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Personal Defense

Guns of PDTV: Tough, Affordable Home Defense Shotgun

by Scott E. Mayer   |  June 6th, 2011 30

On a recent trip to film episodes of Personal Defense TV with Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch, we got a sneak peek and the opportunity to shoot the new Thunder Ranch edition of Mossberg’s venerable Model 500 fighting shotgun.

If you know anything about Clint Smith, it’s that he’s about as straight forward as they come regarding guns, training and gear. You won’t find anything stupid taught at Thunder Ranch, and you won’t find any stupid features on the TR 500.  This shotgun is, simply, a fighting machine.

Barrel length is 18 inches for maneuverability. Choke is cylinder bore, which is equally effective at fighting distances with everything from birdshot to buckshot. And if you need a slug to stop a fight, let 'er rip.

The tang-mounted thumb safety is completely ambidextrous. Forget what you may have heard in the past about these safety buttons splitting--new-production Mossberg safety buttons are made of a tough-as-nails synthetic that isn't going anywhere.

Capacity is 5+1, and if you fit your TR 500 with an aftermarket sidesaddle, even more rounds or different types of rounds are right at your fingertips.

There are three accessory rails on the TR 500. Aside from the obvious, the rails are there so if you're down to only one arm in a fight you can hook them on cover and work the shotgun while keeping the muzzle pointed at the threat.

Yep, that's a door breeching muzzlebrake. But instead of for blowing hinges, Smith specified the feature to help with weapon retention. If a bad guy grabs your muzzle, they won't hang on to those teeth very hard for very long.

The brake helps reduce felt recoil, and dual action bars help prevent binding up the works when shooting under high stress.

Spacers allow the user to adjust the length of pull between 12 and 13 inches so you can shoot from a stable fighting stance.

Sights consist of a conventional gold bead, but the receiver is drilled and tapped, ready for your choice of red dot or iron sights.

Scott E. Mayer
  • BPSniper

    Ok, explain how the door breaching brake is to be used for weapon retention. Thanks.

    • smayer

      BP, try grabbing it. Those points are so spiky that it's like grabbing a porcupine.

      • BPSniper

        Why would someone grab the spikes? They are at the very tip of the barrel. For them to be effective, I'd basically need to have my hand over the end of the gun. Not a very conducive grip with or without spikes. No?

        • BPSniper

          Don't get me wrong, I'm not against them. But they don't make much sense. Unless their hand was directly over the end of the barrel, the spikes aren't effective. If their hand is wrapped ARROUND the brake/barrel where they are not contacting the tip of the spikes, I'd have to redirect the gun to bring the spikes into play on their wrist or palm. In which case, why not redirect the butt of the gun and just shoot them off?

          • BPSniper

            Or just pull, step, or fall back. Which, if they hold on, will direct the muzzle towards the attacker. Then pull the trigger. They will get off your gun, most likely, after that. Don't need spikes then and the threat will be likely dealt with.

            But hey, the spikes look cool.

          • smayer

            Agreed on the step back. Design probably has something to do with this brake design already being in production at Mossberg and being preferable to this application over the Roadblocker design

          • harefooted_interneci

            Food for thought.. if someone grabs the front end of my TR 500 I'll be using my body to shove the spikes straight into his/her chest.. which in turn unless he is wearing body armor with make him release pretty quick!

    • http://www.thunderranchinc.net Heidi Smith

      BPSNIPER…..541-947-4101….if you would like to know why we did everything we did on this shotgun …call us anytime….if you have ever done any sort of weapon retention with long guns…"rake and roll" either clockwise or counter clockwise as you turn the gun into the threat…..the spikes can actually in this configuration do damage to the inside of the arms and hands…again as you step back and point it at them and like you said…then shoot them with it….that will get them off the gun;) Also IF you ever needed to breach ..like you are from a PD or SO that has NO money right now…the cost on this gun is a good price. I personally used it to breach a door 4 days ago..for practice….using the spikes worked well..not sure if I will need it as the medic for my SO here but I know it works;) Again BP…call us if you have any other questions….as Scott put it…we put things on this shotgun that could be used for different applications.

      Best regards

      Heidi Smith

      Thunder Ranch

      • BPsniper

        Mrs. Smith,

        I'm familiar with the roll. Just wanted to know what y'all intended for the addition. Guess it all boils down to how much room one has to play with and what you want the end result to be. A subject at gunpoint or a chalk outline.

        • BPsniper

          Like I said, I don't have a problem with the brake or it's configuration. Was just curious as to what Scott meant and your explanation holds up. Thanks for your time.

        • http://www.thunderranchinc.net Heidi Smith

          I agree BP…and I think you and I are on the same sheet…we want the end result for them to get off the gun and get away from us…and that outcome will be on what "they do"….gunpoint or chalkline….not on what we do;) thanks for all the great questions sir.

      • Bigslug

        With that muzzlebreak standing up in front of the sight bead, that shotgun really cries out for a set of ghost rings that sit at a height greater than the stand-off device. You might consider applying the same breacher concept to the 18" version of the 590A1 – which comes with such sights, and has a thicker barrel well suited for being jammed into things.

      • smayer

        Heidi! Thanks so much for popping in and clarifying. Cirillo book and a DVD of the pix I took while there goes in the mail to you today. Thanks again for everything.

  • Ernest

    Re breeching brake :

    He would recommend that You jab them with it.

    • smayer

      Actually, no. Clint would not, and said specifically to me it wasn't for that.

  • Caligula

    Personally, I like the spikes at the end of the muzzle break. If you run out of ammo or encounter a jam, those spikes to the face would certainly get a bad guys attention.

  • cpj

    Yeah, BP. If you have ever done any weapons retention….. LMAO.

    Neat gun. I like the stock spacer idea. I would prefer a better sight, at least a fiber front if nothing else. Or, maybe a big fat white bead.

  • jbp-ohio

    I already have a Persuader, but I hope they offer that forearm as a seperate accessory item.

  • Varmintmist

    Wouldn't mounting a bayonet lug do the job a lot more efficiently? It wouldn't look like a kitchen utensil for opening cans and would likely be quite suited for the purpose.

  • Varmintmist

    PS the 590 Mossberg has a bayo lug for the M7.

  • robert38-55

    I am a huge fan of the shotgun….. I likes that shotgun ya got there Scott!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and Mossberg makes good shotguns!!!!!

  • Ranchman

    Where can I get a muzzlebreak/breacher like that and can I fit it to my Rem. 870?

  • John

    I bought this shotgun years ago, it dosen't have the rails but has a collaspable stock. I believe Mossberg calls this a stand-off barrel. This was designed for police riot control.

    Trust me, you do not want to get jabbed in the chest or back with the business end of this.

  • T.D.

    What's up with shooting the shotgun left-handed, but there's a righthand IWB holster showing? Ambi shotgunner, or just practicing from the sinister side?

  • QED

    It's a crossdraw holster.

    • Guest

      no its not

  • Phillip

    This muzzle device reminds me of the bayonets being sold for Glock pistols, useless or nearly useless. On the other hand the device does make the shotgun look even more intimidating than usual.

    • Wolf

      I have the weapon as one of my home defense firearms. And I can tell you that the door breech/muzzlebrake is extremely useful. Both as a weapon retention feature and a last resort offensive feature. And though I have yet to encounter a situation in which I have to breech a door. I rest easy knowing I could =)

  • jake mossy500

    i shoot rifles left and hand guns right and i am right handed, i guess he does the same.

  • Santiago M.

    I lost my sight in my right eye from an accident and shoot right handed but sight with my left eye and had to learn to shoot rifles left handed but he's probably just ambidextrous or prefers shooting rifles left handed like Jake said.

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