I bought the Mossberg 500 Tactical because I wanted a tactical shotgun. But most were upwards of $700. I did some research and actually found a friend of mine who has had a Mossberg 500 for over 26 years and it’s still running 100%. That’s all I needed to hear from a Vietnam Vet who knows what to put a firearm through for testing. So I picked one up for about $420. Throughout this review I’ll be showing you that you don’t have to spend $2,000 on a shotgun to get a completely tactical and versatile weapon.
This is how the Mossberg 500 Tactical comes stock. AR-15 style grip and collapsible stock.
The Mossberg 500 came with a lot of great features to be a great tactical weapon as it is. But I wanted more. It comes with the great AR-15 style grip and collapsible stock with a 5 round saddle, and the receiver is pre-tapped for optics or a mounted rail. It has a 5+1 capacity, and a 18.5″ barrel.
But this review is about what I’ve done to it to make it what I need. Let me touch on that first.
I didn’t want to buy an AR-15 because that’s a very specific use weapon. Not good for home defense ( especially in subdivisions with homes close together. I live in the country but I do travel to more populated areas ), not great for hunting, and it has one type of ammunition for the most part. A shotgun can have buck shot ( 00 or 00 magnum – most common ) for within 15 yards defense unless choked, slugs for getting through tough surfaces or longer range, bird shot for small game, flares, flechette, and the list goes on. I can make a shotgun whatever I need it to be.
Upon getting the Mossberg 500, it was perfect for home defense. But the first thing that bothered me was the finish on the rifle. When left in open air after having touched it, it rusts in only two days. Not really bad but I personally believe we don’t have to deal with that in 2012. There are plenty of great finishes out there. So that’s the first thing I changed. I used Duracoats shake and spray kit ( $43 after shipping ). Took two hours to apply after detail stripping the weapon and dried in 12 hours. Cured in one month. And the finish is fantastic! It doesn’t feel like a thick finish. It’s very fine smooth, and feels like metal. It doesn’t feel like it’s coated in Teflon or something.
Sorry for the bad quality here. But you can see the Duracoat didn’t fill in the print on the weapon at all. Very sharp details still.
Bottom of the receiver wasn’t filled either. Went on with 1 coat and a light mist to make sure.
At this point you’re probably wondering about wear on the finish. After running quite a few rounds in stress courses with the weapon this is the wear from the pump on the magazine tube. This is pretty good considering the finish that came stock wore faster. The finish isn’t invincible but it’s plenty durable. Went on easy, dried fast, and looks and feels great.
Next I wanted an optic. Nothing with a zoom, just a red dot. So first I mounted a rail from UTG ( $7 ). Then I put on a 30mm Red Dot from TruGlo. It is rated for .50 BMG and 12 Gauge and cost $45. It has 11 different settings for intensity and came with lens covers that are shaded for outside daytime use. So if you need it in a hurry you can still see through the lens covers.
This picture doesn’t do the dot justice. This dot on 11 is very bright. In low light situations it’s too bright. Which makes it more valuable because you can dial it down.
It comes with an integrated rail mount, and two screws to tighten to the rail. It also takes CR2023 ( watch battery ) that is included. The rail from UTG ( which came with screws to mount to the receiver. ) cost $7, and the optic was $45. Huge value for the rating on this optic. And TruGlo is a trusted name in optics.
The light is perfect. At 130 lumens it’s very bright but not so bright that you will blind yourself in a reflective surface. On top of that it’s extremely sturdy.
The next thing I needed was a light. This shotgun would operate as a home defense weapon as well and a light with/or on a weapon is a necessity is a must in my opinion. So I researched pretty hard and found the Streamlight PolyTac. It’s an LED light that is powered by 123 batteries. It’s impervious to shock, water proof, and runs for 3 hours straight before losing one of it’s 130 lumens. All that for $30.
CDM Gear BMT with 3 slot rail Shotgun Flashlight Mount ( $53 ) is what I went with for the mount. It’s incredibly sturdy and the mount makes so much sense. No smithing or drilling to attach. Simply put both sides of the mount between the barrel and magazine tube and tighten with the provided allen wrench. It also comes with pads that go between the mount and your weapon so as to reduce recoil shock and protect your finish. So that provided a rail to mount a light. I also needed a light mount to go on the rail. I went with the UTG Universal Slide-on Flashlight Ring ( $10 ). It slides onto a standard picatinny rail and tightens very securely. It receives up to a 1″ diameter light.
Nice sharp beam, bright, and easy top activate and deactivate. The light has a deep button travel so you can do a momentary activation easily.
Next I needed a sling mount. I found one from Ergo ( $24 ). Solid steel and very sturdy. I feel like this mount is bullet proof. It mounts between the receiver and the grip/stock assembly. It was a little difficult to install but it’s on there now.
The dual ring mount from Ergo is awesome. It’s low profile, and so extremely sturdy. I used a Blackhawk QD one point sling on it and I feel like I could repel off this mount.
Now the next mod was a big one. The saddle on the stock of the 500 is great but I had different plans for it than using it as a “secondary mag” saddle. I bought the Tac Star Side Saddle ( $25 ). This is one of the biggest values on the weapon. Normally you’re talking upwards of $100 for a saddle. This one comes with a steel mounting plate that mounts right to the receiver with no gunsmithing required. It uses preexisting pin holes to mount the plate, then the saddle screws right onto that and is perfectly appropriate.
I really liked this as a “second magazine” of shells because it’s 6 instead of 5. Seeing as I use 5+1 with this weapon it only makes sense. Further when I’m loading my second mag I want it close to the magazine tube. Going from the rear saddle is awkward. The shell fit in the saddle is second to none. Not too tight, and not at all loose. And the ammunition I have ( blue ) is Hornady TAP low recoil 00 Buck. A great load for quick powerful hits. These recoil less than bird shot.
This is what I use my rear saddle for. It’s “special” ammunition. The green are 00 buck magnum 3″ shells. The magnum load of 15 pellets vs the 9 give you that extra knock down power if need be. The red are 1 oz. rifled slugs. Just in case I need to get through say plywood at 30 yards. That will do the job. This load combo is even great in a hunting application. Throw bird shot into the mix and you’re ready to go.
Overall I added a great finish with Duracoat Shake and Spray, a Sling mount from Ergo, 6 Shot Side Saddle from Tac Star, Optic rail from UTG, 30mm Red Dot from TruGlo, Accessory rail from CDM, Light mount from UTG, Awesome tactical light from Streamlight, and have some great accessory ammo for almost any application.
Total cost of ammunition, the weapon, the mods, and even a bore snake for 12 Gauge came to about $675.
Shotgun – $420
Mods – $237
This is truly a versatile weapon now. I can use it in close range home defense applications, duty/tactical applications, or even hunting.
Hope you guys enjoyed this review of my personal shotgun. Again, this is to show you that you can get a great weapon, and mount some great products on it and make it something amazing for less.