GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Perhaps it's a new era of Annie Oakley's. More ladies across the U.S. are reported to be locking and loading.
Mandy Brown is a mom and competition shooter, who says she aims for the thrill.
"It's an adrenaline rush, to be able to know how fast and how accurate you can actually be," says Brown.
Mandy is part of the 23 percent of women across the country who own a gun, according to a Gallup Poll last year. Females are the fastest growing group getting their finger around a trigger. The National Sporting Goods Association says the number of women taking target practice shot up 46.5 percent between 2001 and 2010. About a quarter of the concealed weapon permits in Mesa County are carried by women.
"I definitely think the stereotype is changing. It's not just a guy thing anymore," says 18-year-old Cadie Slater, who's been shooting since she was eleven years old.
At first glance, Slater and her tiny frame might not appear to be a threat, but she's got a big handle on her dad's .22 caliber gun. "I love hunting because I love being out in the wilderness. I love shooting. It's a release from everything," says Slater.
Firearms are also being marketed to women. The Sportsman's Warehouse sells a pink camouflaged gun.
"There's been a real surge in the amount of firearms purchased by women," says salesman Don Tyre. "We're seeing a lot of firearms lately that are small sized for the womens' hands."
There are even pink pouches and shells on shelves of sporting goods stores. Tyre says the store's concealed handgun permit classes are now up to 40 percent filled with females.
Slater is also considering getting her license to carry one day. "For safety reasons. You never know when you might need protection."
This goes especially protective mothers. "I aim very well," adds Brown.