GUN TEST – Mossberg 590A1 12-Gauge

Riot-busting tactical shotgun ready for extreme LE duty!

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    Mossberg offers several duty-ready variants of the 590A1, but each maintains the line’s reputation for reliability, close-range power and easy-to-use controls.
    Mossberg 590A1 12Gauge
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    The author’s test 590A1 SPX arrived with a fixed, traditional-style, synthetic buttstock for absorbing some of the shotgun’s recoil.
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    Mossberg equips the shotgun with a tang-mounted manual safety that is easy to reach. Its location also means it’s ambidextrous.
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    The 590A1 action can accomodate 3-inch shells, and the lightweight alloy, anodized receiver features a large ejection port on the right side.
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    For fast targeting, an LPA ghost-ring rear sight is added to the SPX’s top Picatinny rail, pairing nicely with the contrasting fiber-optic front sight.
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    Attached to durable twin action bars, the 590A1’s forend is easy to reach and has grooves for greater control during manipulations.
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    The SPX variant of the 590A1 features a Picatinny rail on top of the receiver for mounting optics like this Vortex Razor reflex sight.
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    Test Firing Mossberg 590A1 12Gauge

In the last few years, there has been a huge push toward M4-style carbines in the law enforcement community for use as patrol rifles. Now, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing; however, I for one firmly believe that the vast majority of agencies around the nation who are abandoning their “riot-type” shotguns in pursuit of the “perfect weapon”—which most believe a rifle to be—are perhaps underestimating the capabilities of the tried-and-true scattergun.

A pump-action shotgun has been the ubiquitous police long gun for as long as most of us have been alive—and for good reason. A well-placed 12-gauge shotgun slug is one of the most capable manstoppers around. In addition to that, due to new, proven wad designs, buckshot is now holding tighter patterns at a much greater distance,
thereby making it more effective as well. Shotguns are also much more versatile than rifles, as one can use a shotgun for applying less-lethal force and deploying distraction devices.

Regardless of how one feels about the rifle-versus-shotgun debate, few can argue the absolute benefit of a 12-gauge shotgun at conversation or vehicle stopping distances. Simply put, there is no better handheld fight-stopper out there, and I have had several personal encounters where the mere sound of a pump shotgun’s action stopped a potential threat before it occurred. With that established, let’s talk about the Mossberg 590A1 tactical pump shotgun.

Gun Details

The Mossberg 590A1 is a “shotgunner’s shotgun.” From its appearance to its performance, it is immediately apparent to any human being with a reasonable amount of intelligence that this is an all-business shotgun meant for hard duty use. I know most readers are probably thinking to themselves that there cannot be a whole lot new in the pump-action shotgun arena, but there are some very unique things about this 12-gauge shotgun that need to be addressed.


  • James Jenkins

    I have carried and used one form or another of the Mossberg 500 for the last twenty years. This began in my younger teenage years with an old Mossberg 500 my dad gave me that I used for hunting, to a department-issued model I have had in my cruiser here in Florida over the years. I have always appreciated how simple, tough and reliable the basic design is. I have never had one fail on me, and it has worked every time I needed it. I also like how reliable pump actions are. You can shoot anything from less-lethal rounds to full-bore slugs or buckshot-whatever you may need for the situation.Now that I have seen this review of the 590-A1, I may have to pick up one for personal use. I really like the way this one is configured, with all the upgrades and options. I think I am going to get the version with the pistol grip and the collapsible stock. Thanks for the great review! It really helped me decide to follow through on this one. I am going to go to my local gun shop right now and put in an order for one.

  • chthompson

    Thanks for the kind words James! Chad Thompson