The Mossberg 590—a variant of the company’s tried-and-true Model 500 that first appeared in 1960—was introduced in 1987. It maintains its predecessor’s simplicity of operation and the same rugged reliability that serves our troops so well on the front line of freedom. The difference is a modification at the magazine cap that makes routine cleaning and maintenance easier, instead of providing the militarily preferred barrel-swap speed.
Civilian enthusiasts understand that advantage, because this was the top-selling pump-action shotgun for 2019 on Gunbroker.com. In fact, there are two other configurations of this firearm in last year’s top-10 for the category. The venerable Model 500, if you’re wondering, was in the running, too.
There’s no shortage of Mossberg 590 variants. All have a tubular magazine, with capacities of either six or eight shotshells. The lower-inventory models have 18.5-inch barrels, with the higher-volume guns offered with 20-inchers. The former line ships with a bead sight, while there’s a ghost ring option on the latter. All are cylinder bore choked.
It’s available in .410 bore as well as 12 and 20 gauge. It’s little wonder the gun remains a top choice with law enforcement. They come with dual extractors, twin action bars and an anti-jam elevator to ensure reliable and smooth operation in nasty conditions. Select models in the line feature upgrades that can include six-position adjustable stock, pistol grips, heat shield, tri-railed fore-ends and much more.
All versions can chamber 3-inch shotshells. MSRPs for the 6+1 capacity models (18.5-inch barrels) in 12 gauge are $469 and $620. The 20 gauge and .410 bore versions that hold the same volume of rounds is $469.
Price increases slightly when you move up to the 20-inch barreled version and added capacity. The 12 gauges come in at $489, $512 or $620. The 20-gauge version in that lineup has an MSRP of $507.
Each has a synthetic stock and fore-end and generous buttpad to handle recoil. A tang safety ensures intuitive activation. The over-engineering put into these guns make used versions with wood furniture another popular option in gun stores and website.
Combine the price, long history of performance and variety, and it’s little wonder the Mossberg 590 took top place among pump-action shotguns last year. The vaunted design has held the top for position for pump-action shotguns since 2017 and is no doubt contending to retain that crown in 2020.