Mossberg 500 vs 590: An Ultimate Shotgun Comparison

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When you think about affordable shotguns, the Mossberg 500 series shotguns will always come to mind. And usually, it’s all boiling down between the Mossberg 500 vs 590. This is not surprising, both of these are exceptional shotguns that are reliable and dependable in any situation. So, what’s the difference between Mossberg 500 and 590? Which one should you get? Well, to answer that in more detail, we’ll need to take a closer look at both Mossberg 500 vs 590 and see what each of these weapons can offer. Let’s start with the basics:

Mossberg 500 Mossberg 590
Target Buyer Hunting and security Police and army
Reliability M500 is more prone to reliability issues M590 has a superior trigger mount
The material of the base and trigger guard Plastic Metal
Disassembly Slower Faster
Barrel 18 and 20 inches 20 inches

Mossberg 500 Shotgun Overview

Ever since its introduction in 1960, the Mossberg 500 has gained the reputation of being a very versatile shotgun. The Mossberg 500 was first meant to be a sporting shotgun made for hunting and competitive shooting. However, its popularity spawned a number of models that increased its already wide capability. You can shoot practically anything that fits in it. May it be a slug, birdshot, buckshot, or anything you can load in a 12 gauge shell. If it fits, you can fire it. This fact has piqued the interest of a wide variety of gun owners from farmers, homeowners, truckers, law enforcement, and even the military. Since then, there have been 10 million units of the Mossberg 500 sold worldwide.

Looking closely at this model, you can see that it’s the most “bang” for the buck shotgun you can get. The 500 is sturdy, reliable, lightweight, extremely customizable, and most of all – affordable model. It achieves these by having a lot of great features for a shotgun. It has a positive steel-to-steel lockup wherein the steel bolt locks directly to the barrel, made of the same material. This allows the barrel to handle most of the force when firing. This in turn allows the whole receiver to be made of a cheaper and lighter aluminum alloy. It has dual extractors, twin action bars, and an anti-jam elevator to make sure that your Mossberg 500 fires smoothly.

Mossberg 500 shotgun Zombieland Double Tap
Columbus (Zombieland: Double Tap) with his Mossberg 500 shotgun

To add to that, the Mossberg 500 series as a whole is also popular for the wide customization options. Changing out the barrel, magazine tube, stock, and other components can be done in a breeze, allowing you to customize your shotgun for any type of work you require. Some even call it to be the “AR-15 of the shotgun world” with its crazy customization options and strong aftermarket support.

Mossberg 500 Tri-Rail Tactical Overview

Capacity 6 rounds
Barrel 18.5 inches
Chamber Size 3 inches
Overall Length 36.38 inches
Stock Adjustable Tactical Stock/Side Saddle
Weight 6.75 pounds

Realizing the usefulness of the Mossberg 500 shotgun in military and law enforcement work, Mossberg designed the 500 Tactical. This variant is kitted out with length-adjustable stock similar to buttstocks you’d typically see on military rifles like the M4A1. The new stock also has a side saddle to hold 5 extra 12 gauge shells.

This specific tactical variant also has a railed forend. You can easily equip attachments to the left, right, or bottom of the shotgun barrel.

Who Is This Shotgun for?

If you’re an active-duty soldier, law enforcement officer, or veteran that prefers kitting out their firearms, this model is perfect for you. On its own, the Mossberg 500 is already a great shotgun that you can man-handle. The almost unlimited customization options the Tri-Rail offers mean that you can use this shotgun with maximum effectiveness.

Mossberg 500 Hunting Overview

Capacity 6 rounds
Barrel 24 inches
Chamber Size 3 inches
Overall Length 44.25 inches
Stock Synthetic
Weight 7.25 rounds

The stock model of the Mossberg 500 is already good enough for a hunting shotgun. Sometimes though, “good enough” isn’t preferable. Hunting rifles aren’t always practical, since they don’t offer as much flexibility and affordability shotguns provide, especially for harder targets. Meet the Mossberg 500 Hunting. With its 24-inch long barrel and full choke, this baby can take down any target with a well-placed shot. The longer barrel also means better range and better round penetration, which is crucial especially for hardier animals. The Mossberg 500 Hunting is also offered in camo paint jobs to reduce the chance of alerting your prey.

Who Is This Shotgun for?

This model of the Mossberg 500 is specifically designed for hunters. If you want to hunt big game like turkey and from long distances, you’d need a shotgun specialized for that purpose. The simplicity of using the Mossberg 500 helps you focus more on tracking your target and aiming a well-placed shot. The reliability and ruggedness of its design mean that it can withstand use in harsh hunting environments.

Mossberg 500 FLEX (TLS) Overview

Capacity 6 rounds
Barrel 18.5 inches
Chamber Size 3 inches
Overall Length 41 inches
Stock Synthetic
Weight 5.75 pounds

The Mossberg 500 FLEX with its Tool-less Locking System (TLS) makes switching out relevant parts of the Mossberg 500 a breeze. It takes the already wide customizability of the Mossberg 500 model and turns it up to 11. The TLS is a sturdy mounting system that requires no tools to use. Among its customization options are an array of stocks, recoil pads, forends, and barrels.

Who Is This Shotgun for?

The Mossberg 500 FLEX is probably a dream come true for gun nuts who want to have the be-all and end-all shotgun. This is perfect if you are a military or law enforcement officer who might see action in a myriad of scenarios. The ability to change parts of your firearm quickly will be indispensable so that you can adapt to any situation.

Mossberg 590 Overview

Capacity 8 rounds
Barrel 18.5 inches
Chamber Size 3 inches
Overall Length 41 inches
Stock Synthetic
Weight 5.75 pounds

The Mossberg 590 is a refined version of the 500 with a larger round capacity. Recognizing the 500 as a great tactical shotgun, Mossberg created the 590 to make a model that perfectly suits tactical use. The Mossberg 590 has fewer customization options than the 500, only coming with a 20-inch barrel. However, the 590 is noteworthy for having unique variants like the Mossberg 590 Shockwave with a unique pistol grip. The most well-known of these variants is the 590A1, which is the only mil-spec firearm in the 500 series. The 590A1 features a thick-walled barrel, and a steel safety and trigger guard. The trigger guard was made of steel to alleviate the cracking notorious on the polymer ones of the 500 series. All of these, along with the parkerized finish, make it up to spec for military use in the army and the navy. All in all, the 590 is a solid shotgun that takes advantage of its predecessor’s features while being more rugged for tactical operations.

Who Is This Shotgun for?

Just like the Mossberg 500 Tactical, this is mainly meant for the military and law enforcement officers. If you are one or just looking for a solid tactical shotgun, the Mossberg 590 is a great choice. While it may not differ much from the 500, the mil-spec variant of the 590 is a great option. Its ruggedness and extra ammo quantity will serve you well in the field.

Mossberg 500 vs Mossberg 590: Key Differences

Magazine Tube Design

The Mossberg 500 and 590 differ mainly on the magazine tube design. The 500 has a closed-off muzzle threaded end for the nut that locks the barrel in place. This open end also allows the 590 to have a greater shell capacity, which can further be extended. Additionally, the end of the magazine tube also has a bayonet lug to mount a bayonet on.

Safety and Trigger

Both the 500 and the 590 have a single safety at the tang of the firearm. This allows ease of access to safety without changing your grip too much. The trigger is also a bit heavy but crisp. It may be helpful to note that the polymer trigger guards on both the 500 and 590 are prone to cracking near the loading port. This may post a safety risk or at the very least affect the operation of your shotgun. This is one of the main reasons why the Mossberg 590A1 shotgun has a steel trigger guard. So if you are concerned about this, then choose the A1.

Practicality for Hunting

While you can technically use both variants for hunting, it’s not as practical to use the 590 for hunting since it has a shorter barrel and you have a lower degree of adjustment available in the choke. This is likely why the Mossberg 500, with more than 10 millions units produced after 50 years, is a preferred choice of many hunters.

Mossberg 500 vs 590 Shotguns Review: Conclusion

When it comes to both reliability and affordability in 2021, nothing comes close to the Mossberg 500 series shotguns. Now the big question is – should you get the Mossberg 500 or 590? Well, both the Mossberg 500 vs 590 are great options. The biggest difference between Mossberg 500 and 590 is that they vary mostly by the magazine, tube design, and round capacity. But overall both the Mossberg 590 or 500, are pretty much the same trusty, reliable, and flexible shotguns. Choosing between the two boils down to what you want to see from your shotgun.

So with that said, we hope our Mossberg 590 vs 500 review was useful and informative, so you could make only the best choice! So good hunting, and feel free to let us know which model you chose and/or recommend. We would love to hear from you!