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A Non-NFA 14” Shotgun? The Mossberg Shockwave 12 Ga. – Full Review.

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To purchase a Mossberg 590 variant on, click this link:

Mossberg has managed to disrupt the shotgun market with the introduction of a gun that isn’t even a shotgun! The Shockwave is a 14-inch pump 12-gauge gun, measuring in at just under 26½ inches long. Get this: You can pick it up today, from your local dealer, without any extra government paperwork or waiting on the BATFE to approve the transfer. How can this be?

The new Mossberg Shockwave gives you a street-legal 14-inch barreled 590 for only $455 MSRP. Image courtesy of Mossberg.

When Dumb Rules Give You a Great Gun!

Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, and you should not rely on my advice to make legal decisions. In fact, recommend that you don’t even read this!

Here are the rules in question:

  1. All shotguns are intended to be fired from the shoulder.
  2. All shotguns must have an 18-inch barrel. If the gun has a stock and a barrel shorter than 18 inches, it is classified as a “Short Barreled Shotgun” (SBS), requiring a $200.00 transfer tax.
  3. If the shotgun has a pistol grip and is less than 26 inches in overall length, it is considered an “Any Other Weapon” (AOW). Good news: AOWs only require a $5 transfer tax.
  4. The Shockwave is created as follows. Start with a shotgun that has NEVER had a stock attached. Add a pistol grip, and the gun is now considered a PGO (Pistol Grip Only). It is NOT a shotgun, as it is not intended to be fired from the shoulder. Next, add a 14-inch barrel so the overall length is just under 26½ inches. The length being greater than 26 inches disqualifies the gun from being an AOW. So, the BATFE declares that you now have a “Non-NFA Firearm.”
  5. The Shockwave is not a shotgun, nor a handgun, but a firearm. It requires no special paperwork other than the 4473, and the buyer must be 21 years old. Some states may have restrictions on the Shockwave, so check your state and local laws!

The Shockwave is equipped with a Raptor curved pistol grip as well as having a hand-retention strap on the fore end, which is a good idea on a firearm this short.


The Shockwave is certainly a new piece of hardware that is very rewarding to inspect. The gun uses twin action bars, positive steel-to-steel lock-up, anti-jam elevator, dual extractors, and Mossberg’s top-mounted safety. The 590 Shockwave employs a lightweight, anodized aluminum receiver, and features a convenient clean-out tube magazine cap. The barrel sports a bead front sight.

The Shockwave gets its name from Shockwave Technologies, who created the Raptor bird’s head-style polymer pistol grip, which is uniquely shaped and provides a firm grip that minimizes felt recoil. Shockwave Technologies also supplies the Raptor Strap for the fore end of the gun. This keeps your hand on the fore end and away from the muzzle.

The Mosssberg Shockwave (right) is shown here next to the author’s Ithaca 37 AOW.


  • Chambering: 12 Ga., 3-inch chamber
  • Barrel: 14 inches
  • OA Length: 26.37 inches
  • Weight: 5.25 pounds
  • Grip: Shockwave Raptor grip
  • Sights: Bead front
  • Action: Pump action
  • Finish: Matte blued
  • Capacity: 5+1
  • MSRP: $455

On the Range

While making plans for the range, I had one question at the forefront of my mind: Is the Shockwave a toy, or does it have a true purpose other than generating smiles? In the interest of exploring this question, I selected several different kinds of ammunition. I searched every store in the area for The Aguila mini shells, as those little 1.75-inch shells would double the weapon’s capacity. Unfortunately, testing the Aguilas was not in the cards for me, as every retailer was out of stock. You can get an OpSol Mini-Clip for $15 that fits in the gun and ensures rock-solid function with those little shorty shells.

The Mossberg Shockwave (center) is shown below an 18-inch barelled Remington 870 and above the AOW Ithaca 37 for size comparison.

Upon arriving at the range, I was excited to get the party started with the Shockwave. I loaded five light field loads into the tube magazine and held the little 590 as recommended. One hand went in the Raptor Strap on the fore end, and the other hand on the Raptor bird’s head grip, with the Shockwave held at waist level and the grip pressed to my side. After settling into the grip, I racked the first round into the chamber, pushed the safety off with my thumb, and let loose the first round. Wow! No pain, and the recoil was easy to control. I have an Ithaca Model 37 12 ga. AOW with a 10” barrel and pistol grip, and that sucker can be painful to shoot. The 590 is a sweetheart when compared to my Ithaca 37, even when working with slugs and buckshot. I will confess that I did not shoot any 3” magnum rounds out of the Shockwave, but only because I am not a glutton for punishment. Hey, call me a quitter or something less PC, but I don’t like them out of any shotgun.

The Raptor grip is curved and proved to help dampen the recoil of the 12 ga.

The tubular magazine is capped off with a threaded and removable end cap.

The author was able to get his shots from the Shockwave easily centered on the target while testing at the range.

One clear advantage of the Mossberg pump-action that should be noted is that the ambidextrous top-mounted safety is easily reached and operated by left or right-handed shooters.

Time for Round Two. I reloaded with six rounds this time, and decided to see what kind of speed the demure gun could produce. I compared it to my Vang Comp 870, and found that the winner was always determined by who was running each gun. There was no clear platform-based winner; this was a dead heat.

The Shockwave is a close-range weapon without a doubt, so I wanted to test for a reasonable amount of control. This test was conducted with a standard IPSC target, while firing rifled slugs. I started out at 3 yards and fired one round, then moved back one full step. I ended the 6-round test at 7 yards, and all of the rounds had struck within the A-Zone.

At the end of the day, I was left with the conclusion that the Shockwave is a real gun, and not just a grin machine, although it does bring the smiles uninterrupted. So, where does this gun shine? I would point out that the inspiration for this gun comes from the U.S Marshals service, who developed a very similar gun to be easy to carry while delivering a volume of fire disproportionate to its size. I have used my Model 37 to breach doors, but it’s primarily a snake-killing machine. My little Ithaca has been a great comfort to have within reach when I’m unsure of others’ intentions. The Shockwave can perform these roles quite well, but without a Federal tax stamp, and for less money!

Final Thoughts

I really thought that the Shockwave was just a pleasant range distraction, but I was wrong. This is a gun for serious purposes. I have tried guns that fit through the same aspect of firearms law as this gun, and found them lacking. They were finicky, heavy and hard to use, if you could get them to work at all, with a price well over twice that of the Mossberg.

If you are looking for a lot of power in a small package without all the legal complexities of an AOW or SBS, the Mossberg Shockwave definitely deserves a close look.

Mossberg has several advantages over all others that I have seen thus far.  They are factory-built on virgin receivers, so there is no ambiguity as to their status. They are on a proven platform that doesn’t suffer from reliability issues. They are not ammunition sensitive with anything that I tested. Finally, their price is more than fair, and will come well under the MSRP of $455.00, as supply should be abundant with Mossberg’s production capabilities. If you are in the market for a gun of this kind, the Mossberg Shockwave is certainly worthy of your consideration.

For more information, visit:

To purchase a Mossberg 590 variant on, click this link:

{ 44 comments… add one }
  • scott March 24, 2017, 3:31 pm

    MossbergCorp will there be a 20 gauge version on the horizon?.I’m sure if I buy the 12 your company will introduce the 20.


  • Robert Smith March 13, 2017, 6:39 pm

    The “In Range” You Tube channel had an interesting recent video where Karl and Ian did some side-by-side testing with a pistol-grip pump gun vs. two other shotguns with conventional shoulder stocks. The tests clearly showed a shotgun needs to be braced on the shoulder for optimal defensive shooting, even at close range. They found the shoulder stock also has a distinct advantage for hip-firing in providing an additional brace point. The pistol grip does make it more concealable, but a 26″ gun is hardly concealable anyway. I’m not saying the Shockwave is a bad product, just that it might not be as effective as some might think.

  • Batman March 13, 2017, 6:31 pm

    “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck” ITS A SHOTGUN!

  • ES March 13, 2017, 3:19 pm

    Kudos for Mossberg for attaching the documentation from the US Justice Dept, BATFE. I will be purchasing two of these for our home; one for me and one for the lady of the house. “A man’s got to know his limitations” the great Clint Eastwood. With this little beauty one could have a blast at the range… had to say it.

  • Robert Blankenship March 13, 2017, 12:39 pm

    Gangs will love it.

    • Gene March 13, 2017, 12:59 pm

      More foolishness typical of anti-gun types. Why on earth would “gangs” go to a legitimate dealer and fill out the paperwork when they can take a stolen shotgun and hack off the barrel and stock. Do you really think they worry about OAL and the definition of an NFA firearm?

      • loupgarous March 13, 2017, 2:46 pm

        Once again, down the rabbit hole with Alice, chasing the issue of “gangs will love it”!
        The problem with Federal laws in general is their increasing tendency to restrict 330 million Americans’ freedoms because a few thousand people nationwide will abuse them. That’s wildly unacceptable thinking, and it cost the party which has most often been associated with it an election. We’re tired of the bullshit.

      • Roger E. Reeves sr. March 13, 2017, 4:00 pm

        When is everybody including law enforcement going to realize crooks, etc will never buy a legit Firearm? Love the new Moseburg handgun “(fefence) weapon. I have a simular gun l use to carry horseback. Now just take a 20” shotgun.l feel sure this new firearm will sell for home, vehicle defence.will order a few asap. Thanks, gunslinger

      • chuck March 16, 2017, 4:25 pm

        Amen Gene

    • LVE4GOD March 13, 2017, 1:44 pm

      Yep, they love all guns, knives too. Should we ban them all?

    • Mikial March 13, 2017, 6:20 pm

      I doubt gangers would even care. After all, they can just cut down a stolen shotgun, or one bought in a dingy apartment along with a few ounces of coke, and use it on all the unarmed citizens who inhabit Liberal run cities where they are not allowed to defend themselves.

  • LVE4GOD March 13, 2017, 12:08 pm

    I’m a gun noob, I’ve had my CC permit a few years but haven’t bought anything yet. I would never have imagined it could happen, but this review has got me considering something other than (or rather, in addition to) a revolver or pistol! Obviously not for CCW purposes. 😊 But given the price, and Uncle Joe Biden’s suggestion that I protect my home (not to mention my car!) with a shotgun, this Mossberg is mighty appealing.

    • seroren March 14, 2017, 1:24 am

      Now yer thinking….

  • Mmr_Bruce March 13, 2017, 11:40 am

    Mossberg should be embarrassed for seemingly taking credit for this innovation. Mossberg didn’t create this, they replicated it from another, smaller shotgun manufacturer. And this has been around for at least 2 years now, it’s not new by any means.

    • LVE4GOD March 13, 2017, 1:53 pm

      Actually, if you look at their website, they don’t really take credit for the innovation (based on the product information page). The reviewer MIGHT have implied that it was innovative, but from what I recall he seemed more excited about its non-NFA non-transfer-fee status as a “firearm” — whatever the case, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to believe Mossberg took credit. Also, “new” is a relative concept. . .especially considering how long shotguns (or our country) have been around. 🙂

    • MossbergCorp March 13, 2017, 3:10 pm

      To clear up a misapprehension: We make no claims to inventing the grip; nor are we taking the credit for the concept. We are openly working with Shockwave Technologies who supplies the Raptor grip to us –as is evidenced by the name we gave it, the “590 Shockwave.” We simply saw an opportunity to provide a popular configuration out-of-the-box. We have done similar collaborating with ATI and Magpul to produce the 500 ATI Tactical and our 590A1 Magpul models which use their stocks and forends/accessories. Thank you for allowing us to clarify!

      • Mikial March 13, 2017, 6:26 pm

        And we very much appreciate Mossberg for building this great gun. I still use my Mossberg 500 that I bought 40 years ago as my first shotgun and it has never let me down. Not once. I am going to pick one of these new 590 Shockwaves up at my first opportunity. In my own humble opinion, Mossberg is a first class company that offers great products at great prices and doesn’t try to take advantage of anyone. Thank you for the years of enjoyment I have had with your fine products.

  • diftet March 13, 2017, 10:43 am

    Any chance a .20 gauge is in the works?

    • American USMC March 13, 2017, 1:28 pm

      I want one ! A 20 gauge would be great.

      • Deplorable Ralphwylie March 13, 2017, 5:36 pm

        It’s been done, kinda. Go to “Cobray” or “Leinad” on the interweb. Get a Double Barrel in .410/45 with an overall length of 14″. A wicked little MFer! Totally illegal most places, but WGAF?

  • Cody March 13, 2017, 10:26 am

    Why are these all of a sudden a new thing? These have been out for years. Is it a re-hash because NFA items have gotten so popular? Certainly nothing new. Mossberg offered a 14″ scattergun back in like 2015 with the Shockwave Raptor grip.

  • Scott March 13, 2017, 9:44 am

    Could a laser go on top of the receiver? Just wondering.

    • LVE4GOD March 13, 2017, 1:45 pm

      According to a Mossberg rep @ Shot Show, yes. I believe the term she used was “capped”, and you can clearly see the screws on top (given the right photo/video, that is).

  • CMarsolf March 13, 2017, 9:32 am

    Mossberg has been attaching that strap for decades, it’s not from Shockwave

  • Martin Mancuso March 13, 2017, 9:27 am

    Law suit waiting to happen. We received one of these into our store. First thing you notice is that the word \” shotgun\” is written all over the box. Second, there is no copy of an ATF approval letter included. All other products in this gray area of the market include one. With out one, people are very likely to get arrested for an unregistered nfa item. It will be up to a lawyer to sort this out in court. I find Mossberg very irresponsible in their packaging of this product. Can someone say \”class action lawsuits*?

    • davud March 13, 2017, 12:41 pm

      yeah, why mess with a weapon that could bring you an NFA charge and big lawyer’s bill to defend yourself, even if you’re in the right, when there are plenty of alternatives available.

      • Dogman March 13, 2017, 1:30 pm

        I think Mossberg inc. has better informed attorneys about their product on staff, than anyone here with an Outhouse Law Degree, that doesn’t even own the weapon. People here should be happy there are manufacturers willing to push the envelope and give us a different range of products, at their risk, free from government interference.
        Same as with a TV, dont like what’s on, change the channel, move on and don’t spoil the shows ending for the rest of us.

        • Lon March 13, 2017, 3:23 pm

          Exactly. Also, the burden of proof is on the authorities. No court, no lawyers, when your local Barney Fife tries to prosecute you for owning a legal firearm, you get to show him what an idiot he is.

    • Matt March 15, 2017, 9:12 am

      This is a complete lie Martin. I bought one yesterday and it is a very plain cardboard box and the word shotgun is not written on it anywhere. The Mossberg label says 12 gauge, 590, pump action. It does NOT say shotgun. There is a sticker on the top of the box that says : The enclosed firearm is a pistol grip firearm and is not designed to be fired from the shoulder.

      I think you better have another look at your Shockwave box because you are either mistaken or a liar. If the box does indeed say shotgun all over post a picture to back up your statement.

    • Jason April 4, 2017, 11:21 pm

      Doesn’t matter mine won’t be leaving my house anyway.

  • Martin Mancuso March 13, 2017, 9:26 am

    Law suit waiting to happen. We received one of these into our store. First thing you notice is that the word ” shotgun” is written all over the box. Second, there is no copy of an ATF approval letter included. All other products in this gray area of the market include one. With out one, people are very likely to get arrested for an unregistered nfa item. It will be up to a lawyer to sort this out in court. I find Mossberg very irresponsible in their packaging of this product. Can someone say “class action lawsuits*?

    • MossbergCorp March 13, 2017, 12:05 pm

      Mr. Mancuso: We’re not sure where you are seeing the word, “shotgun” on the box (the boxes we checked in house do not have the word shotgun on the box or its end label). We’d very much like to see what you received– please send an image of the box to as we will look into it immediately.
      I’m adding a link to the end of this comment with the letter from BATFE. I believe a copy should be shipping now with each Shockwave. Apologies if you did not have it in your shipment.
      (NOTE to all reading this: The letter speaks to the FEDERAL status of the 590 Shockwave, and does not speak to the legality of it state-by-state, as not all states follow the federal description of a ‘Shotgun.’)
      Link to the BATFE letter:
      Thank you.

      • LVE4GOD March 13, 2017, 12:42 pm

        Kudos on a quick, concise reply. Now I’m even MORE interested in buying a 590.

      • James March 13, 2017, 3:40 pm

        Thanks Mossberg – true class!

  • rev_dave March 13, 2017, 9:00 am

    I do believe this guy could fit into the cargo net under the dash of my ’60 minibus.

  • Arthur Breeger March 13, 2017, 8:32 am

    Don’t forget the Mossberg Maverk 88 with pistol grip {same thing]

  • SteveK March 13, 2017, 8:05 am

    I think we gots a WINNER here! Hope they can make em FAST.

  • mka March 13, 2017, 7:55 am

    I would like to know how much velocity is lost by the short barrel?

    • American USMC March 13, 2017, 1:32 pm

      mka Average 30 fps per inch loss or gain.

    • Dogman March 13, 2017, 2:01 pm

      Who cares? That’s what I’m not buying it for – scientific tests or head scratching. I’m buying it for the intended use, home defense and ease of use. It’s sort of like drinking a beer. You don’t worry about how the hopps and grains are picked, if they wore gloves picking them, if they were Union or if everyone’s taxes were paid up. You just legally buy it, drink it, and enjoy it.

  • Dustin Eward March 13, 2017, 3:00 am

    Were the snakes which were making the furtive movements wearing badges?

    • Oaf March 13, 2017, 2:25 pm

      No, they were your mom’s pimps.

  • matthew martinez March 13, 2017, 2:57 am

    Looks like another nevabin done befo weapon. this gun is already under my kitchen sink after starting out as a pgo used mossberg 500 with a raptor grip and same mag tube plus an oem 14 inch barrel. but i can say its a handy little weapon especially after spending 265 total on it. Buckshot is really loud though lol.

  • Ethan Chou March 10, 2017, 12:00 pm

    This will go great with my Mad Max attire!

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