The shotgun is one of our most versatile
weapons. It is widely used around the world in clay target
competition, serves ideally for hunting birds and small game,
and is one of the best choices for a hand-held fighting weapon.
The latter topic is what we will deal with here, while looking
at a shotgun that I have been waiting to get my hands upon for
several months now.
The Mossberg 930 is a relatively new
semi-auto to the market, as far as shotguns go. Mossberg has had
great success with their pump shotguns for decades now, and a
trusted Model 590 has resided near my bed for many years. Still,
for fighting purposes, I prefer an autoloader. The fighting
shotgun seems to be the last hold-out among shooters from
switching from a manually-cycled weapon to an autoloader. Most
people went to autoloading pistols and rifles years ago for
fighting tools, but have held back on switching to a
semi-automatic shotgun, due to a lack of reliability in auto
shotguns of the past.
Today’s new breed of autoloading shotguns
are very reliable; as reliable as a semi-auto rifle or pistol.
The auto has a couple of advantages over a pump, in my opinion.
First is the fast-operating action. There are some professional
shooters who can work a pump as fast or faster than an auto can
cycle, but I ain’t one of them. Most likely, neither are you.
As with other auto loading weapons, the shooter of an auto
shotgun points the weapon and pulls the trigger, and the shotgun
will cycle as fast as you can work that trigger until the weapon
runs out of ammunition.
The auto also has the advantage of being
easier to handle one-handed than a pump gun, especially an auto
with a pistol grip such as this 930 SPX. Lastly, the gas
operation of an auto softens the felt recoil to the shooter’s
shoulder. In a defensive or offense situation, recoil is not the
main concern, but in long practice sessions, it makes a
difference, and in getting back on target quickly in a
distasteful social situation, it makes a difference as well.
This Mossberg 930 is basically their standard
930 gas gun, set up better for fighting. The 930 system
self-adjusts to fire both 2 ¾ and 3 inch shotgun shells. The
930 uses two ports in the barrel to bleed off the gas to cycle
the shotgun, and in testing everything from light target
handloads through three-inch magnum slugs and buckshot, the 930
SPX functioned perfectly. Every round fed, fired, and ejected
smoothly, and the bolt always locked open when the gun was
The SPX has very good sights, with a
protected fiber-optic front and a fully-adjustable LPA ghost
ring rear, which is mounted atop a Picatinny rail. I really like
the rail, as I prefer a good dot sight, such as the Trijicon
Reflex shown here. The Reflex is always “ON”, and never
needs batteries. The particular Reflex shown here also adjusts
the intensity of the dot for existing lighting conditions. In a
dimly-lighted area, the brightness of the dot is low, so as to
not blind the user to the target, but as light increases, so
does the brightness of the dot, making it visible even in the
brightest sunlight. The shooter can leave both eyes wide open,
as they should be in a defensive or offensive social situation.
However, for those who prefer mechanical sights, the SPX ghost
ring/fiber optic combo is as good as it gets. They are durable
and rugged, and the protective wings on the front are made of
steel. The LPA ghost ring housing is made of aluminum, but is
very rugged as well.
The SPX also possesses one unique feature
that, to me, is of paramount importance on any shotgun, but
particularly on a fighting shotgun. The SPX has the Mossberg
safety. It is large, textured, and easy to operate, with or
without gloves on, in any lighting condition, and even in total
darkness. It is much more natural to operate than a crossbolt
type safety, and every shotgun built for serious purposes should
have such a safety. Push forward to fire. Simple and easy. While
on the topic of firing the SPX, it has the best trigger pull
that I have felt on any shotgun in a long time. The pull on the
test gun measured four and one-quarter pounds on my scale, and
was fairly crisp, with just a slight bit of take-up on the slack
before the resistance is felt. Excellent trigger. I was not
expecting that. Another nice feature is the cocking indicator,
which is located inside the trigger guard, at the front. It is
easily felt, and protrudes into the guard about one-eighth inch.
Loading the magazine of the Mossberg is also
very straightforward and simple. Starting with an empty weapon
and the bolt locked open, drop a shell into the open ejection
port and push the bolt release, located on the right side of the
receiver. After that, load the magazine through the bottom. The
magazine capacity is seven 2 ¾ inch or six 3 inch shells.
Unloading the magazine can also be accomplished through the
loading port in the bottom, by pressing in on the shell latch,
releasing one shell at a time. The magazine can be topped off at
any time that there is an opportunity to do so, which is a great
advantage of a tubular magazine in a fight. The 930 SPX has
sling swivel studs, front and back. The barrel measures eighteen
and one-half inches in length, and is a cylinder bore, with no
threads for a screw-in choke tube. The gas system seems to be
robust, and as stated earlier, was perfectly reliable with all
The wide variety of shotgun ammunition
available is what makes the short shotgun such a great weapon
for close to moderate range work. For folks who live inside
apartment building or in neighborhoods where the houses are
close together, I recommend small-sized birdshot. These loads
will put a full ounce of shot into a fist-sized hole at
across-the-room distances, but the shot pellets lose velocity
and energy quickly after passing through a wall. When more power
is needed, buckshot is always a good choice. It is a common
fallacy, and often stated by the ignorant, that all you have to
do is point a shotgun in the general direction of an opponent
and pull the trigger, and the shot load will take out anything
in that geographic area. That is false. The shotgun still has to
be aimed or pointed correctly. At fifteen yards, a load of
buckshot will cover an area no larger than your hand, but it
will hit it hard, and do massive damage. For longer ranges, and
I limit myself to about eighty yards, rifled slugs do a great
job. They hit hard, with a one ounce slug delivering 437.5
grains of lead into the target. For smoothbore shotguns such as
this 930 SPX, I like the standard Foster-type lead slugs. The
saboted modern slugs work best in rifled barrels. I like the
standard nine-pellet 2 ¾ inch 00 buckshot load, and recently
found a really good deal on a supply of those at Lucky Gunner. I
bought the Federal shells in the twenty-five-round boxes. They
cost less that way.
The 930 SPX has an overall black finish, with
a black synthetic checkered stock and matte black metal. The
receiver is an aluminum alloy for lighter weight. The empty
weight of the SPX is seven and three-quarters pounds, with an
overall length of thirty-eight and three-quarters inches with
the recoil pad spacer installed, and three-quarters of an inch
less with it removed. The pistol grip aids greatly in one-handed
handling of the 930 SPX, which might be useful if one hand is
incapacitated in a fight.
I really like this shotgun. I like my 590
just fine, but have been trying out a few autoloading fighting
shotguns over the past few months. This Mossberg 930 SPX is a
fine weapon, and compares very favorably with shotguns costing
several hundred dollars more, while having features that are
second to none. Mossberg has had autoloaders in the past, but
this 930 series is an improvement over those earlier guns, and
it has every feature that I like on a fighting shotgun. It is
rugged, reliable, versatile, easy to operate, priced right, and
made in the USA.
Check out the 930 SPX online at www.mossberg.com.
For the location of a Mossberg dealer near
you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
To order the 930 SPX online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.
For a good deal on high performance buckshot
and slugs, go to www.luckygunner.com.
For more information on the Trijicon Reflex
sight, go to www.trijicon.com.