Mossberg 500 Vs. Mossberg 590 | Whats the Difference?

The Mossberg 500 is one of the oldest (developed in 1960) and most trusted shotguns in our nation’s history.

The Mossberg 500 has been used in every war we’ve been a part of since Vietnam. The Mossberg 500 is built to be as simple and easy to use as possible with very few parts and no extra tools for disassembly.

The 500 series has sold at least 10 million shotguns in the last 50 years to our military, law enforcement agencies, and gun enthusiasts across the nation.

The 500 series comes in the Tactical, Hunting, and FLEX models to offer a great shotgun at an affordable price.

Mossberg 500 Tri-Rail Tactical

The Mossberg Tri-Ril Tactical Shotgun is specifically designed for militaries and law enforcement officers (Leo) across the globe. The 500 Tactical is built with the same Tri-Rail forend system that’s in the 590 Tactical. This rail system allows for attachments to be placed on the left, right, and below the barrel of the shotgun for the ultimate customization capabilities. All Mossbergs are built with the top-mounted safety lever for ambidextrous use and this Tactical model is equipped with an adjustable stock for rapid length of pull customization. The biggest difference between the Mossberg 500 Tactical and the 590 tactical is the shell capacity is larger in the 590 models.


Chamber Size: 3"
Capacity: 6
Barrel: 18.5"
Sights: Bead
Choke: Cylinder Bore
Overall Length: 36.375"
Length Of Pull: 10.75-14.525"
Barrel Finish: Matte
Stock: Adjustable Tactical Stock/Side Saddle
Weight: 6.75 lb


Why Should I Buy the Mossberg 500 Tactical?

The Mossberg 500 Tactical Shotgun is incredibly simple and built to be as practical, smooth, and dependable as possible. The dual extractors ensure each shell is extracted without any hiccups. The Twin action bars help with the reliability and longevity by ensuring the pump-action always racks back in smooth operation without binding or getting twisted, like some single action bar shotguns have done. This shotgun is perfect for LEO and soldiers in the military that needs to trust their lives on their equipment working at the moment they need it to. With the ability to attach lasers, lights, and optics on the Tri-Rail, you’ll be able to customize your shotgun in the best way for your specific purpose.  As a soldier, I always wanted my shotgun to remain light so the only attachment I used was a light on the right side of the rail to disorient anyone I was pointing the gun at.

Where Can I Buy the Mossberg 500 Tactical?

You can buy the Mossberg 500 from thousands of stores across the country, but you can’t buy directly from Mossberg. All Mossberg guns can be sold from their 3 major partners; Gearfire, Gallery of Guns, and The Shooting Store. You can also buy from Palmetto State Armory if you’re a military veteran, active-duty solider, or LEO for a great discount. Bass Pro Shops is always a great choice because they’re so well established and offer great deals.

Mossberg 500 Tactical

Prices accurate at time of writing

Mossberg 500 Hunting

One of the biggest differences in the Mossberg 500 is the Hunting model that exemplifies how a hunting shotgun should be built. The Hunting models all have longer barrels in order to reach out further for either Turkeys, Deer, Pheasant, or Duck. With an adjustable fiber optic sight, choke, and stock, these hunting shotguns are the best on the market. Ranging from 6 lbs with a .410 shotgun to 7.5 lbs with a heavy-walled barrel, you can find the right model for you and your family with ease on the Mossberg website.

Related Article – Best Mossberg Shotgun Accessories


With almost a dozen models, I chose this 12 gauge Turkey shotgun because it’s the one that I hunt Turkeys in both the Fall and Spring. With a 3" chamber, I prefer to use a full choke and shoot #6 birdshot. With the power of a 12 gauge, you never want to go lower than #4 birdshot because you’ll just blow the bird to pieces and get very little meat. I always recommend aiming for the neck of the bird and allow the shot to hit the neck, head, and top of the breastplate. This ensures a kill every time and you won’t lose much breast meat if you hit the bird correctly. With a 24" barrel, I know this shotgun will accurately kill a Turkey from 35-40 yards, but the spread will be wider the further you shoot, so keep that in mind. The felt recoil in this shotgun is very low and I never have any problem with soreness or accuracy due to the power.


Gauge: 12
Magazine Capacity: 6
Barrel Length: 24" Vent Rib, Ported
Overall Length: 44 1/4"
Nominal Weight: 7.25 lbs.
Choke: XX-Full
Sights: Adjustable Fiber Optic
Chamber Size: 3"
Metal Finish: Mossy Oak Break-up Infinity
Stock: Synthetic



Why Should I Buy the Mossberg 500 Hunting?

The Mossberg 500 may be simple and easy to use, but don’t mistake it for being poorly made or cheap. I haven’t hunted deer with a shotgun, but I highly recommend using Mossberg for your hunting shotgun. With many models to choose from, there is no wrong answer to choose from. You can choose between 12 gauge, 20 gauge, and a 410 gauge Shotgun to fit your needs. The Turkey Hunting Shotgun that I use is relatively heavy, but I know that it’s going to be accurate, reliable, and dependable every time I raise up and shoot a turkey. The Mossy Oak skin on the shotgun makes it very difficult to see, which you’ll need for hunting turkeys.

Where Can I Buy the Mossberg 500 Hunting?

Mossberg 500 Hunting

Prices accurate at time of writing


Mossberg 500 FLEX (TLS)

The Mossberg 500 FLEX Tool-less System (TLS) is one of the most technologically advanced shotgun models in the world. The TLS system allows each shooter to customize their shotgun for their exact purpose. For example, if you’re a SWAT Officer and love the Tri-Rail, but want to change your stock to make it more mobile, you can simply unlock the stock and change it out with a shorter stock (with no tools!). You can change the forend, grip, stock, and sights for the ultimate customization capabilities to enhance your effectiveness on the battlefield. The breacher barrel allows LEO and soldiers to use the Shotgun to breach doors, windows, or on assailants that get too close.


Gauge: 12ga
Chamber Size: 3"
Capacity: 6
Barrel: 18.5 Stand-off/Breacher
Sights: White Dot
Choke: Cylinder Bore
Overall Length: 41"
Barrel Finish: Matte Blue
Stock: Black Synthetic
Weight: 5.75lbs

Why Should I Buy the Mossberg 500 FLEX TLS?

The Mossberg FLEX 500 TLS is best for soldiers, LEO, and Americans that want to be able to customize every aspect of their shotgun with ease. The fact that you don’t need any extra tools is a big plus for any owner. The pistol grip and interchangeable forends offer each shooter the ability to find which set-up has better ergonomics. This shotgun is relatively more expensive when you consider the attachments, but I feel like it’s more than worth it considering that your life is at stake.

Where Can I Buy the Mossberg 500 FLEX TLS?

Mossberg Flex 500

Prices accurate at time of writing


Mossberg 590

The Mossberg 590 Shotgun is the upgraded version of the Mossberg 500 that is specifically designed for LEO, Military, self-defense, and 3-Gun competitions. the 590 can be used for hunting, but it’s not recommended because the barrels are shorter and there is less adjustment in the choke. The Mossberg 590 is produced in models that boast unique features, such as the Raptors grip on the Mossberg Shockwave. If you’re looking for a tactical shotgun with a shorter barrel and higher ammo capacity, I highly recommend the Mossberg 590 Tactical. The 590 is built-in multiple styles and configurations, including the full-sized 590 A1 and the Mossberg 590M (Mag-fed) Shotgun.



The Mossberg 590A1 is built around a 14" heavy-walled barrel that is Parkerized finished for the ultimate durability and passes MilSpec 3443E for military and LEO use. This shotgun is meant to be thrown around, dropped, hit, protect against extreme heat, and is ambidextrous. The 590A1 comes with a rugged front strap that prevents your hand from sliding in front of the barrel after the recoil of each shot. This shotgun has more felt recoil than the smaller 590 models, but it’s incredibly accurate at 40 yards like no other shotgun on the market. Shooting a slug from the 590A1 is a great option if you’re looking for the power of a shotgun, but need to reach distances up to 70 yards. The pump-action is incredibly smooth, the grip is rugged and sturdy, and the trigger is crisp and smooth for every pull.


Gauge: 12ga
Chamber Size: 3"
Capacity: 9
Barrel: Heavy-Walled
Sights: Ghost Ring
Chokes: Cylinder Bore
Overall Length: 41"
Barrel Finish: Matte Blue
Stock: Black Synthetic
Weight: 7.25 lbs



Why Should I Buy the Mossberg 590A1?

The 590 A1 is built to pass the toughest testing for MilSpec standards in the world and maintain the Mossberg feel to the shotgun. The 590A1 is incredibly powerful, smooth, and dependable to give the utmost confidence going into battle. The Mossberg 590A1 is used by NATO forces across the globe to ensure freedom is accessible to everyone and protect its soldiers. I would buy this shotgun if I were thinking of a self-defense shotgun and wanted to reach longer ranges that the Shockwave and 590 Tactical can’t provide.

Where Can I Buy the Mossberg 590A1?

Mossberg 590A1 Tactical

Prices accurate at time of writing

What’s The Difference Between Mossberg 500 & 590?

The biggest differences between the 2 shotguns revolve around the purposes for the shotgun in the first place. The 500 models are great for hunting deer, turkey, and waterfowl, while the other 500 models are great for self-defense. Generally, the 500 models have less shell capacity and longer barrels, but they’re all ambidextrous and smooth to shoot.

Mossberg 590 models are built around the concept of military use with the certification of MilSpec 3443E and have no real hunting applications. The newest 590 model is the Shockwave that is meant to be the most mobile shotgun in the world that has just been made legal by the ATF. The 590M is a Mag-fed Shotgun that has no comparison in the 500 series and holds 11 shells that can be fired as quickly as you can rack a shell in and out.

Related Article – Best Cleaning Tools for Mossberg Shotgun

Which Shotgun is Better; Mossberg 500 or Mossberg 590?

This question comes up a lot when discussing the 2 models, but it’s impossible to give a standard answer. For military and LEO use, I’d go with the 590M or 590 Tactical all day, but for hunting, I’d choose the 500. With multiple models designed specifically for hunting, the Mossberg 500 is and probably always will be my go-to for hunting turkey and duck. Both shotguns are built with twin action bars for smooth operation, ambidextrous safety levers, and dual extractors.

For the most mobile shotgun on the market, the 590 Shockwave is going to be the best choice, but it’s also limited in range with a 14-15" barrel. My recommendation is to decide what you want the shotgun for and figure out what feels the best for you. I think no matter what you decide, you’ll be happy with any Mossberg shotgun you buy.

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Table of Contents

  • Mossberg 500 Tri-Rail Tactical
  • Specs
  • Why Should I Buy the Mossberg 500 Tactical?
  • Where Can I Buy the Mossberg 500 Tactical?
  • Mossberg 500 Hunting
  • Specs
  • Why Should I Buy the Mossberg 500 Hunting?
  • Where Can I Buy the Mossberg 500 Hunting?
  • Mossberg 500 FLEX (TLS)
  • Specs
  • Why Should I Buy the Mossberg 500 FLEX TLS?
  • Where Can I Buy the Mossberg 500 FLEX TLS?
  • Mossberg 590
  • Specs
  • Why Should I Buy the Mossberg 590A1?
  • Where Can I Buy the Mossberg 590A1?
  • What’s The Difference Between Mossberg 500 & 590?
  • Which Shotgun is Better; Mossberg 500 or Mossberg 590?

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