Over the past several years, Mossberg has developed a series of modern slide-action and autoloading shotguns intended specifically for tactical use. I’ve recently put two of these purpose-built scatterguns through their paces and was highly impressed with their capabilities. The two guns feature the same, time-proven Model 500 actions that have been a Mossberg mainstay for many years.
The Mossberg 500 Persuader sports a conventional buttstock with a recoil pad. The pump-action forend on the test gun has an integral tactical light that throws a bright, high-intensity beam when the rubber insert on either side of the forend is squeezed. This L3 light from Insight Technology produces a tungsten-halogen beam rated at 125 peak lumens, with a battery life of 90 minutes of continuous operation. The L3 features a “temporarily on,” a “temporarily off” and a “strobe” setting, and is operated by an ambidextrous pressure pad on either side of the slide handle. The unit operates on a single CR123 battery and can be turned off when not in use.
The integral Insight light gives you a real advantage when confronting an intruder across a dark room. The light is bright enough to temporarily blind your assailant, while giving you a clear picture of who’s facing you and where to aim. If you feel you’re in imminent danger and must shoot, the shotgun eliminates the need to “double-tap,” or fire a pair of closely spaced shells, as you would with a handgun. The Persuader’s 2¾-inch 12 gauge standard load contains nine pellets of 00 buck. Each pellet is 0.33 inches in diameter, roughly equivalent to the same number of .32 ACP bullets striking your target simultaneously. That is a massive shock to your opponent’s system and should put him or her down for the count.
The Persuader’s 18.5-inch barrel gives the gun an overall length of just 38.5 inches, making it easy to swing in the confines of any room in your house. If you want something even more com-pact, the Cruiser, which comes with a pistol grip, measures just 31 inches overall. This length comes in handy for carrying the gun in your car or a truck and is ideal when there’s little room to deploy a full-length shotgun.
When I tested the Persuader, at the close-combat range of 10 yards, a 00 buckshot load punched a tight pattern just 2.75 inches in diameter. At that distance, there’s not much “scatter” from a scattergun—even one with a straight cylinder bore. But hit an intruder with that 9-pellet load and he’ll be in a world of hurt. Want even more firepower? Simply switch to 3-inch magnum loads, which throw a dozen pellets each time you pull the trigger. Loaded with buckshot, Mossberg’s tactical shotguns are the most effective manstoppers on the planet.
Thanks to the rubber recoil pad and good stock design, the Persuader wasn’t uncomfortable to fire with 00 loads. Lacking a buttstock, the Cruiser was a little livelier in my hands but recoil was easily manageable. The trigger on each gun consistently broke at under six pounds of pressure. The sliding safety is located on the tang, where it falls handily under your thumb. A tab on the left side of the receiver and to the rear of the trigger allows you to cycle the action to remove a loaded shell from the chamber. This tab also serves as a loaded chamber indicator—if the full-length of the tab is visible, the action is loaded, cocked and ready to fire. If the tab is retracted into the action, the chamber is empty.
Like all Mossberg Model 500 shotguns, the Persuader accepts a full range of 12 gauge barrels, including those designed for turkey, waterfowl, deer and upland game. Barrels for sporting applications feature interchangeable Accu-Choke tubes, giving this gun the potential to be incredibly versatile. No tools are needed to change barrels. A variety of stocks are also available. The receiver is drilled and tapped to allow mounting a scope or adding a Picatinny rail. A variety of sighting options are available, including ghost-ring aperture sights, laser sights and virtually any optic that fits a Picatinny rail. Both the Persuader and Cruiser shotguns come standard with a white-dot front bead.
Mossberg has been in the tactical shotgun business for many years now. The guns are manufactured to tight military specifications and have been thoroughly proven in the field. I’ve used a number of autoloading and slide-action Mossberg shotguns to hunt pheasants, quail, waterfowl and other flying game, and they have proven entirely dependable. While not as finely finished as more-expensive sporting shotguns, Mossberg’s tactical shotguns are ruggedly made and function well. Their dead-black parkerized finish advertises them as what they are: no-nonsense weapons for in-your-face encounters.