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Mossberg Mavercik 88

Caliber:12 Gauge, 20 Gauge, .410

Price: $180-$350 (price seems to be all over the place lately)

If you need one gun and one gun only to do any of the following: hunting, home defense, plinking, or skeet shooting, a shotgun can basically cover all that without breaking your budget. Pump actions in particular are some of the most versatile guns out there. I mean, sure it’s not going to have the same capabilities of a proper rifle nor is it going to be as small and concealable as a handgun but the shotgun does fill the niche for a close-medium range firearm with a shit load of firepower (depending on your loads and gauge of course). Even in these trying times with everyone from commies, centralist clueless Biden voters, MIGA boomers, LIGMA Zoomers, and anyone who saw the writing on the wall in terms of how society is collapsing as we speak have been desperate since last year in getting a firearm in the event when law and order no longer exist (or maybe the food isn’t just there in the markets anymore). Usually, everyone goes for the shotgun because KACHUNK BOOM!!!!!!!!, DON'T HAVE TO AIM, JUST TWO SHOTS IN THE AIR AND YOU SCARE AWAY THE INTRUDER, and other outright incorrect and sometimes dangerous assumptions when it comes to shotguns. I can go into a whole rant on the misconceptions people have for shotguns as a result from poorly researched action films and video games. Instead, I’ll assume you are smart and provide you a simple answer to a common question. What shotgun should I buy? I don’t want to spend a lot of money on a Mossberg 500/590, Benelli, or old school Remington 870. Is there something that’s going to be affordable and reliable?

Unless you are looking in the used market (or what’s left of it), you are most likely going to want to buy something new. Like brand new from the factory. I can honestly say that the best cheap shotgun you can buy for the money is none other than the Maverick 88 from Mossberg. Other pump-action shotguns are out there that are significantly cheaper but they don’t have the reputation or customer support that a company like Mossberg will have. The Maverick 88 is a cheap shotgun. There are some parts that will feel kind of cheap but it's not flimsy by any means. The nice thing about the Maverick 88 is that it does share some interchangeability in terms of furniture and accessories with the Mossberg 500/590 series though there are some limitations. The forend for instance is not really changeable, and the safety is different, though the stock could be swapped with whatever you like just fine. Otherwise, it does pretty much what the 500 and 590 does which is shoot shotgun shells. It’s pretty reliable too (as should be expected for a pump action). Just keep your shotgun clean and lubed as you would with any other firearm.

The Maverick 88 can be bought in a variety of configurations. Some will have a pistol grip while others will have a traditional stock. The one I bought has an 7+1 magazine tube and a traditional stock layout. I have more experience with this format over pistol grips when it comes to shotguns. Quality wise, it’s not too different from a Mossberg 500 I also own (though that’s in 20 gauge) apart from the safety and furniture being different. Both have loose tolerances which is supposed to help with the reliability and the trigger guard area is plastic (some people have a problem with this but I never had any issues with them). Since this isn’t a gun imported from Turkey or some otherworldly manufacture, parts are available everywhere and accessories are easy to find. For a cheap pump action shotgun, I wouldn’t go any lower than this. It just werks.

But to be fair, this shotgun does seem to be hard to find sometimes. Especially with all the panic doom and gloom buying. Are there other alternatives? Well, if you don’t mind single shot shotguns, I am sure you can find a nice New England toppers on the used market for under $200. I don’t know much about the modern offerings of these break action toppers other than they are usually going to be imports from Brazil, Turkey, China, or somewhere outside of the US. They are very cheap and are sometimes priced right under $100 though I would proceed with caution. There are also those Remington 870 clones from companies like Norinco, H&R, etc. The H&R Pardner Pump in particular has been said to be even better than the Remington 870 Express (which is known to have some pretty abysmal quality control considering it’s fucking Remington. Fucking hell Remington get your shit together!). It might be a Chinese import but the H&R is a decent shotgun none the less. Considering the aftermarket for 870 shotguns is massive, you’re not going to be short of customization options. The Savage 320 is another budget Chinese shotgun that might be worth a look too (it’s more of a Winchester 1300 clone but I heard it’s pretty good for the price). Just get a shotty bro. You’ll be glad you did.

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