When I bought my first shotgun a decade ago, I was still in college and couldn’t afford both a competition and home defense shotgun. I read about Saiga shotguns and they seemed awesome, but I lived in a state that maintained the Assault Weapons Ban. This meant I wouldn’t be able to legally install a pistol-grip or own magazines that held more than five rounds. I considered a Remington 1100, but at that time was told by everyone that automatic shotguns just aren’t reliable unless using full-powered loads like 00 buck and slugs. That was fine for home defense, but not competition and again, because of the AWB I would only be able to load the shotgun with five rounds. Vexed, I bought a Mossberg 590 SP, complete with evil bayonet lug and speed-feed stock. I wished back then, a company would make a shotgun that could serve double duty without costing thousands like Benelli’s M1014. Enter, the 12 gauge Mossberg 930 JM Pro.
Mossberg’s 930 gets the JM portion of its name from Jerry Miculek, famed revolver shooter and professional competitive gunman. Having several world championships under his belt, Mossberg approached Miculek to assist them in developing a cost-effective 3-gun ready shotgun that runs out of the box. Mossberg chose their standard 930 auto-loading shotgun as a basis for the new gun most likely due to it’s low cost, soft-shooting gas recoil system and extensive aftermarket parts selection.
Miculek and Mossberg’s engineers added multiple noteworthy features to the model 930, like the bright red fiber optic front sight, crucial in the rapid-shooting, target-rich environment of 3-gun. Demonstrating the solid understanding of human psychology, Mossberg implemented an over-sized charging handle and bolt release; Under stress hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills go to hell. Additionally, the loading gate is beveled, expediting the reloading process that often ruins shooters scores. Most shotgunners who compete have this done to their weapons since reloading a shotgun can easily become the most time-consuming aspect of a stage.
The 930 JM Pro is available in two variants, one with a 22-inch barrel and nine-round capacity and another sporting a 24-inch barrel and ten-round capacity. Both models have ribbed barrels to reduce barrel mirage during high-round count stages and include magazine extensions manufactured by Nordic Components.
While I’ve run into several Mossberg 930 shotguns in the past, it wasn’t until the Crimson Trace Midnight 3-gun Event, that I encountered the JM Pro variant. Surrounded by high-dollar weapons, lights lasers and optics, my first reaction when picking up the 930 JM Pro was, “A Mossberg?” It’s not that Mossberg doesn’t make a quality product, but in a match where stage guns included belt-fed M249 SAW machine guns and match-grade AR-15 rifles topped with FLIR scopes, I expected $2000 shotguns.
Shocked, I asked one of the organizers if we ran these because Mossberg sponsored the event, or because Miculek was at the event.His reply was incredible. He told me that they actually had planned on running these for the event before either Mossberg or Miculek signed onboard. The man explained that the features on the 930 JM Pro would have been too expensive on competitors shotguns and that the competitors weapons weren’t any more reliable than it.
I still didn’t 100 percent believe the guy, until I ran the 930 JM Pro over the course of two days at the event in dry, dusty conditions. The 930 ran like a top, devouring countless boxes of ammo with very few stoppages, the majority of which involved guns that had been dropped in sand multiple times. The magazines in these weapons would occasionally bind, but were easily freed by striking the stock on the ground. Impressed, I ordered one from Mossberg after returning from the match.
During my testing, I fired approximately 250 rounds of various ammunition types including slugs, 00 buck and lead competition shot without a single failure. In preparation for the review, I oiled the action with about a teaspoon of synthetic gun oil, fired 15 Ddupleks slugs and 25 rounds of buckshot to break it in. It functioned 100 percent during the break in and after. While full-powered slugs were not enjoyable, recoil from the defensive buckshot was manageable.
In terms of accuracy, it patterned identically to my Remington 870 Wingmaster when utilizing the same barrel length, shot-type and choke. With slugs, the 930 was accurate enough to hit my half-sized human silhouette target at 100 yards, producing an eight-inch grouping.
The 930 handles much better than hunting shotguns due to its shorter length and beveled loading gate. It points and handles quickly, and reloading was much easier than on my old Remington 870. Initially,
the first round loaded into the magazine would occasionally have increased resistance, but after the first 100 rounds loosened up considerably.
Dressed in all black or Kryptic Typhoon camouflage, the 930 JM Pro looks like a serious shotgun. Weighing in at seven pounds four ounces, it’s not super heavy or light, but all the weight is up front due to its barrel length. It retails for $750 and while not cheap, is a much less expensive alternative to buying a stock shotgun and decking it out with all the features of the JM Pro.
If I had to buy a do-all shotgun for competition and night-time bed-side defense, I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase a Mossberg 930 JM Pro, provided that I had ran 100 rounds of my favorite defensive ammo without incident. There may be more versatile and durable auto-loading shotguns on the market, but for the money, Mossberg’s 930 JM Pro is an excellent choice.