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Personal Defense Pump Action Shotguns

G&A Perspective: Why the Mossberg 500 is the Best Home Defense Shotgun of All Time

by Brad Fitzpatrick   |  October 21st, 2013 105

Mossberg 500 Flex Home Defense ShotgunToday’s consumer has a wide variety of choices when selecting a defensive shotgun, but which of these guns earns the title as the best home defense shotgun ever? In my opinion, the Mossberg 500 stands out from the crowd for a number of reasons.

First, Mossberg has been building the 500 for 52 years. During that time, more than 10 million of these pump guns have rolled off the assembly line in North Haven, Conn., and Eagle Pass, Texas. For the last 30 years, the 590  has been the shotgun of choice for the U.S. military, and more than 100,000 units have been supplied to the armed forces. The 500 and 590 lines also have the distinction of being the only shotguns ever to pass the rigorous Mil-Spec 3443 torture test, proving what generations of shooters already knew: Mossberg guns are tough.

Pump-action shotguns are favored by police and military for two primary reasons: They are fast and reliable. The Mossberg 500 series has earned a reputation for dependability, which is paramount when selecting a home defense shotgun. Manually cycling the action simplifies the reloading process and reduces the odds of a malfunction. In experienced hands, a pump shotgun is almost as fast as a semi-auto, and sliding the fore end forward helps to shooter return to the target and stabilizes the gun. All of these qualities make pump guns a logical choice for home defense, and Mossberg makes more pump guns than any company in the world.

Within the Mossberg family, the 500, 590 and 590A1 all share the same action, but there are slight differences. The 500 has a bolt on the barrel that threads into the magazine tube, while the 590 has a threaded nut similar in design to the Remington 870. This design facilitates cleaning and makes it possible to add aftermarket magazine tube extensions. The 590A1 has an aluminum safety and trigger guard, and a heavier barrel—but in all other respects it is the same as the standard 590. All members of the 500 Series have twin action bars, dual extractors and a top of the receiver-mounted safety.

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