Unfortunately, the bane of the shotgun platform in the defense market is the length of the firearm. Typically, if the company manufactures anything shorter than an 18” barrel and/or the entire firearm is under 26” overall in length, the buyer would have to go through the lengthy process of having to obtain a Federal Tax Stamp for the “Short-Barreled Shotgun (SBS)” or “Any Other Weapon (AOW)” classifications IF the state the buyer lived in even allowed them to be owned there.

This puts shorter shotguns into a small niche market in which doesn’t translate to a wide spread self-defense audience.

Thankfully, Mossberg found a way around this in last year’s new release, the Mossberg 590 Shockwave which we take a look at in this week’s article.

Few models have served a wider and more reliable capacity than that of the Mossberg 590. Building off the success of the Mossberg model 500, the 590 added a beefier receiver and double action bars similar to the 500’s counterpart on the market with Remington’s model 870.

When Mossberg decided to build a hand held 12-gauge cannon, the 590 seemed to be a logical choice. By shortening the barrel to 14” and adding a unique angled bird’s head style grip rather than traditional pistol grip, it helped the new Shockwave design retain non-NFA status by making the 26” inch overall requirement.

mossberg 590 for sale

Basically, the ATF doesn’t consider the Shockwave a shotgun by law because it doesn’t have a stock, nor a pistol because it doesn’t technically have a pistol grip.

When I first saw one in person during this year’s SHOT SHOW in Las Vegas, I HAD to have one!

First Look

A few months after returning from SHOT SHOW, Mossberg released the Shockwave into full production and with that, our test sample arrived at my local gun shop for pick up.

After a quick 20-minute round trip, I was back in my office opening the relatively short cardboard box Mossberg used to ship the Shockwave in.

Upon opening the package, I had forgotten just how short the Shockwave was. Slipping my support hand inside the forearm loop and saddling up with my strong hand, the stance may have looked a bit odd, but it felt “right.” The Shockwave was well balanced with just enough heft to make you respect the fact you have a small .75 caliber cannon in your hands.

Moving about through my home office and down the hall room to room with the unloaded Shockwave in my hands, I was impressed with how well it “sliced the pie” coming around corners and the overall “pointability” of the gun. (Additionally, if “pointability” is not a current word, it is now.

You’re welcome!) It was clear during my room clearing scenarios, this was not a long arm but could not be implemented as a handgun.

My field testing would need a bit of customization to properly see how the Shockwave would perform in real world application. Unfortunately, due to hurricane activity during the initial test period, it would be two weeks of staring at the Shockwave siting in my office between working the solid locking action over a hundred times dry firing 12-guage snap-caps before the water at “The Swamp” training grounds receded enough to field test. After all, we DO call it “The Swamp” for a reason.

Shockwave Specs

  • Gauge: 12
  • Capacity: 6
  • Barrel Type: Heavy-Walled
  • Barrel Length: 14″
  • Sight: Bead
  • Choke: Cylinder Bore
  • Barrel Finish: Matte Blued
  • Weight : 5.25 lbs
  • Length: 26.37”

mossberg 590 for sale

Range Time

Eager to hit the range at our private training facility affectionately known as “The Swamp,” I called up fellow Swanson Media Group gun writer, Craig Reinolds and good friend, John Ammons, owner of UW Gear, makers of some of the toughest tactical rigs in the world.

Both these men come from military and sporting backgrounds and are well familiar with the offensive power advantage the shotgun platform has.

The following few days on the range with these two men would prove to be some of the most productive and fun trips I have had in a very long time.

As a master of his craft, John Ammons knows a bit about stitching. One of the first things John pointed out while handing the Shockwave was the exposed screw and strap edging.

Over an extended amount of time shooting, these two slightly abrasive surfaces could cut into the support hand or wear through gloves.

The Shockwave isn’t exactly the first choice of an extended range time experience due to standard recoil and cost per round so this isn’t necessarily a “deal breaker.”


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