There’s an industry term we learned at SHOT Show 2017: “pink it & shrink it.” Apparently that’s what a lot of the gun industry thinks of us ladies: take our existing product, slap a coat of pink or purple paint on it, make it smaller and voila, we have a gun or accessory “perfect for the lady shooter.” Sadly we still witnessed at lot of this at the show, and although pink has now transitioned to “Tiffany Blue,” the perception is the same.
It was also rather disappointing to see some articles in respected industry publications discussing and pointing out all the “booth babes” at the show. I kid you not, one title was “Booth Babes at SHOT 2017 – Day 1” - alluding to the fact that we’d be graced with the author’s observations each day of the show. I saw a lot of hot guys there, but not one article about that! A couple of companies said and did some SHOT Show PR around the fact that they’ve designed guns that were “women centric,” and while that was encouraging, a visit to their website clearly shows they’re not marketing to women at all. And a post-show browsing of some of the largest gun stores in the country showed the sales people had no idea what we were talking about when we asked about these new products (most didn’t even realize women-specific products existed in the marketplace at all - other than the pink and purple handguns).
But while sexism still persists in this industry (as in a lot of areas of life), we definitely saw some progress too. First off, we saw a LOT of women at the show, both walking around and working the booths (and not just models, these were true company representatives, executives or owners). We attended a women-in-the-industry networking event, and that was awesome. To be in a room with hundreds of like-minded, awesome, smart, fierce and gun-loving women was truly exciting – and to hear about the businesses they’ve started or are starting was inspiring.
Walking around the show floor, we also saw some products that stood out to us, and we thought our readers and customers might be interested in what’s new or coming soon:
Taurus Spectrum™: This super cute .380-caliber is small and easy to conceal. We haven’t had a chance to shoot it yet, because it wasn’t available on the market when we wrote this blog, but we did get a chance to handle it and speak with the company reps. We loved the fact that it’s easy to rack the slide, which is difficult for many women, and it has a nice, wide trigger that will hopefully make for more accurate shooting. It seems lighter and smaller than the Glock 42 (also .380) that I currently carry, and it will come in a wide variety of colors (yes, including pink and “Tiffany Blue,” of course). The rep told us it’s not ammo-sensitive (a plus in my column) and should be available at retail sometime in April 2017. With an MSRP of $289 for the eight “standard” colors and $305 for upgraded colors, it’s hard to say no. We’ll hopefully be first in line to shoot this when it’s ready, and we’re hoping it’s a home run! https://www.taurusspectrum.com/Ruger® LCP® II: This new compact .380 has a lot of same attributes as the original LCP, including being the same size, but we loved it because it has a smoother trigger, it’s easier to rack, has larger sights than the original (making them easier to see) and has a wider grip that is designed to absorb some of the recoil, which can be considerable in such a small gun. With an MRSP of $339, it looks like a great CCW choice to try.
Booby Trap Bras “Just In Case Bra”: This touts itself as the “World’s First Self Defense Bra” and looked like a great option for active women who want protection while doing physical activity. It starts out as a typical sports bra, but adds a neat little pocket right at the top of your cleavage to securely stow pepper spray or a knife. It sadly reminded me of last year’s tragic abduction and murder of Long Island girl Karina Vetrano. It’s not hard to imagine that if she only had a weapon – gun, knife, mace, SOMETHING – with her to defend herself, she may not have met such a sad fate. I don’t jog (I’m famous for saying I won’t even run for the bus), but if I did, I would definitely give this one a try at $49.99. https://boobytrapbras.com/PistolWear Holster: I almost always wear my gun in a molded holster IWB clipped to a belt, and as I mentioned above I don’t have the most active lifestyle. But nonetheless, I did like what I saw in the Pistol Wear PT-ONE Concealment Holster and their Trump Card MINI Concealment Holster. I like to have my weapon’s trigger securely covered with plastic, and the PT-ONE is large enough to carry my gun holstered. It would definitely take more time to get to it, but in circumstances where I may not want to wear it clipped to me (I can’t think of any at the moment, though), this is a good, roomy, secure option for $49,95. http://www.pistolwear.com/pt-one-concealment-holster/
I also liked the Trump Card MINI Concealment Holster that can convert from inside the waistband to outside the waistband and under the arm carry. It’s small, so probably best suited for a compact or sub-compact, and I’ll reiterate that I prefer molded holsters, but this one looks like a comfortable option that conceals well at $44.95. http://www.pistolwear.com/trump-card-mini-concealment-holster/Theramcell® mosquito repellent & holster: I belong to a private outdoor range in Central Florida and go often to practice holster draw and shoot sporting clays. If you’ve ever been to Florida, especially June-October, you KNOW we have bugs…and lots of them! You can bet that once the heat starts coming, I’ll be buying a Thermacell. These repellent devices create a 15ft x 15ft zone of area repellent that keeps mosquitos away. This repellent, allethrin, is a synthetic copy of a natural repellent found in chrysanthemum plants. I wish they used the actual plant-based derivative, but in some circumstances avoiding disease-borne mosquitos is more important.
The Thermacell repellent devices are powered by a butane cartridge that provides the cordless, portable heat that activates the devices. The heat disperses the repellent into the air, creating the zone of protection. They also sell a nifty holster to carry the Thermacell clipped to your waist (or something else), which makes it a great option when you’re walking around the range, hunting, hiking, etc. The repeller sells for $24.99 and the clip-on holster sells for $12.99. http://www.thermacell.com
SnapSafe Under Bed Safe: I have a several smaller gun safes around my house, but until now I haven’t found a good option for storing my shotguns – I simply can’t spare the closet or garage space to hide away one of those (albeit awesome) large, heavy floor safes that can store everything, and quite frankly I’m not ready to compromise my décor to have it in a more visible spot. I also don’t like or feel comfortable with the smaller, flimsy ones that I feel could easily be knocked over or even carried away. But at SHOT Show, we came across a great compromise: the SnapSafe Under Bed Safe. At 48”W x 7”H x 23”D it’s small enough to discretely keep under the bed and secure enough when bolted to the floor that I don’t think anyone could carry it away (plus, they’d have to first move my king-sized bed, and that would probably take more time, energy and work than most random thieves would bother with – IF they found it) but big enough to accommodate my long guns (at least diagonally for the longer ones). And at 148lbs, it’s something we could get and install ourselves without having to hire professional movers. At $399, compared to a lot of other safes, I think it’s worth getting and like that nobody knows it’s there: https://www.snapsafe.com/snapsafe-under-bed-safe.html
We hope you enjoy our picks from this year’s show. We’ll be heading off to the NRA National Convention in April as well, so stay tuned for our favorites from there. We’d also love to hear from you in the comments section if you own or have tried any of these products and what you think of them!