Mossberg and the 20-Gauge Cruiser

Gray haired man in red shirt shoots black Mossberg Cruiser at green and black target

When it comes to smash, the more, the better. I prefer a big-bore handgun, and for hunting thin-skinned game, the .30-06 rifle is my favorite. A 12-gauge shotgun has ridden in the trunk for many years. Then the mild-kicking .44 Special is a nice handgun, and I am a staunch advocate of the far-from-extinct .30-40 Krag rifle. Each is a mild-shooting cartridge and firearm combination with much merit.

Young dark haired woman shows the Mossberg Cruiser at hand...she is pointing it toward the reader
A female shooter often finds the 20 gauge just right.

My ego is not so overblown that I want to keep hard-kicking firearms so my other half and the youngsters in the family cannot use them. In shotguns, the 20 gauge deserves praise. The 20 is a better—as in more powerful—shell than the .410 and does not kick as much as the 12 gauge, yet has respectable ballistics. The 20 gauge kicks considerably less than the 12, meaning those interested in a defensive shotgun can deploy a reasonable substitute and handle it well. The 20 gauge kicks well over half as much as the 12; do not misunderstand. Yet it does not kick nearly as much (the various formulas are inexact because the weight of the shotgun varies as do the loads).

The bottom line is the gun and shells are lighter and so is the recoil.

I have seen illustrations of the 20-gauge, double barrel used by big-city police agencies, which makes a lot of sense. I understand many Midwestern agencies issued 20-gauge pump shotguns. As for the double-barrel shotguns, they did not ride in the cruisers; they were loaded just before officers kicked in the doors. For those who seldom fire a shotgun, the recoil is not startling, and the load is effective at a few feet. The problem with any shotgun for home defense is that it is long and does not handle quickly in that environment.

  • A long-barrel duck gun tracks well, although it does not maneuver well.
  • A short-barrel (18.5 inches to keep it legal), lightweight shotgun is ideal.
Black Mossberg Cruiser with emphasis on the centrally located safety.
The Mossberg’s centrally located safety is ideal for rapid manipulation.

The Mossberg Cruiser is one such shotgun, with many advantages.

  • Quality of manufacture and a good design lead the pack.
  • It features an ambidextrous safety that is ideally located.
  • The action is smooth, and feed is positive.
  • The dual-action bars are smoother than a single-bar design.
  • The Cruiser version is a pistol-grip shotgun about 29 inches long, and in 20 gauge, it weighs about 5 pounds. That is light, and the shotgun handles like a marvel.

I always have preferred a full-stock shotgun; however, for close quarters inside a dwelling and as a truck gun, the Cruiser makes a lot of sense. While I always aim, you handle a shotgun by feel. That means you maneuver it into position and fire based on handling.

As for the 20-gauge shell, you must consider energy. After looking at the factory figures, it appears that my 20-gauge Cruiser is producing 1,200 to 1,300 pounds of energy. The 12 gauge produces 1,500 pounds of energy. Now, I do not always count energy in comparing cartridges, preferring to consider actual damage, although it is a valid consideration when comparing payload and velocity.

The .45 auto exhibits about 400 to 450 pounds of energy. The 20-gauge definitely has enough power to do serious damage, with high wound potential. Number-three buckshot contains twenty .25-caliber buckshot pellets. While patterns differ in various shotguns, the Winchester loads we used in this shotgun gave good, tight groupings to 7 yards or so—and that is a long shot in a home.

Gray haired man in red shirt shoots black Mossberg Cruiser at green and black target
The Mossberg Cruiser proved reliable with several quality shells.

When all is said and done, the Mossberg Cruiser and 20 gauge are recommended for home defense. The combination is fast handling, powerful and reliable. With plenty of practice and dedication, the pistol-grip shotgun just may be a lifesaver.

If you do choose the type, the Mossberg’s good traits make sense.

What do you think of the Cruiser and 20 gauge? Which shotgun do you own and why? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


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Comments (13)

  1. I own the 12 Ga. version of the Mossberg JIC II. It has a pistol grip and an 18 1/2” barrel. The base shotgun is the Mossberg 500 Pump-Action. The portable Takedown version of the 500 Shotgun comes with required assembly tools, bead sight and a 5.11 Cordura carry case with shoulder strap.

    The shotgun requires assembly/disassembly if you are going to use the JIC Case for transportation. Assembly/disassembly is simple, and requires removing the pistol grip bolt and the pistol grip.

    The Mossberg 500 Pump-Action JIC II would be a good truck gun, and is compact enough to store in a designated area as a hone defense weapon. The 20 Ga. model may be more suitable for some shooters due to the reduced recoil.

    ATI, Hogue, Magpul, and Mossberg also offer optional butt stocks and forends to enable you to convert the JIC II to a standard Mossberg Pump-Action Shotgun.

  2. I shot pro for many years in all gauge with my Rem. model 32 . My all time highest scores were with my 20 . Pattern kills , not necessarily the gauge . Also my favorite hunting guns are 20’s for every thing .
    I would never have a stockless shotgun and I’ve shot a few including this one made by Mossberg . Reason being , it is easier to stay on target even if you don’t shoulder it ! It may look sexy but sexy doesn’t get with me unless we’re talking Rachel .

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