Mossberg 500: A Review of Its Features and Specifications

Pump-action shotguns are preferred by all facets of law enforcement from the military to police because of their speed and reliability. For that reason, it is worth considering purchasing a Mossberg 500 for your own home protection as well.

There are so many different shotguns on the market, but if you want the best of the best, you’re going to have to do your homework. As you weed through what’s available, you’re going to see some names you recognize and others that might make you pause.

One of the shotguns that you’re going to come across is the Mossberg 500 because it is simply a reliable shotgun. It has been on the market for over 50 years and loved by the military as well as civilians. You’ll see that it has developed quite the reputation due to impressive performance as well as versatility.

What is the Mossberg 500?

A Mossberg 500 is a pump-action shotgun that has earned a reputation for being fast, reliable, and durable. If you know how to handle a pump-action shotgun effectively, it can be as fast as some of the semi-auto guns out there. Its speed and reliability are some of the reasons that these shotguns are favored by the military, civilians, and police forces around the globe.

According to Survival Sullivan, the Mossberg 500 is “the only pump shotgun to pass the rigorous testing (Mil-Spec3443E test). This test requires the gun to handle three thousand rounds of full on 12-gauge buckshot through the gun, non-stop, without fail.” That kind of performance is incredibly impressive because you know that means that you’re going to get a reliable gun if you select this shotgun.

Brief History

The Mossberg 500 was originally introduced in 1960 and is available in a multitude of options. You can find them with wooden stocks or in a polymer style. Some of the options even allow for you to swap out the barrel depending on what you choose.

They are designed to work with either right or left-handed shooters courtesy of where the safety is located. It is found at the top of the receiver and is easily accessible by both hands. The safety button is also easy to find on your shotgun without fumbling while searching.

The Mossberg 500 is also easy to fix if anything were to fail or need replacing. You tap a pin out of place, remove a screw, and you’re done. There are a few more steps like squeezing the shell lifter and pulling the forend, but the overall job is really simple.

There are three core different Mossberg 500 models – the Hunting, the Flex, and the Tactical. You’ll also see other models that have the same action as the 500 but are made differently. They include the 590, 590A1, 590M, Youth models, and 535 ATS.


When you start getting into the nitty-gritty about the various factory configurations, you’re going to see over fifty different options available to you. When you start considering which one you want to purchase, realize that there are three different categories – 12 gauge, 20 gauge, and .410 bore.

12-gauge shotguns are going to have the biggest kick and deal the most damage. A 20-gauge shotgun is going to have a somewhat softer recoil but will still pack a punch worth of home protection. A .410 bore shotgun is softer still, and the ammunition it takes can also be useful for various revolvers that use the same type.

What Makes the Mossberg 500 Unique?

One of the things that make the Mossberg 500 so incredibly unique is its variety of factory configurations. There are so many to choose from. The Tactical series has fourteen different configurations, the Hunting series has 23, and the Flex series has six configurations.

The 500 Tactical shotgun was designed to be rugged and is meant for military forces, law enforcement officers, and of course, law-abiding civilians. With dual extractors, twin action bars, and a top-mounted safety, this shotgun is designed to be the most robust of all of the Mossberg 500 family.

The 500 Flex is designed to be customizable to be either the perfect shotgun to go hunting or the ideal choice for home protection. If you’re planning to go hunting, you can choose the standard stock that will best suit your LOP, while the tactical stock is fully adjustable and perfect for home protection.


You will find a range of prices for all of the different Mossberg 500 models. They start at $200 and go up from there.

Expect the tactical models to be more expensive than the base models as the materials used are going to make a difference in pricing. Tactical models use materials that are heavier than the base Hunting models.

Flex models can get quite pricey depending on the extras that you choose for your shotgun. Tactical stocks are going to be expensive compared to standard stocks, but getting the different pieces to make the Flex series a good choice if you want the capacity of both the hunting and tactical series combined.

How the Mossberg 500 Compares to Other Shotguns

There is a constant and ongoing debate as to whether or not the Mossberg 500 or the Remington 870 is the better shotgun. To be perfectly honest, they are both fantastic options, but there are some key differences.

One of the biggest differences is between the models that are available in each brand. There are more models available from Mossberg than there are from Remington. Remington has kept their traditional design and made several modifications over the years.

Mossberg, on the other hand, took their original design and made even more options. Between the two gun manufacturers, they are both quality designs.


Another key difference is actually where the safety is located. The Mossberg 500 is designed to be usable for the ambidextrous among us because the safety is mounted on top and is central to the shotgun. That means both right and left-handed shooters can pick it up and use it right out of the box.

The Remington 870, on the other hand, is primarily made for right-handed shooters. The safety is right before the trigger and can be cumbersome for the left-handed shooter. Remington does make a left-handed 870, but it is slightly more expensive and is not always easy to find without contacting the manufacturer directly.

Something else that makes the Mossberg 500 shine is the way that it is easy to repair or replace parts of the gun as needed. The design is ultra-simplistic, which means that if you know what you’re doing, you can fix it yourself.


The Remington 870 is much the same way, though. The traditional design that Remington embraces also lends itself to being easy to repair or replace worn parts as needed.

Another difference between the two is the housing. Remington uses steel while Mossberg uses aluminum. The aluminum does make the gun lighter, but the steel makes the gun more stable when you shoot.

Brad over at Guns & Ammo also made it a point to mention the mechanical differences between the Mossberg and the Remington. “Mechanically, the Mossberg has some very real advantages over rivals like the Remington 870…For starters, the Mossberg’s dual extractors provide a sturdy and secure grip on the shell. If the 870’s single extractor fails, you’ve got a major problem. Additionally, the Mossberg’s design makes it easy to fix any parts that wear out or break.”

Honestly, you can adapt easily to either of the shotguns to find that is going to be the one that fits you best.

Real Reviews from Real People.

Over at Guns & Ammo, Brad Fitzpatrick loves his Mossberg 500. “Robust design, a variety of options and a 50-plus year history of excellence make the Mossberg line a logical choice for home defense. In addition, this gun is still made in the U.S. and is still sold for a reasonable price. There are plenty of defensive shotguns in the world, but in my mind, the Mossberg 500 is still the best.”

Nicholas Oetken from The Truth About Guns also has some fantastic experiences to share. “I’ve fired hundreds of rounds through the 500, and I only encountered one misfire. I’m assuming that this was due to faulty ammo since the firing pin had engaged the primer but the shell hadn’t fired. I ejected the shell, racked in a new one, and the Mossberg continued to fire as reliably as before. I’ve encountered no other jams or problems of any kind.”

Christian Gunowner

The Christian Gunowner also has some positive things to say about the Mossberg 500. “The Mossberg 500 is a shotgun that is dependable and durable, manufactured by military specific standards. It is a fun, worry-free gun that is a load of fun to shoot clays or hunt with. Mossberg makes a wide range of accessories including barrels that allow you to turn your gun into anything you want it to be. Those are the most important things. Then you only have to pay about $200 for one new in the box. That means you have the added benefit of being able to throw it in the back of your truck, lay it down in the field, drop it, swat bugs with it or paddle a boat with it and not worry about hurting it. And that’s worth a lot.”

It’s important to note that the Mossberg is not manufactured according to military specifications but has passed military tests. Always verify your information as you research the shotguns you’re interested in.

What We Think

Remember, firearms are only dangerous if you don’t handle them with the proper respect. That means keeping your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. If you don’t you can accidentally shoot yourself in the foot or worse, so don’t take gun safety lightly.

The Mossberg 500 is a dependable shotgun that homeowners should consider purchasing to protect themselves and their loved ones. They’re also fun to shoot when you’re doing skeet or trap shooting. You just need to know what you’re going to get when you go out and choose your shotgun.

In some cases, you may prefer to go with a Tactical and others may prefer a shotgun from the Hunting series. If you want the best of both worlds, you can choose to go with the Flex model and be able to use it in any situation.

Thanks to the variety of accessories that are made by Mossberg, you can make your gun meet the standards you want to see. Due to the lower price tag on the 500, you also don’t have to treat it with kid gloves. It is made to take a beating and keep on going.

Dakota R.

My name is Dakota, Since I was a little boy, hunting has been my favorite things to do. Being outdoors meant I got to spend more one on one time with my father. I've learned so much from my dad over the years, and I hope you can learn and enjoy following my blog!

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