Mossberg 500 Cruiser JIC Pump-Action Shotgun

If you buy only one gun, buy a Mossberg 500.

Maybe you are new to the gun world, pining for a new gun, preparing for the apocalypse, or need something for home protection. Perhaps you checked all the above. Would you be surprised to hear that one gun will do all of that? One gun does truly rule most—the 12-gauge pump-action shotgun. Even if you haven’t jumped on the shotgun bandwagon yet, let the Mossberg 500 convince you.

If you buy only one gun, buy a Mossberg 500.
If you buy only one gun, buy a Mossberg 500.

If you were to only purchase one gun, especially for a survival or an emergency situation, the Mossberg 500 is not only a top contender, but quite possibly favorable over the AR-15. It might just be the smarter choice. Shotguns are less likely to malfunction, they are easy to use and give the beginner hunter a better chance at taking game.

There are not many other guns as versatile as a pump-action shotgun. Not only are pump-action shotguns easy to use—with each manual pump another shell loads, while the spent one ejects—the action is simple. Therefore, there is less chance for your gun to malfunction (jam) when you need it most. It cycles without fail. It might just be the ultimate SHTF weapon and Mossberg makes it even more convenient with its series of Just In Case (JIC) survival-packaged pump-action shottys.

Mossberg has been producing the model 500 shotgun for 50 years and is currently celebrating over 10 million units produced. Remaining affordable throughout the years, the Mossberg 500 is a top-notch shotgun that is reliable and shoots like a beast. In fact, it is one of the most popular home defense shotguns in America.

On top of that, the Mossberg 500 meets the U.S. Army’s MIL-SPEC 3443D test.

There are four different models in the JIC series of pump-action shotguns—the Cruiser, II Takedown, Mariner and Sandstorm. All have these basic features:

  • Gauge: 12
  • Barrel: 18.5”
  • Chamber: 2.75” or 3” shells
  • Capacity: 7 rounds (with 2.75” shells)
  • Sights: Bead
  • Safety: Ambidextrous tang
  • Stock: Synthetic pistol grip
  • Length: 28.75”
  • Weight: 5.75 pounds

Made in the USA, all Mossberg Model 500 pump-action shotguns have Quiet Carry™ dual-action bars.

The differences lie in the shotguns’ finish and with what is included in the packaging. The Mariner has a marinecote finish, appropriate for saltwater environments and includes an orange floating tube, multi-tool and knife. Covered with a desert camo finish, the Sandstorm does not come with a survival kit. The JIC II is a special takedown version of the 500 and includes a takedown tool and a soft shoulder-strapped black case.

JIC Cruiser

The Cruiser comes with an 18.5-inch barrel with a cylinder bore that will fit 2.75-inch or 3-inch shells. A wide range of shotgun shells are available to meet a wide variety of tasks. With just one gun, you can choose birdshot, a slug for deer, buckshot for home defense or even less-lethal ammo. The close-up effectiveness of the 500 for home defense is not arguable; however, anything over 100 yards is questionable with the 18.5-inch factory barrel on the 500 JIC Cruiser. However, with a quick 20-second change to a rifled barrel, this shotgun can kill a deer at over 100 yards. Unlike semi-automatic long guns, the Mossberg 500 will shoot any type of ammo you load into it, be it high-end clay shells or cheap Winchester white box.

The Cruiser has a black synthetic pistol grip stock and a matte blued metal finish. The drilled and tapped receiver allows you to add any sight you choose. Further, Mossberg 500 shotguns are much like a black rifle—so popular and modular there are plenty of aftermarket accessories which to choose from. The availability of different stocks, grips, rails, optics, slings and ammo carriers is almost dizzying.

Included with the Cruiser shotgun is a waterproof OD green tube. The tube will hold not only the shotgun and included survival kit, but extra ammo and an MRE or two will also fit. The tube is watertight up to 40 feet and it also floats.

Mossberg throws in a basic survival kit, made by Coghlan’s. The kit includes matches, first aid supplies, rations, fishing kit, razor, duct tape, fire starter, compass, rope, wire, signal mirror, and safety pins.

Specifications and Features

  • Gauge: 12
  • Barrel Length: 18.5″
  • Overall Length: 28.75″
  • Action: Pump
  • Stock: Synthetic pistol grip style
  • Forend: Synthetic
  • Receiver: Mil-Spec 3443 G standards
  • Chamber: 3″
  • Magazine Capacity: 7 (2.75″ rounds)
  • Weight: 5.75 pounds unloaded
  • Sights: Bead front sight
  • Finish: black
  • Safety: Ambidextrous tang

Like it? Want it? Buy it!

If you buy only one gun, buy a Mossberg 500. If you are simply just adding to your collection, no one will question your choice. Perfect for a variety of tasks, the Mossberg 500 is perfect for preppers, campers, hunters, newbies and aficionados alike.

Features JIC Cruiser JIC Mariner JIC Sandstorm JIC II Takedown
Stock Synthetic
pistol grip
pistol grip
pistol grip
pistol grip
Finish Black Marinecote Desert camo Black
Case OD green
Desert camo
Soft black
carrying case
Included Survival kit in a tin Multi-tool and knife N/A N/A


Do you already own a Mossberg 500? Tells us what configuration it is and what you have added on to it in the comment section.


The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (8)

  1. The pic shows the 20 inch barrel model which holds nine rounds, the hand grip is not practical for hunting, adding a optic to a pistol grip model will get your nose broken, just sayin’.

  2. Have the 500C, Cruiser configuration (20 gauge, 18.5″ barrel, short for-end, soft, two-point sling), carried in a oak forest cammie over-the-shoulder sheath (looks rather like a flap-covered military-style handgun holster for a really long-barreled handgun). Very comfortable to carry, and quick to draw over the holster, recoil is not the issue as on a 12 gauge, definitely a point and shoot weapon for CQB.

  3. I have the Mossberg 500 “Chainsaw”……one not mentioned here. It is a great pump gun. While you charge the round with a handle on top (like a chainsaw),the handle is removeable if you don’t like it. With the handle attached it is basically a point and shoot shotgun. It is an ZMB (Zombie) edition also. It came with a red laser and a light that fit nicely on the forend rail. They came with pigtails to stick to the handle also. I have not had one problem with this gun while shooting many rounds through it. Overall, it is a gimmick gun (Zombie Chainsaw), but can run with the best of them. I can see why they are one of the BEST.

  4. Been touting shotguns for home defense ever since Gramps blew two holes through an old solid core door in order to kill an old coon that had already tore up his rabbit hound.
    The old double 12 had old low base 4’s for rabbits until the hullabaloo began between the Beagle and the egg sucking coon, but gramps just dumped them in my hands and loaded #2 gooselow base goose rounds.
    When we tried me moving the door thay big ol boar grabbed toe of barn boots and I just left it in his mouth as Gramps hollered, out of the way and then blew about. two 3″ holes from 3′ outa base of door.
    Evrr since that time always haf #2’s ready as buckshot. too much at times but twos in slf defense in house range very good.
    People get wrong ideas as to spread of shot from even short barreled huns. you can miss even at 15′ distance a full grown man or maybe just barely nick one..
    New rounds get shot cups hold shot real tight too 12-15 foot. Ya can spray a street for40 meterswith buckshot but with short or long brl the pattern and numbrs of shot 9-4 even one pellet is not nec killer at 50 yards.
    Learn the pattern of your shot at multiple distances to 100 as the new sabot slugs and sabot type jell shot pkg are killers beyond 100,.
    #2’s outside home good for goose varmits but not 2 legged ones at any distance over 20 yards.
    Know your weapon and your own capabilities because you may only have one chance to survive, life is not always fair.

  5. The links in the article reveal that the Mariner model is no longer available and the Sandstorm model is currently not in stock and can not be backordered. Talk about an item flying off the shelf!

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