I am hesitant to say too much about the topic of women and guns for fear of quickly getting out of my depth. Many others much better schooled in the topic have written about it, including (though not limited to): Laura Browder’s Her Best Shot: Women and Guns in America, Stange and Oyster’s Gun Women: Firearms and Feminism in Contemporary America, Caitlin Kelly’s Blown Away: American Women and Guns, and Deborah Homsher’s Women & Guns: Politics and the Culture of Firearms in America.
When I first began subscribing to gun magazines, I expected them to be targeted to a predominantly male audience and so to use women’s sexuality in a degrading way to sell guns (sort of like Easy Rider or Esquire or Sports Illustrated). I was actually surprised at the non-stereotypical portrayal of women in most gun advertising. Many women were portrayed first and foremost as strong and competent (e.g., some Crimson Trace ads). Some were used simply as eye candy (notably Kahr Arms ads). And some were both (esp. Taurus’s recent ads with Jessie Duff).
Here I will post some photos of how women were used to sell guns at the NRA annual meeting and exhibits, without comment except to say that they different ways they were used fits with my earlier perceptions from the gun media.