COVID19 making new gun ownership very difficult

I had always considered getting a gun. I believe in the principle of the 2nd Amendment, but living in Massachusetts, guns were never big in my small town communities. My dad didnt hunt, and the only gun I ever touched as a kid was an air rifle at the local boys club. However; gun ownership was something that I always debated.

In March, as Covid19 spread, and society norms started to break down, my thought became action, and I scheduled my LTC class for early June. Then the riots started happening, and I was more than determined to protect my family as I questioned if the police would be there first because of Covid, and then because of defunding.

I took my class and my LTC came in August.

I then tried to find an affordable first gun. My first goal was home defense, but I didn’t want a gun to sit in a safe and not use it. I was told that I should try out different guns and find the one that is right for me.

I tried. I called ranges, went to gun stores and online brokers, trying to find as much information as I can. I called local Rod and Gun clubs, and tried to get someone to help me become a responsible gun owner.

What I found is a lack of guns to buy. Lack of ammo to buy.

Because I felt a shotgun is simpler to use, and I am a big guy 6’2 290lbs. I decided I would first get a shotgun.
If later I wanted a handgun, I could find one after the crisis is over.

I wanted a Mossberg 500 or Remington 870 but they are impossible to find. No one had them in stock. I found a hunting shotgun a Winchester SXP shadow 12 gauge.

Now I am struggling to find a place to learn how to use it. I bought snap caps, and I have practiced loading and cycling through them. I have not been able to actually shoot it.

This is getting extremely frustrating.

First I tried to find the right gun for me, but because of the shortages, I settled for a gun I could get.

I am now trying to learn how to use it properly, but finding it more and more difficult.

Are there any programs for people like me? There are a lot of new gun owners who bought for the exact reason why I did. We need help, so we are responsible gun owners and more importantly that we do more good than harm.


Welcome to the family! You are in the right place. I’ve recently asked if people know about gun shows. Here is a link to that.


Welcome to the family!
I read your post with empathy. My sister, who has never owned a gun, is now on the same road you’re on. She will have it easier–living in Wisconsin, and being related to me.
You are late to the party. Of that there is no doubt. The good news is you made it.
–The other good news–you bought a fine weapon. While you won’t be carrying it concealed :slight_smile: , it will help you around the house quite well. Assuming it has choke tubes, you want the most open one you have–cylinder, skeet, improved cylinder–any one of those is great. Pick up some #4 buckshot if you can find it . If not, 00 buckshot is the tried and true (but it has more potential to overpenetrate).
–Take this time to read everything you can find on personal defense. The USCCA’s book “Concealed Carry and Home Defense Fundamentals” is a great one to start with. I’d also recommend Masad Ayoob’s "in the gravest extreme’ (he’s a New Englander as well). Read the blogs here–especially training and
–There are online sites that can sell you a pistol that will transfer it to a local FFL holder (gun dealer) for a nominal fee. You should be able to find a carry pistol in short order if you so desire. I would say that right now you can’t find inexpensive guns or ammo, but you can definitely find both. Check out and for starters. Gunbroker will help you find a local FFL as well.
–Where in Massachusetts are you?
The link is to a group that shoots trap in MA. Trap is a shotgun sport that can serve as a basic introduction to shotgun shooting. It’s not defensive shotgunning, but it will help you build confidence with the firearm. I’d give them a call and explain that you’re new to shooting and you’d like some instruction. I will bet they can help point you in the right direction.
Also, check out the list of instructors from the USCCA who are in your area. I will bet you’ll be able to get some help from them as well. It probably won’t be free, but brother–you need a mentor.
–Don’t ever hesitate to ask questions of this community. We are here to help. Dawn, the goddess of all things community related, has built a fantastic culture here.
Keep in touch, and take heart. The asteroid will probably hit in November, so none of this will matter. :slight_smile:
Si vis pacem, parabellum


Welcome to the group, @BillA1120. We feel your pain. All of us are having difficulty finding guns and ammo these days. I can’t help you with a range or trainer way over there in MA, but keep the faith. Keep looking and you’ll find what you’re looking for.


The NRA has a listing of Gun Shows by state and or area.
Firearms News carries Gun Show listings. Many places carry the magazine.



Better late than never. Glad your here among like minded folks! I agree with everyone here! I would recommend studying your states laws and statutes, they should become your mantra also know the standard safety rules and weapon conditions.
I would start reading, all things Lt.Col Jeff Cooper, Massad Ayoob, any and all books and downloadable pdf’s from this site, the manual for your chosen home defense weapon. You should be able to disassemble and assemble in the dark blindfolded with your hands tied behind your back, then teach everyone in your household the same thing. I understand your anxiety and wanting to prove your weapons, hopefully we get past this without proving your weapon in real life. Then you can get yourself to a range and practice for enjoyment rather than for tactical and strategic purposes! So, no worries we have your back!


Welcome @BillA1120!

Are you looking for a place to practice shooting live rounds with your shotgun? Or getting an instructor/trainer to work with you? Not sure where you’re from in MA, but I did a quick search and there are public ranges than allow shotguns and most of them have certified instructors available. There are rules on the type of ammo you can use depending on the range.


Welcome to the family


Thank you all for the responses…

Before I even went to the get the LTC safety training, I watched Masad Ayoob’s video about self defense.
It was one of the main factors in my deciding to for lack of a better term… pull the trigger … on getting my LTC.

Ammo is hard to find. When I purchased the gun, I bought some AA Target loads, figuring I would try skeet. Some #4 bird shot, because it was available, and I watched videos showing that it doesn’t penetrate walls as easily as buck shot, and at close range it hits almost as hard as a slug. I also bought some rifled slugs used for deer hunting. The guy in the shop said it is rifled for a smooth bore barrel. I imagine that is jus used at long range, and not for home defense. I only bought them because I saw limits on the type of ammo that can be used at ranges.

The gun is WAY too big (28" barrel ) for home defense, but it is better than nothing, and with my plan and the way my house is designed, I can make the stairs a no-go zone, and yell at any intruder to get out of the house and if they come up stairs I will take that as a threat to do grave bodily harm to me and my family. I can put myself between any intruder and my family. Goal being that I will not go down stairs until the police arrive… let them take what ever they want. My family is more precious than any material goods.

I looked at the online sites and looked into the FFL, but before I bought something I wanted to see how it would feel in my over sized hands. I lean towards simple mechanisms, so a revolver has its appeal to me. I just wanted to actually hold guns, I may eventually decide on a glock or a 1911, but would have to actually handle the action to see if I can be comfortable with it. I imagine before the run on guns, I could probably handle many of them, to see how they feel.

I do need a mentor. I am going at this alone.

In a state where gun control laws are draconic, I am surprised it is so hard to find support. I think I did the right thing joining USCCA. Thanks, again.


I want an instructor, and eventually a place where I can practice shooting.

I have been trying a major firearm school near me, but they are always booked for private lessons.

Another local to me, I asked what type of shells I needed, but I have not heard back.

I have been trying for 3 weeks now. Even the UCCA list of classes are not about shotguns. They look interesting, but just not what I need.

Also, don’t know about the Reciprocity issues with Rhode Island which is 30 min from my house. Can I even bring my gun across the state line? According to the map here, I don’t think I can.

Too many rules. I even fretted about storage. Got a Stack-on key entry and put a motion sensitive light in there with a moisture control device. That should suffice for all MA regulations.


Perhaps you can buy an 18" barrel for the shotgun from the manufacturer? I know Mossberg and Remington sell barrels for their’s. Update. Winchester makes an 18 inch barrel version of your shotgun. Perhaps an 18 inch interchangeable barrel?


@BillA1120. welcome to the community,glad to have you here :smiley:Train hard and stay safe.

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I wrote them… and asked. Still waiting on the answer. That is why I wanted the Mossberg and the Remington… easier to get parts.


Here is the USCCA reciprocity map. It’s easy to use and shows all states in the U.S. hang in there buddy, the right weapon will come along. Maybe check pawn shops? But be very selective before purchasing.


There is such a place, Texas!


I’m ready to move. Just have to convince my wife, something I have been trying to do for 18 years.


Welcome to the family brother and god bless you. You are not alone in this journey. I’m sure you will find what you are looking for. Be patient brother because you don’t want to rush into a firearm you’re not comfortable with. Of course any gun is better than no gun at all. Have you tried traveling to other states to purchase a firearm? If not maybe an adjoining state you might try.


American Fireams School has a Shotgun for Home Defense class, but nothing scheduled. However, there is a contact posted, so maybe you get get private instruction at least for the first time? Also, the class requires buckshot and slugs, so you should be able to use those on their range.


Thank you, I sent them a request for a private lesson. Fingers crossed. ( I have reached out to other places, without much luck due to the Covid restrictions. ) I love that they say how many shells and what type is needed.


Not sure where you are located, but here’s a public range that allows shotguns and has firearm rentals. Shotgun slugs only. Private instruction available.