View Full Version : Is a Mossberg 500 drop safe?

chris in va
May 10, 2007, 11:46 AM
Compared to modern handguns, how safe is a 500?

May 10, 2007, 11:58 AM
From the Mil Spec the 500 is produced to:


3.17.6 Rouqh handlinq. Shotguns shall be capable of
withstanding the impact when dropped from a height of four feet
onto a hard surface without causing the weapon to be unsafe or
unserviceable. This shall apply throughout the temperature range
of -20 to +120"F. Type I shotguns shall include M7 bayonet and
scabbard as specified in 3.3.1.b.

4.6.7 Rouqh handlinq. After completion of the performance
test, three weapons shall be chosen and subjected to the rough
handling test. Each weapon will have the safety a primed
cartridge case in the chamber and a fully loaded magazine. One
weapon shall be conditioned at -20"F, one at ambient and one at
+120°F for a minimum of four hours prior to the test. The
weapons shall be dropped a minimum distance of four feet (lowest
point on the weapon to the drop surface) in each of the following
five modes: butt end down, right side down, left side down, top
side down, and 45 degree angle with vertical plane - butt end
down. The drop surface shall be 85 + 5 Durometer (Shore A)
rubber mat, one inch thick, backed by concrete. At the test's
conclusion, the weapon must be safe and serviceable and the
primed shell shall not have fired.

The Performance test is not clearly outlined, but I believe it is the Endurance test:
4.6.5 Endurance test. Shotguns shall be tested for endurance requirement (see 3.17.5) by firing 3000 rounds of ammunition.

I.E a lomg way of saying preety safe.

May 10, 2007, 02:26 PM
Virtually all post-WWII shotguns are drop safe for the simple reason that it's almost impossible to drop a shotgun on the muzzle with enough force to overcome the firing pin spring.

The Remington 870 has been used by millions of police and military units since 1950, and I've never heard of a case of one firing when dropped that wasn't defective or altered.

Same holds for the Mossberg's.

May 10, 2007, 04:46 PM
This wasn't a Mossberg or 870, but the shotgun seemed to have gone off when it hit the steering column. I'm still looking, but I believe that there was a more recent accident where the shotgun's butt hit the door as the officer was exiting and the passenger was shot.


May 10, 2007, 08:37 PM
Yeah the Ithica 37's had/has some age on them. Supposedly the NYPD is getting ready to replaced theirs, not sure if the LAPD has thiers or not. Don't get me wrong they do have some things going for them, but I would not be comfortable with them has a duty gun.

James K
May 10, 2007, 09:23 PM
Unless the gun has been tampered with, it should be drop safe under any reasonable conditions (and many unreasonable ones).

When a gun "goes off by itself" while a person is holding it, with the safety off, I tend to think that the person might have had something to do with the discharge, no matter what an investigation shows. A person careless enough to rack a loaded shotgun without at least putting it on safe just might be careless enough to let the gun point at his partner and careless enough to have his finger on the trigger when the gun is "bumped."


May 11, 2007, 12:43 AM
I've never dropped a loaded gun, what makes you ask. This reminds me of a goofy saying I heard once "running faster than a French border guard with a coupon for free cigarettes" just a joke please dont get mad at me.

chris in va
May 11, 2007, 01:33 AM
It's my HD shotgun, 18.5" barrel. Just making sure in case it ever slides off the wall or anything.

May 11, 2007, 07:20 AM
Several months ago I came home and found the Marlin 30-30 laying on the floor, below the wall rack that it was hanging on. Somehow it fell on its own, while the Mossy 500 stayed in place. No shots were fired but it did ding up the new laminated floor.

Smitty in CT
May 11, 2007, 10:37 AM
...It's my HD shotgun, 18.5" barrel. Just making sure in case it ever slides off the wall or anything...

I think an easier solution would be not to keep a round in the chamber, with the safety on, then there's no chance of an AD. Keeping loaded and cocked guns hanging on the wall is a recipe for disaster...IMO

chris in va
May 12, 2007, 02:52 AM
It's not hanging on the wall, leaning against it.

And I don't know how many times I've been told both on here and in my HD classes to leave one in the chamber, full mag. Racking apparently gives away your position, plus one less round that can be used.

Smitty in CT
May 12, 2007, 05:51 PM
The ONLY time I chamber a round is to fire it, if he knows where the shot is coming from I don't care by that time its too late...

I have 3 kids though so maybe I'm over cautious....


May 12, 2007, 08:10 PM
I'd say Smitty is right. I leave my HD shotgun in "cruiser ready"...that is: hammer down, safety off, chamber empty, mag full. You can have the gun racked before the bead is at eye level, so I dont see any real time penalty.

May 16, 2007, 07:40 PM
I've carried both a 870 and a 500 using them to breech doors. With rounds in the chamber, they have both been hit against walls, slung on my back pretty hard, and beaten up pretty good. The 500 even got dropped down about 15 cement stairs just bouncing it's way down. Neither one has ever "accidentally" gone off. Yeah, i know i'm pretty rough on my tools at times but they've always been there for me.

chris in va
May 17, 2007, 01:33 AM
I'd say that about covers it. :D

May 17, 2007, 02:14 AM
I assume if you've got one in the chamber and it's leaning against the wall you have the safety on. Should be ok.

May 17, 2007, 02:15 PM
And I don't know how many times I've been told both on here and in my HD classes to leave one in the chamber, full mag. Racking apparently gives away your position, plus one less round that can be used.

Former military weapons sergeant and federal LEO here. I've always been taught empty chamber, hammer forward, and no safety (so called "cruiser ready"). Rack and fire when you need to perform lead therapy. What HD class is teaching its students to store a shotgun with one in the chamber?

May 17, 2007, 03:04 PM
I think the whole 1 in the chamber vs. empty chamber hammer down full mag is alot like the cocked and locked carry vs. hammer down de cocker carry.I prefer the mag full and 1 in the chamber with the safety on.I like having it ready to go and 6 + 1 sounds better to me then just 6.That said I dont have kids but my friend does.he prefers mag full with action open and cable lock through it left on the upper shelf of his closet.oldest kid is only 3 now so when they get older he says he will find a new place to store it.all he has to do is unlock the cable yank it out and rack the slide after he closes it using the slide release.

October 4, 2007, 12:16 AM
I can't answer the poster's question, but I am among those who choose to keep their pump shotgun in Condition 1 - full mag, with a round in the chamber, and the safety ON. Mossberg 500A Persuader is my pumpgun of choice. I have no kids in my household to worry about, so I'm comfortable with this approach. I prefer the near instant readiness of having a round in the chamber and do NOT want to have to rack the slide before being able to shoot... the first sound I want an intruder to hear in the event of a shooting is that of a discharge. And I don't want to lose a round of capacity either. If I had kids around, my program would probably be different.

October 4, 2007, 10:10 AM
When I was a kid, I dropped a 16ga Mossberg on the butt end by accident and it discharged. No one was hurt but it scared the hell out of us. Since then I never keep 1 in the chamber until I'm ready to fire. Kinda like driving with your headlights on in the daytime...Cheap insurance.

P.S. Vintage 1960's. Don't recall if safety was on or not. Whether it was on or not, the split second saved by keeping 1 in the chamber is not worth the outcome of even a small chance of an AD to me.

October 4, 2007, 01:23 PM
ronto... just curious... any idea what vintage the gun was? Did the gun have a safety and was the safety ON?

October 4, 2007, 01:44 PM

geezer in NH
October 4, 2007, 10:16 PM
I call fibbing with a finger inside the trigger guard by the dufus holding it. :eek:

October 21, 2007, 04:03 AM
IMO guns discharge 'cause the trigger was pulled. Of course the officers will deny it. It must be the gun's fault.

October 25, 2007, 01:40 PM
Several years ago, before I retired, a lot of the PD in Texas pulled their Mossberg shotguns out of service. This was due to the safety design. They had the sliding, top of the receiver mounted type of safety. It was found that is was way too easy for the gun to be accidentally discharged when using, from the hand sliding up the receiver back end and moving the safety slide switch. There was a couple of fatal incidents due to this, along with many non-fatal accidental discharges. The discharges usually happened when the barrel came in contact with an object, and the sudden stop of the barrel caused the trigger hand to ride up over the back of the receiver and slide the safety to the fire position, while at the same time, the sudden stopping movement usually caused the users trigger hand to flinch and tighten its grip, and then the gun would discharge. The new replacement shotguns all had to have the trigger cross block type of safeties, the ones in the trigger housing that had to be pushed one way or the other, for FIRE or SAFE position. For this reason, I personally do not, and have not ever owned a Moss. pump, or any other shotgun that uses the sliding top tang type safety. Just my experience and $0.02.

October 25, 2007, 11:07 PM
the sudden stopping movement usually caused the users trigger hand to flinch and tighten its grip, and then the gun would discharge.That just shows pisspoor officer training. :rolleyes: It's not a fault of the gun.

If you have already chambered a round you need to be on high alert, And that means high level of safety consciousness as well.
If you are moving around with a chambered round and your finger on the triggger you're a fool. That's simply reckless behaviour. :barf:

There was a couple of fatal incidents due to this, along with many non-fatal accidental discharges. That department has a fundamental training deficiency! :eek: And you can drop that "accidental" BS. They were ALL negligent discharges. :mad:
And what in the hell were they doing running around bumping into things while carrying a charged shotgun with their finger on the trigger in the first place? Is that a police department or a circus act?

In all of my years of sealing with police officers and police departments I have NEVER heard anyone complain that they accidentially moved a Mossberg safety and had a discharge. I've personally used Mossbergs for over 35 years and never had a problem with the safety. Never heard of anyone else having one either. Years Ago™, I sold quite a few of the old S&W/Nobel riotguns and never heard of any problems with their top mounted safeties either.

I sort of collect "riot" style shotguns. Out of all of them all I think the Mossberg (and early Smith & Wesson) top safety is the best because you don't have to be anywhere near the trigger to activate it. With the Winchester or Remington or Ithaca or High Standard the safety is either right in front or right behind the trigger guard. It's extremely easy to find your finger in the triggerguard while going for the safety.
Back in the stone age when I was in training we were taught that when you pumped a round into the chamber the safety was to be OFF. You simply kept your finger out of the triggerguard until you were ready to fire.
It's a pretty dang easy procedure to comprehend.

Just keep your booger-hook off the bang switch!

Or as a LEO friend of mine once said, "Keep your $#@d#! donut hanger off the *&^%f$#@! justice button".

The Mossberg IS drop safe. But just like all firearms it ain't goof-proof. Especially when handled by a sufficiently movivated goof.