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
• 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 3⁄4-inch shells)
Barrel Length: 14 inches
Overall Length: 26.4 inches
Weight: 5 pounds, 4 ounces