A shotgun is one of the greatest home-defense and hunting weapons available. Capable of being loaded with multiple types of ammunition, from birdshot to slugs, shotguns are versatile and formidable weapons that can even deter criminals from just the sound of that intimidating pump-action.
This article will take a look at two of the most popular shotguns – the Mossberg 590 and the Remington 870. The U.S. military has adopted both shotguns, and are standard pump-action platforms, but have some differences that will eventually lead to user preference. If you are looking into purchasing a home defense weapon, “Continue reading” to learn about these two wonderful weapons.
Photo credit emptormaven – Mossberg 590A1
Let’s start with the Mossberg 590A1. The first key difference between it and the Remington 870 is that the Mossberg allows for the attachment of a bayonet (if that interests you) via a bayonet lug. The Mossberg has an aluminum alloy receiver, which can disinterest some shooters, but it shouldn’t affect your decision. Another feature is that the shell lifter only comes down when you are pumping the shotgun so that it can rack a fresh shell, otherwise it is up and out of the way when you are loading it.
The Mossberg’s safety is conveniently located on the top of the shotgun near where your trigger hand’s thumb is located, which makes it naturally ambidextrous, and it’s slide break is located just behind the trigger guard. The last feature is that the Mossberg’s ejector is easily replaced in the event of a break with just the turn of a single screw.
The Marine Corps uses the Mossberg 590 as one of its shotguns (along with the Benelli M4).
Photo credit remington.com – Remington 870
The Remington 870 has a steel receiver, instead of an aluminum alloy one, that some shooters seem to prefer. It does not have a bayonet lug but for most shooters that doesn’t matter. The shell lifter on the underside of the weapon is always down and instead of the safety on the top, there is a button on the trigger guard. The slide break is in the front of the trigger guard, rather than behind it like with the 590A1. The final main difference with the Remington 870 is that the ejector, when needing replacement, requires a riveted pin which is normally a gunsmithing job.
The following video shows you these key differences, from someone who actually owns both. It is informative, fun to watch (25:05), and shows that the biggest factor that goes into choosing between these two shotguns is personal preference.
I recommend shooting both shotguns before buying, or at least go to your local gun store or gun show and hold both. It’ll most likely come down to just how comfortable one feels in your hands over the over, and where you like to have the safety. Either way, you can’t lose by picking from one of these two beasts.