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On Chick Clothing & Range Time

Just before the weekend, it seems folks who attended the Lucky Gunner shoot were talking about the ammo waitresses at the event. Sebastian asked my opinion over drinks one night since I have a lot of experience bringing feminists into the shooting sports, have been to quite a few machine gun shoots in my day, and generally talked to a lot of women about their perceptions on the gun culture while teaching them to shoot.

One of my co-instructors used to say that the most common injury at a gun range is a result of a slip & fall. I’m not sure if this is an official statistic or if it’s one he gathered from working with the 100+ ranges in the area we taught. Either way, it fits with my experience at various ranges. Given that, the shorts worn by the ammo girls in the photos may not have been the best bet. They were in no way inappropriate or overly sexy attire, but longer pants may have been a better option given all the guns on or near the ground and brass flying at a typical machine gun shoot. Walking around a busy live range could put the legs at risk for scratches, scraps and what have you.

But, given most women’s clothing, I don’t see anything worth really complaining about if the adult women are going to choose to wear shorts instead of longer pants. It was the end of May. In Tennessee. With the sun beating down on much of the firing line from what I saw in the pictures. It doesn’t shock me that some would choose to wear shorts instead of heavier pants. Pants would be wiser, but for those who want to wear shorts, have you looked at the shorts available in even the adult women’s clothing sections of many stores? Those things aren’t often terribly long. I don’t have the world’s longest legs, and I can’t tell you how much trouble I had trying to buy shorts that fit the dress code for Southern Baptist church camp. I actually had to buy men’s shorts so they would be long enough.

I will disagree with some of the comments and say that I really doubt that the decision to hire women who happen to look good in summertime clothing is going to turn off women as customers. From what Sebastian told me, this was not an open range. This was a private, invitation-only event. Which means Lucky Gunner knew exactly who they were selling to on site. This wasn’t a commercial range where any Tom, Dick, Harry, Tina, Diane, or Harriet could walk in as a first-time shooter looking to learn everything they can about the gun culture in one visit. When you’re marketing to a private group where you know who the customers will be, it’s quite different than marketing to a broader audience.

I didn’t see anything inappropriate in the photos, and Sebastian would have been the first to call me and bitch if he saw any overt problems with the way things were handled on the line. Were shorts the best decision? No, at least not based on my experience at machine gun shoots which tended to be in New England during the fall and winter. But, I’ve seen plenty of female shooters who wear shorts to the range with zero incidents, and never have I had a female student, a feminist friend, or other new shooter complain about sexism in the community because of clothing. I didn’t see anything in the photos that I wouldn’t see on average American women in the warm summer sun in just about every corner of the country, so I’m not sure why it would be considered any kind of controversy just because they wear the same kind of clothing on a range.

8 Responses to “On Chick Clothing & Range Time”

  1. Kevin Highland says:

    I’m active in USPSA and am also a range officer for some of the national level events. The number of shooters both male & female that come to the line in shorts is fairly high.

    I’ve seen the pictures of the lucky gunner shoot and the “waitresses” seemed to be dressed appropriately and I wouldn’t have thought anything of it if they had showed up at my shooting line. This is obviously someone looking for something to stir up.

  2. Jeffrey H says:

    I as a male shoot in shorts and sandels frequently here in Texas. It is too hot to wear pants, and I am willing to get burned by brass occasionally on my legs and feet to feel more comfortable most of the time while I am on the range.

  3. Dannytheman says:

    http://www.walletpop.com/2009/01/26/breastaurants-the-latest-in-recession-proof-businesses/

    Niche marketing is here to stay, because it works.
    Please tell me how many woman bloggers were invited and attended this event?
    OK, I get it. Because woman are a growing percentage of the gun buying public, companies that for years have been supported by mostly men should change their image and be more woman friendly? So by parading nicely dressed woman out in shorts we have declared that woman are sexual objects only to be displayed to help sell product?

    What I say is a woman can go start her own business (And get FREE government assistance BTW via MWBO) and compete for the Lucky Gunner marketing share. When lucky gunner see’s they are losing business they will change their tactics. Other than that, I say let the market decide.

  4. Sebastian says:

    There were several women bloggers at the event. I do think gun companies should be more women friendly, because it’s a fast growing segment of their market. They’d be fools not to.

    That said, I don’t think all use of attractive women in marketing is a real turn off for other women, provided it’s done tastefully.

  5. Bitter says:

    Keith, you hit on a very good point. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a complaint from blogs about men in shorts on the line. Considering that they weren’t tasteless shorts, I’m not sure why there’s a difference between when men wear something on the line and when women do it.

    Jeffrey, that’s why I mentioned that my experience was in a cooler climate. I think pants would generally be a bit wiser, but I also concede that there’s a risk for being too miserable in such heat in pants. I grew up in Oklahoma, so I know how hot it can get.

    Danny, on how many women were invited, I’m not sure. But, I believe the only blogging women I saw in photos were Tam, Jennifer, and Mz. VRWC.

  6. BrokenTrace says:

    I live in the south and southern summers are not to be messed with. I can understand if they were prancing around in bikinis, but they looked no different from anyone else at a mall in the summer. They were also polite and courteous to everyone, bringing them ammo and water on request. I don’t see the big fuss, after all we all shot a ton of free ammo. :D

    • Bitter says:

      And being practical is key. From what Sebastian said, there were zero safety incidents involving the ammo waitresses and their attire. If they ended up passing out due to heat exhaustion, then that would be a problem and shorts would be the more practical clothing choice.

  7. alcade says:

    I find the obsession with the ladies’ clothing to be rather ironic. Here we have individuals questioning the tastefulness of, from the pictures, what appears to be a rather tame outfit compared to some encountered.

    Yet when is the last time we heard complaints about a man’s loose fitting tank top that showed his nipples from the side? Or his pants that show four inches of crack when he bends over?

    Whether a woman is in a three piece suit or a string bikini, there will be those who will objectify her – for good or ill. The question is: Were these ladies forced to work this even against their will? If not, then doesn’t the very act of questioning their attire objectify them?

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