For over 100 years Mossberg has been a household name in the American firearms community, and their shotguns have a reputation as well-priced, well built, and solid designs used by civilians and law enforcement alike. While Mossberg has built their reputation on their traditional shotgun designs like the Mossberg 500 and 590, when they introduced the Mossberg Shockwave, it proved that the company had some very interesting ideas about how to keep their market share of the home defense firearm industry.
Before anything else, it’s important to define what exactly the Shockwave is, and is not. Technically it is NOT a shotgun. Even though it fires 12 gauge shotgun shells and is based on the Mossberg 590 action, because the receiver has never had a rifle stock attached to it, and the entire firearm length is over 26” it is considered neither a shotgun, nor a handgun. Instead, it falls into a sort of grey area of “pistol grip firearms” or “other weapons.” This allows you to buy one of these just like you would any other firearm, without having to deal with all the NFA (National Firearms Act) paperwork and waiting times associated with most short-barreled shotguns. Obviously, you should never attach a rifle stock to this gun without proper ATF approval, otherwise you will be breaking the law.
The Shockwave operates on the same principle as the Mossberg 590 shotgun. It features the 590’s well known pump action with twin action bars and dual extractors, allowing for very positive extraction and feeding. The Shockwave safety is the same safety Mossberg uses on many of their pump shotguns, a lever positioned on the upper rear of the receiver. Given the Shockwave’s bird head grip, the safety position is actually very convenient for most shooters, and lends itself to rapid manipulation.
Mossberg shotguns use a uniquely designed shell lifter (that’s the piece that lifts the shell from the tubular magazine to the chamber), and because of this design a Shockwave owner can buy a simple drop in piece called a “mini shell adaptor” that allows use of 1.75” “mini” shotgun shells. With mini shells and this adaptor, the capacity of the Shockwave is effectively doubled, and the recoil is massively tamed.