Imagine this: you are getting ready for a night out on the town. Maybe you are headed out on a date night with your significant other, or perhaps you’re all set for a girls’ night out. Your chosen outfit is attractive and flattering, all you need are just the right accessories to really put the icing on the cake. On goes a sparkly necklace with cute, coordinating earrings and a flowery hair clip. A pair of calf boots over your skinny jeans, and a soft, fuzzy shawl help to combat the coming autumnal chill in the air, and no outfit is complete without the darling pink handgun tucked into the holster you took such great pains to conceal on your person.
*Cue scratching-record sound*
A pink handgun?!
Yes, folks, you heard me correctly. In a vain attempt to win over the ever-growing group of new female shooters, many pistol manufacturers are “girling up” some of their most popular handgun models and turning them into various shades of pink, purple, blue and teal, reminiscent of a pack of SweeTARTS. A quick Google image search for “handguns for women” turned up all kinds of yummy flavors colors, and sort of made me hungry for a bowl of ice cream. Or cotton candy. Mmmmmm.
So is this what women really want? Pink handguns? Handguns with cartoon characters emblazoned upon them? The growing gun market seems to believe so. Many manufacturers are jumping on the “girl gun” bandwagon and modifying their most popular models in shades of neon and pastel in the hopes of turning the eye of the single most rapidly growing demographic of shooters – girls and women. According to the National Shooting Sports Association (NSSA), females introduced to shooting sports increased by 60% between 2001 and 2013. As such, there is a lot of market out there to whom they should cater, and it seems as though they feel the answer to what a woman wants in a gun is more colors!
There are many women that feel as though the colored handguns help feminize a culture that to most women, felt like a “good ol’ boys” club. They feel as though the colored firearms offer them a sense of choice and ownership into the shooting sports, then sense of belonging they feel they couldn’t get with a plain, black gun.
I mean, who wouldn’t want a tiny rifle with a Hello Kitty® butt stock?
Still haven’t gotten your pastel fix? How about a Hello Kitty® handgun?
Too feline? How about the equine-inspired My Little Pony® Glambo™?
Maybe cartoons aren’t your thing; maybe you’re just into plain ol’ pink:
Or maybe you’re more of a high brow designer gal:
Whatever your fancy, there’s a flavor for you!! But while I like my strawberry ice cream pink, and indeed, it would be very suspicious if it was any other color but, I can’t say the same for my firearms. To be clear, I don’t say this as a hater of traditional “girl” colors or gender-based marketing as those things certainly have their place and function in the world (tampons for men, anyone?), but if I have to be honest, I feel the same about pink (and purple and teal) handguns as I do about cute dogs in handbags. They are cute, they can serve a basic function, but the novelty of each does not do enough to convey the seriousness of the responsibility imposed by the acquisition. While a pooch in a purse may seem as transient as that piece of gum sitting right next to it, a dog is a major responsibility and one must be committed to dog ownership, even if your little friend travels by Coach®.
The same can also be said of gun ownership. A handgun, whether it’s pink, purple, camo-printed, or stock black is a huge responsibility, one that bears with it some serious consideration prior to making a purchase. It’s not like the wallet or keys that you toss into your bag amongst the old receipts and used tissues. It must be handled and carried with care and with thought given to its application. When selecting a handgun, a woman (or a man) should primarily consider fit and function before factoring in form. If that bubble-gum-colored handgun feels good in your hand, has a recoil that is manageable for you, is fun to train with and increases your confidence in your safety when you’re out on the town, more power to you!! If you are simply making the purchase because it matches your winter coat, you are making a hasty, uninformed decision that you may later regret.
Consider this: Can you remember the last time you went car shopping? All that test-driving and question-asking and plan-making? Putting that same level of forethought and care into shopping for a firearm will serve you well in the end. And hey, maybe black will become the new pink!
Stay tuned for Part II of this article, coming soon.