'Ladies gun store' in Palm Bay caters to women's self-defense

Femme Fatale Arms & Training breaks stereotypes of traditional gun stores

By James Sparvero - Reporter

PALM BAY, Fla. - It's not your daddy's gun store and the woman behind Femme Fatale Arms & Training says that's exactly the point.

As the store's name implies, owner Maria Dockery aims to serve the ladies.

"I decided to open a store for women, first," the licensed firearms instructor told News 6 Friday. "Women are every bit as intelligent and we're able to handle firearms. We just don't have the background that the guys do."

Dockery is a straight shooter about women walking in what's traditionally a man's world.

"When I would go into gun stores, if they paid any attention to me at all, I would be given short, curt answers. I thought, 'If I'm having that kind of trouble, I think other women are too,'" she said.

The success of Femme Fatale proves she was right.

Dockery opened her first "Ladies Gun Store" in 2014 in Melbourne.

This weekend she's celebrating opening a second location on Minton Road in Palm Bay.

Friday, News 6 watched customer Jessica Kunka browse the store's selection of guns, apparel, jewelry, and pepper spray.

"I kind of feel more welcomed here,"  Kunka said. "A lot of times I'll go into a gun store and they'll talk to my boyfriend rather than talk to me."

"We just talk to them," said Dockery of her sales approach. "We educate them and they make the final decision on what's best for themselves."

Dockery said she intends to expand on the store's introductory firearms training classes for women and men as well.

"I'm just a woman trying to serve a need. I hear that there are a lot of women saying, 'Wow, this is what we've needed all along.' And the support I continue to get from everybody is overwhelming. It's most important to me to make sure that women are able to defend themselves and do it in a way that women are comfortable," she said.

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