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News | Friday, November 21, 2014

Federal Judge Rejects California AG's Requests to Delay End of Waiting period Laws

In a new order released today, Federal District Court Judge Anthony W. Ishii rejected two requests made by California Attorney General Kamala Harris in the dispute, captioned Silvester, et al. v. Harris, that was filed in Fresno nearly three years ago.

UTG's new Monopod - a Companion for All Occasions

While the new UTG TL-MP150Q Monopod stays true to this initial purpose for hunters on long forays in the wilderness, it can also be mounted directly to any 1913 Picatinny rail, or stabilize crossbows and spotting scopes.

FMG Online Takes A First Look At The Taurus Curve

In a GUNS Magazine online-only article, Mark Kakkuri reviews Taurus' new Curve, a pistol with a curved frame to enhance concealed carry.

The $3,000 Walther Arms Great Guns Giveaway

Walther Arms, Inc. is excited to give consumers 17 different chances to win by giving away guns & ammo prizes totaling $3,000 between now & Christmas.

Bushnell Wins Multiple OpticsPlanet Brilliance Awards

Bushnell is pleased to announce that they have received a number of Brilliance Awards from OpticsPlanet Inc., retailer of sports optics, tactical gear, scientific products, hunting gear, and eyewear. Great Gun Giveaway is giving away over $20,000 worth in prize packages to lucky participants. Anyone can enter, and there is no entry fee. Simply register for an account on

Understanding Your Right to Self-Defense - This Week on Gun Talk® Radio

It's a new book from famed trainer Massad Ayoob, building a customized AR, and more, this week on Tom Gresham's Gun Talk® Radio.

TROY Bravo Rifle Leads Thanksgiving Week Sale

TROY® kicks off their Thanksgiving Week Sale with BRAVO Friday on November 21. The $599 TROY Bravo is a gas-operated semi-automatic rifle chambered in 5.56 and showcases some of their most popular products, allowing shooters an opportunity to get a real feel for a Troy Defense military quality rifle at an unbeatable price.

United Sporting Companies is the Exclusive Distributor of Meopta Optics

United Sporting Companies (USC) is pleased to announce its exclusive North American distribution partnership with world-class optics powerhouse Meopta.

Armed American Radio and Mark Walters Welcome New Regular On-Air Contributor Amber Kunau

Mark Walters, host of Armed American Radio, welcomes newest contributor, Amber Kunau, to the Armed American Radio lineup of named Regular Contributors. An NRA Certified Instructor in multiple disciplines and a USCCA Affiliate Instructor, Amber is a powerful voice for real moms across this country who take their personal defense seriously.

W Train & Defend® Named Ammunition of the Year

Winchester® Ammunition is proud to announce W Train & Defend has been named 2014 Ammunition of the Year from Guns & Ammo. For the first time in a decade, Guns & Ammo has brought this award back to life.

NRA Foundation Funds Louisiana State University Mobile Marksman Project

The NRA Foundation is proud to support Louisiana State University's Mobile Marksman Project, a system developed by the LSU Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design Program to help high level quadriplegics to participate in the shooting sports. The nearly $2,200 grant funded the 2014 system, the team's final design iteration.

BLACKHAWK! Wins 2014 OpticsPlanet Brilliance Award for 'Holster Brand of the Year', Experts Choice for 'Best Tactical Vest'

The annual OpticsPlanet Brilliance Awards named the BLACKHAWK! ® holster line as the 2014 "Holster Brand of the Year" for the fourth consecutive year. In addition, the BLACKHAWK! Omega Elite™ Cross Draw/Pistol Mag Vest received the Experts Pick for "Best Tactical Vest."

MidwayUSA Black Friday 8 Days of Deals - Starts 11/24

Black Friday deals come early at MidwayUSA, and the countdown starts now! Beginning Monday, November 24th MidwayUSA will kick off 8 Days of Deals on popular Shooting, Reloading, Gunsmithing and Hunting products. Select products will also be eligible for free shipping.

AR-15 Podcast Looks at Magpul

This week, Anthony and Reed take a look at the line of offerings from accessories and parts maker MAGPUL, , an industry leader in

Cabela's to Close Thanksgiving Day

Cabela's Incorporated, the World's Foremost Outfitter® of hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, will uphold the company's tradition of closing its U.S. retail stores and business offices on Thanksgiving Day.

Power Up With Crimson Trace

All Crimson Trace products-more than 160 models of laser sights and tactical lights are available-are shipped with batteries. Better news is that many Crimson Trace products are covered under the company's "free batteries for life" program.


Blurred Lines: Marketing to the Long History of Female Gun Ownership

The history of firearms is not solely a man's story. I'm sure that statement provides little shock and awe, since in many ways, firearms manufacturers have been on the forefront of marketing to both men and women for hundreds of years.

Queen Anne Flintlock Pistol, .62 caliber. Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wy, USA: Gift of Olin Corporation, Winchester Arms Collection.
As early as the 1700s, firearms makers did not limit their consumer base to strictly one gender. It colloquially was understood that some smaller pistols appealed to women for concealment. The first pocket pistol was actually named for a woman. The Queen Anne Flintlock Pistol was titled in honor of her Royal Highness of Great Britain (1665-1714). While men predominantly owned the standard model, a smaller variant was often referred to as a muff pistol. The term muff pistol initially was defined as any flintlock screw-barrel gun, like the Queen Anne, that was easily concealed inside a hand warmer. While women and men both wore muffs, it became an indirect acknowledgment of early female gun ownership.

That is not to say women historically only used smaller guns. During the American Revolution (1775-1783), Deborah Sampson disguised herself as a man to serve in the Continental Army. And during westward expansion in the 19th century, female homesteaders armed themselves with shotguns and rifles. Icons like Annie Oakley expanded this presence on an international scale, proving women could shoot as sharp as anyone.

1920 Winchester Herold, Image of Female Hunter. Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wy, USA
Firearms manufacturers embraced female gun ownership through advertisements featuring women as huntresses, sport shooters, and familial protectors. That trend continued and expanded into the 20th century as companies began to market firearm models specifically for women. Throughout the 1900s, women became increasingly more present in the firearms industry. And in 1948, Alice Bull, a competitive shooter, was the first woman to become a member of the NRA Board of Directors.

The late 20th century, marked a turning point for women. Female gun ownership and their presence in the industry were growing exponentially. In 1989 alone the NRA began marketing in Ladies Home Journal; Women and Guns magazine premiered; Smith & Wesson re-released the Ladysmith; the National Shooting Sports Foundation began recording the number of women receiving hunting licenses; and I was born - OK the last one is not important. But in the past 25 years since, this trend has continued with no end in sight.

Pimping out Your Pistol: From Pearl to Pink...and Purple

"Only a pimp from a cheap New Orleans whorehouse would carry a pearl-handled pistol" - Patton, 1970. Hopkins & Allen XL3 Double Action revolver, Gold-Plated, Pearl Grips. Belonged to noted Madame Cassie Waters, a brothel owner from Cody, WY in the early 20th century. Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wy, USA: Gift of Larry and Betty Lou Sheerin.
The ways in which firearms manufacturers have marketed to men and women over the years is not an exact science and is far from perfect. Historically, men and women purchased the same types of firearms. And even if a woman bought a firearm like the LadySmith, it would appear similar to any other gun.

In most cases, it was up to the personal preference of the owner if they wanted to "make it pretty". And in no way was customizing a firearm for aesthetics a gendered phenomenon. Embellishment often was more a sign of status than gender.

Smith & Wesson First Model LadySmith, .22 caliber, 1902-1906. Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, WY, USA: Gift of Janet Jerome and daughters in memory of John K. Jerome
Traditionally, firearms, particularly revolvers, could be engraved, embellished with precious metals, and customized with ivory or pearl grips. With these types of enhancements, it can be difficult to reveal little more about the owner other than individual tastes. Until recently, embellishments blurred the lines of preconceived gender preferences. And today, with the popularization of polymers guns and cerakoting, consumers can purchase every color imaginable.

To return to my earlier statement: Firearms history is not exclusively male. Similarly, today's colorful firearms are not just about women. Granted it can seem that way since pink, purple, and Tiffany blue are so popular right now. But colorful guns represent industry acknowledgment of a changing market and an attempt to appeal to a more diverse audience. And as a historian, I find it an awesome chapter in the history of firearms embellishment.

--Ashley Hlebinsky

Ashley Hiebinsky is Assistant Curator, Cody Firearms Museum

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