I learned how to shoot firearms with my family at a very young age. Guns have never been a mystery to me; I’ve always known they are collectable tools. I enjoy window shopping at the gun store, and chatting with the men or women behind the counter.
It was a ton of fun to meet gun shop owners Lou and Theresa, a.k.a. Louie and T-Bone, who are also the hosts of The Gunfather on Outdoor Channel. I was happy to learn about their bustling family, who have transplanted from New York to Montana. They have two older daughters, and a son who is in his teens.
Since they have a teenager, just like I do, I immediately had to know more about their family dynamic. Louie shared that their shop is successful, so it’s often very busy, taking up much of their time. Since they live in Montana, the weather can play havoc on their ability to get outside to shoot. “We go out and do as much shooting as we can,” says Louie, “and when I mention going shooting in the morning, Louis Jr. is always packed and ready to go.”
T-Bone says she often has to stay behind when the father-son duo heads to the shooting range or on a hunt. However, she and Louie laughed adoringly as they shared stories of the two of them heading to the rural hills of Montana, on a date of sorts, to shoot a new collectors’ edition they had just purchased.
Although the husband and wife pair grew up with firearms in their households, just as I did, T-Bone’s eyes lit up and Louie was enthusiastic as he spoke about the women’s market. “Women and guns is happening now. It's not catching on—it has caught on. Women want to carry guns. Women want to learn to shoot guns. Women want to get CCWs and they're not afraid to ask how to do it.”
T-Bone added, “Many women are just tired of being left home. They want to get more involved and do things with their husbands. It’s no longer just a guy thing. It's a whole family thing. You can even get your girlfriends together and spend an afternoon at the range.” She continued, “You can also make a date of it. You just say, ‘Hey, let's see how many targets you get compared to what I get.’”
T-Bone compared shopping for a firearm now to going to a shoe store, saying, “Every woman loves shoes, right, but every woman is not going to wear the same kind of shoe. You have to find the perfect fit and once you find it that's the one you're going to go for.” It’s the same with firearms. Not every woman is going to like the same gun.
Women are inviting women to the range. They’re learning to shoot. Right now there are so many opportunities for women to get out there. T-Bone mentioned firearms manufacturers, whom she says are paying attention to women’s wants and needs. Louie added, “There's so much out there now, compared to back in the day when T-Bone had to pick up my gun and it was way too heavy for her liking.” Now you can find custom grips, long barrels, short barrels and every caliber imaginable.
Since the two do own a gun shop, they noted that almost all the gun manufacturers now have lines geared toward women. A woman doesn’t have to shoot her husband's gun. Instead, she can put a 9mm or .380 in her hands. There's a big selection now.
It’s not all about handguns. Louie and T-bone both love to shoot shotguns, so they’re excited for women because manufacturers are now making shotguns specifically fitted for women. Their length is smaller, they have angled stocks and shorter lengths of pull. All these features are suited to female shooters.
I have personally found hunting rifles with similar, lady-friendly features. Back in the day, gun owners used to cut the stocks of rifles down to fit, but with the here and now of women and guns, you can find these features direct from the factory.
To see more of Lou and Theresa's adventures, tune in to watch The Gunfather on Outdoor Channel. Shows air Saturdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT.