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Was I Wrong About The Maverick 88?

Jun 20, 2024
Was I Wrong About The Maverick 88?

As you may know, TFL reviewed the Mossberg Maverick 88 pump shotgun last year. This is a very budget-friendly shotgun. We try our absolute best to give honest, in-depth reviews. So being that this shotgun is affordable as it is, our expectations weren't particularly high going into it. But were we about this shotgun? Today we're reviewing comments and criticisms we received on this video and determining if our initial thoughts on this gun were unfair. Let's go!

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Some Comments We Received

So as you can see, there were a lot of Maverick fans out there who did not appreciate what we had to say. There were positive comments as well and the comments above were among the "worst" ones we saw. We appreciate your comments. Discourse in the comment section provides more value to everyone. Let's take a look at some quotes from the review that people disagreed with the most, and respond to them now. Keep in mind that these quotes are paraphrased for ease of reading. Refer to the video for exact quotes.

The Trigger

Steve said: "The trigger is right around 8 pounds and doesn't feel that great - but hey what do you expect, it's a $253 shotgun."

Response: After taking the Maverick out again to give it another chance, the trigger certainly goes bang, but at the end of the day doesn't feel great. We have no reason to single out the Maverick for heavy criticism. We simply observe the guns through the lens of our experience. And in our experience, this trigger isn't all that great. There are $1,000 guns that we have said the same thing about so regarding this trigger, we still think it's heavy. But there's a lot more to a gun than just the trigger. So let's look at some other comments. 

The Safety & Slide Release

Steve said: "The safety is a cheap material and resembles that of a toy gun. However, the slide release is conveniently located."

Response: Yes, the safety is indeed cheap. Again, it certainly works but relative to other guns out there, this shotgun's safety is cheap feeling. On the positive side, the slide release is in a good spot and we had nothing negative to say about that.

The Beads

Steve said: "This shotgun has two beads on it - A brass mid-bead and an ivory front bead."

Response: We're not totally sure what the issue was with this comment. It's a $250 shotgun and comes with two beads. Sounds like a winner!

The Loading Port

Steve said: "The loading port edges are sharp. If you're slamming shells in you may tear your hands up"

Response: Now this is a criticism we've made of many shotguns over the years. Maybe it's nit picky, but you also got to understand that we load and shoot a lot of shotguns ALL the time. A lot more than your average Joe. This may not be an issue for people and we understand that. As we said, we look at shotguns through our experience, and our experience was that loading this shotgun over and over wasn't as smooth as other shotguns. 

The Usability & Comfort

Steve said: "This isn't the most comfortable shotgun. At this price point, you're not going to get all the bells and whistles and it's not going to be the best shotgun on the market. But our goal is to show you the gun so YOU can decide if this is the shotgun for you"

Response: This is perhaps just our opinion, but there's also some truth in there. It is true that a $250 shotgun is not going to have a bunch of bells and whistles. So if that's what you want, explore your options. We also said that the ultimate buying decision is yours. We never intentionally try to paint a shotgun in a bad light.

The Recoil

Steve said: "There is a lot of recoil into my face"

Response: Now if you've ever watched a TFL review you've heard this comment a lot. There are a lot of factors that go into how a gun handles recoil, and how the shooter perceives it. Everyone will feel recoil in different ways based on their stance, mount, footwork etc. Gun fit also plays a huge role. If a gun doesn't fit in a manner that allows you the shooter to get it properly seated in your shoulder pocket, that recoil will be directed to different locations causing unexpected discomfort. The short and sweet answer is that this shotgun didn't fit. It's also worth noting that pump shotguns have more recoil than semi-auto's. With that said, yes, we indeed experienced more recoil than what we're used to considering the aforementioned reasons. After shooting it again, we think it's fair to say that the Mavericks recoil is middle of the road when compared to pump shotguns. Perhaps our recoil criticisms were a little harsh. 

The Build Quality

Steve said: "This is a very basic gun that obviously works so that's a plus"

Later in the video Steve also said: "This shotgun is on the lower side of quality. What do you expect?"

Response: Regarding the first comment, I'm not sure we could have said this any more plainly or accurately. This shotgun has a very rugged build and indeed works. Now about the quality: This comment doesn't necessarily have anything to do with how long the shotgun will last. It's simply an observation that the components used are of a cheaper material and most people could visually analyze that and conclude the same. The reality that we're trying to communicate is that there is a reason that this shotgun can be sold for $250. To do that, you have to source cheaper materials. This is just economics. Our goal was not to bash this aspect whatsoever. In fact, the ability to acquire any shotgun at this price is amazing. So were we wrong? Not necessarily. Should we have elaborated on what we meant to say and pointed out the positives of how attainable this shotgun is? Yes. 

The Longevity 

Steve said: "There's no doubt about it. If you put a lot of rounds in this gun it's going to wear down. I'd love to hear what your experience has been with this shotgun"

Response: This is probably where we received our biggest criticisms and we'll give it to you - Y'all had some merit with your comments. This is usually the hardest part of our reviews to communicate as we don't get the pleasure of testing a gun over time with thousands of rounds through it. Because of this, we have to resort to an educated guess. We have a pretty good track record of this. A perfect example would be another budget shotgun review we did of the Stoeger Condor. We had made similar comments about how long the Condor would last and the comments blew up with how people had terrible experiences with it not holding up with as few as 100 rounds through it. But in regards to the Maverick 88, we unfortunately struck out on our speculation as the comments blew up about how great the Maverick has been through thousands of rounds and many years. So yes, we were wrong about this. This is exactly why in every video we ask y'all to share your experiences with us in the comments because we don't get to have a lot of extended experience with each gun. So thank you for the comments, and keep them coming!


If this shotgun is an option in your price range, we absolutely believe that you have the right and power to make a purchase decision. If your experience, needs, and research leads you to the Maverick 88 so be it. There were some comments that we could have perhaps worded differently and we hope to have more clearly communicated those thoughts in this post. There were an overwhelming amount of comments in support of the Maverick 88 and we greatly appreciate all who chimed in. Sharing your experience will benefit everyone involved as someone shopping for a gun may really appreciate hearing a first-hand experience. From these comments, we were able to learn that the Maverick 88 is overall a workhorse of a shotgun. We had no prior experience with this gun and enjoyed getting viewers' comments. 

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

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