Mossberg 590 vs 590A1: 6 Essential Differences Discussed

6 Differences Discussed Between 590 vs 590A1

of a shotgun and considering the Mossberg 590 vs 590A1, you’ve come to the right place. These two models share a lot of similarities, but there are six key differences you need to know about before making your purchase. Today, we’ll dive into each of these differences and finally declare a winner.

So, buckle up and get ready for a deep dive into the world of Mossberg shotguns.

Comparison Between the Mossberg 590 vs. 590A1

The Mossberg 590 and 590A1 are really popular shotguns. These are pump-action shotguns so you have to manually cycle between the rounds. It is a simple action that allows for quicker follow-up shots. There isn’t a difference visually between the two and you have to check for the bayonet lug and magazine tube to tell them apart.

  • The 590 Mossberg is quite a reliable shotgun and is very popular among hunters and homeowners. It is preferred by a lot of people due to its compact design.
  • The magazine tube is also not that heavy.
  • You can easily maneuver in tight spaces so this makes it a great self-defense gun.
  • The Mossberg 590A1 on the other hand is a combat shotgun and is more robustly designed.
  • You get a thick barrel with a metal trigger guard, a heavier magazine tube, and a safety button. Due to its superior construction, it is very reliable and durable.
  • It has M590A1 stamped on the left side and is a popular choice among the military and police.
Comparison Between the Mossberg 590 vs. 590A1

Here are the specs of 590 and 590A1:


Mossberg 590

Mossberg 590A1


Mossberg 590
Mossberg 590A1







Barrel Length:

20 inches

18.5/20 inches





7.25 pounds

7.5 pounds




There may be a difference in the specifications of the guns as there are different models available with varied configurations.

How to Decide Between a 590 and 590A1?

If you’re considering either the 590 or 590A1, it’s important to understand the differences between the two models. These few differences can help you decide which model is best for your intended use and personal preferences.

1. Grip and Recoil

The 590 model has one of the best grips in any shotgun.

  • It provides a very comfortable shooting experience.
  • Most of the kickback is decreased by the grip. It also has a forend and a strap.
  • It allows your hands to remain stable while you shoot the gun.
Grip and Recoil

Talking about the 590A1, here’s what you need to know:

  • Even though it fires more powerful shells, it is still more comfortable to shoot.
  • The combination of a stock and the buttpad reduces the recoil pretty significantly so you can shoot easier.


The Mossberg 590A1 is an overall winner due to better recoil reduction and smoother shooting experience.

2. Efficiency

A lack of stock makes the 590 Mossberg much harsher to use than a 590A1.

  • It has a very low range of about 50 yards which is low even in the shotgun category.
  • It is not recommended to use this gun for targets beyond 50 yards.

The 590A1 holds 2.75-inch shells which are very powerful and you also don’t need to reload that often as there are 8 rounds in it.

  • Reloading if needed is also pretty easy.
  • The metal trigger guard contains an action lock lever. It is a pretty useful feature that you can use to cycle the action.


The 590A1 smokes the 590 in this category and comes out as the superior shotgun.

3. Gun Features – Metal Trigger Guard, Bayonet Lug, etc

The 590 Mossberg is an ambidextrous shotgun and comes with a pretty standard type trigger.

  • It doesn’t have much weight and the pull is quite short as well.
  • There are dual action bars and dual extractors present.

So, these features make the 590, a pretty reliable and efficient shotgun.

590 vs 590a1. Gun Features - Metal Trigger Guard, Bayonet Lug, etc

Similar to the 590, the 590A1 also comes with dual action bars for a snag-free experience.

  • You also won’t face any round-feeding issues as the spent ammo is ejected from the left side port.
  • Magazine loading is also pretty easy to do. You also get a safety button as well.
  • One thing to keep in mind is that the trigger is a bit heavy so you may find it uncomfortable when using it for an extended period.


It is a draw in this category as there are no main differences in regard to features.

4. Safety

The 590 and the 590A1 Mossberg both incorporate an anti-jam system in their designs to minimize the occurrence of operational issues and potential hazards.

  • Both shotguns are equipped with a safety mechanism to prevent accidental discharge.
  • However, the 590A1 boasts an additional feature that enhances its safety and stability – a buttstock.
  • The inclusion of the buttstock provides a more comfortable gun shooting experience and allows for customization with its four adjustable spacers.
  • Additionally, it offers greater stability and facilitates easier reloading by providing two points of contact with the gun.


Due to the buttstock, the adjustable spaces, and the enhanced stability, the 590A1 is the clear winner.

5. Beginner Friendliness

Some 590 owners have reported a significant learning curve associated with using this firearm due to its unique design, recoil, and shape.

  • This gun does not feature a stock or a 12-gauge recoil, which can make it challenging for beginners to handle.
  • To facilitate ease of use, some recommend utilizing mini shells or other lightweight bullets.
Beginner Friendliness

The Mossberg 590A1 is a heavy wall barrel shotgun specifically designed for combat use.

  • It is often favored by experienced military personnel, police officers, and others in combat situations due to its durability and effectiveness.
  • Although it is not intended for hunting, it is an excellent option for self-defense. However, its robust design may require some time to master and handle effectively.


The 590 is simpler and easier to use for beginners and therefore, is the winner.

6. Bead Sight

The 590 Mossberg features a standard bead sight, which is adequate but not the most accurate available.

  • It is specifically designed for aiming while holding the gun away from the body, as this gun does not come with a stock.
  • The absence of a stock makes it challenging to stabilize the view when looking through the bead sight.
Bead Sight

On the other hand, the 590A1 offers a front bead sight or an XS Sight Systems Ghost Ring rear and front sight.

  • It is an excellent choice for long-range shooting and fast-moving targets.
  • Additionally, the 590A1 has a rail for attaching other optic accessories that can enhance your gun sight and aim.


The Mossberg 590A1 comes with a superior bead sight and there is way more flexibility as you can attach different sights on the rail. It is the obvious winner here.

For more insights, check out this video.

Loading Magazines Mossberg Shotguns

The Mossberg 590M is a magazine-fed shotgun designed for quick and easy reloading. Loading magazines on it is straightforward and can be done quickly with some practice. It is basically the same on the 590 and 590A1 but there can be a difference in some cases as well. Generally:

  • Simply insert the shells into the magazine tube
  • Push them down until they click into place.
Loading Magazines Mossberg Shotguns

Here are some of the important highlights:

  • The magazine holds up to 10 rounds, allowing for rapid fire in any situation.
  • The 590M also features a durable pump-action design, a heat shield, and an ergonomic grip for improved control and comfort.
  • With its reliable feeding and ease of use, the Mossberg 590M is a popular choice for self-defense, law enforcement, and competitive shooting.

Best for Hunting and Sport Shooting

When it comes to choosing between the 590 and 590A1 for a hunt and a competition, it’s important to consider a few differences and strengths:

Mossberg 590 – Hunting:

Following are the important details:

  • It is a great option for hunting birds and small mammals.
  • Its lighter weight makes it easier to carry and maneuver in the field.
  • Additionally, the 590’s smoother pump action can help ensure a quicker follow-up shot if needed.

Mossberg 590A1 – Hunting:

Let’s dive into the details:

  • The Mossberg 590A1 is better suited for hunting deer and boar.
  • Its heavy wall barrel provides greater accuracy at longer distances.
  • The 590A1’s ability to handle heavier loads makes it a more effective choice for taking down bigger animals.
Best for Hunting and Sport Shooting


There is no clear winner between the two. If you regularly hunt small game, then the 590 is a great choice otherwise 590A1 is the obvious pick.

Mossberg 590 – Sport Shooting:

Here are the necessary details:

  • It is a popular choice for sport shooting competitions, particularly in shorter-range events.
  • The shorter barrel makes it easier to carry and maneuver in dynamic shooting scenarios.
  • The 590’s smooth pump action helps to reduce fatigue during extended shooting sessions.

Mossberg 590A1 – Sport Shooting:

Let’s dive into the details:

  • The 590A1 Mossberg is a great option for sports shooting events that require greater accuracy and longer-range shooting.
  • Its heavy wall barrel makes it a more stable platform for accurate shooting, particularly when using slugs or other heavier loads.
  • It has the ability to handle high-volume shooting sessions also makes it a popular choice for competitive shooting events.


In the sport shooting category, the 590 is a bit better as it is more mobile and allows for faster shooting with less fatigue.

Which Offers the Best Value for Your Money

When it comes to the best value for your money, it ultimately depends on your needs and preferences. The 590 Mossberg is a reliable shotgun that is priced reasonably and can serve well for sport shooting. The Mossberg 590A1 is a more heavy-duty shotgun, designed for combat and tactical situations, and comes with a higher price tag.


Mossberg 590

Mossberg 590A1




If you require a shotgun for self-defense or combat, the 590A1 model may be the better choice for you, as its performance justifies its higher price.

However, if you are on a tighter budget and do not require such a heavy-duty shotgun, the Mossberg 590 is a great option that offers good performance at a reasonable price.

Which Offers the Best Value for Your Money

Which One to Pick?

Choosing between the Mossberg 590 and 590A1 can be a tough decision. Here are some key points to consider when making your choice:

  • If you’re looking for a reliable shotgun for home defense or tactical situations, the 590A1 is the better option.
  • If you want something for sport shooting, the 590 may be the better choice.
  • The Mossberg 590 is generally less expensive than the 590A1.
  • The 590A1 is designed for heavy use and is more durable than the 590.
  • The 590A1 has a larger magazine capacity than the 590, making it better suited for tactical situations.
  • The 590A1 is available in a wider range of lengths than the 590.
Which One to Pick?

Both the guns are quite good in their own regard but the best in our opinion is the Mossberg 590A1. Even though it is more expensive but it is built like a tank. It is more durable and reliable, and better suited for tactical operations. Overall, it is the more versatile model of the two.


Does the military use 590A1?

Yes, the military does use the Mossberg 590A1 shotgun. It is a popular choice among various military branches and law enforcement agencies due to its durability and reliability.

What is the best 590A1?

The best 590A1 shotgun depends on the intended use and personal preferences of the shooter. Mossberg offers various configurations with different features such as barrel length, capacity, and stock options, so it is important to choose the one that suits your needs.

Do police use Mossberg 590?

Yes, the Mossberg 590 shotgun is used by various police departments and law enforcement agencies around the world. Its reliability, durability, and ease of use make it a popular choice.

Is a 590A1 smooth bore?

The Mossberg 590A1 shotgun is available in both smoothbore and rifled configurations. Smoothbore versions are more commonly used as they are more versatile and can shoot a wider variety of ammunition.

Is the 590 a good shotgun?

The 590 is a highly reliable, versatile, and accurate shotgun that is suitable for a variety of applications. It is a popular choice among hunters, sport shooters, and home defense users. It is easy to use and is available in different customizations.


Both the 590 and 590A1 shotguns are reliable, well-built, and versatile firearms that can be used for a variety of purposes. There are a few differences between the two and you can only tell them apart through the bayonet lug or the magazine caps. If you are on a strict budget then the 590 is a better option other than that 590A1 is the clear better choice.

Have you had any experience with either of these shotguns? Which one would you choose and why? Let us know in the comments below.

Tyler Purol is a professional Bowhunter. He has professional training in hunting. For many years he hunts regularly.