Among the laughter of women and clatter of dishes in the kitchen, where women are commonly joked to belong, you’d be surprised to know that their conversations aren’t about shared recipes….Not when it comes to Tina Maldonado, of Texas, and her friends, anyway.
These ladies have taken up the discussion of firearms and female-friendly accessories, such as holsters that are easier to pull a gun from and clothes to promote “gun wielding women,” all while sipping gracefully on sangria.
Tina Maldonado is hosting a “Holster Happy Hour” at her home in Round Rock, where women can buy female-friendly holsters, tactical pens that can be used to stab assailants and pepper spray. As they shop, the women discuss everything from the headaches of menopause to their husband’s work schedules.
The happy hour is just one of the weekly gatherings for the group. Although shopping for holsters and self-defense tools is the reason for the happy hour, the sangria and socializing are just as important to the culture of the female gun club – as is firearms fashion.
“So much of it has to do with the state of the world today,” said Darlene Cary, president of holster-maker Can Can Concealment based outside Tampa, Florida. “Going to the movies or going to the mall aren’t exactly safe zones anymore. Women are taking it into their own hands and being agents of their own safety.”
Darlene Cary remembers trying to find a holster that fit her body type in 2013. Men’s holsters gave her bruises. “I wanted a holster that was feminine, tactical, practical and still pretty,” Cary said. “A holster that worked with my wardrobe, not my husband’s.”
Female firearm fashion is not a traditional American industry. It wasn’t until five years ago that female gun clubs were created in the Austin area, and female-friendly holster retailers emerged only about three years ago.