Equipping for disaster

Review: Mossberg 590-A1

By Blaise Uriarte

The Basics:

The Mossberg 590 was designed as a military long-arm. The 590 was developed around the Mossberg 500, and the 590-A1 is a modified 590. 590 series guns differ from the 500 by utilizing a redesigned magazine tube. This different magazine allows the spring and follower to be removed from the front, and also will accommodate 8 shells versus 7 in the full length tube. As per the request of the Navy, the 590-A1 has a heavier barrel. The safety and trigger guard are made of aluminum whereas the trigger guard and safety switch are made of plastic on the 590 and 500 series guns.. For this test the gun is the 20 inch barrel variant with the military style collapsible stock. Other features include a bayonet lug and ghost ring sights.

The Ammo

The Mossberg 590 is chambered in 12 gauge 3 inch, which is basically the standard shotgun round for military and law enforcement. For defensive purposes I always recommend the 12 gauge. Other lighter shotguns, like 20 gauge, are most definitely adequate in this purpose. The simple fact of the matter is that 12 gauge guns offer the most versatility with the loads you can choose. This is especially true in an environment where ammunition may be scarce. Most stores and armories carry poor selections of 20 gauge, 16 gauge and .410 ammo. However, any store that does not stock a variety of 12 gauge loads is amiss.

For the sake of this test we fired Sellier and Bellot 2 ¾ inch buckshot loads, Federal 2 ¾ inch buckshot loads, and Federal 1 ounce 2 ¾ inch slug loads.

The Range Test


All and all this gun shot very well. The recoil was typical for a 12 gauge, slightly mitigated by the recoil pad on the adjustable stock. I found the downward slope of the stock and grip quite comfortable while shooting, and I really like the ghost ring sights.



This is a three shot group with slugs at 15 yards from a standing position. Not pinpoint accuracy but good enough for a head shot at that distance.



This is a pattern with the S&B ammunition at ten yards. Not a bad pattern for a shot across the room.


This is the pattern with the federal buck. The slightly tighter pattern at the same distance illustrates the importance of ammunition selection.

All and all the gun is acceptably accurate with slugs, and patterns well with buck shot. There were zero malfunctions throughout the test.

The Pluses

The 590-A1 is an extremely rugged shotgun. It is designed to be easily maintained, rugged and reliable. I find it to be all those things, and I think the bayonet would come in handy in a zombie type scenario. It renders the firearm useful even without ammunition. The stock is comfortable and is adjustable for shooters preference.

The Minuses

This gun is a tad on the heavy side, but that is the price you pay for a heavier duty gun. Capacity is limited, and it is strictly a short to medium range gun. Those are all issues that are common to shotguns in general.


Overall this is a great weapon for use on the undead. I love the feature of the bayonet lug, and find shotguns well suited for undead disposal in general. Shotguns offer you the most versatility in your ammunition of any firearm. When employing any weapon system one must bear in mind that training and tactics are key. I think a shotgun like this is well suited for personal defense in your home or against the undead, but you must know how to use your weapons. Practice often, and seek training if necessary. As always stay vigilant and be prepared.

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