Raise your hand if you've heard this one: A woman walks into the gun store and an hour later walks out with a tiny pink pistol or some ridiculously inappropriate-for-her revolver. Even before I became a gun owner the concept that women's guns had to be small and pink bothered me. I wanted to shake these women and tell them “You don't have to buy the pink gun!”. And while my goal is still to teach women that fact, I've also come to believe that it's okay if they want to buy the pink gun too.
Silently Judging You
I confess, I am as guilty as the next person for judging others' firearms choices. When I see a woman gushing about how pretty her new gun is I make judgments about her. The pink guns, the pretty holsters, the Hello Kitty designs, the a unicorn vomited a rainbow on my AR designs... All of them say to me that this person isn't a serious gun owner. This person wants an accessory, not a tool for self defense. But that's bullshit, and I'm calling myself out on it.
Thing is, I'm not someone who is into all the shiny pink things. I can clean up really nice if I want to and I have a closet full of super cute clothes, but I'm a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl most days. I laughed this morning as I was getting dressed because I was like “should I wear the black gun t-shirt today, or the black gun t-shirt. Wait, maybe I should wear the black gun t-shirt, or maybe the gray one (just for a change)”. I've never owned a pair of Uggs, I don't know 20 ways to tie a scarf, and I really dislike pumpkin spice. (I do however have several pairs of hella cute boots. I am still a girl after all!). But that's me, that's who I am.
What I Carry
My style is also reflected in my weapon and gear choices. My holster is a black Velo from Tenicor and my gun is a black on black Glock 48 with a black Holosun 507K. The POM OC Spray I carry is black. Both my Spyderco pocket knife and my Streamlight Protac handheld flashlight are black. My BCM AR15 is black with a black sling and a black carrying case. When someone asks me who my style icons are I always say Audrey Hepburn. That was a lady who knew how to make black look sexy, interesting, and always in style. It goes with everything after all.
Pretty in Pink
What I have had to remind myself though, is that not everyone is me. A lot of women do own Uggs and know 20 ways to tie a scarf. And, for the love of God I can't figure out why, but they also love pumpkin spice. They love their teal guns, their purple holsters, and their hot pink AR slings. And that is okay. What matters is that they have made the decision to arm themselves. To take the steps to protect themselves and their families. What matters is that their weapon and gear are of good quality and safe, and that they have trained with them. What isn't important is what color they are.
We as women can be brutal to each other. Women are way more judgmental of each other than men are of us. We snipe and snark and talk about each other. It doesn't help and it doesn't change anything. If anything, it damages men's opinions of us. So I am making a commitment today to be better. To not judge another woman based on the color of her gun but instead on her commitment to training. Because there aren't nearly enough of us and we need to support other women who want to get into firearms.
Don't be THAT Girl
Having said that however, I do believe there is a certain segment of women who do treat guns as nothing more than an accessory. These women should not be spared judgment. These are the women who buy the pink gun (maybe take the CCW class if it's required in their state) and then treat the gun as an accessory, not a potentially deadly tool. They buy a crappy Flashbang or Lethal Lace holster, or something cheap and cute that offers zero retention. Without thought they wave their gun around, showing it off to their girlfriends. They don't learn safety, they don't learn defense, and they certainly never practice. I've known these women since long before I became a gun owner myself.
Why it Matters
Why do I have such dislike for these women? It has nothing to do with owning a pink gun. Heck, there are people (because yes, men are guilty of treating a gun like an accessory too) who do it no matter what color the gun is, even black. First and foremost, it is because they can be a danger to society. Everyone should use quality gear and get quality training. Quality doesn't have to mean expensive. We have lots of affordable gear and training information here on Primer Peak to help you get started.
Selfishly, however, I dislike these women because they hurt those of us in the industry who are trying to eek out a place in a largely male dominated world. It's human nature to generalize. Men, and even other women, see these blinged out pretty princesses waving around their little toy-like guns and no training and assume all female gun owners are like that. That their focus is on aesthetics and not function. To be clear, my issue is with the lack of seriousness around owning a firearm, not with the bling itself.
Let's Make a Deal
It's even harder for those of us with a defensive focus. Sitting here I can name several well known female competitive shooters. I can only name like 3 or 4 women who's main focus is defensive instruction. Most of those are local to me. I'm sure many areas of the country have beloved local female instructors too. However, when it comes to industry wide, well-known female defensive instructors, the list I can come up with shrinks to one. That's not okay and it's something I'd love to see changed. But for that to happen, we need as many women as possible be as responsible and awesome as possible with their gun ownership. So buy the pink gun if you want, just make sure you save a little for training and quality support gear. Let's make a deal, I promise if you do your part, I'll do mine!