590 vs 590A1: 7 Differences to Help You Decide

A firearm is a must-have for survivalists to use for self-defense or hunting for food. Two of the most popular in the market include the Mossberg 590 Shockwave and the Mossberg 590A1 Tactical Magpul.

The Mossberg 590 Shockwave is best if you want something beginner-friendly and affordable. The Mossberg 590A1 Tactical Magpul is a combat shotgun that’s better for self-defense, hence it has better grip, recoil, efficiency, features, safety, and bead sight.

The main differences to consider include grip and recoil, efficiency, features, safety, beginner friendliness, bead sight, and price.

Grip and Recoil

590 vs 590a1

The name Shockwave comes from the patented Shockwave Raptor grip. This grip is reported to be one of the best grips among shotguns or scatterguns and makes it comfortable to fire standard buckshot loads. The design doesn’t make the gun and the pistol grip kick-back into your wrist.

The recoil goes upward instead of directly backward that makes it gentler on the shooter. Despite this, remember to not shoot directly in front of your face and keep it slightly extended forward to avoid hurting yourself.

The Shockwave also comes with a forend that has a strap that serves to keep your hands stable as you operate the gun. In principle, this is a good idea so that you can stabilize the gun despite its stock-less feature. However, the strapping mechanism makes the screws dig into your hands every time the gun recoils, which is uncomfortable and painful.

Conversely, the Magpul has a stock and buttpad that can absorb the 12 gauge recoil. It’s very comfortable to shoot despite the range.

Win: Mossberg 590A1 Magpul


The Shockwave’s main limitation is the lack of a gunstock which automatically makes it more unstable than the Mossberg 590A1. The Shockwave also falls short of the average range of shotguns. This model can only reach up to 50 yards. Any target beyond that distance is hard to reach and renders this gun ineffective.

Another downside is how difficult it is to reload. Without a stock, you’ll need to put down or bear more of the weight of the shotgun since only your hands are the point of contact. That means you’re slower at firing the next shot, which makes you an ineffective shooter.

The Mossberg 590A1 Magpul can hold 8 2.75-inch shells. It’s an impressive capacity that can make you shoot continuously without having to reload constantly. Many users also report that reloading magazines are effortless in the Magpul.

This model comes with an action lock lever located at the trigger guard for easy access. A convenient feature that is used to cycle the action of the gun.

Win: Mossberg 590A1 Magpul

Gun Features

gun features

The Mossberg 590 Shockwave has a standard trigger. This model is ambidextrous which is perfect for anyone. It is lightweight and has a short pull. It also has some grit and overtravel.

Additionally, it is also equipped with twin action bars and dual extractors. These features ensure efficiency and a reliable operation so that it automatically reloads while you’re firing it.

The Mossberg 590A1 Magpul likewise has dual action bars that enable a smooth and snag-free gun operation. There are no feeding issues as it smoothly ejects the spent shells from the ejection port. Loading magazines is also comfortable. However, the trigger is quite heavy that may become uncomfortable during extended use.

Win: Draw


The Mossberg 590 Shockwave has an anti-jam model design to make it operate smoothly and lessens the chances of accidents. The same anti-jam system is also present in the Magpul. Both Mossberg guns come with safety that prevents accidents. The only thing that makes the Magpul safer than the Shockwave is the presence of a buttstock.

It makes the Magpul safer, more stable, and more comfortable. The stock even comes with four spacers that you can adjust by removing the screw. It also ensures that you have two points of contact with the gun at all times which makes it feel more stable and makes reloading easier.

Win: Mossberg 590A1 Magpul

Beginner Friendliness

Many users, even professional ones, report that there’s a steep learning curve with the Mossberg 590 Shockwave. It takes some time to get used to its design, unique recoil, grip, shape, and more. It doesn’t have a stock or a 12-gauge recoil so it’s challenging for beginners. Using mini shells or other lightweight bullets are advised when beginners use this gun.

The Mossberg 590A1 is a heavy-duty shotgun designed for combat. It’s a fighting shotgun and not necessarily made for hunting. It’s commonly used by the military, police, and other individuals experienced in combat. It’s the best option for self-defense but will take a long time to master and handle.

Win: Mossberg 590 Shockwave

Bead Sight

bead sight

The Mossberg 590 Shockwave comes with a standard bead sight. It’s decent but not the most accurate bead sight in the market. It’s specifically designed for aiming while holding the gun away from the body. It is because this gun doesn’t have a stock. The lack of stock means that you can’t place it against your shoulder to help stabilize your view when looking through the bead sight.

The Magpul comes with either a bead front sight or an XS Sight Systems Ghost Ring rear and front sight. The latter is the better option for long-range shooting and fast-moving targets. There’s also a rail on which you can place other optic accessories that can help you improve your gun sight and your aim.

Win: Mossberg 590A1 Magpul


The Mossberg 590 Shockwave costs $449 while the Magpul costs $1,291.

Win: Mossberg 590 Shockwave


Every household has different survival needs. The gun you choose depends on what function or option you prioritize. Go for the Shockwave if you want something affordable and user-friendly. It’s not constructed to be the most stable or the safest firearm in the market but it’s a good beginner weapon.

You can also use it for hunting smaller game like rabbits and squirrels. It’s effective enough as a form of security and deterrent.

The Magpul is more expensive but also efficient. It’s the perfect shotgun if you’re an experienced shooter and if you value personal safety more than anything. It feels stable, has a very accurate bead sight, relatively safe, and shoots efficiently.