According to a recent study done by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), “the landscape of target shooters has shifted.” With 20% of current shooters having taken up the sport in just the last five years, a new generation has emerged with a completely different demographic profile.
The study compares established shooters (more than five years of experience) with new shooters and shows that this new wave of shooting enthusiasts is often younger, female, and urban. Here’s a breakdown of the numbers:
Younger: 66 percent of new shooters fall into the 18-to-34-year-old category compared to 31 percent in the same age category for established shooters.
Female: 37 percent of new target shooters are female compared to 22 percent of established target shooters.
Urban: 47 percent of new target shooters live in urban/suburban settings versus 34 percent of established target shooters.
For owners of shooting ranges and gun shops, this means that it is no longer “business as usual.” As customer demographics change, so must the industry.
Innovative shooting ranges and gun shops across the country have taken notice of the trend and are adjusting the way they do business. One such innovator is Miles Hall, owner of H&H Shooting Sports in Oklahoma City.
“Shooting is not a men’s only club anymore,” Hall said. “47 percent of our customer base is women.”
In response to the shift, Hall has made a concerted effort to upgrade his shooting range facilities and provide firearms training that meets the demands of the new generation of shooters.
“There’s a huge audience out there who want to shoot, and you’re going to have to have the right equipment to take care of them,” Hall said. “The shooting sport has changed, and you have to either be changing with it or you’re going to die in the past.”
How You Can Help
As a company that not only manufactures shooting range equipment but also consults with range owners on every aspect of their businesses, we try to provide the most accurate information to help them succeed. In response to the industry’s shifting demographics, Action Target has created a survey to better understand the preferences of women when it comes to shooting range equipment, technology, and amenities.
Survey participants who qualify will receive a one-time use 20% discount to Action Target’s online store. The discount will be available through the end of the year.
4 thoughts on “Help Shape the Changing Face of Shooting Sports”
It is encouraging to know that a new generation of shooting enthusiasts are joining the ranks. It is also a plus that many of them are women, a powerful voting bloc. Supporters of gun rights need all the friends ( and voters) they can muster up and I would advise everyone anywhere involved in the firearms “culture” to make all new shooters welcome. It is critical that gun owners be good ambassadors to those coming on board because each potential new shooter turned off by any rudeness is a lost vote during elections. Our conduct is the one thing we can control, something within our own hands, unlike our elected office holders who cannot be trusted. The fate of our Bill of Rights will be decided at the ballot box, not on a 230 year old document that our political class can easily dismiss should our numbers decline. They care nothing about the oaths of offices they take, only about their tenure in office.
Female civilian shooters, especially at the basic level, can be uncomfortable with a male instructor. While a female instructor is preferable, a “take no prisoners, fix bayonets, kill ’em all, I’m tougher than any guy” type female instructor can do more harm than a male instructor. LE instructors sometimes fall into this type (not all), and care must be taken in the selection of instructor. Not always possible in that you have to go with what you’ve got, but where possible, a laid-back reasonable demeanor is essential to prevent alienating students. Students don’t always have the option of multiple schools to choose from, and may quit entirely if presented with an intimidating instructor of either gender.
I am so proud every time females come in our range to shoot and/or find out about training, classes, and programs. Let’s face it, it typically has been known as a “man’s world”. We here at High Noon Indoor Gun Range have found that there is no one not considered a customer. Customer base is every and all no matter that it crosses every boundary that would normally distinguish peoples from one class or category to another. Therefore, size, gender, color, creed, etc. does not play into any equation. Common denominators : preparedness to protect and defend, enjoyment of shooting, and money for ammo.
My students are trending to be more women who want to not only learn to shoot for self defense, but also for sport. Our range is primarily oriented to Cowboy Action Shooting. We see a lot of women and young ladies participating in this sport. And boy are they competitive. Of course anyone knows that where the girls are the boys will show up too.
This is a great trend.