Mossberg’s 930 Tactical 12-Gauge Shotgun

By Bob Campbell published on in Firearms, Reviews

There is nothing more powerful in a shoulder-fired weapon than a 12-gauge shotgun. Whether loaded with buckshot or a modern hard-hitting slug, the shotgun completely outstrips a handgun in wound potential.

Gray haired man in light blue shirt and ear protection shoots a Mossberg 930 toward a target with a wooded area behind him.

The Mossberg handles well and it is fast on target.

And while we cannot always rely on psychological factors, the threat of a shotgun is something our protein-fed, ex-con criminal class understands. Many of them have been stabbed or shot, although few are walking around who have met the business end of a shotgun.

A few hundred years ago, a single guard could direct European prisoners with a blunderbuss. Prisoners were not about to use superiority of numbers to jump him because of the awesome power of the single-shot shotgun. A quality self-loading shotgun answers a lot of questions and solves problems today.

Advantages of a Self-Loader

Another advantage of the self-loader is that most of us use self-loading shotguns for hunting. So, we might as well use a self-loader as a dedicated home-defense shotgun. We also use self-loading handguns and semi-automatic rifles. The self-loader has many advantages, provided we find an example that works reliably.

With modern CNC manufacture and quality control, I have found that the surprise is when the shotgun does not work. A shotgun with an excellent reputation is the Mossberg 930. Offer the 930 in a version short enough to maneuver in the home and give it a tactical black finish, and you have a great home-defense shotgun. The Mossberg 930 currently is my favorite go-anywhere/do-anything shotgun. It rides in my truck on trips and gives me great confidence. The short shotguns are kept handy in zoos in case a dangerous animal needs to be stopped, and they are even kept on fishing boats to stop the occasional large shark brought on deck that is gnashing at everything. Plus, with a powerful, accurate slug, such as the Fiocchi Aero, the shotgun becomes a problem solver to at least 50 yards.

The Mossberg 930’s Greatness

Black Mossberg 930 Shotgun barrel pointed to the right on a white background

This black shotgun is light enough and has proven reliable in testing.

The 930 has an aluminum receiver, the same material used in the proven Mossberg 500 pump. The barrel is 18.5 inches long, with an interesting muzzle brake. The end of the brake is sharp with ragged edges. No one would pull against that prick. While prodding animals was the use of the wooden prick from Biblical times, this one seems designed as a door opening aid. In any case, it looks way cool. The stock is synthetic. The gas-operated action absorbs some recoil, and the bolt and recoil spring absorb more of the momentum.

While the mechanics are good, the real story is that the 930 is well-balanced and a joy to handle.

  • The shotgun is just the right size for fast handling.
  • The controls are ideally located.
  • A large cocking knob on the bolt allows rapid manipulation.
  • The safety is centered in the rear of the receiver.
  • Either right- or left-hand use is a joy. A left-hand shooter easily may use the right hand to rack the shotgun, and loading is fully ambidextrous.
Black muzzle brake/door buster of the Mossberg 930 on a white background

The muzzle brake/door buster/cattle prod is well designed—just kidding not a cattle prod, but close enough.

The gas-operated action absorbs some of the recoil. The gun kicks; it just does not kick as much as a 12-gauge pump. It is ridiculous to expect a combat shotgun to feed and function with birdshot, and this one does not. If you want to use birdshot for practice, simply work the bolt for each shot, and it will use those light loads. Most of the buckshot loads fired were Federal 2 ¾-inch, full-power buckshot.

The reduced-recoil law enforcement loads may cycle, and they may not, but the gas-operated Mossberg absorbs some of the recoil and delivers full power, so no crying on that count. The Federal load delivered a good, tight pattern out to 15 yards, a reasonable combat range for a shotgun. I also fired a representative sample of loads, including buckshot and slugs in 2.75- and 3-inch flavors. All performed well.

There are those who prefer the slug for interpersonal combat. I load my personal truck gun, the Mossberg, with two Federal buckshot loads followed by two slugs. Buckshot solves many problems, although slugs have greater penetration and accuracy. The carrier on the stock is loaded with a mix of buckshot and slugs. I test fired the Fiocchi Aero slug. My shotgun has the simple bead front sight.

Gray haired man in light blue shirt and ear protection shoots a Mossberg 930 toward a target with a wooded area behind him.

The advantage of the automatic shotgun is an instant repeat shot. The Mossberg 930 is a great handling shotgun.

There are more developed versions of the Mossberg that use rifle-type sights. That is fine if it is what you prefer. However, the simple bead gets on target quickly; the shogun is fired primarily by feel, which is an advantage in close-range combat. Just the same, using the front bead and taking aim at 15 yards, I cut one ragged hole with the Fiocchi Aero slug.

I like that a lot and would not criticize anyone who loads the shotgun with slugs for combat use. In the end, I like the Mossberg 930 a lot. My personal pump-action shotgun—that has been at the ready for more than 20 years—is long overdue for retirement.

The Mossberg is not only new but also better.

Mossberg 930 Features

  • Caliber: 12 gauge (2.75 inches and 3 inches)
  • Barrel: 18.5-inch cylinder bore
  • Sights: Bead
  • Finish: Matte black
  • Overall Length: 39 inches
  • Overall Weight: 7.5 pounds
  • Action: Gas-operated, semi-automatic
  • Capacity: 4+1

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How about you…do you like a shotgun? Have one you use? Share your thoughts and favorite model in the comments section.

SLRule

Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.

View all articles by Bob Campbell

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Comments (27)

  • Rem870

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    Very interesting semi-auto shotgun with all advantages and disadvantages of a self-loader. I would add a magazine extension to have more rounds.

    Reply

  • Secundius

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    @ Flick.

    Thanks for the Heads-Up. There’s also Scot Works, LLC., in Wilderville, OR. (www.scot@scotworksllc.com) too.

    Reply

    • Secundius

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      @ Spodeboy.

      I already know about that website. I still prefer the C-More M26, it more compact and easier to carry while in a wheelchair. The Mossberg, is a little bit difficult to carry on your lap, while propelling yourself down the street. Between the sides of the wheelchair, I only have 18-inches of space to work with. Even with the folding stock model, the Mossberg shotgun exceeds 18-inches. Yes, they do make holsters for wheelchairs. But not in the Rifle and/or Shotgun category size range.

      Reply

    • Flick

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      Andrews Custom Leather,down in Fla will make u a holster for any firearm to fit any application.
      Beautifully worked real leather and reasonably priced.
      Made me a shoulder rig gor my Sig 230 and you never know its there…I dont feel it and no one can see it,no matter what I wear over it.

      Reply

  • Secundius

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    I haven’t purchased a shotgun, of any kind because I’m a Wheelchair Driver. The last time I shot a shotgun while being in a wheelchair, I went Turtle. The recoil from the shotgun, flipped the wheelchair. Even though I have the brakes set. You have too understand Wheelchair Physics. There Three Law that apply to Wheelchair Drivers. 1. Galileo’s Law of Inertia, 2. Newton’s First and Third Laws of Motion, 3. MURPHY. I would like to purchase a C-More M26 MASS-12 SBS, 12-gauge Carbine/M4-style Shotgun. The only thing preventing me from makeing that purchase is its, $4,995. US, price tag. But maybe eventually, in a couple of 2-years or so.

    Please excuse any misspellings, I broke my glasses and I’m having trouble seeing the computer screen.!

    Reply

  • Mick

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    “It is called the ProMag PM262 Enhanced Slide Safety for Mossberg 500/590, Black.”

    The same exact one will fit the 835, 930, and 935. They are all the same on every one I’ve checked or replaced.

    I honestly don’t know why Mossberg doesn’t switch to steel for that part. It couldn’t add much to the cost if mass produced.

    Reply

  • Mick

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    @G-Man,

    I’m glad I could help others that didn’t know about that defect. They are all a fiberglass filled molded plastic safety button on all Mossberg shotguns that have the top tang safety. I’m pretty sure all the models are the same size, so they all take the same replacement button.

    A shotgun stuck on ‘safe’ because the safety button broke and fell off could lead to having a gun that couldn’t be fired with your life on the line. Not a situation a Cop wants to be in!

    Reply

    • G-Man

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      @ Mick: Again, thank you so much. I just ordered the steel version between our last posts. I managed to find one made by ProMag for only $14 shipped. Best of all, besides the steel it is an enhanced version that has a built up hump in the middle for better manipulation while wearing gloves. Also, one of my daughters just couldn’t manipulate the flat version of the safety to save her life (literally), so hopefully this will make a lifesaving difference.

      It is called the ProMag PM262 Enhanced Slide Safety for Mossberg 500/590, Black.

      I would have liked to have given CTD the sale, but they don’t seem to offer this part. So I’m sure they won’t mind me sharing: Currently you can pick this up for just $14 from that big Internet store that begins with an “A”, has a “Z” in the middle, and ends with an “N”.

      And remembered, this is the enhanced version. Everywhere else seemed to have just a basic version which still costs an average $25 to $35 with shipping, so I feel I got a very good deal.

      Reply

  • Mick

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    I do own a 930, but it isn’t the tactical model shown. Full length ported barrel with 3 choke tubes, black synthetic stock. I love it!

    With the Mod choke tube it will keep 00 buckshot all in a 30″ circle at 40 yds, and still hold Winchester 1oz slugs in tight groups wherever you aim. It makes a great option for brush country deer and hog hunting.

    A word of caution for you law enforcement guys….

    All of the Mossberg shotguns have the same plastic tang safety button, and they are prone to breaking. As a now retired tool and die maker, I have made several steel tang safeties to replace broken ones for friends over the years.

    The safety button comes off with one screw on top and is easy to replace. You can now buy steel replacement safety buttons by searching online for…’Mossberg steel safety’. They only cost about $20.

    A broken safety button could spoil a hunting trip, but if your life is on the line it’s too big of a risk. Just change it out and let your fellow officers know the reason why.

    Reply

    • G-Man

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      @ Mick: Your statement regarding all Mossbergs as having the “plastic tang safety button” piqued my interest.

      My duty shotgun is the Remington 870 so no worries there, but I now own a Mossberg 500 Tactical in my inventory of home defense weapons. It is a fairly recent purchase so I’m still learning my way around its nomenclature; but from my families extensive range training with it, we would have sworn the safety was metal if you hadn’t brought my attention to it.

      In the middle of reading your post I had to jump up and grab it from the safe. Clicked it on and off and said to myself, “What the heck is this guy talking about.” It feels like metal, but upon closer examination from the side, one can clearly make out plastic swirls and several fine seams.

      Thanks for the tip, I will be ordering a metal replacement now.

      Reply

  • vman

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    I used to have a Chuck Daly semi auto 12 gauge and it functioned flawlessly with anything including no. 9 birdshot. five shots as fast as I could squeeze the trigger. I currently use a Mossberg 590 with 9 shots. 8 in the tube and 1 in the chamber. I’ve attached a folding stock and fiber optic sighs. With a five rnd carrier on the receiver I feel prepared for just about anything. I keep it loaded with the first two rounds of birdshot and the rest 00 buck. If I have to shoot someone and the birdshot doesn’t take the fight out of Em then the buck shot will convince them to.

    Reply

  • Propguy

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    There are mossberg 500’s that have singe or double pick up rails on the pump action . The single rail models will seem a bit sloppy with any torsional deflection while racking the weapon . ” wrist elbow twisting”
    As where the dual pick up rails seem tighter as the rails are more likely to not flex .
    I hope this helps .

    As a prop guy for movies and tv , i dread when a director or actor wants to use a auto loading shotgun… As even with full load blanks, they regularly fail to cycle , which makes me look terrible . Not really the manufacturers fault . As blanks are not what they were designed to fire .

    Id like to test this new one in the article : looks really tough !

    Reply

    • G-Man

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      @ Propguy: Very helpful info that I would never have been aware of otherwise. Thanks.

      Reply

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