Mossberg’s 930 Tactical 12-Gauge Shotgun

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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


About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
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 (27)

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

  2. @ Flick.

    Thanks for the Heads-Up. There’s also Scot Works, LLC., in Wilderville, OR. ( too.

    1. @ 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.

    2. 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.

  3. 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.!

  4. “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.

  5. @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!

    1. @ 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.

  6. 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.

    1. @ 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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 !

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

  9. My girls bought me the exact same shotgun in the article for Christmas to carry on duty. During qualifications I dumped three rounds on target so fast my Captain asked if I fired one shot or all three. I really, really like this shotgun. It devours everything I load in it but S&B buckshot. The Super X Winchester buck and Brenneke slugs feed without any problems. Recoil is more than manageable. I am very impressed with it, and so were those watching me at qualification. I think I may have sold a few.

  10. I have a mossberg 930 black water edition and it is great!!the only tiff I have is doesn’t cycle all birdshot. The only birdshot it loves to eat is Winchester super x. Which is fine because my local big 5 carry’s the stuff. Stay away from the brands you never hear about or on some crazy clearance. Buckshot and slugs cycle great. FYI Jerry Miculek has great YouTube videos on the 930. Check them out.

  11. Y’all should know by now that ANY topic is an open invitation to talk about ANYTHING,no matter what the initial subject was.
    It pretty much follows the old grade school experiment where the teacher whispers something in the ear of a student and sees how much it changes by the time it makes its way around the room.
    On these type forums,”I like Gerber Knives” can,and will,end up in a discussion on what color Labrador Retriever is best for cold weather hunting.(I actually saw that one)
    Nothing wrong with the free expression of ideas.At least this one stayed(kinda) on subject.
    Y’all be safe.

  12. @ larry: You got a chuckle out me because you are absolutely correct that this topic should have nothing to do with pump action shotguns.

    The humor stems from the interesting nature of people – meaning that (and I’m only guessing here), the majority of us cut our teeth on pump action shotguns and can’t really speak to anything else. So as long as the word “Shotgun” appears somewhere in the title, we feel that to be an open invitation to talk about our shotguns, of which the majority happen to be none other than… pump action.

    So there ya go… It may not be right, but it’s real. As for why the majority probably only buy pump action, I would venture to say that for most of us, a shotgun is an afterthought… a secondary weapon if you will. As such, the majority of us find it cost prohibitive to purchase an automatic version that will often cost us twice if not three times that of a pump action shotgun.

    Well that, and there is just something about racking that slide that we get off on. Just my opinion though. Take care.

    1. Whew! Thanks. I thought it was time to buy thicker glasses, lol.
      Personally, my first shotgun was a Remington (I think) youth single shot. The first few times I shot it my dad had to hold the barrel up with his finger because I wasn’t big enough or strong enough to hold it up myself. But, a couple of years later I graduated to my mom’s Remington Model 48 in 20ga. I spent a lot of weekends at the skeet range with it. I guess you can say I’m kinda stuck to recoil operated semi auto’s. Today it’s a model 48 in 12ga.

  13. What am I missing here?? The “Features of the Mossburg 930” state the “Action” is “Gas Operated Semi Auto”. All the comments are about “Pump Action” ??
    Personally, I prefer “Recoil Operated” action.

    1. I don’t know how it can have pump/slide action. Because, if you look at the photo’s, the Charging Bolt would get in the way of the pump action.

  14. Flick, thanks for the response. You saved me a trip to the armory. I have a buddy in there that was willing to take a look at it, but I am somewhat apprehensive about mixing work and personal stuff; so, given that it has never malfunctioned, I will combine that success along with your experienced input and call it good. Thanks again.

  15. G
    My Mossberg 500 does “wiggle”,or maybe seem loose
    to me, especially compared to my Wifes 870 Youth
    Model 20ga.
    I still feel comfortable with it and have had no issues
    with it since I bought it in 1988……
    Since I got the FN,the 500 has been placed in
    reserve but its very much still a valued “go to”.
    As a note,my 3 1/2″ Mossberg hunting shooter,while
    one heck of a kicker w 3 1/2 buck in the pipe,has the same
    “looseness”….its never let me fown either….regards

  16. There is a question at the end of this comment so if anyone has an answer I’d appreciate it. I’m a fairly new owner of a Mossberg 500 Tactical. I picked it up at my local Base Exchange on sale. It came tact-out in the pistol grip configuration that included a 3 picatinny (tri-rail) system on the fore end, and a six position adjustable tactical sliding stock with a pre-mounted five-load side saddle. It was a great deal.

    I then added a tactical folding vertical foregrip at the pump’s forearm lower rail. I also added a pre-tapped picatinny tactical low profile top rail and mounted an open Reflex CQB Red/Green Dot sight. On the front right picatinny rail I mounted a very compact laser and flashlight combo with a pressure switch routed to the vertical foregrip (love this thing and it’s bright).

    This rig is pretty sweet for a very reasonable cost, but I have a question to anyone that may have this particular shotgun. My duty shotgun is the Remington 870 so I have nothing else to go by, but it appears the entire action slide and forearm pump of this 500 feels very sloppy as I pump each round. Is this normal for the Mossberg?

    It functions well and my entire (large) family has trained with it extensively with no failures. I just can’t seem to get over how sloppy the pump action feels is all. Any feedback would be nice. Thanks.

    1. Ideally your pump shotgun will be tight yet function slick, Personally I prefer my assortment of Winchester 1300s for just those reasons, but brand preferences aside as long as it functions smoothly & reliably without binding up on you then it’s probably a-ok… I bet if you had a thousand different guns of your model Mossberg that some would be more lose or even sloppy compared to the others, obviously the one we would all prefer would be one with the tight-n-slick pump action, come to think of it some of the best pump guns start out just a little tight & then slick up nicely after a few hundred or more rounds. I mostly buy from Gunbroker so I haven’t often been able to try the action out before I bought & my results have varied for sure, some have been great from the get go & some needed some work before they were acceptable…

  17. Yes I Love Mossberg weapons! That being said, I still would take my pump action 590a1 (I have 2) over any self loader… It will cycle any load reliably and I have yet to find a cocking knob on any semi auto gun that works as well or as easily as pump (less fine motor and more gross motor skill) Lastly the ghost ring sights on my 590a1’s are much better than my beaded barrels at target acquisition the exception being when you’re breaking clay PS my favorite loads are anything in Number One Buckshot

  18. Ive mentioned before I have two Mossberg pumps and
    can find no fault with either…..But…I also have a
    FN-SLP and that will be the only tactical auto I will
    ever willingly own or use.
    Its an apples and oranges comparison I know,but that
    FN is an awesome,brilliant piece of gunmaking.
    Good write-up on the Mossberg though.

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