Mossberg 590M Review – Magic Mag Fed Shotgun

In the United States we treat our pump shotguns like we do trucks, as in we tend to stay brand loyal. And we tend to fall into two camps on this one, the Remington 870 and the Mossberg 590. Both sides are equally fanatical, and the reasons tend to be less fact and more emotion based. Usually, we prefer whatever we started with, the duck gun our dad gave us at 13 sets the tone. Then it is all familiarity, mostly the safety position and pump release being the difference. I myself am an 870 guy, which is something I felt it was important to add to this review. I have used both, as both were military weapons over my career, but I don’t own a single Mossberg. But that might change this week, as the Mossberg 590M absolutely curb stomps the 870 DM.

I have seen other comparison reviews of these two guns recently, that in my opinion are a little bit milquetoast. Nobody in the gun world wants to rock the boat, so they give the 870 points for releasing a fuller line of guns ( hunting, TAC14, wood stocked). Equally good, please continue sending your ad dollars. That, to me at least, misses the point entirely. Considering the aftermarket for both guns, I really don’t care how many shades of camo it comes in. The better comparison point is how the magazine systems work, and availability of spares. And in that arena, the Mossberg has a decisive edge.

Mossberg went with a double stack magazine, as opposed to the Remington single stack. The resulting mag is boxy. In the package, Mossberg includes a 10 rounder, as opposed to the Remington 6. In fact, that means only the Mossberg has an initial capacity over its tube fed counterpart. Mossberg doesn’t at this time make a 3 round magazine, but I suppose that means they weren’t kidding themselves about this being a hunting gun. Then they proceed to just run away with the show. Six months after launch, Remington still has as the only options a 3 or 6 round magazine. On day one with the Mossberg, we were able to test 5, 10, 15, and a monstrous 20 round magazines.

The double stack magazine keeps the weight closer to the receiver, which makes the gun easier to handle. But it has another benefit. Remington could conceivably match them in capacity, but the magazine length would be insane. The double stack mag might be thick, but it won’t trip you in the brush. The factory 20 actually matches the capacity of most semi-auto drum magazines in 12 gauge, with very limited exceptions.

I also give the Mossberg the advantage on the magazine lock up, and the release. This is obviously opinion not fact, but I have shot both pretty extensively. The Mossberg has a lip in the front, requiring you to rock it in place like an AK 47 magazine. But I still find it easier to stick in the gun. With a very limited amount of practice, I would bet dollars to donuts it is faster.

The magazine release is a push button and works from either side of the gun. The positioning is at the front top of the trigger guard, which I found easy to index with my trigger finger. In addition to a very well thought out magazine release, the 590M has a few other nice features. It has ghost ring sights, with a bright orange front, that are a snap to use. And it comes with a heat shield on the barrel. Not only might this be a necessity with a 20 round capacity, but it looks cool. And cool does matter.

Looks mean is one thing, but it has to run to matter. And the 590M did run. It ate everything I threw at it, including multiple magazines out of my 12 gauge trash bucket. The trash bucket is a 5 gallon bucket I toss all the leftover ammo in from shotgun reviews or any other sketchy ammo I run across. The cheapest of the cheap, mil surplus, slugs left over from my 3 gun days, and anything I get from a fire sale. Despite the fact that the gun says 2 ¾ inch shells only, I fed it some Augilla mini shells. It didn’t like them, but as long as I ran the pump fast it ate them. The only malfunction I had was likely operator error, not a design flaw.

My malfunction came from the 20 round magazine, and I am guessing I short stroked the gun. The result was 2 rounds half in the chamber, half out of the ejection port. It was a fast clear, and in multiple reloads of the 20, it didn’t happen again. Not only do I not run a pump action often, my experience with a Mossberg is extremely limited. It does feel a little different than a Remington, so it is easy to chalk up to shooter not gun. Time will tell.

So, are their any points in favor of the 870? Well, for one, it is capable of 3 inch shells, while the Mossberg is 2 ¾ only. But outside of turkey loads, who among us really buys anything but 2 ¾? If tactical is your thing, I’m pretty sure we all lean toward 2 ¾ for defensive loads. Not only availability but the simplicity of logistics. And also for the 870, maybe magazine durability. I left one loaded for months, banged it up, and never had a problem. The Mossberg magazines may be just as durable, but we won’t know for a while. One thing, they are is a little spendy, at $95 dollars up to $130 for the big stick.

The Mossberg retails for $200 over the Remington, but in this case, you will know where your money went. While I am enjoying the pump action renaissance, and hope it continues, in this case, we have a clear winner. I gave the 870 DM a glowing review, and I don’t regret that. But the 590M is a step above, and if I was buying today, this would be it.

Full MSRP is $801

Visit Mossberg for more information on the Mossberg 590M by clicking here.

***Shop GunsAmerica for your next Mossberg Shotgun***

About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website,

{ 49 comments… add one }
  • Honch March 9, 2021, 9:31 pm


    Whew… shouldn’t you be out on a ledge somewhere? Channel the anger brother. Variety is the spice of life… and shooting. I’ve had and for the 590m for a year now. It’s the real deal, and can ride “shotgun” with me anytime!

  • Douglas J LeFaive Sr July 1, 2019, 3:11 am

    I have the 590 camouflage 12 gauge and I love it love to have the Tactical 590 thank you for having all the shotguns available to look at.

  • john December 9, 2018, 10:07 am

    ” I have shot both pretty extensively”. “my experience with a Mossberg is extremely limited”. Which is it Clay?

    • Larry O'Brien April 1, 2019, 9:03 am

      Those statements are not contradictory. He admits he has more longer term Remington experience per his spot on into. But using both the mag fed shotguns “extensively”, now, is feasible.
      Agree with Wille-0.

  • Wille-O December 4, 2018, 3:14 am

    No mention of one of the best (pump) shotguns ever made and you people have bitched about damn near everything from Clay’s attire and zipper to just about every aspect of this new Mossberg. Hell, for a minute there I thought I was read’n Vogue. Anyway, back to a great pump – the Winchester model 12. Ok, so I like older firearms myself. Only complaint I have about it is they don’t make it anymore. My favorite tactical “room-sweeper” is a Winchester Defender (1980’s). It has a pistol-grip up front that swivels side to side, a pistol-grip rear and is just over legal minimum length. Still haven’t found a collapsible stock for it due to it being out of production.

  • Tom W December 3, 2018, 8:46 pm

    Clay Martin talks to fast and runs his words together to the point that one only catches half of what he says.

    • Tom W December 3, 2018, 8:46 pm

      Enunciate dude, enunciate!

  • Charles December 3, 2018, 1:17 pm

    I have owned a few shotguns. Quite a few. The 97 Win was a good gun. terrible on the right hand thumb in a “tactical” situation. If you didn’t keep yer wits about you. Have had a few M-12 military guns..and a mil marked 31 right now. Love 870s but am a semi auto guy 1100s have always worked well for me…but I do maintain them. I have an 11-87 with ext mag tube that works just fine. The only ext mag shotgun I have ever been sorry for selling was a Stainless Mossberg 590 with the (9 shot?) tube. I had it for grizzly protection when carting out deer and elk. Serious business here. Yesterday at the local gun show….I bnought what I had been wanting for a few years and finally got for a decent trade(Remington 1911). Got the Benelli M-1 Super 90(slug sighted) and 50 bucks. They are, in my opinion, the cat’s meow for protection. I don’t know about these magazine fed pumps. Almost impossible to use from the prone…and I can tell you..when people sjhpt at me… I wanted to be as low to the grounds as possible. I guess we’ll see but I truly don’t need or want a magazine fed shotgun….of any brand

  • Slim December 3, 2018, 8:32 am

    Who wants a lame pump action anything?! Why bother when there’s so many mag fed semi auto shotguns that feed like a champ and don’t break the bank to buy. When looking for mags you’ll never find a more abundance of Saiga 12 gauge mags at reasonable prices and at any real deal gun shop or online store. There’s a reason lever action rifles are just wall hangers or for thr rich because again who wants a gun that you have to manipulate when it ALL could be done FASTER AND AUTOMATICALLY! There’s a reason you never see these piles any place other than for cheap people who want a shotgun and all the accessories for $200! There’s a reason we have AR’s and Saiga type shotguns… There mag fed and they work 99% of thr time as long as you maintain your guns which most people never do let alone some times do. Do yourself a favor and get a Saiga or if you don’t want to pay the ridiculous price you can get the same basic gun made by Cheetah that I like soooo much better since it’s a left handed charger and not right which in my opinion is the dumbest thing I see so many gun manufacturers making on that right when they all know 95% of shooters are righties so why would you want a right side charger? You always want to keep your primary hand on the grip and your left hand ONLY should manipulate the weapon so how and why do they not realize taking your right hand off the pistol grip to then have a half ass grip via their weak hand and the fact it’s much more unbalanced that way to then put your strong hand back to the pistol grip to be able to fire… Seems like a lot of EXTRA steps! And both the Saiga and cheetah except all Saiga mags including drums, have lots of choices for hand guards and complete new furniture options as well. Put it this way… If you were being shot at would you rather have a gun that shoots as fast as you can get on target and pull the trigger or one you have to eject and load EACH round while being shot at mind you?! I know my choice! And say your one of those illogical people who want that ride side charger then Saiga and cheetah both offer what you want and again both except Saiga mags, aftermarket furniture that fits a standard AK will fit, and forgot earlier you can also change out the pistol grips with any aftermarket AK grip as well. FYI… Cheetahs come with ghost ring rear sights and front green fiber optic. I’m not a fan of fiber optics as I like red dots or tritium night sights(both really used as primary and backup sights)but the green fiber optic is better than a cheap sight normally thrown on guns now a days. Do yourself a favor and step into the world of mag fed guns of any type and especially shotguns!

  • johnnyraygun December 3, 2018, 8:21 am

    I stick with my 1987 Winchester 1300. Racks faster than my Rem 870 and with tube extension, my 1300 holds 10rnds. Yes it is an aluminum, not steel receiver, but 30+ years and still solid.

    As many has stated, the magazine is obtrusive and obnoxious. Another great job Clay.

  • chris krupp November 14, 2018, 8:54 pm

    Clay, Thanks for the review. Having owned many different type shotguns. I find preference is about like trucks, It just depends on what turns you on. And what you are going to do with it. As far as mag fed shotguns go ? If someone made a Beta C mag style ? It MIGHT be practical. J.M.O. I’d venture, The mini shells and flight controlled shells are a more practical advancement. I own a AK style 12 ga. with a 20 rnd. drum, And still prefer a extended mag tube feed. Preference.
    But if you intend to buy one of these shotguns ? At least you know what to expect.

  • Remington 870 Shooter August 21, 2018, 11:41 am

    Mossberg’s magazines look ugly, I like 870 DM magazines much more!

  • Ray Scarbrough July 16, 2018, 12:42 pm

    Why Haven’t Mossberg Released An Automatic Version Of Their Mag Fed Shotgun ! And Do They Plan To Do Do So !!??? Please DM Me … Thank You !

  • ALEX VALENCIA June 23, 2018, 5:13 pm

    in regards to why do we need a large capacity shotgun magazine, does that same question apply to why we need a large capacity rifle magazine? because its fun to shoot. that argument is lost with me but it may be clear to all the experts in here. I have only been shooting 70 years, I have shot them all.

  • Rock June 14, 2018, 11:36 pm

    I own both now. And, like the author, I’m an 870 guy. Even with the lower capacity mag, I like the 870 DM over the 590M. Sorry, but I like the way the mag seats like an M4. Nothing the relearn.

    I would love it if Remington would come out with a 10 rd drum though.

  • John June 7, 2018, 2:03 am

    The mag needs to be longer so you can just use it to support the gun off the ground. Stupid concept.

    • Jonny5 December 3, 2018, 5:44 pm

      You should know not to put pressure on your mag as it feeds. Stoppages man!

  • Kent June 6, 2018, 6:45 pm

    I love the concept, not the result. This is truely the gun nobody asked for. But i think the next gen will bridge the gap, but have completly different goals. For instance, it really isnt a plus for hunting, i have a old mag fed mossberg, and the idea of needing more shots than legal capacity and doing a mag swap in time to get the stragglers just isnt going to happen. Besides the awkwardness of carry. Same for home defense, are we likely to be besieged in our homes enough that we need to go to a 20 rnd? If a tube full of shells wont do the job then you picked the wrong defense strategy, or live in Afghanistan. Lol. Even law enforcement likely wouldnt see an advantage, again the mission goals dont suit more than a few shotgun blasts, even a swat raid isnt Diehard. The only scenario i can think of that benefits from mag feed is urban warfare, think Bagdad apartment complex. And this doesnt fit the bill as close quarters room clearing. Needs to have a more compact mag, possibly rotary like a 10-22, and capitalize on smaller but just as effective 20 guage shells for higher capacity. And be sporting a shorter barrel. All that being said it sure looks cool.

  • Michael Christensen M June 5, 2018, 1:35 pm

    My question is will either company offer a magazine fed semiautomatic for 3 gun use?

  • Jim Beam June 4, 2018, 9:11 pm

    Too many whiney b**ches allowed to leave comments on this website. Guys, get a life. And yes, I do own guns and love to shoot and my 2nd amendment right but seriously, stop whining.

    • ALEX VALENCIA June 23, 2018, 4:58 pm

      I agree with Jim Beam, too many whiners and self proclaimed experts in here. I just ordered the 590M , I have used the Remington 870 during my law enforcement career, its a good shotgun but I prefer the Mossburg.

    • Steve in Detroit December 3, 2018, 3:24 am

      Jim Beam, I agree with you. Whiner’s. We are a free market.

  • CaptMidnight June 4, 2018, 7:16 pm

    Other than for SWAT/TAC applications, I find this hard to see use for patrol operations.
    Citizens would do better with a 20″ Mossy 590 tube fed.

    Regardless, you would have to find a fencepost to rest this jewel on to take aim

    PROMAG will have a 50 rd drum out soon.

  • Dave B June 4, 2018, 4:29 pm

    Good review, and yes, until it was pointed out, the barndoor was not noticed. I was watching the gun being operated.
    I’m one of those shooters that like the Mossberg safety. And yes, the gun looks cool!!

  • Peter J. Kolovos June 4, 2018, 1:55 pm

    Whenever I hear the words Gun and Cool in the same sentence, I cringe! Why do we need to have our comments moderated here? Does the truth sting a bit?

  • Peter J. Kolovos June 4, 2018, 1:53 pm

    I forgot to mention, this new magazine fed 590 looks ridiculous. If you’ve been taught how to Tac-load a pump shotgun you don’t need this childish crap. This is what I call Bright-O. Stupid stuff to sell to Nicky-New-Guy that reads Guns & Ammo and Shooting Times magazines, and has no actual gun savvy.

  • Peter J. Kolovos June 4, 2018, 1:49 pm

    I agree completely with the host’s extremely sloppy attire. He also breathes pretty hard for his age and being former military. The 590 MilSpec is a clunky canoe paddle. I’ve owned them, I’ve hunted with them. I’ve trained with them, I’ve trained people who owned them. A Remington 870 Wingmaster or Police (not the Sportsman or the Express models) is the finest “pump” shotgun made for military or LE use. The 870 has been around since 1950 and over 10 million copies of this gem have been made.

  • archangel June 4, 2018, 1:21 pm

    The Remington lack of a double stack magazine would be my main complaint right from the beginning of the design stage.
    If I were in charge, it would have been a nonstarter!
    With a tube magazine extension, you get more than an 870 mag so that sucks to lose capacity for magazine use.
    Also, a freakishly long magazine is worthless as well!
    We go to magazines to increase capacity and speed reloading.

  • PBinLostAngeles June 4, 2018, 1:10 pm

    The Lefties pouncing upon this product to install in their propaganda machine notwithstanding, if increasing shot capacity and cycling reliability was/is the goal with this development, fine, but prone?
    Personally, I’ve yet to see any shotgun available to those without an FFL of one class or another, that would cause me to switch from my good ole M1 Super 90.

  • Irish-7 June 4, 2018, 12:16 pm

    I enjoy Clay’s gun review videos. Sure, he definitely benefits from the “fellow-sky-soldier” aspect. But, I like that he can put aside his lifelong personal preference for Remington and favor this model Mossberg. He brings a wealth of weapons experience to the table!

  • Eddie Church June 4, 2018, 11:21 am

    Looks like you stepped on some Remington toes. Or maybe some people just don’t like the truth. Keep up the good work.

  • Cyrus June 4, 2018, 11:13 am

    Very useful if your a gangbanger otherwise it is so stupid and systematically help the left strip away more gun rights . . . wait, this was probably well thought out and produced by the snowflakes to help them screw us!

  • AM June 4, 2018, 9:40 am

    So, never been impressed with the disheveled look of Mr. Martin. But, seriously…zip your pants all the way. Thank you for your service, though. And I do mean that.

  • Dan June 4, 2018, 9:35 am

    I’m sure there are plenty of internet commandos salivating over this thing, but I’d prefer an extended tube to having a heavy cereal box hanging off the bottom of my shotgun!

  • Alan June 4, 2018, 8:39 am

    Finally a shotgun magazine in 20 rounds. Durable and without jamming. Perfect for a real situation. The military needs these too.

  • James June 4, 2018, 8:17 am

    I just learned how to save $801…

  • The Millionth Counsel June 4, 2018, 8:17 am

    I know shooting a shotgun was not designed to be shot from a prone position, but using them 20 rounders make it impossible. The concept of having box magazine shotguns is nothing new. An advantage is quicker loading and reloading. However one must buy magazines, other than a saiga these shotguns are not battle proven. To my knowledge no major police department uses them. Furthermore the more shotgun shells the more weight which can be considerable because shells are heavy than a standard rifle cartridge. For that matter I prefer a standard tube magazine fed pump or semi auto.

    • Travis Stoufer June 4, 2018, 11:13 am

      I have neither practiced in the service or the Police Department to fire a shotgun in the prone position. For one of many reasons. It makes reloading, chambering/cocking, etc., almost impossible without a lame duck body roll out of the prone position. For tactical uses only, magazine fed shotguns are great addition depending on the assignment. Pick your load out before you roll out. Breaching..I would not see an advantage, however the ability to have a magazine with the shotgun in the vehicle unloaded is a benefit, especially for trunk weight in a lot of circumstances. For a SRT/SWAT there is a clear advantage in entering and clearing with diamond formations. This gives the shooter the ability to tactically reload a full magazine rather than an emergency shot. It also gives the gun newer dynamics yet to be tested. However this is not the shotgun I would use for self-defense or a primary gun in a gun fight if I could choose. However it does offer applications.

      • The Millionth Counsel June 5, 2018, 9:56 pm

        I guess a box magazine fed shotgun have a specific purpose that they can fulfill. Right now in my own opinion the Fostech Origin 12 shotgun appears to be the best box magazine fed shotgun. It’s semi auto and expensive, about $2500.00. There is a rumor out their that a member of the SAS was armed with one on patrol and took out multiple Isis combatants rather easily.
        However one thing I forgot to criticize is if anyone is considering getting such a shotgun, get it in semi auto. Pumping 20 shells out sucks. I had the experience of firing a pump action AR 15 type rifle and it was no fun pumping 30 rounds out of it.

  • Jeffrey L. Frischkorn June 4, 2018, 8:16 am

    \”But outside of turkey loads, who among us really buys anything but 2 ¾?\” Ah, guy, try duck and goose hunters. Oh, and hunters who go after bobcats, fox and coyotes… Cheezeee, what a moronic statement.. Besides, talking about wielding a shotgun with a useless 20-round magazine full of shotshells through the brush; again, guy, that\’s carrying around another 1 1/2 pounds of weight… But, like the Scriptures say, \”a fool and his money are soon parted.\”

    • Dave June 9, 2018, 8:28 pm

      Enough with the stupid hunting comments. This gun is obviously not being made or marketed for any kind of hunting. It’s a tactical pump shotgun and nothing more. 3 gun maybe, self defense, SHTF, or just fun with your buddies. If you want to go hunting, buy something else.

  • Dean June 4, 2018, 7:12 am

    IMO- the mag gets in the way………

  • Joe June 4, 2018, 6:26 am

    If they come out with a thirty round mag they can put legs on it and use it as a bi pod. or use a rotary drum and supply a gun bearer…

  • Roger June 4, 2018, 5:54 am

    Too bad they can’t make it shoot like a trench or gallery gun.

  • Methane251 June 4, 2018, 4:02 am

    It looks like the mag has a bottom plate for disassembly and cleaning. For what are all the screws on the side?

  • OutdoorsGuy June 4, 2018, 3:14 am

    Uh, Clay, ……… your ah … well your barn door’s open, son ……

    • Joe June 4, 2018, 6:33 am

      Why are you looking at his junk man ? He is demonstrating the Mossberg and mags…

  • Blue Dog June 1, 2018, 6:26 pm

    Mossberg doesn’t miss too many steps, so it is not surprising that they would make a significantly better product than Remington, who seem to consistently be able to get everything wrong despite even the most overwhelming odds to the contrary. It is almost like Mossberg decided to take the time to develop a better product and Remington rushed an inferior product to market to be first.

    I like older pumps. Probably my favourite right now is a Stevens 520. I’d really like to get ahold of a Stevens 621 too. And as a lefty, I always have a soft spot for Ithacas and to a lesser extent, BPS-es. An Ithaca 28ga is my lottery gun, if I won the lottery, that is the gun I would buy. I got to handle one with a hard chrome finish and a high grade wood at the SHOT Show and it has always stuck with me. My father is a Remington man but Mossbergs are just more practical.

    • alphalimafoxtrot December 3, 2018, 5:39 am

      @Blue Dog – I am in the same camp re: older shotguns – as you are. I also love everything John Moses Browning ever designed, including the Stevens 520 and its’ later iteration, the 620 series. The 520 pumps are built like tanks, collapse easily and quickly into two small halves for pack-n-play carry, and are chambered in both 12 and 20 gauge.
      I have been running a Stevens 620 in 20 gauge that came from Gunbroker as new, and I’m absolutely loving it! Can’t do any faster shooting than a pre-trigger disconnect shotgun. Just like the old 97 Winchester and so many other pre-disconnects, just fire that first shot, hold the trigger back, and mash that pump fast as you can till all the shells are ejected from the tube. What, like seconds to send 6 shells downrange. Fun times!
      The Remingtons of that era are fun, too. Model 10’s and 29’s nobody loves, but I do. The Model 17 aka future grandad of the Ithaca 37 should be on everyone’s watchlist for a 20 gauge; and then there’s the Model 31.
      But don’t let any Mossberg 500 slip from your wishlist! These are tanks, too! House brand 500’s can be bought for pennies at shows and auctions. Love me these old favorites something fierce!

      If I had just won a bit of lottery money, I’d buy the Mossy mag-fed gun and about a hundred mags and just have fun with it. Couldn’t imagine it being comfy to carry or handle, but lots of fun shooting stuff at the junkyard!

      Be well, and Clay Martin is ready for a new T-shirt. Maybe Polo Ralph Lauren? LOL, just silliness bro.


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