The Mossberg 590 Genesis

The Mossberg 590 was first developed in the second part of the 1970s by the O.S. Mossberg & Sons Co. as a military weapon, based on the Mossberg 500 model. Since 1987, it has been a standard part of the US military forces’ equipment. In the US Army they have been replaced with the Benelli M1014 semi-automatic shotgun, indeed, but they are still used on a very large scale by the US Navy and the US Marine Corps. Also, you’ve probably seen this shotgun numerous times in the hit TV series, The Walking Dead, as a weapon of choice for killing zombies. Which is curious, because Mossberg also produces a shotgun which they dubbed the “Zombie Killer”, but the 590 was chosen instead.

semi automatic shotguns mossberg 590

The militarization of the standard Mossberg 500 in order for it to be transformed into the 590 meant making the receiver a lot stronger, installing a vented heat-shield around the barrel, adding a bayonet lug and making the magazine bigger. Its standard finish is Parkerizing and it can easily be transformed into ‘Cruiser’ and back, because it has a replacement pistol grip.

The 590 is a special purpose model, created for self-defense, for military use, as shown above and for police work. This means that that 590 and the 500 models of the Mossberg shotgun are sold only as being “special purpose” weapons.

A thing that comes to prove just that and that also separates them from other shotguns is the fact that they have significantly shorter barrels. The barrels are custom made so that they can interchange with barrels of the same kind belonging to the 500 Mossberg family. For example, you can interchange them with barrels from the SPC, The Mossberg 590 Tactical or The Mossberg 590 Mariner.

The Mossberg 500 vs Mossberg 590 Duel

If you are currently caught in the Mossberg 500 vs Mossberg 590 struggle, here are some facts that may help you decide. Unlike the 500, the 590 has a bayonet lug and a heatshield, as part of gun being turned into a military weapon. The 500, though, is cheaper, coming at about $299, while the 590 stands firm at its $380 price. But if you were to put a heatshield on the 500 anyway, then you will reach approximately the same sum.

However, you should know that, according to one review, a shooter should not bother with the heathshield. That particular item belonging to the ‘accessories’ range should not be acquired if you don’t have a large capacity or if you are not expecting to shoot your gun continuously in a short period of time. It’s simply not worth spending the money and it negates one of the weapon’s most attractive features to begin with, its very low price.

Continuing with the differences, they both have the same configuration, with a 20’’ barrel, an 8 round capacity and a fixed stock. The 590 is Parkerized, when it comes to finishes, while the 500 is not. Of course, everything also depends on the reason why you’re buying it. For example, if you plan on shooting clays, you will do better with a 500. But if your needs are in the range of defending your house, than the 590 is your gun, since it behaves a lot better indoors.

Mossberg 590 Variations

A variation on the 590 is the Mossberg 590 a1. This is a military weapon by definition. It was selected only after it passed the test imposed by MilSpec and it was actually the only pump action shotgun to manage this feat of strengths. It is a duty weapon used by the armed forces, the police and law enforcement agencies all over the world, not just the United States.

It comes in 12 gauge, 3’’ chamber and either a 18.5’’ with 6 shots barrel or a 20’’ 9 shot one. It can either have a Parkerized or a Marinecote finish, the latter being highly resistant to corrosion. Its trigger guard is made of metal, not plastic like in other Mossberg shotguns, and it has safety buttons. Also, there are some selected models that feature tactical tri-rail forends, adjustable stocks that can come in 6 positions, Picatinny top rails and sight packages made special.

There is also a current debate on Mossberg 590 vs 590a1. Just like for the previous debate, the 500 vs the 590, here are some features that set them apart. The A1 has a heavier barrel and a trigger guard. The magazine tub and plug are longer, which means that the barrel will be longer as well.

The A1 can definitely take a lot more abuse than the regular Mossberg 590, which means good news for hunters that face long car drives, difficult terrain and water. Many say that the A1 is very rugged, but also classic and lightweight for its price range. But the differences are very small and, once again, the purpose for which you are buying the weapon will make tell you which one to choose. It’s basically the same gun and they are both very similar to their mother, the 500.

Mossberg 590 Add-ons

As far as accessories go, if you buy the right accessories Mossberg has to offer, which is a very wide array, you can transform your shotgun into a field gun, defensive weapon, slug gun or trap and skeet gun.

Possible accessories include: the scope mount, that works for both the 500 and the 590, the side saddle shell holder, for 4 and 6 shot models, the sling and flashlight combo mount, the front and rear looped sling attachments and their pair the quick detach front and rear sling attachments, the forearm flashlight mount with flashlight package, the magazine tube extensions, the follower, the mounting ring, the quick detach sling swivels and the sling fixed stock.

All in all, just like the shotgun it was designed around, the Mossberg 500, the 590 is the same in many ways, but a lot better, due to the “military” enhancements it received. It’s one of the most used shotguns in the world for both home defense and hunting and almost nothing can beat its amazing under $500 dollars price. Probably just its brother, the Mossberg 590 A1.