Mossberg 590M: The Little Known Solution

By Jeff Johnston, FE Hunting & Shooting Editor

Gun guys can be freakin’ weird; I know it because I am one and I’m weird. Sometimes we are unwilling to budge in our walnut stock traditions, while at other times we go with a red dot on a classic Colt wheelgun. There’s often no good reason for what trips one guy’s trigger and what he vows never to own for as long as he lives.  

I remember only a few years ago, when the gun gurus I run with loved the idea of a shotgun for home defense and 3-gun competition, but because they couldn’t spend years learning how to speed load its painfully-slow 5-round magazine they felt like a shotgun, for all it’s advantages, was a liability. So many of these guys remained steadfast in their unwavering commitment to the AR-15 with its 30-round mag that can be swapped in a second. Or, if they had to use a shotgun for a competition they’d go with a heavily modified Saiga with its ridiculously long banana mag that was bound to either jam or trip them, often both. Of course there are now bullpup-style shotguns available that hold 15 rounds, like the Tavor, Kel Tec KSG and UTS-15, but these things handle more like mule-kicking cinder blocks than pointable shotguns, and as I suspected, they haven’t caught on.

But in 2018 Mossberg remedied the problem. It took one of the world’s most popular shotguns, its Model 590, and modified its floorplate to accept a highly engineered 5, 10, 15 or 20 round detachable magazine. 

Sure, these magazines are necessarily fat and bulky to accept fat and bulky 12-gauge shells, but no matter, Mossy solved the age-old problem. I figured the entire gun community would buy one to stick behind the door in the bedroom, because why not? It’s a proven Mossberg pump that holds 21 rounds and can be reloaded in a flash. 

But I was wrong. 

To my knowledge, I’m the only dude of my questionable friend group who owns one. Indeed, I keep it behind the bedroom door at all times, and after putting many rounds through it to test its reliability with the strange new mag, I feel great about this decision. But my question is, why hasn’t it revolutionized the defensive shotgun world? I still can’t figure it out. 

Perhaps it’s because it just looks silly—a pump shotgun with a drooping magazine—or maybe they think it doesn’t balance like other Mossbergs (I can’t disagree there). More than likely it’s because they’ve never actually seen a 590M or shot it, and that’s a big reason why I’m writing this now.

Other than the new feature of holding nearly a box of shells and loading almost another box in a second, there is no downside in my mind other than the increase in weight due to the added shells. Other than the fact that the magazine will not accept 3-inch magnums, it’s still a 590 with all the features and reliability that have made it and the Remington 870 a favorite for dudes whose lives depend on them daily.

It’s got the tang safety, dual action bars, quality buttpad, a no-BS metal front bead, trigger-guard mounted action release, studs for a sling and a Mossberg-esk price tag. But it also has a mag release button. What’s not to like?  Around $550

Pros: holds 5, 10, 15, or 20 rounds in a magazine that can be swapped in a second; legendary Mossberg 590 reliability.    

Cons: 20-round magazine is certainly long and bulky; I like the 10 and 15 rounders.

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