There are few things on this planet that are better home defense weapons than a pump action 12 gauge.
One of them, is a semi-auto that can send buckshot or slugs downrange as fast as you can pull the trigger.
The Mossberg 930 is the latter.
I used to have a 20 inch Mossberg 500 pump which was great – reliable, accurate, and ate whatever you fed it like candy.
But for 3 gun and home defense I wanted something semi-auto.
I looked at various models, and it was between the SPX (which is great, just a little pricey) and an 18.5 inch with a breacher barrel.
I opted again for the latter.
The Mossberg 930 is a semi-auto 12 gauge that comes standard in the pictured configuration with a 4+1 capacity.
I have mine ghost loaded with an extra shell, giving me 5+1 of 12 gauge buckshot.
It also has a “breacher barrel” – which is a crenelated bezel at the end used for blowing doors and locks off the hinges for tactical entries.
It also, as you can tell, can be used as a weapon when you run dry, and is quite sharp.
The weapon is easy to handle, which is why I got rid of my unwieldy pump action 500 persuader. Granted, that weapon held 8 rounds and was a pump – so jams or failures to cycle were far and few between, but to get down and dirty in a hallway or stairwell it was not conducive. That’s something you really need to think about when selecting a home defense weapon: your skill level (honestly, don’t let ego cloud this), your home’s layout, and the proposed use. The barrel is 18.5 inches with the welded breacher extension, so in reality it is slightly less for the actual projectile to pop out.
The 930 comes in a variety of flavors, from the 930 SPX which is a tactical option with a pistol grip stock and ghost ring sights.
Although I like the pistol grip stock and ghost rings, the tang safety on Mossbergs made me pass, as I’d like to be able to work the safety without moving my hand from the fire control group. They also make a 3 gun ready Miculek version which holds 10 rounds, but is also about the length of a 1974 Cadillac – not a tactical weapon.
All of these chamber 2 3/4 inch and 3 inch shells, as well as a self regulating gas system to help mitigate recoil and eliminate stress internally.
I’ve run everything from buckshot to slugs to low recoil loads to target loads without an issue, however, I have heard tell of lower power target and birdshot loads not cycling properly.
It hasn’t happened to me, but I’ve heard of it. Be advised.
There is also a cocking indicator (seen lower left) inside of the trigger guard – a silver button that pops out when the gun is cocked.
I like this feature as you don’t need to press check, but just move your finger forward to see if the weapon is hot.
They have drilled and tapped receivers as well, allowing you to put on a rail and optic if you choose. I run mine old school with just the bead to guide my placement.
You can check out extra parts for your tactical shotgun at Brownells.com here.
The bolt handle is aggressively textured, and easy to operate with wet or gloved hands.
I’ve heard complaints that it’s too aggressive, but this is a weapon, not a duvet.
It’s going to have rough edges. The bolt release is also a good size and easily manipulated.
Working back, the standard buttpad is well padded and nice forgiving rubber. Couple that with the self-regulating gas system which mitigates recoil more than a single shot or pump action, and this 12 gauge is almost pleasant to shoot all day.
There are other stocks and pads out there, but I feel this one works just fine.
As you can see, I have a stock sleeve with rifled slugs, and the weapon is hot with mil spec buckshot for CQB situations.
Overall I think it’s a fine weapon as configured with the price point.
The only things I would change are adding a Choate +2 extension to make it a 6+1 as is, or 7+1 with a ghost load.
8 rounds of buckshot is a pretty solid home defense or tactical weapon, especially if its a semi auto and less than 40″ overall.
What we like is that it is easy to handle, moderate recoil considering it’s a 12 gauge, plenty of aftermarket parts and upgrades, aggressive bolt handle and easy to manipulate fire controls, breaching capability.
What we don’t like: The feed gate bites when you’re trying to reload fast, and the magazine capacity leaves a little to be desired. Luckily, both are easily fixed with some aftermarket parts and minor gunsmithing.
About the Author
Alex Castiglione lives in Atlanta, and is an avid outdoorsman and competitive shooter.
His where-abouts include getting after it in his garage gym, practicing martial arts, or hitting the trails.
He helps run CrossFit and Strongman competitions for his non-profit, Barbells for Bullies, which holds fundraiser fitness competitions dedicated to aiding Bully breed rescues, dog rescues, or other non-profits with similar missions.