Mossberg Maverick 88 REVIEW

The pump-action shotgun stands as an iconic symbol in both cinematic action scenes and discussions about home defense weaponry.

Amidst the debate over the ideal home defense gun, where opinions vary from pistols to rifles like AR-15s or AK-47s, the pump-action shotgun, especially the Mossberg Maverick 88, emerges as a notable contender.

When you mention “home defense" in a gun store, you’ll likely be immediately offered a pump-action shotgun, a testament to its enduring reputation in this role.

Mossberg Maverick 88 REVIEW

The Maverick 88, in particular, has garnered attention for its combination of affordability and reliability. Priced around $200, it defies the common perception that budget-priced shotguns compromise on quality.

In a market flooded with inexpensive options, the Maverick 88 stands out, as acknowledged by experts and reflected in its status as the top-selling shotgun.

Its popularity underscores the trend that good quality doesn’t always demand a high price, making it an appealing choice for those seeking a dependable home defense shotgun without breaking the bank.

Mossberg Maverick 88 Security

Prices accurate at time of writing

Maverick 88 Shotgun Review

The Maverick 88 is simply a more affordable version of the Mossberg 500.  The Maverick 88 is great for an introductory shotgun, a home-defense shotgun, or a truck gun. It’s durable, dependable, and shoots true every time.

It has the same features as the Mossberg shotguns with dual extractors, twin action bars, positive steel-to-steel lockup, and even the anti-jam elevator.

These features give the Maverick similar capabilities to the Mossberg 500 with a price reduction of around $400.00. With a 6-shell capacity (depending on the ammo) and 28" barrel, you can easily use the Maverick for waterfowl hunting.

Maverick describes the 88 models as the working man’s shotgun because it can handle being bumped, scraped, dropped, and beaten up through everyday wear and tear.

TFB TV conducted a rigorous 500-round endurance test on the Maverick 88, and the shotgun impressively withstood this harsh treatment, showing readiness for further use. My admiration for Mossberg as a manufacturer is strong. With a history spanning over a century, Mossberg has consistently produced excellent firearms, and this test further solidifies its reputation for quality.


  • Affordability: The Maverick 88 is known for its budget-friendly price, making it an accessible option for many buyers.
  • Durability: It has a reputation for being rugged and reliable, even under tough conditions.
  • Compatibility with Mossberg 500 Parts: Many parts including barrels, tubes, stocks, and some internal components like the extractor are interchangeable with the Mossberg 500, offering flexibility for customization and repair.
  • Simplicity and Ease of Use: Its design is straightforward, which makes it suitable for beginners or those who prefer a no-frills firearm.
  • Versatility: The Maverick 88 is effective for various purposes, including home defense, hunting, and recreational shooting.
  • Good Performance in Endurance Tests: It has demonstrated resilience in rigorous tests, such as the 500-round torture test, indicating its capability to withstand heavy use.


  • Limited Finish Options: The Maverick 88 only comes in a steel blue finish, lacking the variety of finishes available with the Mossberg 500.
  • Safety Placement: The cross-bolt safety located on the trigger guard might not be preferred by all users, especially those accustomed to the top tang safety of the Mossberg 500.
  • Simpler Construction: The pared-down design, while a pro for some, might be seen as a con for those seeking more advanced features found in higher-priced shotguns.
  • Stock Options: The standard stock may not suit all users, and while it’s interchangeable, changing it incurs an additional cost.
    Perception as a “Budget" Shotgun: Some may view it as inferior in quality due to its lower price, although this is often countered by its positive performance reviews.

Overall, the Mossberg Maverick 88 offers a balance of affordability, reliability, and versatility, with some trade-offs in customization and advanced features.

Maverick 88 Upgrades

The TruGlo Glo-Dot Fiber Optic Sight is an essential accessory for the Mossberg Maverick 88, offering enhanced visibility with its bright green, fiber optic front sight. This sight attaches easily to both the Maverick 88 and Mossberg 500 without the need for tools, snapping on securely and aligning perfectly with the front bead sight. It’s constructed from durable, heat-resistant material and can be quickly transferred between multiple Mossberg shotguns or removed without hassle.

For carrying comfort and efficiency, the Magpul MS1 Adjustable 2-Point Sling and the Esstac Shotgun Card are notable additions. The MS1 Sling features a smooth-adjusting MS1 slider system, free of snag hazards, and is compatible with various adapters for customization. It has been rigorously tested under diverse conditions, ensuring durability and reliability. The Esstac Shotgun Card, on the other hand, offers a convenient and removable solution for mounting shotgun ammunition, with its elastic and fabric sidesaddle design.

Lastly, the MCARBO Trigger Spring Kit is a significant upgrade for the Maverick 88, reducing the trigger pull from 8.5 lbs to 4.75 lbs. This enhancement not only improves accuracy but also minimizes malfunctions, thus boosting overall shotgun performance.

KEEP READING – Mossberg Maverick 88 Upgrades to Consider

Maverick 88 vs Mossberg 500

The Maverick 88 is essentially a streamlined version of the Mossberg 500.

Its most notable difference lies in the placement of its safety feature; the Maverick 88 opts for a cross-bolt safety located on the trigger guard, contrasting with the Mossberg 500’s top tang safety.

In terms of finishing, the Maverick is solely available with a steel blue finish, while the Mossberg 500 offers a variety of finishes including factory-blue, nickel-plated, and parkerized.

Another appealing aspect of the Maverick 88 is its compatibility with numerous Mossberg 500 components.

This includes interchangeable barrels, tubes, and stocks, as well as some internal elements like the extractor. This interchangeability is particularly beneficial for upgrades and repairs, considering the abundant availability of Mossberg 500 parts in the market.

Why Should I buy the Maverick 88?

The Maverick 88 is essentially the same shotgun with a different trigger assembly and made in a different location than most Mossberg’s. I would buy this shotgun in a heartbeat if I wanted a dependable shotgun for home defense that isn’t going to break the bank. The best attribute of the Maverick is it’s almost entirely interchangeable with the Mossberg 500.

You can easily change out the barrel and put on a Mossberg 500 barrel for an instant upgrade or change the stock to provide a better recoil pad. The only thing you cant change out is the trigger assembly and the cross-bolt safety mechanism.

Either way, you won’t be able to find a shotgun for $200 anywhere in the world that matches the reliability, durability, and ease of maintenance.


What’s to say, It’s a pump-action shotgun.  Pump-action shotguns are the revolvers of the shotgun world.  You pull the trigger and it goes boom…every damn time. Setting aside the chance of a freak failure, this boom stick will run.

Ease of Maintenance

Due to the nature of how a pump-action shotgun works, you won’t have to worry about disassembly that often.

A pump action shotgun only has one area that any carbon or other residue is going to get and that’s the barrel.

Pull a bore snake through it two or three times after you’re done shooting for the day and you’re good to go.  There isn’t much to the Mossberg Maverick 88.  Snake the barrel and keep pumping.

Is The Maverick 88 Good For Home Defense?

The Mossberg 500 is famous for its use as a home defense shotgun, but the Maverick 88 brings that same utility to the table in a more affordable package.

For a lightweight home defense shotgun, the Maverick 88 is incredibly accurate and well-balanced. The fixed cylinder choke allows for tight shot patterns at close range. You’ll be hard-pressed to find the accuracy of this shotgun in a comparable pump-action shotgun.

Having renowned reliability in the pump-action niche, the Maverick 88 features dual-action bars to guarantee reliable cycling without any binding and an anti-jam shell elevator. It promises a smooth, consistent shot every time; something you NEED when protecting your home and family.

The Maverick 88 pump is ribbed for your pleasure giving you a positive grip in all situations. The dual extractors keep everything nice and efficient. And the simple brass bead front sight is simple and easy to see. We prefer a bead site for a home defense shotgun for the mere fact of simplicity under stress.


The Mossberg Maverick 88 stands as a remarkable blend of affordability, reliability, and versatility.

Its compatibility with Mossberg 500 parts adds to its appeal, offering a range of customization options.

Whether for home defense, hunting, or recreational use, the Maverick 88 excels with its robust construction and user-friendly design. The addition of quality accessories like the TruGlo Glo-Dot Sight and the MCARBO Trigger Spring Kit further enhances its performance.

For those seeking a cost-effective shotgun without compromising on quality, the Mossberg Maverick 88 emerges as a top choice, proving that excellence in firearms doesn’t always come with a hefty price tag.

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