October 1st, 2011

New ‘Chicks with Guns’ Book Challenges Stereotypes

Review by Bill Brassard for the NSSF
View ‘Chicks with Guns’ Photo Gallery

Portrait Photographer Lindsay McCrum’s new book, Chicks with Guns, is drawing welcome attention to the growing number of women who own firearms for target shooting, hunting, personal defense and collecting. [Editor: Over 15 Million American women are packing heat according to Msnbc.com.]

The book’s intent is described this way: “Because gun ownership and shooting cut across class, age, occupation, background and geography in America, guns are resolutely democratic. And the women depicted in ‘Chicks with Guns’ represent this variety. They reside in all regions of the country, come from all levels of society, and participate seriously in diverse shooting activities. From policewomen to hunters, ranchers to competition shooters, the collection of portraits in ‘Chicks with Guns’ defies stereotypes often associated with aspects of the popular culture of both guns and women.”

Chicks with Guns book

McCrum’s photographs tell a powerful story, just as these statistics do: Participation by women in target shooting has increased 46.5 percent from 2001 to 2010 and in hunting by 36.6 percent in the same period, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. In an NSSF survey of firearms retailers, 61% of respondents saw an increase in female customers in their store in 2010 over 2009.

Other evidence, too, such as the strong turnouts by women in concealed carry classes nationwide and in NSSF’s First Shots seminars, helps confirm this trend. (First Shots introduces newcomers to target shooting by providing both a classroom overview and supervised live-fire experience.) This is nothing new to the hunting and shooting community, but we think the compelling photographs in “Chicks with Guns” will bring the trend to life for those less familiar with our traditions and our pastimes.

Chicks with Guns book

Editor’s Comment: I wouldn’t rush out to buy this book for your coffee-table, though it might make a nice gift for a lady shooter in the family. I’ve looked through the book. The photography is professional, but overall, mostly static and uninspired. I’d give it a B+ grade. This book wouldn’t have received much media attention but for the somewhat controversial subject matter and the catchy title. Still, ‘Chicks with Guns’ presents female shooters in a positive light, and that’s a good thing.

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