With names like “Pistols N Pumps,” “Gun-Totin’ Mamas” and gal-specific holsters like the “Flash Bang” bra holster, manufacturers have (finally) come to realize that the female demographic is one of the fastest growing markets in the industry.
For the sake of this article, and the sake of my sanity, lets banish the notion that firearms and related accessories for women is anything made in pink. Many of us women are avid shooters, knowledgeable in firearms, and we wear real camo. We’re just tired of wearing camo made for men. Women have curves. Hunting clothes fit differently. Concealable holsters are shaped differently and often worn in different positions.
So with that out of the way, here are five of the best products on the market for the serious hunting, shooting, conceal-carrying, discerning women I’ve come across.
UnderTech Undercover Compression Concealment Clothing
While the majority of holsters on the market are unisex, many women struggle to find concealment options that both allow deep concealment yet allow them to dress like a lady. Undertech Undercover’s Compression Concealment Clothing meets a serious need and has a line designed especially for women.
They offer both Women’s Undertech shirts and under-shorts, both which have dual, ambidextrous built-in holsters. For women, the tanks excel under another shirt or jacket while the shorts can be worn under just about any bottoms, from dress pants to workout wear. Best of all, the garments look good when dressed-up under clothing. My women’s tank looks like any other cami when worn under another garment.
However, users must realize that compression means form fitting. You can’t order a larger size wishing for a looser fit without sacrificing the security of your gun. There are plenty of sizes, all running true to their size chart, and they have held up to my washing machine over many months. Obviously, UTUC put a good amount of time into fitting the curves of a woman’s body rather than just re-branding the men’s line.
See my UTUC specific review on Guns.com for a more in-depth review. UTUC garments are priced at $49.99 each or three for $99. While 5.11 also makes a similar product of high quality, the value of the UTUC is hard to beat.
In the last five years, at least a half-dozen viable, female-specific clothing manufacturers have emerged. Gone are the days of buying the closest man’s size and hunting in uncomfortably baggy clothes. Only a handful, however, rise to the top.
While I always hesitate to throw my support behind a big-box store, the Cabela’s OutfitHer line of women’s camouflage hunting apparel tested as the best intersection of both quality and value. Not only do they cover all seasons and weights of garments—jackets, pants, baselayers, bibs, gloves, hats, and boots. They also include scent control, bug skins, rainwear, upland, and waterfowl. And the OutfitHer garments are truly fitted for women’s bodies. They also offer the widest range of sizes, realizing that the majority of female hunters are not a size 0-8.
The OutfitHer line is flattering but practical, classy but quiet and hunt-ready with all the features any hunter—male or female—would expect. I’ve worn my OutfitHer Parka and Pants for two archery seasons, including heavy wash and wear, and they still look like new—except for a few big game blood stains. Best of all, purchased separately the set cost under $200.
If you just won’t shop Cabelas, Prois is also a top-of-the line women’s hunting clothier. Although pricier and often harder to find than the OutfitHer gear, Prois now offers sizes to fit most women and their quality is top notch.
GunGoddess Shooting Shirt
GunGoddess is a fine and under-recognized retail company catering to female shooters. One of my favorite products they carry—and the only true women’s shooting jersey I’ve found on the consumer market—is the Gun Goddess Shooting Shirt by Gemini. The quality is excellent, fit is generous, and there are styles, colors and sizes for every body type. Though it comes with the GunGoddess logo, you can add any number of secondary logos, personal names, or leave it as-is. Not all shooters are sponsored by big name companies that provide jerseys, yet many of us shoot local and regional competitions and desire good fitting, comfortable, wicking, shooting wear. Pricing starts at $48, and that’s very reasonable in the realm of quality shooting shirts.
Gun Goddess owner Athena Means is passionate and knowledgeable about her market, and the company prides itself on customer service. As she says, “While I am serious about my shooting, I also like to look like a woman while I am doing it.” You can read more about Ms. Means here. GunGoddess ships in-stock items the same day and they are easy to reach by both phone and email.
Though GunGoddess targets the women’s market, they also have plenty of options for male shooters as well, including holsters, safes, apparel and accessories. The GunGoddess website is one of the best places to shop when you just don’t know what to buy that gun-lover in your life. They’re also a great market for introducing new female shooters to everything the firearms world has to offer.
Vertx Women’s Tactical Pants
The Vertx company, an offshoot of Fechheimer, is a fast-riser in the tactical world. Though they are primarily recognized for their mens’ wear, they have a line of women’s gear designed by and for ladies and not simply re-sized and re-branded mens’ pants. I also work in the field of emergency medicine, and Vertx Women’s Tactical Pants are the same pants that I wear for both work and shooting competitions.
Though the styles vary slightly in size and material, the Tactical Pants are made of 98% cotton and 2% Lycra for just the slightest bit of stretch. The material is heavy and ready for serious duty. Inset cargo pockets hold plenty but are low profile for a classier fit. There are multiple styles, so if you’re looking for a higher or lower rise waist, your best bet is to call or email when ordering to make sure you get the right fit. There are tactical polos and shirts for women as well.
The pants retail around $49.95 but wash and wear very well. My only wish for Vertx is that they expand their women’s line to include some of the styles currently only on their men’s side—like the lightweight Phantom pants. Retailers Galls, LA PoliceGear, and OpticsPlanet all carry the Vertx line.
Boyt Harness Company Women’s Upland Hunting Shirt
The Boyt Harness Company women’s Upland Hunting & Shooting Shirt is the best and most comfortable everyday shirt I’ve tried. While it’s cut for women, it’s neither dramatically tapered nor short. It’s made to be tucked in for hardcore hunting and shooting. The material is a medium-heavy brushed cotton with contrasting color detail on the reinforced forearms and right shoulder patch. Unfortunately, lefties are left out on this one.
My shirts have been washed and worn, some over several years, and the only thing that has changed is a pleasant softening of the fabric into a favorite-shirt kind of feel. The Boyt Harness and Bob Allen companies seem to be one and the same, as some of my shooting shirts are branded as one, some as the other, but the shirts are the same. One thing is certain, these shirts would be really hard to wear out.
Sadly, Boyt and Bob Allen had a much more extensive women’s line in the past, and we’re not sure what has happened there. The items they do still carry are quality, however, and are worth a look. Here’s to hoping they wise up to the fastest growing market and rebuild an even more extensive line of women’s hunting and shooting clothing. Though Boyt’s website is limited, check out Staffords as they carry the full line of Boyt’s Upland Hunting Shirts for $46, not an unfair price for the use you’ll get out of the shirt.
HSS Contour Vest
Beginning in 2015, the NRA and NRA Publications added the category of “Women’s Innovation Product of the Year” to its line of NRA Golden Bullseye Awards. According to Executive Director of NRA Publications Doug Hamlin, the awards “exemplify what NRA members want in their shooting and hunting equipment—outstanding performance, innovative design and value. A new category for 2015—the Women’s Innovation Product of the Year—highlights the importance of what has become the fastest-growing segment in the firearm marketplace.” And the Winner of that award: the HSS Contour Vest.
The HSS Contour is a tree-stand safety vest designed especially for women. It was engineered to fit the contours of the womanly form, snugly but without restriction. Turquoise detail is feminine but not enough to distract from the camouflage purpose. The vest is lightweight, easy to use, and a must-have for every woman tree-stand hunter. Retail seems high at $139.95, but that includes the lineman’s climbing strap, tree strap, and instructional DVD. Who knew you could pair fashion and comfort with ultimate safety?
Whether you’re a hardcore female hunter and shooter like I, or you’re a man shopping for a woman who you’d love to pull into our world of hunting and shooting, these are five fine products. The most important? Getting more women introduced to the shooting passion we all adore.