If you’re a woman and you’re interested in firearms, you’ve likely come across a pink gun or two. In my years of shooting and working in the firearms industry, I’ve seen countless colorful selections in all shapes, sizes, models, and manufacturers. And while some ladies absolutely love these guns, others openly despise them.
Of course, in many cases, it’s not the guns themselves that some women dislike. They hate what these pastel models represent…the “pink it and shrink it” mentality that used to dominate the firearms industry when it came to including women. Gun manufacturers, retailers, and even industry leaders fell for the idea that to encourage women to get involved in shooting sports and in personal defense, we just needed to have more options that were smaller, pinker, and, supposedly, more feminine. In fact, the color pink was the most-often-used, go-to “solution.” And many women did not hold this decision in high regard, especially when they went to purchase a gun for themselves and they were immediately shown the pink .22s. Of course, many things have changed over the last decade, and while not everyone believes that the color pink will win over the hearts of women, there are still some people who are stuck on this thought.
I’ll even admit that in the very beginning, I was a bit against colored guns, especially pink ones, because I felt that gun manufacturers weren’t really serious about women’s real wants and needs. Just throwing the color pink on a firearm does not solve any issues or concerns for my everyday carry gun! But as I grew more comfortable and confident with firearms (and as my gun collection grew), I found that I was drawn to some of the prettier, more “girly” models. And now I even have some myself (such as the not-at-all pink Kimber Sapphire and Kimber Onyx).
Another reason some ladies sneer at—or steer away from—pink (or other colored) guns is that they don’t always look real enough. There is definitely a seriousness to selecting a self-protection handgun. And the glittery grips or the Hello Kitty accents don’t always fit the bill. In addition, as a parent, I always have to think carefully about the firearms in my own household—a home with three kids. It’s difficult enough to train children to stay away from and to respect firearms. But when the guns are cute, colorful, or even designed to look like something else (like the real Glock that now resembles a Nintendo “Duck Hunt” video game “Zapper”), parents may have to make some tough decisions and draw some clear lines. For my husband and me, in addition to telling our children not to touch guns and to let us or another adult know if they discover one somewhere, we’ve decided to teach our children that “every gun is real” and “every gun is loaded.” As we all know, in today’s day and age, real guns may look fake, and fake guns may look real. And when it comes to my children’s safety, I want to be sure I’ve got all the angles covered.
On the other side of the conversation, a lot of women love the idea of pink guns because they are excited about the chance to customize and personalize their firearms. They might not necessarily choose the color pink, but they love selecting the firearm that works best for them, and having that special color, look, or design might just be the icing on the cake. There’s nothing wrong with liking your gun or with choosing a gun you like, for that matter.
I hope that women are making wise, carefully calculated selections when it comes to personal protection handguns, and they’re not picking one out simply because they like the way it looks. (As I told my best friend, who is new to firearms, you shouldn’t select a carry gun because you think it’s “cute!”) But if you want that Tiffany blue AR-15 just because…then, why not?
All in all, women may always have a bit of a love/hate relationship with pink, glamorous, or “girly” guns. But much like the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover. And don’t judge a gun—or its owner—by its cover, either!