By Melissa Porter
The number of women joining the shooting sports continues to grow each year, and as we enter a new decade, industry manufacturers have made significant investments to bring products to market fit for their unique needs. There are literally scores of companies debuting women-specific products this year, but we’ve handpicked a few contenders primed to impact sales at your store.
GLOCK 44’s Arrival
While some companies manufacture and market firearms specifically for women — like the Syren USA brand that caters exclusively to women shooters — there are a number of options available with attributes likely to be highly regarded by both sexes alike.
GLOCK’s G44, the company’s first .22-caliber handgun, represents one example of a new product with instant crossover appeal. Similar in size and feel to the 9mm G19, the G44 provides a way for new shooters to be introduced to the sport of shooting through a lighter-shooting handgun, before (hopefully) transitioning to a larger caliber. An advantage here: novice shooters can learn the G44 platform without having to transition to a new system if they move into the G19. Further, entrenched G19 users will enjoy the opportunity to take the G44 out to the range and shoot lower-priced ammunition.
Representatives from Shoot Like A Girl, The Well Armed Woman and A Girl & A Gun were able to experience early range time with the G44 during its introductory event in mid December.
“The G44 will provide women with the opportunity to shoot thousands of rounds, have fun at the range and most importantly practice to be proficient,” said Karen Butler, president of Shoot Like A Girl.
Butler also called attention to the economic factor of this rimfire introduction.
“We predict women (and men too) will love the new G44! Most families remain budget conscience, and the ability to shoot an abundance of rounds through the G44 at the range, and still have the traditional experience from GLOCK will be a hit,” she added.
Carrie Lightfoot, founder of The Well Armed Woman, highlighted the G44’s adeptness for new shooters — as well as instructors.
“A fabulous addition to the GLOCK family, the G44 is the perfect gun to start new female shooters,” she said. “It shoots like a dream and being modeled after the G19, they can learn the fundamentals and then make a smooth and easy transition to the 9mm with instant familiarity. It’s a great addition to firearms instructors’ tool kits too!”
Robyn Sandoval, executive director of A Girl & A Gun, also had high marks for GLOCK’s new handgun.
“It was accurate out to 100 yards and packed enough punch for dueling trees at various distances,” she noted. “And, the new G44 is fun to shoot!”
As of Jan. 20, the GLOCK 44 (along with a threaded barrel option) is now available to have on hand at your establishment.
Additional Firearm Debuts
Built for concealed carry, Walther recently expanded the 9mm CCP M2 line to include an option in .380 ACP. The CCP M2 offers tool-less takedown and features Softcoil Gas Technology. This technology improves user experience by reducing overall felt recoil and allowing the slide to be easily manipulated regardless of hand strength — a key selling point for women.
Smith & Wesson recently went in the other direction expanding its M&P Shield EZ line to include the easy-to-rack M&P 9 Shield EZ in early December. It features an eight-plus-one round capacity (shipping with two magazines featuring a load-assist tab), 3.675″ barrel and Picatinny-style equipment rail to accommodate accessories.
“When the M&P 380 Shield EZ was released in 2018, we received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the easy-to-use features of the innovative pistol platform,” said Lane Tobiassen, Smith & Wesson president. “From that point on, we knew we’d expand the M&P Shield EZ line with a pistol that incorporated the same features, chambered in 9mm. It’s easy to rack, easy to load, easy to shoot and easy to clean, appealing to a wide range of consumers seeking out these popular features in 9mm.”
For your segment of female hunters, Mossberg International recently added two hunting models to the SA Series — available in .410-bore for the first time. With Turkey and Field options, the SA-410 shotguns are lightweight (6.5 lbs.), easy to swing (26″ vent rib barrel; OAL 46″) and light shooting, thanks to the .410 chambering.
In the past, .410 may have been overlooked by those favoring 12- or 20-ga. options. However, advancements using tungsten shot have resulted in tight, effective patterns for turkey and wingshooting applications. (Tungsten shot is 56% denser by weight than lead, and significantly higher pellet counts bring more penetration to greater distances in the field, and in the skies.)
Apparel companies catering to women have seen significant growth in recent years, and several women-centric brands announced new lines for customers in 2020.
Tactica Defense Fashion launched the Proud To Protect Flannel Shirt in fall 2019. With colder weather persisting around the country for the next couple months, this represents an appealing option for CCW customers.
The company designed this flannel top to incorporate a layer of TPE inside the two ambidextrous front holster pockets (providing added triggerguard protection). As an added safety feature, snap buttons in both front pockets ensure the gun won’t fall out when the wearer bends over. (For those customers who prefer to carry IWB or OWB, the pocket holsters can be used to carry small essentials like a cellphone or extra magazine.) Like all Tactica products, the Proud To Protect Flannel Shirt is available with a 10-day trial period and 30-day warranty.
Alexo Athletica is another company with a focus on concealed carry and leisurewear (or “athleisure”) for women. Its new Signature Pant 2.0 is an upgraded version of its classic legging. Now loaded with 10 total pockets (eight in the waistband and one on each leg), the Signature Pant 2.0 also has reflective detail to help wearers stay safe in low-lit areas. A first for the company, these technical leggings boast an ambidextrous design — giving women the ability to carry a number of self-defense tools (pepper blaster, TASER, stun gun, firearm [under 23 oz.], flashlight) and personal effects (phone, keys, credit card).
With products serving both men and women, TrueTimber designed a new series of jackets and hoodies for applications on the hunt and in day-to-day use.
“With this line, we wanted to build products as hardworking as the women wearing them,” said CEO Rusty Sellars. “It was important to develop durable and functional pieces comfortable enough to not be limited to the field.”
The company debuted four options for women: the Women’s Camo Fleece 1/4 Zip, Ladies Performance 1/4 Zip, Ladies Hoodie and Women’s Full Zip Camo-Accented Hoodie. Each piece has versatile colors accented by TrueTimber camouflage patterns.
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