What Women Really Want


Tatiana Whitlock runs the Walther PDP-F through its paces on the range. (Image: Walther Arms)

It’s hard to believe the holiday shopping season is upon us. This year, U.S. holiday retail sales are expected to reach $1.3 trillion,1 a 3.3% increase over 2021.

When doing research for this article, I stumbled upon an even more interesting statistic. According to a survey of 2,000 American women conducted by OnePoll, the average woman surveyed has felt disappointed by 42% of the presents they’ve received in their lives so far. It’s not surprising, considering how many firearms instructors have said women show up for classes with a gun they aren’t comfortable with because a spouse or significant other bought it without giving her the opportunity to try it first. 

To help, we reached out to several women in the firearms community to ask what products they’ve been loving or what’s on their own personal wish list this holiday season. Instead of making assumptions about what women want, your staff can offer gift ideas for products that have actually been tested by women themselves.

Guns & Safes

Mia Anstine, a hunting guide, writer, podcast host and instructor, said she has many carry guns, but her most recent favorite purchase is the Kimber Micro 9 (MSRP $735).

“With the amount of time I spend outdoors, I’m a fan of stainless. So of course, that’s what I ordered. I like the heft of the springs in the Kimber semi-autos,” she said. “The Micro 9 is easy to conceal. I also carry a SIG P365, Remington RM380, Kimber K6s and others. The firearm varies depending on my outfit and which holsters I have to go with it.”

The most commonly recommended pistol, however, was the Walther PDP F-Series (MSRP $699). Marketed as the first-ever pistol engineered for the female hand, the F-Series goes far beyond the “pink it and shrink it” method of the past. Women, including Olympic shooter and firearms instructor Gabby Franco, had an active role in designing the full-size 9mm. The result was a firearm designed to fit those with smaller hands and offers lower felt-recoil, improved accuracy due to a longer sight radius, higher magazine capacity and better control.

Natalie Strong of Elegant & Armed said it’s currently her favorite full-size gun. Elizabeth Bienas of Casual + Tactical shared this sentiment. 

To protect her firearms, Strong recommended the Vaultek LifePod ($109.99) — a touch-activated capacitive keypad safe that meets TSA guidelines. The LifePod is lightweight at just over 2 lbs., as well as water-resistant, dustproof and airtight. Oh, and it floats.

“I travel a lot, and this goes with me anywhere my gun goes,” she said. 

For more info: kimberamerica.com/micro-9waltherarms.com/pdp-f-seriesvaulteksafe.com/products/vaultek-view-all-lifepod-series/lifepod

A gift card to use for a training course or an annual range membership are gifts that keep giving long after the holiday season is over.

Carry Gear

On Elegant & Armed, Strong’s lifestyle blog and Instagram account created with stylish and safety-conscious women in mind, she shares information on choosing a gun, finding the right holster and learning to dress for concealed carry — which means she’s no stranger to carry gear.

“I have two favorite belts — The Groovelife Groove Belt ($64.95) and Nexbelt Supreme Appendix Black 38mm ($61.99),” she said. 

In her blog post, “Best Concealed Carry Belts for Women,” Strong wrote, “The Groove Belt is without a doubt the stretchiest and most comfortable. Although it’s very rigid, it also offers the most flexibility, allowing you to move without feeling constrained.” 

About the Nexbelt, she wrote, “When it comes to most structured, this belt takes the cake. The nylon belt comes in one long band, which you cut to your desired size using the markings provided. It features a ratchet system that allows you to get the ideal fit and helps to avoid the appearance of a muffin top.”

Though she stresses finding the right fit depends on several factors such as what you like to wear, your body type, the gun you use, your lifestyle, etc., her holster pick was the Bravo Concealment Torsion IWB Gun Holster ($40.99). 

“The style of the clip helps tuck the grip of the gun close to my body, which helps conceal the firearm,” she said. 

Even when carrying a firearm on body, she carries the Natalie Concealed Carry Purse ($219.99), which she designed in collaboration with Cameleon Handbags. Made from smooth, high-quality leather, the purse includes a secret pocket containing a nylon holster to store your firearm. The soft lining and plastic zipper are designed for a comfortable draw, and the two zippers allow for an ambidextrous draw.

“It makes a great backup holster, which I sometimes need in a public restroom or dressing room.”

For more info: groovelife.com/products/groove-belt-black-blacknexbelt.com/products/supreme-appendix-black-38mmbravoconcealment.com/products/torsion-iwb-holstercameleonbags.com/products/natalie

Training Gear

As a women’s concealed carry educator, Elizabeth Bienas advocates proper and continued training is a must for any responsible firearms owner. Far too many women are gifted a gun by their spouse, significant other or parent, only for it to sit in their nightstand or glovebox. 

The MantisX Laser Academy Training System ($99 to $249) is great for keeping dry-fire interesting and effective,” said Bienas. “I also really like the Dry Fire Pillow from Armed In Style ($29.99) — a training tool that can match your decor.” 

When she hits the range for live-fire training, she uses the UpLULA Maglula — a military-grade, pocket-size, universal pistol magazine loader and unloader designed to load and unload virtually all 9mm up to .45 ACP single- and double-stack magazines of all manufacturers. It also loads most .380 ACP single- and double-stack magazines, and 1911 magazines.

“It’s great for loading mags fast and saving my nails,” Bienas said. 

A gift card to use for a training course or an annual range membership are gifts that keep giving long after the holiday season is over. 

For more info: mantisx.com/collections/x-systemsarmedinstyle.com/collections/dry-fire-pillowsmaglula.com/product/uplula-9mm-to-45acp

Consumers are predicted to shop earlier this year. Due to inventory and supply chain issues, more and more shoppers purchased holiday items in early November during the past two years.

Books & Other Gifts

Even though the above recommendations did come from women in the firearms industry, it doesn’t mean they’re going to work for every woman. Firearms and carry gear are very subjective to the operator, so for the holiday season, consider stocking more universal items.

On her list of must-haves for women who carry concealed, Bienas highly recommends Gavin De Becker’s book, The Gift of Fear.

“It’s a great book for learning to spot signs of danger and listen to your intuition,” she said. 

For those who opt to purchase a store or range gift card for the woman in their life, another great suggestion is to pair it with Casual + Tactical’s Women’s Guide to Concealed Carry e-book. This is an especially good option to go along with an e-gift card for last-minute shoppers or anyone who wants to avoid shipping costs or delays. 

For those looking for stocking stuffer ideas, two items on Natalie Strong’s wish list are the Cozy Gun Socks ($12) and Gun Paper Clips ($12) from Armed in Style. 

For more info: giftoffear.com/bookcasualandtactical.com/shop/p/wgtccarmedinstyle.com

Holiday Shopping Predictions

At this point, it’s likely too late to add most of these items to your inventory if you don’t have them in stock or on order already. However, there are other things you can do to prepare. 

Consumers are predicted to shop earlier this year. Due to inventory and supply chain issues, more and more shoppers purchased holiday items in early November during the past two years. According to Salesforce research, 37% more people in the U.S. plan to start buying gifts earlier — citing inflation as the primary motivating factor driving early purchases.2 Don’t wait until Black Friday or December to start your planned promotions.

Consumer insights from Think with Google also indicate 83% of U.S. shoppers who visited a store in the past week said they used online research before going into a store.3 

If you haven’t already, now is the time to make sure your website is up to date and performing well. Don’t forget to also verify your hours of operation, address, phone number and other contact information on your Google My Business listing and any other directory sites like Yelp. 

And if your store has a social media presence, make sure you have a clear strategy and posting schedule to carry you into the new year. 

1. insiderintelligence.com/content/us-holiday-2021-review-holiday-2022-preview
2. salesforce.com/blog/holiday-shopping-predictions
3. thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/consumer-trends/store-visit-after-online-research-data 

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