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Mossberg 500 vs 590: What Are the Differences? [Full Guide]

Mossberg 500 vs 590

To support you in finding the best shotguns for your hunting needs, I recommend Mossberg, one of the most popular brands on the market.

Specifically, I will provide detailed information about two specific Mossberg shotguns, the 500 and 590, along with the differences between them.

Both products are based on the same basic concept by Carl Benson, and they always come out with updated models to satisfy user’s needs.

The unique thing I learned is that they share the same primary receiver and action.

However, Mossberg’s series still has a lot of distinguishing points, so the two will have clear differences, which I will go over below.

Continue reading my Mossberg 500 vs 590 comparison review to learn more!

Mossberg 500 vs 590 Comparison Video


Mossberg 500

Mossberg 500

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The Mossberg 500 is a pump-action shotgun that can shoot 12 gauge ammunition.

With six rounds in maximum capacity, this gun can hold MORE than average shotguns of the same caliber.

However, you can get it at an affordable price. It somehow costs less than the average 12 gauge shotgun.

It is also relatively light, weighing about 7.25 lbs, which is lighter compared to other shotguns.

With the barrel’s length being about 24 inches and the overall length approximately 44.25 inches, it’s similar to other 12-gauge shotguns in terms of barrel length.


After many innovations, the Mossberg 500 has proven to be one of the most versatile and excellent shotgun platforms.

It offers a model to suit different applications and all kinds of customers!

People looking for home defense options, law enforcement officers, and even the military use it.

It comes with a lot of useful features such as a dual extractor, easy-to-field strip, a ribbed vent barrel with twin bead sights, an ambidextrous top-mounted safety, steel bolt lockup, and twin action bars.

It is one of the rugged and reliable shotguns you can get. I wholeheartedly recommend it and can last you decades!

Mossberg 590

Mossberg 590

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This Mossberg model is a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun. It accommodates 3 inches in two and three quarter-inch shells.

Besides that, it has a full-length magazine tube.

When loaded with two and three-quarter-inch shells, the magazine will hold eight in the firearm. It has an extra round in the chamber, giving it a 9-shell capacity.

When loaded in 3 inches, the magazine can hold seven! It also has a heavy wall barrel.


This variant comes with full features such as Dole extractors wherein the receiver is drilled and tapped for mounting rail or optics.

It has safety settings that are intuitive when you push the weapon and get ready to fire.

Moreover, it has a bayonet lug for mounting in the M9 bayonet.

While most civilians wouldn’t want a bayonet on their shotgun, I’d imagine military breachers finding some use for it.

This model is sold in a variety of variations so that you can have a lot of options. It is effortless to clean and maintain by spraying the inside of the receiver as well.

I’ve also found the barrel easy to remove for whatever purpose!

Differences Between the Mossberg 500 vs 590

Two hunters

1. Magazine Tube Design

This is probably the MOST SIGNIFICANT differentiating factor between the Mossberg 500 and 590 that I suggest you consider carefully.

The magazines of the Mossberg 500 are CLOSED at the muzzle end. It’s held in place by bolting into the threaded hole at the endpoint of the mag tube.

However, the 590’s magazine is designed to be OPENED at the muzzle end. 

Besides, the barrels fit around the magazine tube and are held on by the cap nut at the endpoint.

The 590 magazine’s parts are easy to clean and remove, as removing the nut allows the removal of the magazine spring and followers.


2. Safety, Trigger, & Trigger Guard

Both of the shotguns have polymer trigger guards, safety, and standard barrels.

The Mossberg 590 has bayonet lugs and ghost ring sights, while the Mossberg 500 doesn’t.

Also, the 590 features a thicker barrel, steel safety, and steel trigger guard. At the same time, the 500 has a plastic trigger and plastic safety switch.

Thus, it seems that the 590 is more durable than the 500.

I’ve found both models to accept Magpul furniture if you’re all in on polymer parts, though the 590 seems easier to customize.

3. Riot Gun Versions of the Pistol Grip

The Mossberg 500 is available in 18-inch and 20-inch barrels, depending on the magazine capacity you want.

There are also other options with the 500 model.

Meanwhile, the Mossberg 590 is only available in a 20-inch barrel variant and flush fit magazine tube.

Both will allow you to fire beanbag rounds, though I’d recommend a longer barrel if you would need them to quell a riot.

4. Purpose

The 500 model is heavy-duty for home defense, police duty, and security work.

It usually has a 28” barrel and wood stock. It can hold five rounds in the magazine tube plus one in the chamber.

However, the 590 is more suitable as a military or hunting shotgun in harsh conditions.

It has composite stocks and holds eight rounds in its magazine tube. I’ve found this high rate of fire to be invaluable when breaching doors.

5. Recoil

The 500 is better in terms of recoil because of the longer stock; this may vary depending on what model and ammo you use.

Meanwhile, the 590 has a shorter that results in a stronger recoil, which, in turn, could also affect accuracy of the shot.

If you are a beginner and aren’t ready to handle stronger recoil, choose the Mossberg 500 as your starter.

6. Price

The costs of both aren’t too different. As gun enthusiasts, you should put your concern on the quality and purpose more, instead of price.

Though just note that the Mossberg 590 model does have a slightly higher price than the Mossberg 500.

What Do They Have in Common?

Now that you know the differences, you might be wondering about their similarities.

For starters, both are pump-action, tube-fed shotguns that come in 12-gauge, 20-gauge, and  .410.

They also use the same Magpul furniture, so stock for one can be used for the other, which is pretty convenient!

They are similar in that they are both drilled and tapped for optic-mounting.

Their uses are also similar! They are both tactical shotguns, with the Mossberg 500 being also suitable as a sporting shotgun.

Which Shotgun Should I Use?

Given that both shotguns are quite similar, it can be tricky to stick with just one.

For military and law enforcement, the 590 tactical shotgun is your best bet. For casual hunters, go with the Mossberg 500.

For me personally, since I’m not in the military and just casual, just-for-fun hunter, I stick with the Mossberg 500.


Mossberg 590 and 500

I suppose that each one has different strong and weak points.

If you wonder what will be right for you, consider your needs first and then make your choice, whether that be for home defense, hunting, etc.

I hope you’ll now get to buy your best shotgun after reading about the differences between Mossberg 500 and 590!

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