An interesting three-way confluence of events is prompting me to reconsider a smoothbore defensive tool that fires shotshells.

  1. Minnesota does not permit the ownership of short barreled shotguns unless it’s an unmodified C&R shotgun (rare).
  2. Mossberg and Remington are selling “pistol grip only (PGO)” firearms that shoot 12 gauge shotshells. The ATF does not consider these “shotguns.”
  3. The recent ATF opinion letter on braces potentially reduces legal liability if a braced short barrel firearm or pistol unintentionally touches the shoulder.

The second firearm I ever purchased was a Mossberg 590A, back in the late 90s. It has a 20″ barrel, 9 round magazine, and polymer SpeedFeed stock that carried two spare shells on both sides of the stock. It has a front bead sight, no rear sight, and is cannot take scope rings or a rail on top.

I found it to be unwieldy — especially as I got into braced pistols and NFA registered short barrel rifles.

We’ve also made a conscious effort to prioritize firearms that my wife and I can both easily use. The recoil of a shotgun isn’t the issue — it’s the length and balance of weight on her 5′ 2″ frame that causes issues.

The 590A looked cool, but the more firearms training I received, the further back the Mossberg sat in my safe.


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