Thursday, June 2, 2011


Our customer base is pretty heavily male as you can imagine. I’d guess 85% male. So the forward facing person for the website is a woman named Heidi. Blonde, cute, knows a lot about guns and so from a . . . the guys love her essentially. And all the emails that go out they come from Heidi. So you build a brand there’s a hot chick over here on this site who’s talking about guns and ammo, which I love, versus this site over here that doesn’t even have the stuff in stock and I’m going to come over here, look at the hot chick and buy guns and ammo. Which is perfect. We want them here on our site, which is the one with the hot chick, guns and ammo. That’s cool.  -Brian Crane

And that actually is cool - as a money making scheme, anyway. I mean, how many bottles of crappy "lite" American beer have been sold only because some half-drunk knucklehead in a dive bar saw an ad with a smiling blonde holding a frosty amber brew conveniently next to her brand new pair of rock hard knockers*, right?  Marketing to the basest nature of your customers' humanity is a winning sales strategy, I guess. 

So, sure...I understand gunbunnies. Or Sniper Babes, or Hot Shots, or Ammo Girls...or whatever you want to call them. Paid to be the pretty giggle and jiggle that will hopefully hypnotize gun nuts into forking over cash. If a little tits and ass makes a guy buy more bang and brass then hooray, capitalism! I get it. Really. But I don't have to like it.

Companies that employ this tactic perpetuate the "guns are a guy thing" myth that for so long has kept women away from the gun culture and, consequently, the most reliable self defense tools available. A company that hires gunbunnies to work a highly publicized blog shoot creates an optics problem for those of us trying to convince potential new (& sometimes nervous, sometimes reluctant) female shooters that, no, really, you'll be comfortable at the range, it's not like a boys' club at all, I promise.**

And so we are working at cross-purposes.

But, of course, gunbunnies are women too and for many of them working events such as these might be a first, wonderful taste of the gun culture - I just hope the next time one of them picks up a gun isn't because some guy paid them to do it in a miniskirt.

*I like to call this "shitty titty beer"

** Also, really? Is possibly alienating a large and powerful portion of American consumers a wise business decision, especially when an unprecedented number of women are purchasing firearms?


Gunmart said...


Breda said...

thanks for proving my point.

Roberta X said...

Conversely, the "booth bunnie" at Do You Come With The Car is into cars, knows a lot about 'em, likes to talk about them -- and is frequently annoyed to the point of pondering mayhem at the assumption that she is there for decoration.

Beware the glittering generalization; not all of them are golden.

Sean D Sorrentino said...

This is the post that you thought would make you an outcast in the gunnie world? Jeez, you're preaching to the choir here.

I was a little embarrassed about the ammo girls. They weren't wearing enough clothing, and I was worried they would burn to a crisp. They at least didn't have low cut brass catching necklines.

Worst of all, from my point of view, was the fact that they were about half my age. They were litterally young enough to be my daughters. And I wanted to tell my daughters to put some clothes on

Mike W. said...

I'm not a fan of booth babes / gunbunnies in general. Then again I don't like the dolled up plastic blondes at car shows either.

Maybe I'm just odd?

Breda said...

Roberta, there are exceptions to every rule, of course, (and they usually have a hard row to hoe fighting the stereotype) but most of the "booth babes" set themselves up as generalizations. For payment.

And that's fine.

Tam said...

The term in the industry, actually, is "booth bimbo", and yes, I've cashed those checks when I was younger.

wcgreen55 said...

I'm no more upset by booth bunnies than I am by handsome guys in camo holding firearms. Men are visual and good marketeers play to that.

Now, if firearms manufacturers and accessory makers would figure out that pink != female-attracting, I'd be happy.

Tam said...

"Now, if firearms manufacturers and accessory makers would figure out that pink != female-attracting, I'd be happy."


A thousand times, this.

Breda said...

Conversely, why does T&A automatically = male-attracting? It's a little insulting.

Dann in Ohio said...

Hey, nothing impresses me more than a lady that has a "pair" and knows how to use them... the the gal with the "pair" of Vaqueros that whupped my butt, or a "pair" of Rugers like an SR9 and an LCP tucked away...

...even an uneven "pair" is impressive with a gal that knows how to use her AR15 and her 870...

Dann in Ohio

Mike W. said...

I was more impressed with the very engaging, personable, knowledgable woman at the Charter Arms booth than I was with any booth babes. She wasn't bad to look at either.

That said, us males are easy to attract, at least momentarily. Just shake a booty in our face. Sad perhaps, butt true.

Tam said...


"Conversely, why does T&A automatically = male-attracting? It's a little insulting."

It is, and that's why I fetched my own ammo. But still, marketing is marketing, even if it's sometimes dumb marketing, and maybe a little embarrassing when the marketers look back on it down the road.

Look, I once posed for pictures advertising the gun shop at which I worked wearing nothing but an American flag and a smile. Am I proud of that? No. But nor either am I ashamed of it. It happened; I can't make it unhappen, and so I can't harsh on people too much for doing what I once did. It's what 23-year-old kids think is cool. (And besides, I was the manager of the shop in question at the time...)

John Richardson said...

I'm with Sean on this one. I hope you seriously didn't think people would be upset with you for criticizing LuckyGunner for their "gun bunnies" aka ammo girls.

I was there and really didn't pay much attention to them other than to think that black was not the color to wear in 90 deg heat.

Frankly, if you think about it, the growth in gun sales along with the resultant ammo sales are coming from the newer entrants to shooting - or what Michael Bane has called Gun Culture 2.0. While I don't have the empirical data to support it (yet), I'd wager a lot more women are comfortable buying their ammo on-line so that they don't have to deal with the old boys at the gun store who push snubbies on them. Thus, an on-line company that takes the "shitty titty beer" approach is being very short sighted IMHO.

Alan said...

I don't think anyone is blaming the girls for doing it. I sure don't.

I'm just looking at the company that thought it was a good idea and wondering why they want to alienate a huge chunk of a growth market.

Breda said...

I'm not quite sure how my post is about your personal life experiences, Tam. Nor am I judging the models at all. God love them, they're making a buck in this economy - they should probably be commended.

All I'm saying is that this sort of marketing makes it harder to get already reluctant women to the range.

Anonymous said...

Uh, Tam, got any copies of those pics?

William the Coroner

Hank said...

Well, I have bought ammo from the "Heidi" people. However, they send me emails from a marketing domain. Since the email doesn't come from the "Heidi" company I don't allow the email to strut its stuff. I may trust the "Heidi" company, but that doesn't mean I trust an agent of theirs.

So I don't know about Heidi because of that. Heidi might be a great emissary for the company, but I'm too stubborn to find out.

So what's my point? I dunno. Maybe that they can wiggle the name Heidi in front of my face, but when they use a third party to do it, Heidi carries no weight.

Eh, whatever.


Borepatch said...

The shooting sports do have a problem attracting women and making them feel comfortable. The Mrs. picked out a range that she loves here in Atlanta - brightly lit, clean, with knowledgeable women (and men) working there, nice Lady's Room.

I'm in a bit of a panic because Austin seems to have nothing like it. Sure, the ranges there are find for *me* - don't be afraid to belch or scratch where it itches.

But I don't get the feeling that she'll want to come shooting with me there. That's a problem.

Granted, not everything can be the Scottsdale Gun Club, but it's always a good day at the range when she comes along. I don't think that Gun Chicks (well, *that* kind) will help with that.

Tam said...

"I'm not quite sure how my post is about your personal life experiences, Tam."

Didn't say it was. Just trying to engage in dialogue rather than just have an "agreeing party".

"All I'm saying is that this sort of marketing makes it harder to get already reluctant women to the range."

I believe you're probably right there. The whole "ammo waitrons" thing was very clever marketing... to the shooters of 1995.

Sean D Sorrentino said...

I remember reading a story about a women's shelter pitching a bitch in PA, i think, about the good looking professional woman on a poster in the window. It was NOT a gunbunnie, but one of those ladies that could be considered "aspirational." Other women could look at her and say, "I want to be her."

They were so torqued that not only did the gun shop have the gall to exist near a women's shelter, they posted pics of competent looking women with teh ebil gunz!

It was HILARIOUS. It was almost as fun as watching the hippies cry over a tree.

That's the direction we need to see gun advertising go. Women that look like your wife or mom. Professionally dressed. Looking like they will shoot you dead and then go home and fix dinner for her kids.

Anonymous said...

But, seriously folks.

Humans are primates, and primates (of either gender) respond to eye candy. Take a look at Firefly. There was plenty of eye candy for all there. Mal, and Kaylee (Heck, the ship, too, for those really polymorphously perverse).

T&A attracts attention. Yes, it's dumb to ignore a growing demographic that has money to buy your stuff, but let's face it, the world is run by C students. Advertisers and marketers aren't really known for a enlightened and flexible approach to life's possibilites.

And, I have a sneaking suspicion that gunnies LIKE the feeling of being in the minority, and don't want to attract more people/women.

Matthew said...

I was a C student.

Breda said...

Matthew runs the world! & oddly, I'm okay with that. ;)

Dave said...

Sorry guys are just wired that way. It's like throwing a stick in front of a dog or one you can relate to, dangling string in front of a cat. Women are no different I've seen my wife and her sisters tongues fall out over some dude that had, well, whatever it is that women find attractive.
Maybe the key is to start adding a little something for the ladies too. I do agree that either way they don't need to be half naked and in reality, if you're not selling something on the spot and to a male dominated audience, I'm not sure what your gaining..

Anonymous said...

I've ranted and raved for years about Hollywood insulting my intelligence with their persistent belief that all movie-goers are fifteen year old boys who are entertained by nothing more than T&A and SPFX.

On the other hand, sex apparently sells, otherwise Hollywood and Madison Avenue would give it up (even the C students mentioned by williamthecoroner learn when something doesn't work... eventually). Notice that attractive models are used to sell everything, from news to cars to beer to clothes to ammo. I suggest that the ads are playing on an element of wishful thinking: "Use our product and YOU will look like this!" As it happens, my wife and I discussed this a few weeks ago while we were in the mall. I pointed out that none of the models in the "plus size" stores are actually what I would consider "plus size"; they are actually smaller than the average American woman. Why? Simple: what woman would want to buy clothes modeled by a dumpy, overweight woman without makeup and with bad hair? Same with ads for guys, too: they generally feature a chiseled, manly-looking fellow, usually with a blonde or two casually draped over him. The ads are not selling the product per se; they are selling a pleasant fantasy.

So, how SHOULD arms and ammunition companies market their products? Would an advertizing campaign featuring UNattractive people work? We could ask Oleg Volk, I suppose...

Johnnyreb™ said...

I must have looked dehydrated. It was unbelievable how many times one of those young ladies asked if they could get me a bottle of water ...

Boyd K said...

This "And, I have a sneaking suspicion that gunnies LIKE the feeling of being in the minority, and don't want to attract more people/women." scares the poop outta me!
I have this friend, we'll call him Loyd (or if you prefer Lloyd), who's a trainer and active in RKBA, used to be a director of a small local range. He recently had a student ask why the range doesn't have a face book page. After a brief face palm he asked some of the current directors. Rather then the "holy mackerel why the heck don't we?" that he expected it was pretty universally "well that'd be something we could think about". Small range, constant political pressure, noise complaints etc... but insular. That kind of insular can kill you. And marketing to less then half your demo (remember, lotsa guys -have- guns) is equally stupid.

DaddyBear said...

For the most part, I hauled my own ammo too. The few times one of the young ladies brought me something was when they either brought an armload of water bottles and were giving one to everyone, or when they saw I was running low and offered to get more for me. I couldn't turn down the offer when it was given politely and the offerer was being paid to do it.

Yes, using pretty young women as a marketing ploy was cheesy. Does it perpetuate stereotypes? Yep. Did I ever see a shooter or one of the ammo fetchers act inappropriately, including the Hooter's girl routine or the dirty old man routine? Nope, but then I was more interested in the guns.

I'd also like to point out that there were a couple of young men who were also fetching water and ammo. My one quibble was that they wore polo shirts and not the muscle shirts the women wore. Would it make a difference if the ladies had been wearing the same outfit as the men?

Hopefully Lucky Gunner will listen to these reactions and learn from them.

Sabra said...

I just ignore so much advertising that I can't say for certain that there really isn't a female-aimed equivalent of the gun bunny, but I'll be damned if I can think of a single example. The nearest thing I can think of is the bare-chested, flowing-hair guys on the covers of some romance novels, and even there it's far from the norm; it has in fact been looked on as a joke for more than a decade.

Closer to the issue at hand, it's not just women whom these companies risk alienating but, well, the men who buy Guinness rather than Natty Light.

I really do take a long look at how a company chooses to present itself before deciding whether to give 'em my money. I somehow doubt I'm the only one who flips through a gun mag and gets the impression the ads featuring big boobies are probably trying to distract customers from something.

Tam said...


Had everybody been in khakis and polos, I think the only thing anybody would be saying right now is what a clever idea the ammo menus were.

Here's a thought: We know that at least some people felt strongly enough about this that it may cause them to not order from LG. Did anybody see the pictures from the shoot and say "Holy cow, they had 'ammo girls'! I'm gonna order from LuckyGunner because of that!" I suspect not. And that makes it a bad business decision.

Pawpaw said...

As a B-school grad, I can tell you that most consumers are not rational and most point-of-sale transactions are impulse. A savvy marketer knows how to exploit those urges. The secret is to strike a balance between titillating and insulting the customer.

Sex sells, we're still sexual creatures. That may not make us smart, but it does make us human. Smart and Human aren't necessarily complimentary traits.

As I age, I find that the women that turn my eye aren't the silicone-enhanced version, but those gals who have confidence and candor and have lived life. Which is why Breda and Tam are daily reads.

Breda said...

Did anyone bother to read past the first paragraph? Yes, sex sells. Obviously. That is not being disputed.

Also, it is not the point of the post AT ALL. [sigh]

Whatever. Carry on.

John B said...

Well I tuned it to say something unfortunate about people who find offense, rather than a Jeff Foxworthy laughing point, in all this nonsense.

Gun shop near battered women shelter!

Must Have!

Lawyer said...

I have two daughters (the most beautiful, of course) and a gorgeous wife. I am, by far, the most involved in the gun culture in both my immediate family, and my extended family.

I battle this, in a sense, as I try to steer my family in my direction. I still have to deal with shorts that are too short (No, you're not putting those on!), etc... And yet, I often have to explain away the magazine ads, some sports channel gun/ammo ads, etc... So I see the point.

As I encourage my wife and girls to get involved, pointing out Julie Golob, Jessie Abbate, (and a whole host of others) etc... or ask them to read posts on Tam's Brigid's or your blog, sometimes the "other" message is stronger, and they walk away still believing it's an activity for men.

Ultimately, that's just sad for me--and the sport.

Anonymous said...

Last Saturday, we held a Ladies Only Basic Pistol Class taught by female instructors (No guys allowed)
The response left us dumbfounded. We planned for 20 ladies, expected maybe 15 ....and 34 signed up! Several more couldn't make it because previous engagements but let us know that they want to be in the next class.
The Ladies Market is there and growing strong. We better get ready to service that market or lose it forever.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the logic of selling a piece of precision machinery through an appeal to a man's least precise and most irrational part. They don't sell musical instruments that way; why firearms? Especially when it's going to alienate a large chunk of your potential market.

staghounds said...

1. If you lose the women's market, there won't BE a men's market.

2. There should be a gun shop IN the women's shelter. With training, and a free gun and ammunition.

Something else I'd do if I had Soros' money.

Ed Rasimus said...

I understand what you are saying, but I find it hard to agree. If I seek a product, I'll prefer a place that has it in stock and will provide prompt service (go back to original comments on what the dealer offers) then I will opt for a place with pleasant surrounding and personnel. If that involves attractive women then so be it.

Dillon Blue has offered some pulchritude for decades, and Mike is not a sexist or crude guy by any stretch. Kahr's "Thin is Sexy" ads make me consider a Kahr.

And, for some reason, a 320 pound Bubba in surplus store camo with USMC tattoos who obviously never served is not going to get a return visit.

Ian Argent said...

Replace guns with tabletop gaming of any kind, and you could post thus rant accurately on any number of boards dedicated to the subject. Swap gender and change topic to needlework and it is close (less eye candy, more insularity).

This is a Bad Thing. It's one of the ratings my wife doesn't like to go to the fun stores with me...

Glenn B said...

I thought maybe I am missing something here, so I went back to reread your blog post several times now. You are saying that you don’t like the use of women exhibiting T&A in advertising for firearms related things because it is a turnoff for women coming into the sport, is that correct? If not, then maybe I and many others read it wrong because it sure seems to be what you are saying.

If so, I find it curiously intriguing that you say you understand but don't like that particular technique of advertising. Why? Well there are a couple of reasons and both are found on your main blog page.

First of all, you have an ad for the very same company you give as an example of using such advertising. If you find that type of advertising so offensive, and indicate that the company Lucky Gunner is using said advertising then why have an ad for that company on your blog?

As for that dealer, I went to their site, I clicked on the pic of the blonde. I watched he video. There is nothing that would normally be considered "T&A" found therein. What would make you think that is T&A advertising hype. The lady was well and modestly dressed. She did not jut out her womanhood on either end. Yes, she was attractive, so what. If they used a man instead, then should men have been offended as you seem to be that they used an attractive woman?

I also went to the web address one of your readers supplied:

I looked at the pictures. Yes they had a few women who were their as company reps. None were dressed provocatively. None had any amount of breast exposed (not one little bit). Yes they had on shorts and or short skirts. Actually though they looked average, one even somewhat frumpy. I would think, women who looked like them, who were dressed like them, who were showing what fun it is too shoot, would not only make men remember the ammo dealer but would also attract women to the sport and to the ammo dealer.

By the way, those women were dressed exactly as I have seen well seasoned women shooters dressed while at shooting events such as sporting clays. Many of them wear what look like mini skirts and many wear shorts. It is n ot to attract emn, it is for comfort. note these women in question all had on blouses that showed absolutely no cleavage and probably for good reason, because they were shooting sensibly. They did wear the shorts or short skirts, so what. These women were obviously not there to look like sex goddesses.

There was simply nothing sexually enticing about them being there, from what I can see of those pictures except for what you have made of it. If you want to see real T&A in the gun world then go to YouTube and type something like “sexy girls shooting” into the search bar. Heck, I have seen women in Oleg Volk’s rather dull and drab photography who appear much more sexually explicit than do the women at the shoot pictured at the above link. You are, I think, making a triple D out of a B cup.

All the best,

Mike W. said...

"Kahr's "Thin is Sexy" ads make me consider a Kahr. "

See, I actually thought Kahr's "Thin is Sexy" ads were kind of cheesy and overly hyping up the dolled up women with guns image. To each his own.

Breda said...

Okay, one last time. This is not about using sex as a marketing tool. This is not about using sex to sell to men.

This is about whether or not potential new women shooters could possibly be put off by the "boys' club" mentality of the gun culture.

But you know? responses like Ed Rasm's have really answered that question for me. And not in a good way.

LPF said...

If they knew marketing that well, they'd know that continuing to send me spam after I unsubscribed 3 times was BAD marketing. I won't be ordering from them again.

Matthew said...

I think that (especially in the gun culture) men and in some respects white men aren't easy to truly insult..... or for that matter intimidated. So it can be hard to convey what it feels like for an outsider.

Especially when she is a smart capable woman. Remember we are not talking about a gal who is embedded in the gun culture who can brush 99% of it off. Rather a newby walking in for the first time.

Whereas we (me) walk in and see a booth bunny and have the double sided thought of

"hmm nice ass" followed at some point later with "is it really necessary" thought (*note the lusty remark always comes before the insult to our intelligence).

I offer up the following scenario to further convey (I hope) Breda's point of women feeling on the outside when they first come to the male dominated gun culture (and again not sex-in-sales).

You are a 13 year old boy. You can't dance, your pants are slightly to short in length and you know this. Your mother decides you need to learn how to dance.

So your shirt all ironed, looking like a "nice boy" she drops you off at a dance studio for a lesson. You walk in the door (sack lunch in hand) and see twenty beautiful high school girls all dancing with confidence, and....they're all stuck up, have no interest in you what so ever.

Nobody likes to be the wall flower. Because they're intimidated by what they see in front of them.

Mike W. said...

"This is about whether or not potential new women shooters could possibly be put off by the "boys' club" mentality of the gun culture."

And I think the answer to that is a pretty emphatic "yes."

It happens in the car scene too, although the demographics there are different.

Oleg Volk said...

Several guys at the shoot told me they like my gun photos while their wives prefer my photos of girls. What does that say about the effect of "ammo bunnies"?

The model in Kahr ads (former Miss Korea) is a very well trained and proficient shooter. Pity the ads didn't focus on that.

Stacie said...

Sigh, and I was hoping that this discussion would lead to scantily clad hunky guys being more evident at the gun show and ads. A girl can dream can't she? What's wrong with a little equal opportunity sexism?

Matthew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Odysseus said...

Oleg has an interesting point, without saying that this is a morally right, but advertisers have long seemed to notice that attractive women sell to both most men and most women.

Hobie said...

Could there be "blog bunnies" as well? You are cute as all get out. Do you think that this has no affect on your readership? ;-D

Mike W. said...

Hobie - Cute blogbunny or not I wouldn't DARE tell Breda to go fetch ME some ammo.

With the deathstare and an abundance of sniper rifles ready to use I may end up at room temperature shortly thereafter.

LauraB said...

I personally believe that if a woman wishes to start shooting - and is put-off by T&A or the "mens club" - that they will *never* survive a confrontation (wherein they will have to use the acquired shooting skills) intact.

Shorter: they must get over it.

I LOVE hanging with the guys. I LOVE Oleg's shots - both men and women. I LOVE finding someone who can speak accurately on weapons and usage and would love for retailers to have attractive reps who can do same. I think some women need to quit waiting for coaxing and hand-holding. Because if things continue on the path ahead, there will be none of it.

Could more be done to be more welcoming? Certainly. And any retailer would do well to consider you as a spokesperson/model for just that task. Draft your offer, send it out. Wait for the work to come.

Mad Saint Jack said...

Mike W- People fetch ammo FOR Breda.

I wasn't at the shoot but it looks like the ammo girls were paid to carry ammo not stand around and look pretty. I don't really see the problem.

(And it looks like they got some rounds down range too.)

sobriant74 said...

I will say this, anytime we're at an event where booth bimbos are present (gun show, boat show, some display at the state fair, etc etc) my wife gets turned off, doesn't want my daughter to see the women and we have to move along before I even can take a moment to look at the product. So not only does this booth babe tactic prevent my wife from being a potential customer, it also prevents me as well. She also made me stop taking my car to a fix-it place I thought did good work because the lobby was dirty and had multiple "titty" calendars up from various vendors.
If my wife's not comfortable, you're not getting my money, simple as that.
Most businesses should try and be as asexual as possible and attract both genders equally. I do website work for an ag and construction parts and equipment company (that I won't name here), and I can tell you, if a woman calls looking for a price, we assume she knows what she is talking about and sell her what she asks for. Her $$$ spends as well as a mans.

Heather said...

"I personally believe that if a woman wishes to start shooting - and is put-off by T&A or the "mens club" - that they will *never* survive a confrontation (wherein they will have to use the acquired shooting skills) intact."

I am going to disagree strongly!

Your entire statement is built off of the assumption that one can never change, or gain in confidence. That's hardly the case. Many new shooters are intimidated - there's a lot to be intimidated by! But that doesn't mean that they can't learn, grow, and improve their self confidence. I sure did.

You do have to get them hooked, first. I admit, I started shooting with a ladies only class because I was intimidated. If there hadn't been that class, I would NOT be a shooter. There was that class though, and now I'm certainly confident enough to "play with the big boys."

Mike W. said...

"I personally believe that if a woman wishes to start shooting - and is put-off by T&A or the "mens club" - that they will *never* survive a confrontation (wherein they will have to use the acquired shooting skills) intact."

So if a woman is put off by the "boys club" nature of the gun community they're simply not the type who would even be capable of using a gun effectively in self-defense?!

Really? Just look at Breda. She went from someone who was afraid of guns, someone who cried after her 1st range trip, to a woman who is a shooter and an ardent supporter of 2A rights.

People change. People confront their fears and misconceptions. If they are put off right from the start and as a result are never immersed in the gun culture then all we've done is lost a potential convert.

Women or not, every person is different and their journey into gunniedom will be different as well. Some will jump full steam into things with enthusiasm. Some folks will enter with fear and trepidation and perhaps a little hand holding might be necessary. There's nothing wrong with that.

The important thing is that we end up with a favorable result. A new woman shooter who enjoys it and is on our side. You can't get folks to point B if you turn them away at point A.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Yeah, using "Gun Bunnies" to promote the Gun Culture is perpetuating the "Good Ol' Boys Only" message to potential New Female Shooters. Time to come out of the 1960's "James Bond" mentality, I believe. Here's an idea: next time, instead of using Models to run Ammo, how about letting some Disabled Vets pick up some spare change? Lord knows, they can use the Money, since most will never be hired IF this economy ever picks up. Too expensive for the Companies Health Insurance Plans, and they always seemed to be screwed out of every Federal Benefit Program that Congress passes.

After all, if America is supposed to be based on Merit, instead of what Genes one happens to be born with, I think the Vets have earned their way a lot more than some 19 year old College Cheerleader.

DirtCrashr said...

FWIW I have been a booth-bunny at an technical electronics show and a Cable show, the check cashes and swings both ways on each side of BigEntertainment.
Shelley Rae at Gunnuts is pretty easy on the eyes, too.
Like Kevin Baker said, they were out there shooting too and having fun - not just tied-down to an apron, "waitressing" - and some had never done it before, and they were turning into gunnies, not just bunnies.

::G said...

Maybe you had to be there, but from the picture I can't see how they're purported to be as revealing as Hooters girls. On the point about not being sexist since women are buying more guns, etc., I agree, as that's bad business.

I suppose the more feminist types would object to "booth babes" and the like. Would you be ok with it if there were "[firing] line lads" or "shooting studs" in proportion to the percentage of women present? Just kidding, of course. But do you folks lionize Dillon for their Blue Press cover models...?

Perhaps one way to tweak the good ol' boys is to place a strong-willed, (preferably) good-looking lady, who knows a lot about guns, in a non-degrading role such that she can talk to women (and men) who drop by. Done properly such a role model might help change the image of women and guns and be inspirational to ladies looking to get into the sport without subjecting them to the usual condescension.

wcgreen55 said...

I think it's time we let women decide if they want to be "booth bimbos" or Hooters servers or whatever they want to be without judging them.

I've been in "male-dominated" fields my entire adult life--from computers in the seventies to owning a starter/alternator shop in this decade. Walking into a gun range populated by men does not faze me. Perhaps we should encourage girls and young women to see men as fellow members of the human race and not alien creatures bent on subjugating them. After all, most men today have left the 1960s far behind them.

Breda said...

wcgreen -

The only ones that seem to be judging women are you and Laura B. because we're not all super tough "I love hanging out with the guys" types like you.

Sean D Sorrentino said...

I have no idea if it pushes women off, but it did make me uncomfortable. It made quite a few other people uncomfortable as well. We all laughed it off because as a man, you aren't supposed to worry about things like that. But I always say that you can tell what the audience for a TV show is by looking at who's being advertised to. If all you see is Depends and Viagra, it's for old folks. If it's all T&A, it's for young men.

I still want to see more "aspirational" women in gun advertising. Women that look like your mom or your wife. Women that look sensible and normal and tell other women that "normal women carry guns."

Current CHP numbers in North Carolina are 81% male, 19% female. That's a problem. Normal women carrying a gun being depicted as normal women can change that statistic. Hawt babes can't.

wcgreen55 said...

In the list of those who judge, please include sobriant74's wife, who hustles her daughter past the "booth bimbos" as though she might catch a dread disease from them. There's also you when you say "... most of the "booth babes" set themselves up as generalizations. For payment." Granted, you added an "And that's fine" to your comment, but do you really think it is? I'm not sure.

You also wrote "The only ones that [sic] seem to be judging women are you and Laura B. because we're not all super tough "I love hanging out with the guys" types like you."

I never said I was "super-tough" nor did I say I like hanging out with anyone. I said I've been succeeding in male-dominated areas for decades. I don't do it in the ways you seem to assume I do. I do it with confidence, knowledge, and ability. A woman (or a man) who is more secure when a part of a majority probably should stick with whatever makes that person secure, but much of what life offers will be missed.

Breda said...

"Granted, you added an "And that's fine" to your comment, but do you really think it is? I'm not sure."

You may not be sure, but I am. Mostly because I don't care, nor do I judge, how other people make a living...unlike you - "A woman (or a man) who is more secure when a part of a majority probably should stick with whatever makes that person secure, but much of what life offers will be missed."

LauraB said...

Judging women? I am judging the attitude that most women are put off by the masculine nature (currently) of gun culture as put forth in the original argument.

And, yes, I seriously doubt that anyone who is put off by nominal input such as T&A or "good ol boy" nonsense will develop an adequate SA to deal with life and death decisions in a second's notice.

As for my being tough - I went to a class (shooting while wounded) and found myself surrounded by LaRue gentlemen. You bet your ass I went to the Ladies and had a bit of a pity party. I was mortified to stand by them on the line. But I STOOD. Every woman must get her legs up under her and soon or be ready to be bait.

Again, I think you would do a damned fine job of showing retailers how to double their net. I hope you will take on that task, aided by your well-earned fame and respect.

wcgreen55 said...


It's very difficult to tell sarcasm from sincerity on-line. Thank you for clarifying that you have no objection to women deciding to be "booth bimbos."

Now, how did you get from my statement about people sticking to what makes them secure to the assumption that I judge how people make a living? I'm arguing for people to be "booth bimbos" if they want to without being judged, not against it.

Let me try a restatement: if you only hang out with people with a certain characteristic, you miss out on everything people without that characteristic can offer you. If that's what you're comfortable with, then do it, but I think you're missing out.

tanksoldier said...

What is a company that hires an attractive male doing?

Should all companies only hire unattractive customer service representatives?

Companies of all sorts have been using attractive spokespersons for a long time. This isn't a new trend and, as you point out, firearms sales to females are up.

One could conclude that it isn't hurting, and MAY just be helping.

Jennifer said...

Will it turn some women off? Maybe. Other women may see these cute girls having fun with firearms and be more interested. It was only a few short years ago when I held my first firearm with much trepidation. I'd only ever seen biker looking chicks or the mental image the term 'bull dike' brings to mind that actually seemed competent. Seeing these girls having so much fun without hurting themselves might have helped with that stereotype for me. I really had no idea that it was going to be fun. I was shooting for the first time for completely pragmatic reasons. Michael wanted to buy one, and I had stated previously that if he did, I needed to know how to operate it. That's it. Fun was the farthest thing from my mind. And I was scared to death. A cute, bubbly girl would have made the experience less intimidating for me anyway.
But that's just me. Maybe it's because I've been the cute, bubbly girl that makes me identify with the type. (yep, I was a booth babe in a previous life) Obviously, stunts like this will hit people differently. I wouldn't just dismiss it as bad, borderline misogynistic marketing ploy though. I can't be the only woman out there that identifies with them.

Jennifer said...

And "shitty titty beer" I'm totally stealing that. Credit is all yours. Hilarious.

Tam said...


"Should all companies only hire unattractive customer service representatives?"

I don't think that anybody has suggested that people hire only repulsive members of either gender.

Even the cosmetics counter at Macy's tries to hire attractive people, and their target market is pretty much exclusively female.

My Gun Culture said...

It would make me exceedingly happy if a whole bunch of you who were not even there tried a little harder to separate the 'general' issue of booth bunnies et al from the specifics of the event in question.

I can't, and shouldn't, comment on who should or should not be offended by the event. Personally, I was not. And I'm somewhat of a prude. Yep, I admitted it. The clothing worn by the women in question fell into two categories: tennis outfits branded for LuckyGunner that you see at any tennis event or ladies golf tournament and collared shirts with khaki shorts. Basically clothing that's lightweight and functional in the hot weather. Again, I can't, shouldn't, and won't make the call of whether that's offensive to you collectively.

What I do know if that a lot of young folks - ammo guys and ammo girls - worked very hard to pull of a first class event. I hate to see those folks degraded on a public forum like this. They're getting trashed as "bimbos" and worse for no good reason by a whole lot of folks that were not even there.

Thanks :-)

Breda said...

Aw, well, I'm real sorry MyGunCulture. But of course, you're more than welcome to not read my blog.

Sabra said...

And, yes, I seriously doubt that anyone who is put off by nominal input such as T&A or "good ol boy" nonsense will develop an adequate SA to deal with life and death decisions in a second's notice.

And, well, you are wrong. I've had decent situational awareness since long before I even knew the term, but I'm put off by sexist idiocy. I'm not intimidated by it in the slightest. I just dislike being treated differently because I'm a female, and a prominent display of T&A is generally a fine indicator that that's going to happen.

I also know quite a few moms who WANT to buy a gun, who would go out tomorrow and make a purchase but for the fact that they do not want to deal with the good ol' boys. If, as Sean Sorrentino has suggested a couple of times, advertising featured aspirational females (and aspirational advertising is more common & more effective, generally speaking), they'd be out there buying guns, instead of hanging back and debating it while I and a few others try to reassure them that not all gun stores are staffed by sexists.

Sport Pilot said...

Wow. What a hornet’s nest and all over personal opinion. I don’t always read your Blog Brenda, but as with others I sometime’s do. I understand your viewpoint, sometime’s I’m irked by like representations. I’m not certain this particular incident is a good example but fully agree that perception is in the eye of the beholder and one should listen closely to constructive criticism. You are one very brave, tough lady. Good for you.

Mad Saint Jack said...

Bre"N"da's not here man.

Sport Pilot said...

Thank's for the correction MSJ...

Glenn B said...

Okay, this has nothing to do with "sex sells" but just to make it equal for both sexes, here you go ladies:

By the way, if anyone wants togive him a job selling firearms or ammo, or use his photos for such, let me know. I'll act as his agent for a change since I have already been his father for 21 years.

All the best,
Glenn B

Kevin said...

I'm sorry, but basically this all boils down to "I wouldn't have been offended if the women had not been cute."

Angela DeGloma, the woman in charge of making all the arrangements for the blogshoot asked some of her college friends to help out. She was responsible for providing them with the black sleeveless blouses with the company logo. What else was worn was up to them.

As I said at Tam's, I enjoyed watching the "ammo waitresses" shoot some of the weapons - obviously the first time for several of them. I saw the physically smallest of them sit down behind the BAR, rip off a full magazine, and then get up with a smile that wrapped all the way around to the back of her head.

Win-win, as far as I'm concerned.

They were young women, yes. They were dressed appropriately for the weather - 95º and muggy. They were friendly and enthusiastic. They were hired to do a job.

And had they been unattractive, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Think about it.

Breda said...

Ah, yes. And now comes the "you ugly bitches are just jealous" defense. I figured it'd come from a woman, though.

You know, I've seen a lot of people who were at the shoot defending Luckygunner. And I get that, you got free stuff and have the free stuff warm and fuzzies about them now. But really I couldn't care less about Luckygunner specifically - their photostream ticked me off because of the lack of pics of female gunbloggers vs. the ones of the models, or whatever they were. And so I got to thinking about the use of young women like these and how it might affect women who are already uncomfortable with the good ol' boys gun culture. LG, if you'll notice, was only one example.

And I don't believe I even have to say this (AGAIN) but I'm thrilled those girls got to shoot and more specifically, that they got to shoot with gunbloggers - some of the finest people I've ever met. If ever there was a dream introduction to guns, that'd be it. I hope you made shooters for life out of all of them.

But remember, if they hadn't been attractive they also would never have that that chance - because they wouldn't have been hired in the first place.

Mad Saint Jack said...

OK everyone. Time to HUG IT OUT!

If you've gotten this far in the thread you may as well go listen to the topic get hashed out on VC.

Kevin said...

And now comes the "you ugly bitches are just jealous" defense.

Oh really? Coming from a cuter-than-a-bug's-ear gunblogger, that would seem to negatte THAT argument.

...their photostream ticked me off because of the lack of pics of female gunbloggers vs. the ones of the models, or whatever they were.

IIRC there were THREE female gunbloggers attending - Mrs. VRWC, Jennifer and Tam. Yes, there were far more pictures of LuckyGunner's EMPLOYEES than of the bloggers - all of us. (For example, I'm in only one - thankfully. Tam's in three.)

But remember, if they hadn't been attractive they also would never have that that chance - because they wouldn't have been hired in the first place.

You may be right about that, but you just proved my point. Had they been unattractive, we wouldn't be having this conversation. Companies don't hire unattractive people to be their public faces. It's a fact.

Kevin said...

negatte = negate. EeePC keyboards suck.

Breda said...

Again. Yes, sex sells. Yes, pretty people are models. Yes, companies hire models. Sigh.

Does advertising guns this way (cheesecake girls) perpetuate a "guns are for men" myth that might keep away potential new women shooters? That is the debate here. So if you (or anyone else for that matter) are going to comment again, please try to address that.

Mad Saint Jack said...

All we need is for some of the ammo girls to start blogging about guns and everything will be fine.

Kevin said...

Does advertising guns this way (cheesecake girls) perpetuate a "guns are for men" myth that might keep away potential new women shooters? That is the debate here.

No, there's no debate about that. Obviously it does, or again, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

From my perspective the debate ought to be whether sometimes - just sometimes - women overreact on this topic.

The young women were not inappropriately dressed. Yes, there were significantly more pictures of them in LuckyGunner's slideshow than of blogger attendees - both male and female, and yes, that was a marketing decision.

And if women are put off by that, I think it says something more about the women who are put off than it does about the vendor.

Weren't you the one who refused an interview with Glenn Reynolds? That wouldn't have been a good image for women shooters to see? Ask yourself again why you refused.

This is what I don't get. "They're only there because they're pretty!" Well, DUH. They just proved - in picture after picture - that "girls just wanna have guns." I would hope that the reaction to that from young women is "I want to do that TOO!" not "Why would I want to hang out with a bunch of middle-aged fat men?" And certainly not "Those bitches just dissed me!" because regardless of your protests, that's what it boils down to - LuckyGunner hired bimbos who let themselves be taken advantage of, and that offends you.


WV: throoty

I'm throoty here.

Breda said...

Sigh. You're STILL not getting it, Kevin. But thanks for trying.

Breda said...

And don't you DARE question why I chose to refuse an interview.

It's my ice cream and I will decide when and how it is given away for free.

Kevin said...

It's my ice cream and I will decide when and how it is given away for free.

Soooo... you wanted to get paid? ;-)

(I keed, I keed!)

CBI said...

Interesting reading. Some of these stories make my wife and I glad that we live in central New Mexico. We've visited a half-dozen or so gun stores, two shooting ranges (one commercial, one government park), gone to gun shows, and (as I just verified with her) *none* of them treated her poorly or looked down on her because she was female. This includes sales and service people (mainly males) aged from their lower 20s into I'd guess their upper 70s. The local commercial range has Ladies Night (half price) once a week and occasional women-only classes, but that's about it for different treatment. (The commercial range usually has 10-25% females shooting when we've gone.)

I think that consideration should be given to the demographic of those who would be hired to work this sort of thing -- one-time (temporary) retail ammunition sales outdoors involving some legwork. That pretty much will mean high-school/college/immediate-post-college age. My recollection of temps in retail is that the females outnumber the males to a great extent. So . . . independently of any subtle message regarding the shooting sports, you'd probably end up with something like what was encountered.

After looking at the picture, I think that the "Ammo Girls" (and guy) pictured wouldn't be noticed much in the sense of "sex sells" or the like. I think my wife and I would've treated it as a service being offered to help sell the product. Obviously YMMV and the like. :-)

davidc said...

I checked out the LG shoot pics and i don't see your point ! I see hot (temp) sweet demure young ladies. "Frankly, my dear, I dont givd a damn"

Gewehr98 said...

Still looking at the pictures for the "cheesecake".

I must be missing something. I've been around the world many, many times, and saw plenty of what would probably fit the "cheesecake" description. The co-eds in the LuckyGunner shoot photos? They looked well-groomed, friendly, and comfortable in the heat. Even Wife #2 said after reading the whole mountain-out-of-a-molehill kerfuffle, "Cheesecake? Really?" She would have gone for the free ammo, even if the young ladies actually wore something unbecoming.

Methinks the lost percentage of business to potential female customers due to portraying the fairer sex as some sort of object would in reality have been somewhere to the right of the decimal point.

That's the beauty of Blogger, though. It's your bar of soap and your washcloth. You can scrub as hard and fast as you want, and nobody's gonna stop you.

WV - "unpennat" The leader of aforementioned ammo girls should most definitely remain unpennatt about the LG shoot.

Kevin said...


I just listened to your commentary on VC. I understand better now, but I still think you were oversensitive. Let me explain. No, that would take too long. Let me condense:

You've said that you were in pain that weekend. I imagine that had some effect on your attitude at the time. You assumed that they were "models" when they were not. They were the organizer and her friends. You objected to the fact that pictures of these four women were shown in excess of the female bloggers. As I've noted previously, there were pictures of the female bloggers in proportion to pictures of the male bloggers. What you're protesting is that there was not disproportionate coverage of the female bloggers.

What if one of those female bloggers didn't want her picture taken? (Old NFO requested that of me.)

I've read posts by three of the female blogger attendees. None of them reacted quite the way you did. Two repudiate your position. I'm not denying that you found LuckyGunner's "ammo waitress" idea offensive, I just think you have (severely) overreacted here. Hell, I could be wrong - there may be more women that feel this way than don't, but right now it's running three-to-one against you from three bloggers who were there and one who wasn't.

I'd ask you to re-examine your anger. You made assumptions that were incorrect, and then got pissed off based on those assumptions. Now that there is more information, can you not reconsider your position?

Breda said...

That smarmy advertising and a boys club gun culture might possibly keep already reluctant women away from firearms and shooting?


You seem a little obsessed with Luckygunner, Kevin - when the issue really isn't about them specifically. Free ammo and miniskirts really work, I guess.

Kevin said...

This is what I don't get. Jennifer was there, and she didn't see what you saw. Mz. VRWC was there and SHE didn't see what you saw. Tam commented that had they been wearing khakis, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Really, I don't give a damn about LuckyGunner, it's the topic that has my attention: the (over)sensitivity to perceived slights. From listening to VC, had the photographer concentrated on the three or four female gunbloggers, your objections would have been mitigated? Had one of Angela's college friends been less than cute?

I'm with Chance - I'm glad we're talking about this rather than how we're going to get our rights back, but jeeze, we've got a long way to go!

Smarmy advertising - check. Boy's club gun culture? I didn't see it there. You did. I don't think it was there, but you saw it anyway.

Sometimes we in the gun culture are our own worst enemies.

Breda said...

Of course you don't see it, Kevin. You are it.

Glenn B said...

Aren't you doing the exact thing you just hammered away at? Except for being a young college gal, you fit the profile that seems to offend you when Lucky Gunners uses people who fit it in their employ. You are fairly good looking, you are female, you have a photo of yourself, on your blog, that is certainly more suggestive of a sexy pose than any seen of those college girls in question at the shoot in question. YOU ALSO ADVERTIS FOR LUCKY GUNNER (not yelling simply stressing).

Does that mean you are scaring away other potential women shooters from the sport? Is you hammering away like a feminist avenger scarring away women who have more conservative values and who are not feminists or maybe scaring away young shooters like those college gals? Maybe you are even scaring away some men too.

I don’t mind you taking up the cause of feminist shooters. That is your decision. I do read your blog though and must say, I like your blog best when you blog about guns, about women shooting, about the library and about animals instead of when you are playing the feminist avenger over what seems to be a total misconception on your part. You have made an issue out of a non-issue here.

So you are a woman and you shoot and you blog. So Lucky Gunner hired some young college kids to be their reps at a shoot they seem to have at least in part sponsored. So they got you to post their logo and link on your blog. Now you are mad at them because they did not take more pictures of whom you think they should have photographed. It seems like you think they owe you and other female bloggers something special, in fact it seems obvious that you think so to the point you have lambasted them and their use of those college gals to the point it is rather overboard.

Now you start slamming other who give their opinion on a matter you placed here for anyone to read and comment upon. I think you have it all wrong calling guys like Kevin the problem. The problem is elsewhere and it is not at Lucky Gunner either.

All the best,

Breda said...

Damn, Glenn. I think you're the one with issues.

Alan said...

Like Breda has said over and over, it's not about the girls. It's never been about the girls. They're not the problem and Breda said, "If a little tits and ass makes a guy buy more bang and brass then hooray, capitalism!"

It's about the company that hired them and their explicit decision to, at best, ignore the growth market that women represent by perpetuating the guns are for guys thing. If you disagree with that assessment then go back and read the quote from the beginning of Breda's post. Then read it again and again until you accept that Lucky Gunner is, in their own words, telling you that they are marketing to men.

Breda's point is that that style of marketing makes it harder to bring women into the gun world. There can be no argument about that position either. Things that are marketed to men are, on the margin, less interesting to women in general. That's just the way things are. Yes, of course some women don't care but they are the exception and the singular of "data" is not "anecdote".

If you want guns normalized, you have to get them in the hands of women because as long as women think guns are a guy thing they won't thing twice about banning them.

Jimmy said...


So, moving on from LuckyGunner and focusing on the booth babe phenomenon: How could LG have structured the event to be friendly to potential female shooters? Or more generally, other companies in the industry in public events? Let's go with a few scenarios: Shooting Range, Trade Show, Print Advertising, and Store Salespeople. Is there some specific feature that would be good? Given that all the events had salespeople of both sexes.

Kevin said...

Ah, I'm the problem. Interesting. Care to elaborate? Because that sounds remarkably like "I'm not, YOU are!"

You're the one who accused me of, ah, let me quote . . . "you ugly bitches are just jealous" defense.

You were wrong about that, too.

Breda said...

@Jimmy. Not my job.

By "it" I meant you are, at least in a marketing sense, the boys club gun culture. This marketing is for "you". That you said you don't think it was there, despite the quote I provided at the beginning of this post that clearly shows that LG markets in this way to men (& having ammo girls at the shoot was a marketing decision, to be sure. Else why hire a photographer to follow them around?), indicates that you might not be seeing the forest for the trees - probably because you're one of the trees.