This year Mossberg’s 500 pump turns 50 years old. Millions of Model 500s have been produced since the gun debuted in 1961. I have been thinking about the Model 500 lately for a couple of reasons.


For one thing, I have a large and tender bruise on the web of my left hand from shooting two rounds of buckshot out of a pistol-gripped police-style 500 on the Gun Nuts TV show this week.

Also, our video editor Michael Shea asked me which shotgun had the first factory camo stock. The earliest factory camo job I can find record of was on the M-500 back in 1986. It would make sense given Mossberg’s history of industry firsts that the Model 500 was the first camo shotgun.

As the gun’s August 12 50th birthday approaches it’s a good time to mention again that not only is the 500 inexpensive, but it was the first factory shotgun available with a rifled slug barrel; an inline muzzleloader barrel; a cantilever scope mount; a stock with interchangeable combs; (I think) a camo finish and several other innovations.

Also, Model 500s are smooth out of the box and they have a top safety for us left-handed shooters. The only thing I don’t like about the gun is the way the barrels screw into the end of the magazine cap. All in all, it’s an durable gun that has stood the test of time, as a sporting, military and law enforcement arm, so: Happy Birthday!