The Mossberg 500 is a workhorse. It’s true. This pump-action shotgun can do it all. From self-defense and hunting to military and police uses, the Mossberg 500 has become a favorite, with over 10 million made since they were first developed in 1960. They’ve been a popular option for over 60 years.

Dedication to Service

To date, the Mossberg 500 is still the only pump-action shotgun to be declared Mil-Spec by passing the U.S. Army’s Mil-Spec 344E test. This test included firing 3,000 rounds of 12-gauge buckshot in tough conditions to make sure it would function on the battlefield.

Why would that matter to the average shooter? In a word: reliability. Whether you’re hunting or using it for home defense, you want it to fire when you pull the trigger regardless of the conditions. The Mossberg 500 is a proven design, and you can count on it to work when you need it most.



Marines Shooting Mossberg 590A1
Marines train with the Mossberg 590A1, a member of the Mossberg 500 family of shotguns. (Photo: U.S. Marine Sgt. Kyle Talbot)

Why is the Mossberg 500 such a great gun? They’re easy-to-use, no-frills, affordable shotguns with models that appeal to everyone from waterfowlers and clay shooters to the military and law enforcement.

They’ve been in production for over 60 years and have adapted to suit many different needs. They are particularly popular with those who prefer a battle-proven shotgun that has over 10 million produced and a long track record of success.

The Mossberg 500 Is Perfect For:

  • Home Defense: As a firearms instructor, I've spoken a lot about shotguns and why they’re great for self-defense. The Mossberg 500 is a natural in that arena. Pump-action shotguns like the 500 are easy to use, offer a larger capacity than traditional double-barrel shotguns, and can provide better reliability than a semi-auto. Mossberg 500s are also available in several chamberings, including 12 gauge, 20 gauge, and .410 bore. All of these chamberings have self-defense loads.
  • Hunting: Hunting was one of the original purposes behind the development of the Mossberg 500 design. It’s available in multiple chamberings, making it versatile enough to take on everything from waterfowl and rabbits to whitetail deer. Whatever game you’re hunting, this shotgun has you covered. It’s proven itself in the field through all types of weather.
  • Skeet/Trap/Clays: While a pump-action shotgun may not be ideal for shooting skeet/trap/clays because racking it may make target acquisition a little more difficult, Mossberg 500s can be found at clay ranges across the country. They’re easy to shoot for beginners. Plus, they’re fun and accurate. If you’re thinking of buying a Mossberg 500, you will be able to use it for shooting clays, especially if you’re a beginner. If you’re thinking of waterfowl hunting, shooting clays with your Mossberg 500 is a great way to stay in shape for duck season.
  • Police Use: Trusted for decades, there’s a very good chance your local police department has Mossberg 500s in the racks of their cruisers. It’s a perfect choice because it's affordable, accurate, reliable, and easy to operate. Departments across the country have relied on the Mossberg 500 for over 60 years because they just work.
  • Military: Mossberg 500s have been a staple in the military for years. As a shotgun proven on the battlefield, the reliability and effectiveness of this gun have been tested under the toughest circumstances across the world. That’s a huge selling point for anyone looking for a shotgun they can trust. 

Related: Sixty Years On, Mossberg 500 Series Shotguns Still Going Strong

Popular Models

Whether you’re in the market for a tactical model or just a basic 500 series, you’ll find the right one for your needs right here. Barrel lengths vary depending on the model and gauge. Youth models are available as well.

Stock finishes range from beautiful wood to easy-to-maintain synthetic stocks.

Mossberg 500 Popular Models Include:


Mossberg 500 All Purpose Field

500 Hunting All Purpose Field: 12 gauge, 20 gauge, and .410 bore, standard capacity of 5+1 shells

Mossberg 500 Turkey

500 Turkey: 12 and 20 gauge, standard capacity of 5+1 shells

Mossberg 500 Combo Turkey/Deer

500 Combo Turkey/Deer: 12 and 20 gauge, standard capacity of 5+1 shells


Mossberg 500 flex tactical

500 FLEX Tactical: 12 gauge, standard capacity of 5+1 shells. 

Mossberg 590 Shotgun

Mossberg 590: If you're looking for something more tactical, the Mossberg 590 is a member of the 500 series that is beefed up for hard use: 12 gauge, 20 gauge, and .410 bore, standard capacity of 6-8+1 shells


Bottom line, if you’re looking for an affordable, accurate, reliable, and great all-around shotgun, you can’t go wrong with the Mossberg 500. It’s the best bang for your buck in pump-action shotguns, and they hold their value. The only question you should have is what model and chambering you want it in!

revolver barrel loading graphic