Thirty years ago, one gun shop’s customers were 90% male, but today they report an even split between men and women. This increase in female gun use and interest has been documented throughout the country. Many cities report a substantial increase in concealed carry permits among the female population, especial among minority women. Why the sudden interest in guns among women? Many cite an increased pursuit of safety.

Traditionally, gun ownership has been a male dominated activity, however, that statistic is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Between 2011 and 2012, there was a 79% increase in female gun customers in the United States! Not only are women buying more guns, they are also becoming equipped to use them. There has also been a steady increase in female concealed carry permits throughout the country. Over 22% of concealed carry permits in Florida belong to women and 30% of those in Tennessee are proud female carriers. And the fastest growing demographic to get concealed carry permits in Texas is black females.

So what are the benefits of concealed carrying? According to the Gun Owners of America, the National Safety Council found that guns are used 2.5 million times a year in self-defense, or around 6,850 times a day. They also found that guns are used around 80 times more often to protect an innocent life than to take one. Of the 2.5 million times guns are used to defend innocent civilians every year, the majority are only to scare the attacker away, only 8% ended with wounding or killing the attacker. Research has also found that states with restrictions on concealed carry have higher gun-related murders than those without. Furthermore, concealed carry bystanders have stopped gunmen before they take innocent lives.

Concealed carry permits strongly appeal to young women. As many as 200,000 women use guns to defend themselves against sexual abuse and assault every year. Guns prevent as many as 3,600 rapes every day! Due to their effectiveness in preventing sexual assault, many advocacy groups for women’s rights and protection have popped up around America, especially at universities. One university in Colorado has since allowed students to carry firearms on campus to allow students to protect themselves. Since allowing concealed carry, Colorado Springs University has seen a 90% drop in sexual assaults on campus. Concealed carry firearms don’t only protect women on college campuses. An Ohio woman walking her dog prevented two men, one armed with a baseball bat, from raping her, with a concealed weapon.

The gun industry has taken note of their new customer demographic. In March 2014, there was a women’s concealed carry fashion show in New York that provided holsters fit for women. A store called Gun Goddess provides guns with cheetah print, concealed carry purses, and other gun products geared toward women. The Pink Gun company’s motto is “just because it’s concealed doesn’t mean it has to be ugly.” This company allows women to customize a gun to fit their personality and needs.

In thirty short years women went from being on 10% of gun store customers to around 50%. Today, they are also around 30% of the country’s concealed carry permit holders. Talk about girl power. How long until women surpass men to be the dominant gun store customer and concealed carry permit holder?