More Women Are Giving Guns, Shooting Clubs a Shot

For the Sure Shots in Austin, Texas, girl power equals fire power.

ByABC News
March 5, 2013, 1:41 PM

March 5, 2013— -- For the Sure Shots, a women-only shooting league in Austin, Texas, girl power equals firepower.

"You have to think defensively all the time," said Holly Gaylor, a mother of two. "You have to think about it when you are in your car, you have to think about it when you are at the grocery store, I mean, it just takes a second for everything to change."

Nationwide gun ownership is at an all time high and now a record 23 percent of women say they own a gun, according to Gallup polls. The surprising spike has spawned a cottage industry from pink assault rifles to bling-ed out revolvers, like the one tweeted by Kim Kardashian.

But make no mistake. The women of the Sure Shots are dead serious about the right to bear arms.

Gaylor is running through a series of intensive drills with the Sure Shots designed specifically for women who own and carry guns. The drills teach self-defense tactics, including how to shoot and reload in high-pressure situations. She said she joined Sure Shots to learn the best way to protect her family. If someone were to break into their home, she told her children that she and their father would be there to "defend" them.

"I also know that my 10-year-old will be able to pick up my AR and he will be able to use it," she said.

During one drill for advanced defensive pistol training, two women welding handguns run up to a piece of mounted plywood, duck and roll on the ground so they are lying sideways, and take aim at a target several feet away. Then they fire off a few rounds.

"We rocked that one girl, that was awesome," one woman said as the two high-fived each other.

In another exercise, the women have to carry a beach ball, which stands in for a baby, under one arm while holding a gun with the other and trying to defend themselves.

In the two years since the Austin Sure Shots formed, this sisterhood of local gun enthusiasts has quickly drawn hundreds of members, from 9-year-old Gia, who hopes to shoot in the 2020 Olympics, to 62-year-old Marcia Macha, who discovered her passion for shooting three years ago.

"It's tough," Macha said. "You got to be a tough Texan girl to do this."

Niki Jones, the Sure Shots' founding member, has a homemade assault rifle she named "The Snow Queen." Her guiding philosophy for the group is simple: Empower women to that they won't become victims.

"If I'm in an alley and an attacker comes up and has malicious intent I can't bare-knuckle fight him, but I can train with my gun and then if the time comes, I can use it to save my life," Jones said.

The gun industry markets directly to women with smaller, more female-friendly firearms, such as customizable handguns and high-powered rifles awash in hot pink, as well as loads of accessories for the fashion-conscious shooter. One product on the market is the Flash Bang bra holster, which can conceal a weapon on a woman's body.

There are so many new products that Los Angeles-based gun blogger Natalie Foster started a website called "A Girl's Guide to Guns," to help women navigate the world of shooting. Foster owns four guns, none of which is pink.

"They want a lot more information, anything from what gun to buy to what holsters to use, to what hairdo do you want to use to make yourself feel cute at the range," she said.