The One Shotgun That Passed The U.S. Military’s Torture Test

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The One Shotgun That Passed The U.S. Military’s Torture Test

Image source: MossbergOwners.com

If the average gun owner is asked what the most important weapon to own for home defense is, the answer often is the 12-gauge shotgun. Yes, some will say go with a pistol and others will prefer a semi-automatic rifle, but the 12 gauge is probably the most commonly recommended firearm for home defense.

There’s good reason for that. Twelve gauge 00 buckshot or any other kind of defensive load is devastating at close range and will incapacitate the attacker, likely with only a single shot. The pump-action shotgun itself is a very rugged, reliable and simple weapon that practically anybody can pick up and quickly learn how to use.

Many will claim that the pump-action design is now outdated in the age of automatic rifles such as the AR-15 or AK-47, and indeed, there are some very high-quality semi-automatic shotguns out there. That said, semi-auto shotguns (at least the quality ones) almost always tend to be more expensive than pump actions, and they also can be just a little more finicky with certain types of ammo. For those reasons, the pump action is still an excellent defensive weapon even in the 21st century and likely will continue to be for many years to come.

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The next question then is: What is the absolute best 12-gauge pump-action shotgun for home defense? Well, if you knew that there was only one pump shotgun that has passed the U.S. military’s brutal and unforgiving torture test, you would probably agree that that shotgun would be a top contender, right?

The specific shotgun is the Mossberg 590A1, a further development of the hugely successful Mossberg 500 and 590 series of shotguns. The 590A1 incorporates all of the same features of the 590 and then makes several improvements of its own. The overall weapon itself is insanely rugged and durable.

Why It’s So Rugged

First of all, let’s become familiar with how the Mossberg 500 series of shotguns work. The 500/590 is a very basic pump shotgun that features a polymer safety, trigger guard, and blued barrels (that are easily interchangeable). The safeties of Mossberg 500s are ambidextrous and located behind the receiver, while the slide release lever is located behind the trigger guard for convenience.

Right off the bat, the 590A1 uses more durable materials than the 500 and 590. All of the parts of the gun are constructed out of aluminum (trigger guard, safety, slide release lever, etc.). Furthermore, the 590A1 also uses a heavier durable barrel that is intended to better take abuse, as well.

The overall finish of the 590A1 is parkerized, which is rust- and corrosion-resistant in contrast to the standard bluing of the 500 or 590 that will require constant care and attention. In other words, the 590A1 is a shotgun you can take out in wet environments and not have to worry as much about.

Granted, 500 and 590 models called the Mariner are made in a corrosion-resistant stainless steel finish (called Marinecote), but these specific models tend to be significantly more expensive.

Additional notable features of the 590A1 includes a bayonet lug on the front for mounting an M7 bayonet. The 590A1 also incorporates a swivel mount on the stock for easily adding a sling. In contrast to this, you generally have to add the swivels yourself to the 500 or 590, which, of course, increases the amount of money you have to spend. The 590A1 will have a 6+1, 7+1, or 8+1 capacity, depending on the model that you get.

All in all, the 590A1 is essentially the ultimate pump-action combat shotgun and a superb choice for home defense or personal protection. The Remington 870 is also a great shotgun, no doubt, but keep in mind it was the 590A1 that passed the military’s torture test, which says a lot about its capabilities and quality.

Do you own a 590A1? What is your favorite pump-action shotgun? Share your tips in the section below:

Pump Shotguns Have One BIG Advantage Over Other Shotguns For Home Defense. Read More Here.

Remington 870 Vs. Mossberg 590: Which Pump Shotgun Is Truly Better?

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Remington 870 Vs. Mossberg 590: Which Pump Shotgun Is Truly Better?

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There are two flavors of pump shotgun that seem to dominate the market: the Remington 870 and the Mossberg 590. Each gun has its associated advantages and disadvantages when compared to the other, and fans and detractors seem almost evenly split into two camps, with a lot of us in the middle who shoot and own both types.

Let’s take a look at each design.

Remington 870

In 1951, Remington unveiled the Model 870 as the ultimate modern pump shotgun. Some 65 years and more than 10 million models delivered, it has proven itself to be the best-selling shotgun in history.

Remington 870 Vs. Mossberg 590: Which Pump Shotgun Is Truly Better?

Remington 870. Image source: RifleShooter.com

Available in a variety of barrel lengths, finishes and furniture options, the Model 870 has a vigorous aftermarket dedicated to improving its performance.

One of our gripes about the 870 pertains to Remington going with a dimpled magazine tube that inhibits the installation of a magazine extension.

Be Prepared. Learn The Best Ways To Hide Your Guns.

Probably not a major concern to the millions of duck and deer hunters who cannot legally use them on their 870, it has plagued those of us in the competitive shooting and self-defense realms. There are a number of ways to circumvent this issue, but it is our only real gripe with the 870.

You can either pound the dimples out by inserting a socket head into the magazine tube, or simply drill them out.

I was first issued a 5-shot 18-inch barreled Remington 870 Wingmaster while serving guard duty at the armory during a stint in infantry training school at Camp Pendleton. I did not feel under gunned with it then, and still keep one in a safe with a magazine extension, Remington factory top-folding stock, Rem choke system and Magpul forend with a surefire light.

Mossberg 590

In 1961, Mossberg rolled out their Model 500. The 590 was an improvement upon this design that came about a few years later. The most significant change was the magazine tube that was closer in design to the Remington 870 by using a similar magazine cap that made maintenance easier.

Remington 870 Vs. Mossberg 590: Which Pump Shotgun Is Truly Better?

Mossberg 590. Image source: MossbergOwners.com

The design was further improved in the 590A1 by upgrading the plastic safety and trigger guard to metal versions and using a heavier barrel at the request of the US Navy and US Marine Corps.

Perhaps the most significant difference between the two is the placement of the safety. Remington uses a cross bolt type at the base of the trigger guard, whereas Mossberg places theirs at the rear of the receiver in line with the shooter’s sight.

Our gripe with Mossberg is that they offer very little in the way of a choke system on most factory models. A choke system gives the shotgun more versatility as a system. While it may be mostly negligible on shorter barrel home-defense guns, it is still the only way to attach a shotgun silencer like Silencerco’s Salvo.

In spite of my experience with the Remington, my first shotgun was a stainless Mossberg Marinecote 590. I chose this one because I felt its construction would inhibit rust while deploying for six-month Western Pacific tours with the Marines. That and despite being a Marine Infantryman for two years, I was still too young to legally purchase a handgun. I currently have two Mossbergs in my safe. One is a short-barreled 20 gauge that holds two rounds. The other a 9-shot 590A1 with a Speed Feed stock holding four extra rounds, a sidesaddle shell carrier holding six, a forend light and of course the ubiquitous bayonet lug that mounts either an M7 or M9 bayonet.

The Verdict

If World War III were to break out tomorrow and for some reason I needed a fighting shotgun, I might be more inclined to grab the 590A1 with its ghost ring sights, dedicated weapon light and advantages with capacity and on-board ammo storage.

My 870 is lighter and a bit nicer to shoot due to a better trigger and tends to be what I grab in the house most often when I hear a suspicious noise. It is simply easier to maneuver indoors than the bigger Mossberg. Fit and finish is slightly better than the Mossberg, but this is a shotgun that is over 30 years old and not representative of Remington’s current offerings.

As a gun writer, I have the luxury of shooting a variety of firearms, and placement of the safety is not a huge concern. I do urge new shooters or those who shoot less frequently to select a version where the placement of the safety is more comfortable for them, as that seems to be the only difference.

Both shotguns will serve you well as a self-defense weapon. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference.

Which shotgun do you prefer – the Remington 870 or Mossberg 590? Why? Share your thoughts on the weapons in the section below:

Pump Shotguns Have One BIG Advantage Over Other Shotguns. Read More Here.