“Some of the problems we (women) run into are like with the curve of our hips. The holster will tuck the butt of the gun in tightly against the ribs so there is no way to physically draw it without running into your rib cage.”
Looper kept encountering problems with carrying a gun on her hip, so she designed a holster for a bra. Her husband built it to specifications.
“I was just trying to find a way that I could carry my gun,” she said. “I never considered that anybody else had the same issue that I did.”
Looper's gun-toting girlfriends all wanted the holster as well. She took her bra holster, called Flashbang, to the National Rifle Association's annual convention two years ago to see if it would sell. She sold 42 in three days.
Now Flashbang Holsters is a subsidiary of Looper Leather, specializing in an entire holster line for female shooters. The company is selling 42 holsters every hour the business is open.
The women's line includes holsters that be attached inside a bra strap like a shoulder holster, on a belt and inside a waist band. Even some men are carrying them.
“I will never forget the Facebook post from the first man who was bragging about wearing a Sophia (the name of one of the holsters for women,” she said.
The number of women who own guns and participate in the shooting sports is growing.
Miles Hall, owner of the H&H Shooting Sports Complex, said 47 percent of his store's customers are women, a percentage that has doubled in the past decade.
“Women know more about guns than most men give them credit for,” Hall said.
Many women initially get a handgun for reasons of self-defense then discover they actually enjoy shooting, he said.
Looper noticed a similar progression with female shooters.
“They start out buying a handgun. They do that for self-defense or sport reasons,” she said. “Then they build an AR (assault rifle). Then they want to go hunting. It works that way every time.”
Twenty-two women showed up at the first organizational meeting last year of
the “A Girl & A Gun” club in Oklahoma City, a women's only shooting club for pistol, rifle and shotgun sports. Membership is now 150.
The club welcomes beginning shooters. Many women find it easier to learn to shoot from a female firearms instructor, Looper said.
“The gun world is still primarily a man's world,” she said. “But more and more women are becoming part of that world.”