Mossberg’s FLEX Shotgun System: Mossberg 500 Flex Review

Mossberg 500 Flex 12 Gauge Shotguns

Rarely is a gun made that’s as versatile, reliable, and feared as the 12 gauge shotgun. Used to breach doors, hunt, defend homes, penetrate walls, and just about anything else you can think of, every prepper should have at least one 12 gauge shotgun. When talking about the most popular options available in this platform, there are generally two different companies to talk about. However, the shotgun I trust is known as the Mossberg 500.

A few years ago, they upped the ante on the versatility of this popular home-defender even further in a model known as the Flex. The Mossberg 500 Flex can literally be converted from a deer or bird killer to a tactical home-defense gun in a matter of seconds.

Waterfowl Gun/Home-Defense Combo

The model they sent out to me was the Waterfowl Gun/Home-Defense Combo, which comes with the basics to bring dinner home with a buttstock, long barrel and the ability to hold six 3” shells in the tube. Then, once you get home with your food, you can swap the barrel out for an 18.5” shorty and replace the butt with a pistol grip.

Why? Well, have you ever maneuvered your house with a “tactical bird gun” complete with a 28” barrel? It’s not the easiest thing to do. Having the ability to buy one gun with many functions is great for people in certain areas, and personally, I don’t own a gun unless it can perform multiple uses.

As an added bonus, 12 gauge ammo is relatively cheap and versatile, not to mention abundant.

Shotgun shells

From the prepper’s perspective, it makes sense to stock cheaper ammo, like that which can be found in certain boxes of 12 gauge at the local store. Plus, most stores have shotgun ammo in stock at most times. Besides 9mm and .223/5.56, 12 gauge is one of the most common types of ammunition available.

As stated a minute ago, because many folks own at least one 12 gauge with ammo, you should be able to find it should the S ever HTF. Having the ability to find ammunition in a crunch can only be viewed as a good thing if you do ever need to defend yourself/family from some baddies.

One thing that many folks don’t consider when looking at a 12 gauge, like this Mossberg 500 Flex, is the simple fact that they are absolutely devastating, even out to distances up to 75 yards. Sure, you have to practice shooting it out to those distances, and a slug can drop like a boat anchor, but it can be done.

I set some targets out to 50 yards and was punching paper with nothing more than a front sight and the 28” barrel to keep me company. Granted, I wasn’t shooting at a small target, nor did I utilize an optic, but it can be done once you know how.

With a decent set of sights or an optic mounted atop your Mossy 500 Flex, you can bring dinner home, stop some bad guys, and even penetrate steel plating (car doors) or concrete walls with nothing more than your smooth-bore and some decent 12 gauge slugs.

Mossberg sent this 500 Flex to me several months ago, and I’ve had the chance to put a serious amount of lead downrange in various forms ranging from clay pigeon ammo and turkey shot, all the way up to 00 Buck and cheap slugs.

As you’d likely expect, there isn’t much to report on. Each time I chuh-chucked the slide and put the squeeze on the trigger, it went bang without fault, no matter what brand of shells I was sending home. It’s reliable to a boring fault, except the shoulder bruising caused by putting boxes of slugs downrange.

I’d like to note, here, that they also included a set of their Accu-Set choke tubes, but I opted to stick with the cylinder bore tube for this evaluation.

I’ll admit to you, that while I own several shotguns, a couple of them being Mossberg 500s, this was my first time taking the Flex for a spin. The best part about it, to me, is the multiple-guns-in-one aspect of owning a gun that is so modular.

Is the Mossberg 500 a Good Option for those looking for a 12 gauge shotgun? 

For folks who are unable to own more than one gun for whatever reason, or just need a multi-purpose gun because funds are limited, this is a great option–even if it is a bit more expensive with an MSRP starting in the $660 range, and going up from there. For that price, the package comes with two barrels, one 18.5” (with front bead) and one 26” (fiber optic), an extra slide with a rail for a light, a pistol grip, and a soft, zipper case.

Mossberg Flex 500 Accessories

I think the system’s biggest benefit, whether it’s a combo gun like the one Mossberg sent out to me, or you do a conversion on your own gun, is just how easy it is to switch from one platform to the next without needing to use any tools. Simply unscrew the barrel, push a couple of buttons on the pump/slide, and knock the buttstock off. You’re then ready to rock.

Of course, each gun always has negatives, as well. This time around, we have to ask ourselves before we get involved: Does a $600+ pump shotgun makes sense to buy when I can pick up a regular pump-action for $300?

If you find yourself asking that question, then this shotgun platform isn’t likely for you. You either see the reasoning behind it, or you don’t. Either option is fine, and in the greater scheme of things for the prepper-minded individual is that the necessity of owning a 12 gauge shotgun cannot be overstated. I trust the lives of my family with Mossberg’s shotguns and have no issue suggesting them to anyone I speak to.

I do want to say that there is a cheaper option to get into the Flex, as well. New for 2017, Mossberg released a black (non-camo) model for $597, and they also released Flex Conversion Kits to help those of you who already own a Mossberg Shotgun and would like the greater modularity that comes with the Flex.

Finally, for those preppers who own shotguns … we almost always fall into one of two distinct groups: Mossberg or Remington. I know which group I’m in, but I’m going to ask you to comment below just stating which of the two you own, and maybe why. Or, maybe you’re an oddball with a different brand. Either way, I’d like to see what you say so please don’t hold anything back.

Author Josh Gillem
About Josh Gillem
Josh is a lifelong practitioner and student of the gun. He grew up shooting/hunting with his dad, and was given his first gun, a 12 gauge shotgun, when just a small boy. After high school, he joined the Marines where his love for firearms blossomed as he qualified with an M16A2, an M9, and a 240G. Josh has been writing about firearms and tactics for several years, is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, and believes that each individual person has the right to self-defense by any means necessary.
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  1. Remington all day here, but I must say that I never thought I’d like a Mossberg but these actually look pretty darn sweet,

    • Same here, I’ve always been a Remington guy. Grew up learning to shoot an old 870 that I still shoot to this day. I do like the look of the Waterfowl Gun/Home-Defense Combo mentioned in the article and the ability to swap things out that quickly is going to make me give this a good look next time I hit up the gun store.

  2. Looks nice. I have a previous version of this Mossberg 12 gauge, that I paid a lot less for brand new, it came with the tactical hand grip, regular composite stock and both barrels, think I paid $269.00 for it. This may be a little over priced for Mossberg.

  3. By far the best shotgun I’ve ever owned, bought my 500 over 20 years ago and have harvested over 30 longbeards with it. I own or have owned several shotguns made for exclusively for turkey hunting, but I always reach in the gun safe for my 500.

  4. I’ve been in both camps with pumps but lean toward the Remington. In the last year I purchased a coach gun and love it. Then I saw a browning superposed, I couldn’t live without. When I go to the woods now, I generally grab one of the doubles.

  5. I learned how to shoot a shotgun on an 870 and carried one for many years at work. It was always reliable except for the finish on a wooden stocked one that proved no match for sweat one long night. When I went to an agency that didn’t provide long guns but let you buy one to carry, I bought a Benelli Supernova with ghost ring sight and it shot, and does shoot, incredibly accurately. Head shots at 25 yards with a slug are the norm with it. I recently bought a 500 Flex JIC on a whim for $255 on an auction site, and it is pretty slick. It came with a pistol-only grip but I found an AR style stock for $50 bucks so now have a pretty nice tactical set up on the cheap.

  6. Remington, Browning, Savage. Though the Mossberg is catching my eye for home defence. Still probably would grab my AR.

  7. Just bought my first Mossberg (Maverick 88) about a year ago for home defense . Live in the city, so that’s all I wanted out of a firearm. Anyway, I spent around $135 on it, but then I caught the bug and kitted it out. Making me wish I’d have just bought one of these instead of taking what I thought was the cheaper option. Building it up was fun though.

  8. Remington/ Browning. Like most people, the shotgun you are first introduced to, whether it’s with your Dad, Grandpa, or whoever, Is the gun you will probably gravitate to. I like the 87o as I started with that, but the BPS is my favorite bird gun. The BPS is so smooth, it’s hard to go back and forth but the 870 does have more accessories available.

  9. I own a Remington 1100 comp master and Mossberg 500. The Mossberg is for home defense. Here lately, my buddy has been talking about going bird hunting. When checking the rules for my state, neither shotgun qualify. I’m seriously considering getting this shotgun and trading off my 500 for it.

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