Women Packing Heat

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They wear mascara and get manicures, and some are straight shooters. They're average women and they own guns.

Cindy Wells of Brenham says she and her girlfriends practice shooting and have taken courses.

"There's quite a few of us; my very best friend in the valley has also taken the course," said Cindy Wells, a gun owner.

From single moms wanting protection to traveling sales agents like Cindy, women packing heat is a nationwide trend.

"I think it's just really important for women to have this, especially if you travel and have children, for protection," said Wells.

Katie Stulce is co-owner of Champion Firearms in College Station, and yes, she's a woman. She says women are one of their fastest growing markets.

"We've seen a large increase in the number of women coming on their own and buying firearms," said Katie Stulce of Champion Firearms.

The gun industry is making it easy for women. They are even making purses with gun holsters inside.

"The gun industry has really been trying to make gun owners and gun shops more aware of marketing their products more towards women," said Stulce.

Champion offers gun training classes and recently those classes have been packed with women.

"We are starting to teach more how to shoot classes and it's predominately women that are taking these classes," said Stulce.

The National Rifle Association says female participation in its programs is at an all time high. While they don't ask members their sex, 22,000 women nationwide have taken their instructional shooting classes since 2001.