Sootch00: Mossberg 590 Shockwave – Defense Tool or Range Toy?

Mossberg has been making excellent shotguns for a long time. Originally, with their 500 Series, they were fairly inexpensive and a little bit less than the Remington 870. When they came out with the Mossberg 590, that really upped their game and they started producing these for the US Military. The Mossbergs are just an excellent design for a 12 gauge – or even for other gauges. One of the big things about the Mossberg 590 Shockwave is that it is not a shotgun. The Shockwave and it is actually considered just a regular firearm. 

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This is a firearm that I have been dying to get a hold of. Although the Shockwave has been out for a while, there’s a lot of controversy over if it is just a gimmick or if it is really something that’s a viable self defense option. There are just a lot of cool things about it but I really wanted to get it out to the range and see. Either way, it is definitely still a lot of fun to bring to the range. 

One of the beauties about this firearm is that it is just a firearm. It’s not a handgun. It’s not considered a shotgun. It falls in between and thus, doesn’t fall under NFA regulations (National Firearm Regulations), which have to do with sawed-off shotguns, short barrel rifles, fully automatic firearms or suppressors. It’s really one of those things that makes it nice because it falls in between and yet, it’s still a very compact package that shoots 12-gauge with a 14 inch barrel. The minimum length for a standard shotgun is 18 inches, so the first thing is you get four inches right off the front, less than you do a standard shotgun.

One thing we’re going to be looking at is one of the braces that we’re going to put on here that is a pistol brace. It does have a grip, and we’re going to consider that when we look at it as far as how that falls into the regulations. Now this is based off of the Mossberg 590 design, which is used by the US military. It’s a mil spec receiver, and it is steel. If you go to the Mossberg 500, they’re an aluminum frame. So this gives you some stability with it, but it does add a little bit of weight to the firearm, plus the barrel on the 590 has a little bit of a thicker wall to it. 

The 590 Shockwave is a pump action and it does have a strap. When I first saw it I thought that it kind of looked goofy. But because it does not fire like a traditional shotgun, the strap is necessary. So that’s one of the big things about this strap and I would highly advise leaving it on here unless you’re going to switch out the forehand. And I love this forehand. It’s kind of the corncob type effect and it gives you a lot of texturing which gives you a really nice grip.

So the question is, is the Mossberg Shockwave a great self defense option? To me, in the original configuration, you’re going to be hard pressed. It is so much harder to control and really get those shots. In fact, Mossberg even recommends that you don’t hold it up to your face, but to me that’s the only real way to get decent accuracy. They actually recommend that you shoot it from the hip. For it to be a true self defense shotgun, adding that SP tactical brace is a must to me. Of course, with this barrel, this just gives you some added advantages. Again, I want to thank for sending the Mossberg 590 for the test and evaluation and Brownells for sending the upgrades. This has been a great test and I’ve been pretty excited about getting one of these. As far as the Shockwave goes, it’s excellent, but adding these just takes it to a whole other level.


  • Gauge:  12
  • Capacity: 6
  • Barrel Type: Heavy-Walled
  • Barrel Length: 14.375
  • Sight: Bead
  • Choke: Cylinder Bore
  • LOP Type: N/A
  • LOP: N/A
  • Barrel Finish: Matte Blued
  • Stock Finish: Raptor Grip / Corn Cob Forend w/ Strap
  • Weight: 5.25
  • Length: 26.37
  • UPC: 015813506595

Related Videos: Rifle Review: A Classic Mossberg — The Patriot Revere Rifle In .270

Related Videos: Home Defense Firearm: Mossberg 590M Shockwave


Subscriber Comments

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Interesting review, however, to me, it misses the the self-defence niche the design appears to cryout to fill. If you want a longer range, controllable aiming shooter, then a standard stocked shotgun is what you should use. Even the smaller size of the Shockwave is not inducive for EDC (unless you are Goliath 's brother). Were I view its strong points puts it in the home defense role. With the proper accessories, it fits that role very nicely. As noted it is recommended to fire from the hip. That position, I find, give the most rapid follow-up shots. For better shot placement, I use a Crimson-Trace laser made for the Mossberg 500/590 series, it provides "accuracy " beyond any home self-defense range. It is also very convient to turn on or off. Next, as home defense may occur in the darkness a Streamlight Rackers replaces the standard Shockwave forearm with a 1000 lumen led light built-in (includes the strap on the Shockwave model) and can be turned on or off with the pump hand. Next the use of the mini 1.75 inch shells (Aquila or Federal) gives you 8+1 rounds in the gun. I find the 'power' of the 1.75 shells to be more than sufficient to stop any intruder at in the home distances,, with less recoil and less over-penetration of walls and what is beyond them. As noted, the use of an Op-sol or the upgrade Shockwave S is needed for reliable feeding. The short OAL allows easier employment in a dark or semi-dark environment of a home (less likely to knock-over lamps, etc. The use of a single-point sling allows carrying with both hands free, a steadier high hold aim by pushing forward with the shooting hand (and pumping against the forward pressure). Lastly it makes a great club if you don't have time to reload or if you really don't want to kill the perp. Again, I don't view the Shockwave as a 'smaller' package regular shotgun substitute, but very usefull niche home defense weapon, particularly when set-up to utilize its strengths even better.

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