If I could only have one gun.
Seen in many forms around the world, the Mossberg 500 and 590 series shotguns are one of the most prolific shotguns in production. Featured in countless movies and television shows, the 500 series enjoys a status among owners as one of the most varied shotguns in the world. Countless builds and modifications are available making it one of the most versatile guns ever produced.
Produced in 1961 by O.F. Mossberg & Sons, the Mossberg 500 quickly built a positive reputation. Many shooters appreciated it for its high level of reliability and ease of maintenance. Mossberg designed the tolerances in such a way that the gun can operate in very harsh and dirty conditions such as waterfowl hunting or warfare. Because of the tolerances, racking a shell into the chamber of a Mossberg is quite noisy compared to some other pump shotguns. Some people view this as a positive, since the sound of a shotgun chambering can be intimidating. This ability to function regardless of the surroundings gave the 500 a very positive reputation in a very short time.
Why is this shotgun so popular? Value for your dollar is most definitely a huge reason. The Mossberg 500 carries a reasonable price tag, and has a very good reputation for being reliable. It can also chamber a three-inch shell and fire just about any kind of specialty shotgun ammunition. The Mossberg also features an aluminum alloy receiver, rather than steel. Some shooters view the aluminum receiver as a negative, but others see it as an effective way to keep the gun lighter, making it easier to carry long distances.
One of the main advantages to a Mossberg 500 is the number of options a shooter has from which to choose.
- Field Models: These are basic hunting models, which have a variety of barrel lengths and finishes.
- Home Defense Models: Available exclusively in .410, these models are intended for defensive situations at very close range. Achieving less wall penetration with the far less powerful round is important for bystanders as well.
- Law Enforcement Models: Feature heavy barrels, metal trigger guards and metal safeties.
- Special Purpose Models: Intended for tactical use, these models feature shorter barrels and often have a large variety of specialty parts. They are not the same as the law enforcement models due to the lack of heavy-duty barrels, as well as metal parts on the trigger guard, and safeties
The Mossberg 500 series has many positive design features. The safety sits on the tang of the gun, and is accessible for both left and right-handed shooters. The slide release sits just at the left rear of the trigger guard; this allows minimal adjustment to cock the weapon. Originally, the 500 used a single action bar, but this Mossberg later replaced with a dual action bar in 1970.
The Mossberg 500 is currently in service with the United States Military, Malaysia and the Netherlands’ Korps Commandotroepen, their elite Special Forces unit. Despite the much higher cost, the Marines have officially switched to the Benelli M4. Other branches are still ordering new Mossberg 500’s however.
Fifty years of service has allowed the Mossberg 500 to develop into a top-notch shotgun that owners can modify to suit almost any purpose. Mossberg clearly stuck to the philosophy that if it isn’t broke, there is no need to fix it.