From Pink To Practical: Gun Industry Shifts Benefit Women
Not long ago, pistols with fully pink polymer frames—an effort by manufacturers to appeal to the growing number of female enthusiasts—routinely made headlines. They certainly couldn’t be ignored in the sea of black, gray and blued metal at FFL counters. Sales were, and still are, going strong, but there was an interesting byproduct.
Their initial appearance proved slightly divisive. One camp considered them a gross misrepresentation of the marksmanship and skills of which women are capable, along with their equally serious reasons for owning a gun. Others consider them an eye-pleasing personal preference.
Both sides of that line are passionate and vocal, although most of us are happily in no-man’s land in the middle—so long at the performance and reliability is the same, that splash of color under the counter is welcome eye relief. If you’re firmly entrenched on one side or the other, you’ll be glad to know two of the industry’s foremost have signaled a shift toward middle ground that should make everyone happy.
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Companies like 5.11 Tactical and Blackhawk have offered apparel tailored for firearm-owning active gals for some time, but they aren’t gun manufacturers. That’s why Springfield Armory’s announcement in April 2022 that it had entered into a partnership with Alexo Athletica was a big one.
Alexo Athletica was founded in 2017 by national lifestyle TV host Amy Robbins after she became a victim of harassment while training for a marathon. When she couldn’t find any active wear that retained a fashionable look while carrying for self-defense, she established the company. Pink’s not the dominant color in the firm’s line, although modern style and quality is.
“We have offered clothing from Springfield Armory on our website for many years, but this unique collaboration with Alexo Athletica is our first clothing collection that is not only wholly custom-designed from fabric to fit, but is also uniquely designed for concealed-carry purposes,” explained Stefany Reese Toomer, Springfield Armory apparel design and merchandising manager.
It’s an equal rights effort, though, with styles for both men and women. Interestingly, a search of Springfield Armory’s website for the term “pink” turns up only magazines with pinky extensions. That’s not to say the company doesn’t or never has produced a firearm in the color, but if they did or do, it’s certainly not made obvious.
ROSE by SIG Sauer launched in January 2023 with a different approach. “ROSE is not only a pistol, it is a kit you take home with you to start your firearms journey and become part of a community where you are supported and can learn at your own pace in an environment you are comfortable in,” said Team SIG’s Lena Miculek at the introduction. “I have heard countless times from women that they leave the store with more questions than answers and they want to learn. This is where ROSE by SIG Sauer comes in; the heartbeat of this program is education and getting you from the retailer to the range so you can start your lasting journey with firearms.”
There are two P365 ROSE pistols available, each accented with a laser engraved ROSE polymer grip module, optics-ready slide with X-RAY3 Day/Night sights, and matte-rose gold-colored controls including trigger, manual safety, slide catch and takedown lever. It’s a refined look. The kit includes the pistol, safe storage, dummy rounds and a chance to join the ROSE community.
Our fast search for the term “pink” on the SIG Sauer website turned up two grip modules and one rubber grip. Neither company promotes, perhaps ever made, an all-pink firearm, yet they’re reaching out to female gun owners in an aggressive fashion. With the efforts spearheaded by women, smart money is betting they will be vastly more successful than those marketing programs elsewhere that preceded them, although only time will tell.
Article by GUY J. SAGI