Mossberg 930 Hunting All-Purpose Semi-Auto Shotgun with Synthetic Stock



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Mossberg 930 Hunting All-Purpose-The Mossberg® 930™ Hunting All-Purpose Semi-Auto Shotgun features a 3″ chamber, and a dual-vent gas system that cycles the full spectrum of shotgun loads from 2-3/4″ field loads to 3″ magnums. A vent rib with a single fiber-optic sight gets you on target instinctively. The receiver is drilled and tapped for mounting an aftermarket optic sight. Hunters can operate the top-mounted safety quickly with the thumb of either hand, even with gloves on, making the 930 naturally ambidextrous. The rugged synthetic stock is impervious to weather, and a ventilated recoil pad takes the sting out of magnum loads. Sling swivel studs allow the attachment of a sling. The 930 Semi-Auto Shotgun comes with an Accu-Choke® tube set (F, M, IC), making it a versatile shotgun for hunting waterfowl, turkey, pheasants, or predators.

Cycles 2-3/4″ field loads to 3″ magnums
Rugged synthetic stock
Single fiber-optic sight
Top-mounted safety
Ventilated recoil pad
Accu-Choke tube set
There was a time not long ago that the words affordable semi-auto shotgun were a near-instant disqualifier for most shotgun aficionados. However, the Mossberg 930 changed all that and brought forth an affordable, robust, modular, and reliable line of semi-auto shotguns.

Today, we are reviewing the 930 SPX model–a premier tactical variant of the 930 shotgun.

It takes a mighty well known and well-respected shotgun manufacturer like Mossberg to change the industry.

The Mossberg 930 came out kicking and screaming with a 600 dollar price tag in a time when reliable semi-auto shotguns carried the hefty price of Benelli and Beretta attached to them. Nothing wrong with Berettas and Benellis though, they’re just expensive.

The 930 wasn’t just one gun either.

It was a family of firearms that accommodated various needs, including home defense and tactical use, hunting, and 3-gun. Mossberg 930 Hunting All-Purpose

The 930 family is significant, and any discerning shotgun shooter can find a model to suit their overall needs. From birds to bad guys, the 930 line has something for everyone.

Various 930 tactical configurations exist, but the SPX is the top of the line tactical model. It’s designed for home defense and police applications. The SPX model is considerably pricer than a standard 930 tactical but is packed with out of the box features. A standard 930 Tactical can be had for 450 bucks, but the SPX is often in the 600 dollar price ranges.

The Mossberg 930 SPX follows the path of most tactical semi-autos and uses a gas-powered design. This ensures you can strap numerous accessories to it without inhibiting reliability. The 930 SPX is short and light and a weapon well suited for home defense and tactical use. The gun is an out of the box option that’s outfitted with a higher than average capacity, ghost ring sights, and a handy 18.5-inch barrel.

If I stay away from semi-auto shotguns, I forget how much fun they can be. There is something so utterly addictive about delivering 12 gauge power as fast as you can pull the trigger. It’s a comfortable feeling if you are considering a shotgun for home defense. As the review started, I mentioned reliability and affordability, so let’s start there. Mossberg 930 Hunting All-Purpose

The good news is the Mossberg 930 is a very reliable weapon. Gas-operated shotguns tend not to be too finicky, and the 930 SPX is no different. Ammo wise, it can handle everything, but very light sub-1000 fps trap loads, which I don’t consider a downside because they are specialized rounds I have no use for.

The 930 SPX does digest pretty much every standard load, including cheap birdshot. This includes those cheap, bulk number 8 or 7.5 loads designed to be affordable and widely available. It eats all of it. In terms of buckshot, I tend to be a fan of Federal FliteControl, which is a reduced recoil load. These reduced recoil loads have no problems in the 930. Neither do the cheapest Fiiochi reduced recoil loads I have on hand.

Reliability only becomes an issue when you fail to clean the gun. About 1,000 rounds in the weapon needs cleaning or it’s going to start gumming up. That’s not bad to be fair, but guns like the Benelli M4 can go and go and go without issue. They also cost three times as much. The new 940 JM Pro actually made an effort to improve this, and that gun can go longer between cleanings. Mossberg 930 Hunting All-Purpose

This specific model has the traditional shotgun style stock, and when it comes to Mossberg’s, this is the right stock to go with. This makes that brilliant tang safety easily accessible, and it’s by far the best shotgun safety on the market. The safety’s ambidextrous, easy to engage, and perfect for a straight shotgun stock.

The charging handle is a bit dainty, and I have replaced it with a broader, square-shaped model. This is another issue they fixed on the 940 Pro. The bolt release is surprisingly large and comfortable to engage. I like to load over the top for port loading, and striking the button has become a very natural means to emergency reload. The loading port has a shell lifter that loves to pinch when loading the gun, and this was another issue addressed on the 940 JM Pro.

The length of pull is 14 inches, which is fine for me, and likely most adult men. For youth or smaller framed shooters, the LOP may feel a bit long. The stock provides an excellent cheek weld for using the ghost ring sights. The forend is long and textured, which makes it easy to grip for gorilla’s like me who have very long arms.

Those ghost ring sights do allow you to make the most use out of loads like Federal FliteControl. They provide a good deal of precision at various distances and will enable you to make the most out of this tight grouping buckshot load.

The trigger is also surprising. The trigger is often a forgotten part of shotgun design, but the Mossberg 930 has a surprisingly lovely trigger. It has hardly any take-up, and it has a short and light wall with a nice crisp break.

The 930 SPX is also an accurate slug thrower if that’s your thing. The sights are made by an Italian firm known as LPA, and they do make some robust sights. The front sight is a high visibility red fiber optic that’s clean and easy to focus on. It’s also eye-catching and quick on target. Mossberg 930 Hunting All-Purpose

Backing up the nice sights is an optic’s rail should you go red dot sight on your shotgun.

There is something addictive about 12 gauge double taps or rapidly emptying the 930 SPX’s 7 round tube into a target or several targets. The gas-operated design ensures recoil is nice and soft. You can shoot this thing all day long and never worry about a bruised shoulder or feeling ragged and beat up.

You’ll deal with muzzle rise, but you can minimize that via proper mitigation techniques. I do prefer a push/pull method and find that the Mossberg 930 SPX responds well to that. The long, textured forend makes the push portion quite simple. The 930 SPX is a ton of fun to shoot, and running through various drills always makes me smile.

One of my favorites is a Z drill. It requires a good berm and four clay pigeons. Arrange the pigeons in a Z shape and transition from one to another. It’s a great drill for both precision and speed work with a shotgun. Mossberg 930 Hunting All-Purpose

The Mossberg 930 SPX costs more than most pump guns and even more than some semi-auto guns. However, when it comes to the right price for the right level of quality, the Mossberg 930 SPX is right on the money. You aren’t paying the Italian tax on a fine semi-auto shotgun, but you also aren’t getting a hunk of junk that’s pickier than a 2-year-old who only eats Dinosaur Nuggets. I think it represents the best value for a self-defense worthy semi-auto shotgun.

When it comes to tearing down, cleaning, and reassembling your Mossberg 930 SPX, it helps to actually see what’s going on before tackling this job for the first time. There’s some special practical things that you’re going to want to know beforehand. Fortunately, Northwoods Renaissance has put together a great video full of great info, quick wit, and dry humor that will keep you watching and learning until the end.

Review: Mossberg 930 SPX Tactical: Super Reliable
Semi Vs. Pump
The 930 Tactical 8-shot SPX is a rather long name that gives us some clues as to the intended use. The first stop, of course, is that it is a gas-operated, semi-auto shotgun. Mossberg 930 Hunting All-Purpose

What does this mean?

It’s the kind of shotgun you load up by putting multiple shells in the magazine (tube). Once you rack the charging handle, you can pull the trigger and fire repeatedly without doing anything else. The shotgun harnesses the gas from the shell to cycle the action.

There are also inertia driven semi-autos, but that’s a different article.

Pump guns require you to cycle the gun—pulling the handle back ejects the spent shell and loads a fresh one—every time you fire, until empty. Historically, pump guns have a better reputation for feeding and shooting reliably.

With a massive charging handle, Picatinny rail, large bolt-release button, and protected ghost-ring sight, this is not your daddy’s shotgun!

Tactical Vs. Hunting
The moniker “tactical” is in this name and it’s a doozy. What does “tactical” mean? It depends on who you ask, but to me, it’s pretty specific.

I like features that enable me to smoothly operate the gun (training and familiarity are givens) efficiently and effectively in high-stress situations.

For example, this shotgun has a pistol grip. I like it for maneuvering the still relatively long gun. The controls are large, particularly the charging handle and bolt release. Mossberg 930 Hunting All-Purpose

This is important because things go to hell when your heart rate gets high in exciting situations (like a shooting). We lose fine motor control around 115-120 beats per minute though training—if present—factors heavily.

The bolt release button and charging handle are quite robust on this gun. The knurled handle isn’t ridiculous but it is designed with gripping and ripping in mind.

By way of comparison, think about the relatively smooth and recessed (think snag-free) controls on a hunting shotgun.

This is because geese aren’t armed and coming for you. These items are of incredible importance as they directly affect how reloads go.

Some other nice tactical features are the Picatinny rail on the receiver, allowing you to mount whatever close engagement optic you might prefer.

Additionally, the ghost ring sights (with fiber optic) were an extremely nice touch. From the first glance, pulling this gun out of the box, it was ready for a mortal engagement and I do not say that lightly. Mossberg 930 Hunting All-Purpose

Show Vs. Go
I would not be worth my salt were I to simply be wooed by tactical features. Nay good reader, I headed to the range with a veritable cornucopia of shotgun shells to test how the gun might perform.

I had read varying experiences amongst different users with various Mossberg 930 models, but I placed all this aside with my reptilian/law enforcement reservations about semis, donned my science cap, and started shooting.

I had the 930 for several months and took it to the range five times.

Some of the features sang out as soon as I started loading. Turning the shotgun over on its side, it seemed loading was optimized. Dropping a shell into the open chamber, I cleared my hand and hit the large bolt release button allowing it to slam home.

Simply sliding the next shell in, pushing the elevator down, then forcing the follower down the tube, felt smooth. In fact, it felt like it was built to run fast if I could muster the acumen. Mossberg 930 Hunting All-Purpose

I shot like a man possessed, only setting the gun down long enough to open a new box. I liked how the sling allowed me to hang the gun and work on my reloads. I really started to wonder how long it would be before I experienced some kind of issue.

I realized I had surpassed 300 rounds and hadn’t even cleaned the Mossberg. I had heard gas guns could be finicky or temperamental—not this one. The dual-gas vent system was solid.

I measured the trigger on a Lyman Digital Gauge and it averaged 4.6 pounds. There was roughly 1mm of creep, a slight build, then a snap. Reset was a little longer but gave a mild click I could feel.

Overall, it was great. Perhaps most importantly, if called upon to do so, I could get 8 rounds downrange in under 2 seconds. That is a frightening amount of firepower in a short amount of time. The trigger works well.

I walked out to 50 yards and shot for accuracy, very pleased at how I was able to use the fiber-optic sights to empty a mag in my man-sized target. I was continually impressed with the accuracy, but more importantly, the reliability of the gun.

Through 350 shotgun shells of varying brands and size, I had no malfunctions.

The Scientific Method
I remembered I had set off with the notion semi-auto shotguns were not reliable and deemed to challenge that.

About halfway through I thought I might want to clean the gun and give it a fair shake. Because I had not experienced the slightest issue, I persevered instead. Mossberg 930 Hunting All-Purpose

When the smoke cleared, I had fired off a shoulder-blistering amount of shells without a single malfunction. The Mossberg 930 Tactical 8-shot SPX chewed them up and kept spitting them out.

I had to admit, were I still out on the road today, I’d be comfortable trading up the pump gun for this shooter.

By The Numbers
Reliability: 5/5

I have to guess I’d run into some issues at some point. Few firearms are made to withstand complete neglect. I feel like 350 shells without a cleaning is outstanding. I shot quality brands like Remington, Winchester, and Federal, but I used a wide array of loads of various power. Mossberg 930 Hunting All-Purpose

Ergonomics: 4/5

Some people don’t like pistol grip shotguns and I get it. When learning to shoot long distance, I was taught to use a relaxed grip with my trigger hand. It applies to shotguns too.

I genuinely like the ergonomics of this gun and I think most people would be able to use it fairly well.

There are versions of the 930 Tactical with a more normal grip, if that’s what you’re into.

Accuracy: 5/5

Some folks think a shotgun sprays like a ruptured firehose but this is not the case. Being able to hit center mass on a man-sized target at 50-yards was easy with this gun. It could probably do even better.

Customization: 3/5

Here I’m a little disappointed. It seems like there are more versions of the 930 out there than you can shake a stick at.

However, a shotgun, especially one designated for tactical scenarios, should be able to accept a flashlight, and maybe a sling. Thanks to the folks at Mesa Tactical, you can do both. Mossberg 930 Hunting All-Purpose

Value: 4/5

The MSRP on this shotgun (specifically, the 930 Tactical – 8 Shot SPX – Pistol Grip in tan) is $1,078.00. I found a few online that were a couple of hundred dollars cheaper but took note that it wasn’t by much.

I don’t feel there is a great deal of overvalue like you sometimes see when there is a huge disparity between MSRP and actual market pricing.

This shotgun is accurate, powerful, and reliable.

Overall: 4/5

At $1,000 plus you might be tempted to stop and weigh out your options. That’s a lot of cheddar. But the Mossberg 930 SPX Tactical is super reliable, ergonomically decent with its various models, and accurate. It really depends on what role you have in mind. To my estimation, this gun is designed for tactical applications.

I could easily envision it in service with a SWAT team but it could also serve as a terrifying home defender.

With a street price in the 800s, this is a lean mean shell flinging machine.


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