Mossberg 590 Shockwave Shotgun-12, 20 gauge, .410 Bore Close-Range Defender

The Mossberg Shockwave is a purpose specific shotgun. It has some limitations, but delivers a devastating payload capable of delivering one shot stops.

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If you've been in a Vance Outdoors location lately, you might have noticed that the Mossberg Shockwave pump shotguns are now available a long time after their introduction by Mossberg.

The reason for the delay in selling them was that there was a discrepancy in the definition of a "sawed-off firearm" between Ohio law and Federal Law/ATF regulations. While the Mossberg Shockwave met the ATF requirements of having an overall length of 26 inches, Ohio law required that the barrel of a shotgun must be at least 18 inches long with an OAL of at least 26 inches. Vance's wisely decided to not sell the Shockwave-whose barrel length is 14.375 inches. This was done to keep customers and the store out of legal jeopardy.

The passage into law of Ohio Substitute H.B. 228 eliminated this discrepancy by adding a provision that says if a shotgun met the 26-inch OAL criterion, AND was approved for sale at the federal level, it was legal in Ohio. Problem solved.

For my test I chose the 20 gauge, rather than the 12 gauge model. The 20 packs plenty of close range punch with less recoil than a 12. It seemed to be an ideal fit for a shotgun of this type.

If you aren't familiar with it, the Shockwave is a close-range defensive arm based on the standard Mossberg 590 pump action shotgun cut down to 26.37 inches. Weight is an easy to maneuver 4.95 lbs.

The Shockwave's "pistol" grip is referred to as a "Raptor" grip due to its birds-head appearance. The forend is the traditional "corncob" style with a nylon retention strap. Both are synthetic. There is a single point sling stud at the base of the Raptor grip.

The heavy walled barrel is cylinder bored, with a three-inch chamber. Magazine capacity is six rounds. The front sight is a brass bead.

I took the Shockwave to my lieutenant's outdoor range to test, along with four boxes of Winchester 2 3/4 inch 3 buckshot hunting loads, which are representative of what most folks might grab for defensive use. Here are some important discoveries we found based on our test shoot.

  1. Recoil-even in 20 gauge-is significant. I would suggest that no matter which gauge or model you select, start out shooting light AA type target loads to get a feel for it. Target loads also work well for the close ranges the Shockwave is designed for.
  2. If you want to use a defensive load that is heaver than AA target loads, try Federal's Personal Defense 4 buck. In 12 gauge try Remington 8 Pellet Managed recoil ammo.
  3. Always use the forend strap when firing.
  4. Firing from the hip gave us the most control.
  5. The birds head grip is easy to grasp and great for getting the Shockwave into action. Consider attaching a single point sling for firing support when holding the Shockwave out in front of you.
  6. The .410 Shockwave might be the best choice for the recoil sensitive.

The Mossberg Shockwave is a purpose specific shotgun. It has some limitations, but delivers a devastating payload capable of delivering one shot stops. It is also quite intimidating from the "bad guy perspective".