For the seasoned gun owner this shotgun isn’t all that exciting. All it really is, is an 18.5″ barreled Mossberg Maverick 88 coupled with ATI’s Top Folding Stock rather than the run-of-the-mill semi-pistol grip stock (normal stock) that is found on most of Mossberg’s shotguns. As far as I know, this shotgun was initially made available to purchase by Palmetto State Armory around November of 2017 but is now part of Mossberg’s product line up.
I’ll just talk about the gun from the stock to the muzzle. The attention-getting feature on this gun lies in the Top Folding Stock from Advanced Technology International Outdoors, or ATI. It is made almost entirely of glass reinforced polymer with the exceptions being the spring for the fold/unfold button, a screw in the buttplate pivot, the sling stud, and the screw that attaches the stock to the gun. The high amount of plastic really hasn’t been a problem though. The stock is strong enough for me. I have folded and unfolded it hundreds of times and it doesn’t seem to have developed additional play. It had a little movement in it from the get go but it isn’t something to get worried about. I have disassembled the mechanism and I trust it enough for a home defense shotgun. The pivot can be tightened if it starts to get loose.
A criticism I do have for it has to do with comfort. The inside edge where your cheek rests will scrape your face during shooting. Furthermore, when you go to unfold the stock, you got to watch out. Your finger tip can get pinched when you go to press the button that allows the stock to foldout. Just be mindful and you will survive. The other aspects of this stock are A-okay. The buttplate doesn’t do any locking since it relies on friction to keep it folded/unfolded and it feels fine to me. The pistol grip was designed well. It has a finger grove that may not agree with some people’s hands but that isn’t the case for me. It is comfortable and adds to grip security.
That brings us to an important point. The reason why I got this gun as apposed to getting the more appealing Mossberg 500 and then attaching ATI’s Top Folding Stock to it had to due with the safety location of the Mossberg Maverick 88. Instead of the usual tang (the top rearward area of the receiver) safety that is found on the 500, the Maverick 88 has a cross bolt safety which works well with the pistol grip stock. The safety can be turned on/off more easily than with the safety on the 500. As for the other controls, they are standard for such a shotgun. Just a normal action release button that is close to the thumb and a moderately light and short-pull trigger. The trigger guard (and the trigger mechanism housing) is plastic which is them same case with the 500. Just like all of Mossberg’s pump guns, the shell lifter is tucked up against the bolt when the action is closed and, therefor, is out of the way when you go to load the mag tube. Many other shotguns from the other companies have intrusive shell lifters that have to be pushed out of the way when you insert shell’s into the magazine tube.
This makes reloading harder to do.
The receiver is made of aluminum with some sort of a smooth polished black finish. It isn’t paint and it doesn’t seem like anodization or anything else I can think of. It is less reflective than the blued steel components but it obviously isn’t blued because it isn’t composed of steel. As many probably know, Maverick 88 receivers aren’t drilled and tapped for a picatinny rail so if you want to mount a red dot then you will have to buy a side saddle that has a rail incorporated in it which will run you like $65. I know this isn’t the case with all Maverick 88 models but this gun’s receiver has a flat area milled into the top of the receiver. This aids with aiming given that you only have a bead sight to work with.
Moving on. The steel magazine tube, which is interchangeable with the 500’s, holds 5 rounds. This gives you 6 shots if you plan on storing this with one in the chamber and if you do that I would certainly suggest that you leave it with the safety activated since the trigger would be exposed and I don’t believe these guns are drop safe although I have purposely jarred this gun many times and it hasn’t gone off. The pump “furniture” is a simple and it works. Its geometry engages the hands securely but due to its small size it allows my finger tips to contact the barrel which can burn after a single mag dump.
The barrel is your standard 18.5″ cylinder bore close quarters shotgun barrel that can fire both 2-3/4″ and 3″ magnum shot shells. 18″ is the shortest you can legally go on a non-NFA shotgun that has a stock on it without getting a bunch of oath-breaking, government thugs all up in your business. Supposedly, the extra .5″ is there to give protection from any member of law enforcement that may try and claim that you have an “illegal short barreled shotgun”. At the end of the barrel there is brass bead sight which has stayed in place so far and shows zero signs of moving. This is good because a lot of budget pump shotguns tend to eject their bead sights after 50-ish shells. As part of the barrel screw there is a tapped hole that can accept a sling swivel. By the way, this barrel doesn’t accept any chokes.
In the end, I think this low cost offering from Mossberg makes for a fine home/apartment defender especially when it is coupled with #4 buck shot which is generally believed not to penetrate modern residential interior walls all the while it still offers lethal terminal ballistics. When consider this and the overall theme of this gun you may be tempted to purchase it for home defense. This shotgun has worked flawlessly for me and I certainly know and trust the design of the 500/Maverick 88. One can tell it is a little rough around the edges but it works and is nothing to shake a stick at in a home defense situation.
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