JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- More ladies are packing heat these days in Florida. Statistics from the Florida Department of Agriculture show the number of women with a concealed carry permit has skyrocketed since 2004.

Cindy Davison is one of those women. She frequently practices her shooting at a range in St. Augustine.

"Not only do I enjoy this as a sport, but I also wanted to feel safer and be prepared in case of anything," said Davison.

The number of womenwith a concealed carry permit in Florida was around 48,000 in 2004.By 2011 that number grew to146,000.

Local gun range ownersare seeing the increase in their clientele.

"Probably half of my students are women now, who come and take classes," said instructor Chuck Usina with the Ancient City Shooting Range.

Usina says husbands are bringing their wives in to learn and other womenjust want to be able to use a gun if they have to.

"They have kids, they maybe want to become the protector," told Usina.

He even teaches a concealed carry class specifically for women.

"It just makes them feel better. I don't know if it is an empowerment thing or it just gives them a comfort factor," said Usina," The funny thing is once you get onto the range and you are firing a gun it is not a gender sport."

Usina added that it even after you get your concealed carry permit it is important to continuing practicing how to use the gun and always practice safety if you keep a gun in your household.