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This Gun Started My Career | Mossberg 500 12ga Pump Shotgun Review

shotgun review Nov 17, 2022
Mossberg 500


Once upon a time, way back in the day, a young Steve Gould needed a shotgun. Long story short, I landed on the Mossberg 500 because it was cheap, and came with a slug barrel (I live in slug zone) Being that this is the gun I had when the vision to become a professional shooter was born, my only option was to put this gun to work, and it's been a workhorse ever since! 

This is the Shotgun that Started my Career: The Mossberg 500 Pump

  • The current MSRP is $489 for this standard field model.
  • Today we're looking at the standard wood field model I got about 13 years ago.
  • The 500 is available in more than 20 variations!
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  • 12 gauge - Pump Action (Available in 20 gauge and 410 as well)
  • This particular model is a combo with bird and rifled barrel
  • 3" chamber 
  • 28"  Barrell  (24" available)
  • Shotgun Weight is 7lbs 8oz
  • Length of Pull 13 7/8", Which is pretty short out of the box with no spacers included


  • Trigger pull felt pretty good. I was expecting more sponge ( I haven't shot this gun in a while) Definitely better than I remember!
  • 6lbs 4oz (Average pull weight)


  • This gun feels good in the hands. It's a very nice size. Not too skinny; not too chunky
  • A highlight for me is the forearm contour - the grip contour runs the whole length of the forearm, allowing you to have your hand forward or back on the forearm without the feel of the grip changing.
  • On top of that, the forend checkering is solid and has held up well.
  • The pistol grip is maybe on the meatier side, but overall a medium size
  • It has a top tang safety (On top of the receiver - slides forward for fire and back for safe) I like this design because it's a universal design for left and right-handed shooters and it easy to slide it to fire as you mount.
  • Receiver is drilled and tapped
  • The rib is flat and vented (I prefer a stepped-up rib)
  • Brass mid-bead and ivory front bead - I love the simplicity
  • The barrel is ported
  • This is a bottom loader and side eject shotgun
  • My biggest upset is with the recoil pad - pad is an overstatement as it is a very hard piece of rubber with no give. I would highly recommend a FalconStrike for this gun.
  • the loading port edges are quite sharp, not ideal for slapping shells


  • I've said it before and ill say it again - this Mossberg packs a punch. More than some of the other pump shotguns
  • I didn't take a whole lot up into the face as far as recoil, which is nice
  • Reliability-wise, this gun has put up with my shooting shenanigans for longer than most of my guns. I've had it for this long, and she still runs like a beauty!


  • Fairly simple pump to breakdown, but not at simple as some
  • I always look at the quality of the build relative to the price. With that said, this Mossberg has stood the test of time and is still operating smoothly
  • It's not the smoothest gun out there, but as far as price to quality ratio, I am impressed and happy to have it in my safe room still
  • The receiver and stock end are the light side of the gun, with the barrel carrying a lot of the weight (Heavier than most) This makes the gun a little front heavy, which is not uncommon for a pump.


I find this evaluation valuable because it tests how all the moving parts come together. I know you're not buying a shotgun to shoot as fast as possible. But when I'm against the clock, every element of the usability of the gun is tested, from the recoil to the balance, point-ability, the mount, literally everything we look for in a shotgun.

  • I was able to smoke three hand-thrown clays in 1.34 seconds, including the throw. This isn't lightning fast, but I'm very happy with this score for this value-priced pump shotgun. 

In conclusion, I am super happy with the performance of my Mossberg 500. I am happy that I gave it another chance through this re-evaluation. In the past, I had given a biased and unfair opinion of Mossberg. This year, through doing a couple of other Mossberg reviews and shooting the 940 PRO with Jerry Miculek, I'd like to think I have a new respect and appreciation for these well-built firearms. 

Whether our targets in the field or our targets in life, we will only hit what we are focused on so live the #targetfocusedlife 

Stay Target Focused,



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