By Lisa Parsons-Wraith
Clay busting, whether it be skeet, trap or sporting clays, has always enjoyed enormous popularity with women. It’s proven as a great non-threatening introduction to the shooting sports and has inspired many women to further engage in other firearm-related activities. Kim Rhode’s record-breaking sixth consecutive appearance in the Olympics and her status as the first female to medal in six consecutive games (and the first summer Olympian to accomplish this feat!) should inspire more women to try the shotgun sports. Capturing bronze in the women’s skeet shooting event at Rio 2016, Rhode’s status as an Olympic hero is assured.
As we’ve noted in this column before, women’s enthusiasm for the shotgun sports hasn’t gone unnoticed by firearms manufacturers and there are more shotguns for women to choose from than ever. Here’s a look at just a few of the great shotgun offerings women have to choose from:
CZ-USA’s shotgun designed for women is called the Lady Sterling. Created with special stock dimensions that allow most women to keep their heads up and eyes on target and an adjustable comb to help fine-tune the fit, this shotgun has a lot going for it. An increased pitch of around eight degrees makes it much more comfortable on the shoulder for women, as well. Built on CZ’s Upland Sterling receiver, the Lady Sterling is chambered in 12-gauge with 28-inch barrels, handling both 2.75- and 3-inch shells. The gun comes in Turkish walnut with an adjustable comb and laser stippling, extractors, F, IM, M, IC and C chokes, and has a manual tang safety.
Ithaca Gun Company entered the women’s market with the Model 37 Featherlight Ladies Stock pump-action. The gun features a unique drop of comb, drop of heel, cast pitch and toe out. Since this stock is designed for women shooters, the ergonomics make it comfortable for women. It’s only available in 20-gauge, and is well suited for pheasant hunting or clays. Other features include: a receiver machined from a single block of steel, solderless barrel system, a lengthened forcing cone to reduce recoil, classic game scene engraving and a fancy black walnut stock and forend. The 37 Featherweight weighs in at 6.8 lbs. and three Briley choke tubes round out the package.
The sheer versatility of the Mossberg Flex 500 makes it a good choice for women looking for an all-around shotgun. The Flex is a tool-less locking system, which allows the shooter to simply switch stocks, forends and recoil pads for a variety of shooting applications. The modularity of this shotgun design means a woman’s favorite turkey gun can quickly be turned into a home security weapon. Available in many 12- and 20-gauge configurations, there’s sure to be a Mossberg Flex shotgun to fit your female customers’ needs.
Beretta’s A400 Xcel is a light-recoiling 12-gauge competition
shotgun with a number of women-friendly features.
Italian Beauties Boost Options
The Beretta A400 Xcel is a low-recoiling, clay-busting semi-auto designed for competition. It reliably feeds all types of shells from 2.75 to 3 inches, whether they’re light target loads for competition or heavier loads for the occasional upland bird hunt. A hydraulic shock absorber and Micro-Core buttpad reduce recoil by 70 percent — the Xcel is built to recoil parallel to the comb, so there’s less chance of the gun hitting a woman’s cheek. The Xcel comes in 12- and 20-gauge variants.
Beretta’s A400 semi-auto series also comes in a lighter-weight version of just 6 lbs., 10 oz. in 12-gauge called the A400 Lite. Despite its reduced weight, women will appreciate the fact it will not kick excessively because it’s a gas-operated semi-auto and has Beretta’s Kick-Off recoil reducer in the stock. Essentially a shock absorber, the Kick-Off compresses as the gun comes back under recoil, softening the blow to your shoulder. The gun comes in a choice of 26-, 28- or 30-inch barrels, all chambered for 2.75- and 3-inch shells.
The A400 Lite brings shotguns into the high-tech world with Beretta’s GunPod 2, a sensor in the stock that records shots fired and miles walked. The Bluetooth device connects to social media and women can even send out GPS coordinates should they need assistance. Even though it’s not designed specifically for women, the A400 Lite has features they’ll want such as an adjustable stock and a set of spacers, which allow for adjustments for users to create a custom fit.
Women looking for a turkey gun will appreciate features on the Beretta A300 Outlander Camo Turkey. While also not designed specifically for women, this model sports a Realtree Xtra finish, a shorter, 24-inch barrel, a stock that can be shortened up to an inch (with only a screwdriver needed) and stock shims to alter the gun’s dimensions to better suit a female owner.
The barrel has fiber-optic front and rear sights and the receiver accepts a scope mount for an optical sight, such as a scope or red-dot. It has studs to accommodate sling swivels, making it easier to carry though the woods. All in all, this 12-gauge’s features make it an ideal turkey gun for women.
The Rizzini V3 Youth and Female Competition model, distributed by Fierce Arms in Gunnison, Utah, has a stock with a shorter overall length and a raised Monte Carlo comb to meet the needs for lady shotgunners. The gun’s design helps limit recoil and improve the fit for small-statured women. The V3 comes in 12- and 20-gauge, and barrel lengths of 28 and 30 inches to accommodate different shooting styles.
Strike A Balance
Blaser USA out of San Antonio, Texas, distributes the German-made Blaser F3 Ladies shotgun. Designed with women in mind, Blaser took extra pains to dampen recoil with the Speedbump recoil system from Speedbump StockWorks. This system also allows for an adjustable length of pull from 13.5 to 14.625 inches. Another feature on the F3 Ladies Gun is a four-way adjustable comb that can be set up as an extractor or ejector, with the extractor variant allowing for easier opening and closing of the action.
The F3 Ladies shotgun balance can also be adjusted through a weight system in the stock and forend called the Blaser Balancer. This allows the shotgun to be modified to any woman’s style. The shotgun features Blaser’s IBS anti-doubling system to prevent fan firing and Blaser’s EBS ejecting system. The system activates when the gun is fired and cocks the ejecting spring when the gun is opened, keeping resistance to a minimum. Also standard on the F3 are Briley Extended Spectrum Choke Tubes and key. The 12-gauge weighs in at a nicely balanced 8.75 lbs.
Whether your customers are gearing up for the fall hunting season or busting clays, there are many shotgun options available to women. Fall is perfect for a women’s shotgun clinic and get women thinking about gearing up for shotgun shooting sports. Have plenty of branded vests, hats and clothing to coordinate with the shotguns you sell. Women are fiercely brand loyal and will be proud to sport accessories touting their favorite shotgun’s name.