first published on October 7, 2019 by Josh
So, you’ve finally got your hands on a Mossberg 590A1, and it’s time to get this thing tricked out for home-defense. Everyone who has ever bought a tactical shotgun has been sitting right where you are, so let us give you a hand.
Decisions are tough, and we don’t know your budget. At the bottom of every sub-section will be a list of items we recommend that should meet just about everyone’s budget regardless of how much you are looking to spend.
At the time of this writing, the Mossberg 590a1 is the only pump action shotgun that meets 3443E Mil Spec standards. With that in mind, you may be wondering why you need to upgrade your shotgun at all. We don’t fault you for this. In fact, before you make any upgrades to your shotgun we suggest getting in some range time with it. If you find that your weapon is running to the standard that you want after some trigger time, don’t spend any money at all and keep it as is.
That said, most people who get their shotgun out to the range do see things they can improve. It’s always individual shooter preference at the end of the day. You may find after putting some rounds down range that you don’t like the weapon’s stock, or maybe the bead sight that comes on the weapon isn’t right for you. Or maybe, you’re just really into seeing how you can modify your shotgun to make it more efficient. If that’s the case, then this list is for you.
Below is the first video in a series from HobbyGunsmith on his Mossberg 500 build that he did from the ground up. If you’re really into upgrading shotguns, this is a series you definitely want to check out in full. If you’re just here to see what we recommend for the 590a1, keep scrolling.
Aside from tactical furniture, the butt-stock of your shotgun will be one of the most obvious upgrades you can make. For a majority of Mossberg 590a1 shotguns, a base model Mossberg shotgun stock will be found. Five of the twelve models come with a variant stock, and of those five only four stocks are truly designed for tactical purposes. Two of those four are stock Mossberg shotgun stocks that have a space for the user to carry four extra shotgun shells, one comes with a 6-position adjustable stock, and another is sold straight with the Magpul SGA Ambidextrous stock.
From our experience on the range, the most common upgraded stocks we see are individuals have upgraded to a six-position adjustable stock with pistol-grip. It’s a great option for users who want more control of the firearm in enclosed spaces like their home. The prices on this set-up can range depending on which brand you go with, and where you buy. The cheapest items we’ve found have generally been inside of actual sporting-good stores where they sell for as low as fifty dollars.
My personal favorite stock for this shotgun is by far the Magpul SGA Ambidextrous Stock. I say this because as an individual shooter, I love the extra grip provided for the shotgun. I’m also a huge fan of the included risers that assist with getting a better sight picture. These will run you between 100 and 125 dollars depending on color and where you purchase.
Here’s a solid list of options. We didn’t put anything on this list that we wouldn’t purchase with our money. As always, make sure you are checking the reviews yourself before you make a decision!
Out of the box, each Mossberg 590a1 comes with a basic Mossberg forend. At the end of these forends you’ll find a small set of picatinny rails that allow the user to attach lights or lasers. For many, this can get the shotgun running in a proper fashion, but others like to accessorize a bit more. If you’re in the second camp, you’re in luck with the Mossberg 590a1.
Present in the Mossberg 590a1 family of forends, there is an absolute myriad of forend and grip options for you. It doesn’t matter if you want m-lok or picatinny, straight ribbed with a strap or a forend that has a Surefire quality flashlight built into it, there is something for you. Prices here can vary from $15 to $400 depending on what you’re looking to spend. Make sure you do a bit of extra research before you pull the trigger on this one.
My personal favorite is the MOE m-lok forend from Magpul. It’s a simple, straightforward design that gives you a lot of customization options. You also can’t beat the price, which comes in at right around $30 dollars for a proven forend.
The options below are a pretty good starting point, but they’re certainly not the end of the road. Everything below is something we would recommend purchasing.
We’re gonna preface this with a warning. You can easily go overboard in the next two sections of this guide. If you do, it’s not a huge issue. Just make sure you get out on the range and truly test out everything on you Mossberg 590a1 before you start trusting it for home defense. You may find that you have too many things on your firearm, in which case you can easily strip them off. Remember, practical is tactical.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s start with rails. An overwhelming majority of Mossberg 590a1s will come with a top mounted picatinny rail section. They also all feature a small section for picatinny attachment on the base forend. (Exception: The Mossberg 590a1 Retrograde is all wood furniture.) This is a lot of real-estate for you to use. If you have a model that doesn’t come with the top rails, and have chosen not to upgrade your forend, this is when we suggest actually going out of your way to get a little extra. We’ll leave some of our favorite options in the carousel at the bottom.
Safeties however, are something most people do choose to upgrade. For many, the base safety on Mossberg Shotguns leaves a lot to be desired. Fortunately, there are a plethora of options in this space for making the tang-mounted ambidextrous safety a bit more ergonomic. Most of these options fatten up the safety selector switch, and make it easier for the user to toggle the weapon from safe to fire. Personally, I am very accustomed to the stock Mossberg safety selector switch, and choose to bypass this upgrade.
A good side saddle is something that, in my opinion, is something you should always add onto any tactical or home-defense shotgun. These mostly come in the form of either a stretchable fabric that holds the shells on the non-ejecting side of the shotgun, but also come in polymer as well. Prices on these will range anywhere between $15 and $80 depending on where and which you purchase.
Here’s a solid list of all the above mentioned items you might want to purchase.
Things can get really dicey here. Every person has their own favorite brands of lasers, lights, and sights. If you’re that type of person, more power to you, we appreciate brand loyalty too! That said, when you’re kitting out your home-defense shotgun, remember to always think practical. Before you make a purchase from this section, ask yourself if you definitely need this piece of equipment. If the answer is yes, and you are absolutely positive, pull the trigger. You can always re-purpose a laser, light, or red dot sight later down the road.
When it comes to lasers, lights, and sights on your Mossberg 590a1, I really only recommend one thing. There are three models of Mossberg 590a1 that come with a bead sight on them stock from the factory. If you are in the position where you have one of those three, upgrade to, at the very least, some sort of tritium front sight. Conducting this upgrade will drastically improve your ability to get a proper sight picture in a home-defense situation.
Here’s a list of some of our favorites from the lasers, lights and sights category.
Regardless of if you decided to upgrade your shotgun or not, hopefully this list has been useful. Upgrading your Mossberg 590a1 can be a daunting task, but also a great learning experience at the same time. With everything, go into these purchases with a set budget in mind and make sure you do not break the bank.
If there were any upgrades that we didn’t have on our list that you recommend, make sure you let us know in the comments. Everyone in this space is an eternal student, and you may have experience we don’t! We’ll try to respond to as many comments as possible.