This Mossberg Shockwave review will cover the specification of this firearm along with its background and purpose.  We’ll provide the Gun University take to help you decide whether the Shockwave should be your next gun purchase. 

Mossberg Shockwave



Reliability: A+
Customization: B
Accuracy: C
Ergonomics: A+
Value: A+

Final Grade: A

Mossberg Shockwave Background


Mossberg Shockwave SPECMossberg are very much a legacy brand within the world of firearms.  They have a long track record of producing firearms and although they are a Swedish company, their motto is “Proudly American” and if you asked most shooters, their Mossberg 500 shotgun is a quintessential American shotgun.

Mossberg are particularly known for their shotguns, and the Shockwave represents the company’s current thinking – although not typically seen as a “cutting edge” company (they’re really known for “working-class” firearms), they really do innovate more than they’re given credit for.  So is the Mossberg Shockwave shotgun worthy of your time, or have Mossberg had their better days already as a brand?

The first thing you need to know about the Mossberg Shockwave is it is a compact shotgun (and not even legally a shotgun).  The Shockwave grip exploits a legal loophole that allows for such a compact firearm that is REALY close to a short barreled shotgun (or a handgun that fires shotgun shells) without being either.  This is an important distinction, by utilizing the Shockwave grip on a production model offering, Mossberg helps consumers avoid the hassles and cost of dealing with NFA firearms.

To learn more about the legal nuance of the Mossberg Shockwave (not-a-shotgun), check out this awesome article explaining how it works on Mossberg’s website.  Mossberg reached out to GunUniversity’s very own, Ryan Cleckner to write the article for them.

In making the Shockwave a compact firearm, Mossberg are trying to protect their share of the home defense market.  But is the Shockwave able to measure up to the newer, more innovative brands?

In this Gun University review of the Mossberg Shockwave, we’ll reveal the things you need to be wary of about the compact shotgun, as well as fully stating its advantages.  You don’t want to go any further before checking out what we’re about to say.

Mossberg shockwave Features

1. Capacity.  5+1 capacity is 1 shell more than the Remington option.

2. Birds-head Grip.  The unique piece that makes this firearm legal (and enjoyable to shoot).

3. Mini-Shell Compatible.  Mossberg’s unique lifter design allows for mini-shells.

Mossberg shockwave Review – Our Take

HUGE kudos to Mossberg for making this an offering from the factory!  If you read the article about the legality of this firearm on Mossberg’s site (link above), then you know how creative the Shockwave and Mossberg teams are.

Typically, in order to have a shotgun with a barrel this short, it would have to be registered as an NFA firearm, a $200 tax would have to be paid, and about 9 months would have to be waited until you could take possession – yuck!  By making this model, Mossberg has provided a “shotgun” with a very short barrel and it’s just  a regular firearm (not NFA like silencers and machine guns).

Why would you want a short barrel?  It is MUCH easier to store and handle (especially in confined spaces).

NOTE: You’ll catch me calling this a shotgun even though it legally isn’t considered a shotgun.  For our purposes, the Shockwave is nothing more than a Mossberg 500 shotgun with a Shockwave grip and a short barrel.

So, what do we think about he Shockwave shotgun by Mossberg? It’s kinda’ cool, but a bit awkward to shoot. Looking for a reliable self defense firearm for close quarters (or a great snake gun to keep in the ranch truck)?  This just may be for you – but, only if you’re big enough to handle it and shoot it.

First about the Mossberg 500 action generally, it’s a bit rough and clunky but super reliable.  Its biggest competition is the Remington 870 which is a much smoother action but with Remington’s quality control problems the last few years, the Mossberg 500 is the more reliable choice.  The downside to it is rougher edges and a rougher action (that does smooth out after a bit).

There’s also another difference that makes the Mossberg 500 platform perfect for this Shockwave firearm configuration (it’s almost impossible to talk about a Mossberg 500 anything without comparing it to a similar model Remington 870).  The Mossberg Shockwave excels over the Remington version (yep, they followed Mossberg and made one of these too) in five design areas:

  1. The capacity. Mossberg used a magazine tube near the same length of the barrel and can hold one more shell than the Remington version.  5 rounds in the magazine is a big percentage jump over only 4 rounds in the magazine.
  2. The shell lifter.  The lifter (or elevator, which lifts the shell from the magazine into the chamber) is a unique design on the Mossberg in that it is NOT solid – it is two bars on the side meeting at the front with a small cross-bar.  Why does this matter? Because of this design, you can buy an inexpensive plug that allows you to shoot minishells!  Minishells are tiny shotgun shells that seem like they were made for this platform (they actual came out more than 10 years before) because you get a higher magazine capacity and less recoil – they are a TON of fun to shoot and perfect for small critters.  Because of Remington’s design, the spacer won’t fit and therefore minishells can’t be used reliably. But, you MUST use a mini shell adapter if you want reliable function!
  3. The safety.  The safety on the Mossberg is a thumb-style safety on the top rear of the receiver.  It’s a horrible location if you’re trying to run a pistol grip but it is PERFECT when you’re running the Mossberg 500 in this configuration.  The Remington’s safety is in the back portion of the trigger guard and is not easy to use.
  4. The action release button.  The action on a pump action shotgun locks until fired (this is good so you don’t accidentally open the action too soon).  There is a button that you can press that will allow you to unlock the shotgun’s action without firing it (this is also good).  On the Mossberg, the release button is behind the trigger guard and is very easy to engage in this Shockwave configuration. Remington’s on the other hand, is in front of the trigger guard and although it is not a real problem when you’ve got a buttstock to help support the firearm, it is downright awkward in this Shockwave configuration.
  5. The fore-end strap.  This may not be a big deal for many of you but it is a nice feature: a safety strap on the fore-end to help keep the Shockwave from flying out of your hand while firing.

Here’s the takeaway: the Mossberg Shockwave can not replace the utility of a full-size shotgun.  However, it can be handy in areas where a full-size shotgun can not. If you’re looking for a tiny firearm that fires shotgun shells (and doesn’t require NFA hassle or breaking the law), then the Mossberg Shockwave is for you!     However, if you’re weaker or aren’t super confident in your ability to run the pump-action design, you might want to stick to a full-size shotgun.

shockwave side

mossberg shockwave Pros and Cons

Size of a short barreled shotgun without the hassle!

Can shoot mini-shells

All the controls in the right place!

A bit rough/clunky

Difficult to aim

Report card

Reliability Runs like a tank


Accuracy Difficult to aim


Ergonomics The grip and the layout of the controls are perfect for this platform


Customization Can take Mossberg 500 accessories but, be careful, adding a stock without the proper registration is a crime


Value Tons of fun – if it fits a need for you, get it!


Final Grade: A

EXTRA RESOURCES FOR mossberg shockwave

Now that you have the full Gun University take on the Mossberg Shockwave, it’s time to take a closer look at the firearm, by exploring the most important extra resources you need to decide whether this is the right compact shotgun for you.

For your convenience, we’ve gathered into one place:

*A video of the cleaning process for the Mossberg Shockwave, so you can see exactly what it’s like to get hands on with this compact shotgun

*A full exploration of the different versions of the Mossberg Shockwave, including the special features found in each version of the shotgun, and the capacity of each

*The full owner’s manual straight from Mossberg, so you can check out full technical info about the Shockwave, including full parts diagrams

Here it is:

GUN Maintenance and Cleaning Process

Other Resources and Documents for the mossberg shockwave

Mossberg Shockwave Owner’s Manual

Has Mossberg produced different versions of the Shockwave?

Yes, you have several options when it’s time to choose a specific model of the Mossberg Shockwave.

Mossberg Shockwave 590 Nightstick

This version of the shockwave has an old-school feel thanks to the wooden look used here.  As well as the wood stocks, the retro feel is further emphasized thanks to the leather forend strap Mossberg have chosen for this version of the Shockwave.

Mossberg Shockwave Shock and Saw

This is a more modern look for the Shockwave.  The coloring is dark and sleek and the Chainsaw top grip gives this iteration of the Shockwave a serious, no-nonsense feel.

Mossberg 590 Shockwave SPX

This version of the Shockwave comes with a receiver-mounted side saddle.  You can store shells directly on either side of the firearm.  This version of the Shockwave comes with a removable top rail.  You can easily mount sights or other accessories.  You can also reduce the weapon’s weight and size by removing the rail from the Shockwave when you don’t want to use accessories at a particular time.

What is the magazine capacity for the Mossberg Shockwave?

The magazine capacity for the Mossberg Shockwave differs depending on the model you have.

The capacity for each model is shown below:

Mossberg Shockwave 500 Models.

The total capacity is six, including one in the chamber.  2 and three quarter shot shells are the type of ammo for this model.

Mossberg Shockwave 590 Models.

Just like the 500 model of the Shockwave, the 590 is also capable of holding six, which includes one in the chamber.  2 and three quarter shot shells are the correct ammo once more.

Mossberg Shockwave Compact Cruiser Models

As you’d expect from the compact cruiser models of the Mossberg Shockwave, the ammo capacity is lower.

Depending on how the model configuration has been set, the Compact Cruiser Shockwave can hold three or four 2 and three quarter inch shotshells.  This includes one in the chamber.

Our Top Upgrade Picks for the Mossberg Shockwave

This shotgun does have a few upgrades available to make it more fun and interesting.

Minishells for the Mossberg Shockwave– These lightweight shotgun shells are perfect for vermin and smaller critters. I’d recommend either going with shells from Aguila or Federal.

OPSOL TX MINI-CLIP 2.0- This clip allows for dependable firing and cycling of 1.75″ shotgun shells. It’s easy to install and remove so you can fire larger shells on a whim.

Voodoo Tactical Breacher’s Shotgun Scabbard- If you’re looking for a great way to carry your shotgun, this is it. The two MOLLE straps allow for Ambi-mounting and can be slung with the adjustable, removable shoulder strap.