2018 Shotgun of the Year: Mossberg 590 Shockwave

posted on May 16, 2018

Our Shotgun of the Year is technically not a shotgun, but rather a firearm that fires shot. Mossberg followed the letter of the law—literally; a letter from the ATF declaring the Shockwave’s legality ships with each gun—to create what looks like an NFA-regulated short-barreled shotgun, but isn’t. The Shockwave is not a mere gimmick, thanks to its ability to feed Aguila Minishells (with an aftermarket adapter), which turns this diminutive scatter…firearm into a nine-round home-defense dynamo.

In his extensive review of the Mossberg 590 Shockwave, Shotgun Editor Jeff Johnston explained that the firearm is simply a shortened version of Mossberg’s venerable Model 590 pump. Its action is battle-proven-reliable and needs little explanation. Like always, the thumb safety is located on the tang so it’s innately ambidextrous. The gun features Mossberg’s trademark deeply grooved fore-end that allows easy cycling, even when the hand is made slippery by the sweat of battle. The fore-end features a nylon strap that prevents the hand from slipping in front of its stubby muzzle.

However, the innovation comes with the addition of an elongated, hard polymer “bird’s head” grip that, at first blush, seems bizarre in that it only serves to reduce what little purchase a normal, rubbery, 90-degree pistol grip would lend. But it turns out that Mossberg knew what it was doing; the bird’s head “Raptor” grip made by Shockwave Technologies serves a specific purpose, and that purpose is to make the firearm measure more than 26 inches in overall length, which is one key to the gun remaining classified as a “firearm” and therefore not requiring an NFA (National Firearms Act) stamp for purchase—despite its 14-inch barrel.

“Suddenly, the Shockwave is now a serious arm that’s also great for vermin like rabid skunks, attacking rattlesnakes and other critters. It’s perfect for boats and for travel [when unloaded]…” —Jeff Johnston, Shotgun Editor

Winning Features:
• Ultra-compact size
• Receiver drilled and tapped for optics/rail mounting
• Proven reliability of Mossberg’s Model 590 action
• Ambidextrous center-line safety

Gauge: 12; 3-inch chamber
Capacity: 5 rounds (2 34-inch shells)
Barrel Length: 14 inches
Overall Length: 26.4 inches
Weight: 5 pounds, 4 ounces
MSRP: $455


ZeroTech LPVO
ZeroTech LPVO

First Look: ZeroTech Optics Vengeance 1-6x24 LPVO

A low power variable optic with features suitable for close and medium range engagements.

Controlling the Reactionary Gap

More space equals more time equals more opportunity to solve the tactical problem. The converse is also true: Less space equals less time equals fewer opportunities to solve the tactical problem. How can you create and control the reactionary gap affording you a tactical advantage when bad things happen to good people?

First Look: Mauser M18 Savanna Bolt Action Rifle

Blaser Group is adding a new bolt action rifle to value-oriented Mauser M18 stable of rifles.

Shotguns: What’s New In 2022

Although I tend to believe being well trained with any shotgun is better than being untrained with the best one, why not be well trained with a great gun? To that end, here are a few defensive shotguns for all tastes, and all-new for 2022.

First Look: DeSantis SlimTuk for the SIG Sauer P365

A new IWB holster option for a popular subcompact defensive pistol.

Springfield Armory Announces Gear Up Promotion for All Striker-Fired Pistols

Three free magazines and a pistol bag are yours when you buy select Springfield Armory pistols.


Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.