According to the NSSF, approximately 11 million Americans purchased their first firearm in the past 2 years, and it is estimated that half of them were women. A Girl & A Gun Women’s Shooting League (AG & AG) polled new members who were new gun owners to learn more about them. This article provides trending data among this demographic.
AG & AG offered the same survey to new members over the past two years. If a woman indicated she was a new shooter (acquiring a firearm within the past year), she was asked additional follow-up questions. The responses for the new-shooter specific questions totaled 1,176 women responses in 2020 and 1,706 in 2021, providing a good glimpse into general trends of this specific demographic.
Individual vs Household
The questions also tried to determine if a gun was new to just this individual or new to her household. In 2021, there was an increase in AG & AG members who were brand new to firearms — they did not have guns in their households, nor did they shoot as children.
|Brand New to Firearms||53%||60%|
|Guns were in the home, but I didn’t shoot.||29%||29%|
|I shot as a kid/teen, but not as an adult.||17%||11%|
Reasons for Gun Ownership
When asked why these women were spurred to purchase a firearm and get firearms training, the responses were relatively consistent year-to-year.
|Riots/fear of mobs and civil unrest||16%||13%||-3%|
|Elections/legislation/concern of bans||12%||12%|
|Just learned about training opportunities||10%||11%||+1%|
|Urged by family member/friend||9%||12%||+3%|
|New firearm in household||9%||9%|
|Pandemic/uncertainty of access to essentials||9%||8%||-1%|
|Rising unemployment/fear of crime||8%||8%|
|Fear of targeted violence/discrimination||7%||7%|
|Ammo shortage/concern of waiting||6%||6%|
|Lack of law enforcement resources||6%||6%|
|Quarantine boredom/try something fun||5%||4%||-1%|
|Recent safety/crime experience||3%||4%||+1%|
|Stimulus check provided opportunity||1%||1%|
When 2021 was reviewed quarterly, some trends became more apparent throughout the year. Not surprising, the concern of riots and the concern of the pandemic consistently trended down as more areas of the country opened up and life tried to resume to “normal” for most Americans.
|Reasons for New Gun Ownership in 2021||1Q||2Q||3Q||4Q|
|Urged by family member/friend||13%||9%||12%||14%|
|Just learned about training opportunities||10%||12%||11%||12%|
|New firearm in household||8%||11%||9%||11%|
|Riots/fear of mobs and civil unrest||14%||14%||12%||11%||trending down|
|Elections/legislation/concern of bans||11%||12%||13%||11%|
|Fear of targeted violence/discrimination||7%||6%||6%||9%|
|Rising unemployment/fear of crime||8%||9%||9%||8%|
|Pandemic/uncertainty of access to essentials||9%||8%||7%||6%||trending down|
|Recent safety/crime experience||4%||4%||5%||5%|
|Ammo shortage/concern of waiting||6%||6%||5%||5%|
|Quarantine boredom/try something fun||4%||3%||3%||4%|
|Lack of law enforcement resources||5%||6%||6%||4%|
|Stimulus check provided opportunity||1%||1%||1%||0%|
Reasons for Joining a Shooting Club
The previous questions asked why the individual was motivated to purchase a firearm, so AG & AG also asked why she chose to join a women’s shooting organization. The answers were consistent year to year:
|I attend AG & AG events…||2020||2021|
|to practice defensive skills||48%||48%|
|for the social aspect||30%||31%|
|because I like to compete||9%||9%|
These answers are consistent with responses about concealed or open carry permits. Responses indicated that — even though these women had only been shooting for one year or less — more than one-third had already acquired a carry permit or license and about half of them plan to in the near future.
Diversity of New Gun Owners in AG & AG
AG & AG also looked at individual demographics of new gun owners to see if the organization was becoming more inclusive and diverse, which has been a high-priority initiative for the past several years.
|18-24 years old||1%||1%|
|25-34 years old||6%||7%|
|35-44 years old||16%||15%|
|45-54 years old||32%||30%|
|55-64 years old||25%||30%|
|65-74 years old||16%||15%|
|75 years or older||1%||2%|
|Prefer Not to Answer||4%||4%|
Complete Survey Results
Surveys include additional information about shooting sports and new shooters’ purchasing preferences. Results can be downloaded here: