Actions speak louder than words, but taking positive steps towards increasing the visibility of women’s shooting is difficult as it is often hard to know where to start. Although the number of women getting into shooting is on the up, we can’t relax and must continue to inspire more women to get involved. The question is, how do we do this?

Visibility of shooting sports, especially women’s shooting, is vital for our future. As a sport, we need to do as much as we can to improve the narrative. The most influential piece of media coverage our sport will receive (outside of the shooting community) is every four years at the Olympic Games. We need to change this, and everyone has a role to play. We need to get more people talking about shooting and we need to increase our circle of influence. 

Sharing your passion

Some people like to use shooting as ‘time for themselves’, but for those who don’t, why not take your wife, girlfriend, daughter or any special women or girls that are in your life along with you? Sharing your passion with someone is incredible and could really benefit the sport in the future.

Take your friends or family for a day out, offer to take them to do something of their choice afterwards as a sweetener for them if they are unsure. Shooting is a sport for everyone, of all ages and abilities. You can get your children involved by starting them off with an air rifle; they don’t need to sustain the weight of the gun and recoil isn’t a concern. If you run your own company, choose to have a clay shoot as your works do. If you’re employed, why not make that same suggestion and share your interest with your colleagues? There are so many ways that each and every one of us can increase the visibility of shooting.

There are more and more ways that you can get involved with shooting now, in a variety of different environments. Whether that’s at a shooting ground or in a cocktail bar. Sounds interesting, right? Clays is a cocktail bar in Moorgate, London, that is based entirely around clay target shooting. It provides a safe, welcoming and very social environment for people to try shooting without the need to leave the City. So, why is this important? Shooting can be an expensive sport and, in some instances, the travel time to a shooting ground is extensive – particularly if you live in the centre of London. Clays makes the sport more accessible and more affordable as you don’t have the cost of clays and cartridges. The bar features 12 shooting simulators using decommissioned guns and purpose-built technology, using LED lights and cameras, to create an immersive shooting experience.

This bar makes shooting a fun night out, which sounds strange to those who are already clay shooters, as we have always been told not to mix alcohol with guns! In this safe environment, it makes it easy for people to try something new in a very social capacity, and Clays has already welcomed over 20,000 women through its doors since opening in November. While for a bar in London these numbers may sound like nothing out of the ordinary, the fact that Clays is a bar that’s core focus is promoting clay shooting sports in a positive way is incredibly powerful for us in the shooting community. These women may have never even given clay shooting a second thought if it weren’t for the opportunity that the bar has presented.

Increasing women’s platform

Women’s shooting is taking off across all disciplines and it is so incredible to see the vast amount of support from grounds, organisations and small businesses. This support is increasing the platform for our female shooters and therefore increasing the reach and visibility of our sport.

On Friday 13 May, the Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club hosted a pool shoot at Ian Coley’s Ladies Competition. The event saw 80 women come together to shoot a fantastic presentation of targets across 12 stands. Open to any ladies who hold their own shotgun certificate, it presents a great opportunity for women who are finding their feet in competitive shooting to take part in a safe and friendly environment, as well as accommodating experienced female shooters. It’s initiatives such as this that pave the way for women, not only enabling them to meet other likeminded women, but also helping build confidence and develop experience for those who may not already have it.

While it’s key for those who are able to support women in shooting to continue to do so, it’s also important for women in shooting to grab the opportunities that others provide for them. If there is a ladies’ competition available to shoot, we should all make the effort to go and shoot it, or support it, in any way that we can. If fellow female shooters have been successful, we should celebrate them, and support their success where we can. By helping champion one another, we demonstrate to other women and girls that shooting is a fantastic sport to get involved in, and also prove how inclusive it is in comparison to other sports.

If we don’t shout about our own sport, no one else will do it for us. We will limit the future of shooting if we don’t continue to push the realms of what is possible; we all need to understand our individual ability to increase the visibility of women’s shooting.

As women in shooting, it’s important to use our voices to share our passion with others, especially with those who may not otherwise hear about our sport. We can use our platforms, no matter their size, to increase visibility and to communicate positivity around shooting as a sport. We should be proud of what we do and what we have achieved. In order to inspire more women to try shooting, we need to share our stories, demonstrate that we are all relatable and show that it truly is possible for any woman of any background, age or shape, to get involved.