America’s New Target Shooters: Younger, Female and Urban

posted on September 1, 2013 10:00am

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Press Release Shows One in Five Began Shooting in the Last Five Years

The National Shooting Sports Foundation recently commissioned a study to determine the demographics of shooting sports competitors. The findings were as follows:

  • Younger: 66 percent of new shooters fall into the 18-to-34-year-old category compared to 31 percent in the same age category for established shooters.
  • Female: 37 percent of new target shooters are female compared to 22 percent of established target shooters.
  • Urban: 47 percent of new target shooters live in urban/suburban settings versus 34 percent of established target shooters.

What this tells us is that the trends we are seeing here at the Demmer Center are very similar to those that are being seen across the country, making the work that we do all the more important.


This is a trend that we love to see as a university facility. We have numerous youth programs from our own Junior Rifle and Air-Rifle programs to programs put on through Parks and Recreation organizations throughout the greater Lansing area (and everything inbetween). We feel that exposing youth to shooting sports at a young age not only fosters a better understanding of safety, but gives the opportunity to share a sport that really is an equalizer. Shooting sports allow people of all types (short, tall, male, female, athletic, non-athletic, etc.) an even playing field. Children who may not be the greatest at more conventional sports can excel at a competitive sport that not only offers national and international opportunities, but also collegiate scholarships to help with their education further down the line.Meijer State Games of Michigan 1st Place Air Rifle

We see the surge of young shooters coming into this sport on an almost daily basis. Since we opened in October of 2009, we have seen 3,474 unique visitors ages 1-34 (and yes, that 1 is not a typo), not including those with ages unreported in our system. These are kids and young adults who come out of the range, target in hand, with a huge smile on their face because they shot in the middle (adults, we know you do this too). Young shooters are what will keep this sport alive for years to come, and fostering that growth is something of which we are proud to be a part. 


The growth of female shooting sports enthusiasts is something that cannot be ignored either. As stated above, shooting sports are activities that women can do equally as well as men. Shooting requires strength, but not brute force, and most of all focus, which is something anyone can have. We often see women who have never shot before visiting the Demmer Center and coming away from their experience having shot better than some of the men that came with them.

Most recently, along with our Women’s Only class that we have been offering for nearly a year, we have partnered with the Well Armed Woman, LLC. to increase female participation in shooting sports in both short and long term ways. The Well Armed Woman organization teaches a variety of courses, and a new shooting chapter will be using our facility as their home base for their monthly meetings. The club is open to the public to join.


It is great to hear that urban settings are geting more involved with shooting sports. This is a sector previously not very familiar with the wide range of opportunities that shooting sports offer, and it is a sector to which the Demmer Center can definitely speak.

Being in the greater Lansing area, we are surrounded by urban and suburban cities and towns. We see countless people coming in saying that they have never had the opportunity to handle a firearm because there just aren’t very many ranges in sub/urban areas that offer training as well as a shooting range. We have kids coming in from Meridian Township, East Lansing, etc. who are in very suburban areas and are utilizing their Parks and Recreation organizations to have opportunities that may not be available to suburban kids elsewhere. One of the goals of the Demmer Center is to expand shooting sports, and being able to share our knowledge with sub/urban groups is one of the ways we try to meet that goal.


To close out this article, we’d like to bring you back to the top of the page: “One in Five Began Shooting in the Last Five Years.” Look at that statistic! One fifth of all shooting sports participants has been shooting for less than five years. That is and estimated 8,156,000 shooters. If that number is added to this sport every five years, the possibility for growth is exponential. New shooters are what we believe in. We have been been open not quite four years, so many of the people we see fall into this category. We have seen our “new shooters” place at national competitions, such as the matches at Camp Perry. We have seen our “new shooters” surprise seasoned pros on the shooting line. Most importantly we have seen our “new shooters” having fun and enjoying the sport. That is what we love to see: new people experiencing shooting sports and deciding that they’ve found something to stick with.


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