder of InfoManiacs, Inc.