Friday, May 13, 2016

Gun Culture 3.0

Great article here on the gun buyers seen at a major retailer, and how the trends are revealing themselves to the culture.  If you read our good friend, Michael Bane, you know that he coined a term several years ago that illuminated how the culture of gun-buying had changed under the current political climate.  He called it Gun Culture 2.0

I'm not a retailer, and I certainly don't keep track of trends in the gun market.  But, things that I've learned over the years reveal themselves in many ways, not the least being the idea that the gun market changes as fast as retailing everywhere.  With the internet, consumers are more educated than ever before.  It's important to distinguish between the "static" amid the good information, but educated buyers will be able to discern the "signal-to-noise" ratio.
The female customer at this BPS, I was told, was not shopping for a tiny, concealable handgun in .380 caliber. They were looking for small, concealable handguns. But they were looking for one that fit their hand and came in as large a caliber as they could manage. "I have large hands for a lady," said one staffer, "and I tell the guys they'd better consider fit before caliber. If it fits your hand, it's going to be easier to shoot than something that seems too-small."
Tiny was all the rage a couple of years ago.  Not so much, anymore.  Fit is important, and I've talked about it in these pages.  It seems like the message is taking hold.

Milady is a shooter.  She likes her handguns to fit.  When we're shopping and she stops to look at a gun, the first thing she wants to do is to hold it.  If it doesn't fit, doesn't feel good in her hands, she rejects it immediately.  If it does feel good, and she buys it, then after she shoots it a couple of times, she makes changes, often minuscule  changes to the grip until it fits the way she wants it to.  With our revolvers it's easy.  A little time with a file, or sandpaper, and I can make a grip fit her.  If she was a semi-auto shooter with today's plastic firearms, fit might be a bit more problematic.  But, fit is important.

So, what does the demographic look like for first-time gun buyers in Gun Culture 3.0?
It was interesting to note that of the 15 percent they described as "brand new" buyers last year, slightly more than half were women. This year, however, the percentage had climbed to approximately 56 percent female versus male in the category.
Female buyers are outnumbering male first-timers.  Why is that?
The staffers confirmed something everyone in attendance had taken as a "given": significant spikes in both traffic and sales could be tracked to either random shootings or anti-gun statements from politicians.
In short, personal safety and gun rights remain hot button issues. 
So, women are the majority of first-time buyers, both personal safety and gun rights are hot topics, and this leads me final point of this conversation.  I'm asked the question often, and as a matter of fact, was asked it yesterday.

"PawPaw," he asked.  "My wife wants a gun.  Which one should I get for her?"

"That's easy," I reply.  "Buy her the one she picks out."

"But" he replied, "Don't you think that an XYZ Widget Killer would be a good choice for a woman? I really like that gun, and I think it would be just right for her."

No one cares what you think.  A gun is a very personal item, and I'd no more buy a gun for a woman than I'd buy a bra for her.  It's that personal.  She's got to be comfortable with it.  Fit matters.  Personal safety matters.  Take her to the store, let her handle as many as are on the shelf.  Let her shoot as many as you can.  She'll tell you what she likes.

But, you can't pick her gun for her.  Because you don't have a clue.


Retired Spook said...

I can't count the number of people who tell me that they want to get a snubby .38 for their wife, for "home defense." My response is always "if she's going to use it for home defense, the last thing she needs is a .38 snubby. Get her a good 20 gauge pump shotgun, show her how to load, clear, and use it, stoke it with #4 buckshot, and quit worrying."

Carry guns get a whole 'nother lecture!

Old NFO said...

And don't immediately show her the pink one... sigh...