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.