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Mossberg 940 Pro Tactical Review

A New and Improved Dumpster Defender?

Photos by Kenda Lenseigne

Despite being the go-to American brand when it comes to pump guns, Mossberg has never been able to capture the public imagination when it comes to semi-autos‚ mainly because past iterations of their offerings have been various flavors of hot garbage. 

The last model, the 930, was launched with the blessing of the prophet Miculek (PBUH) and seemed to be destined for greatness, but after witnessing first-hand several examples fail during courses of fire on the three-gun circuit, questions regarding consistency in their manufacturing persisted. Some users report nary a hiccup, while others seem to require detailed and rigorous cleaning every few hundred rounds in order to stave off gremlins. 

The 940 seeks to address all these concerns with a comprehensive revamp of several key components, and the ones we’ve shot all seem to run well. So far, so good.

While the ink pen was mostly removed, you can still tell this was the number 2 test mule for development purposes.

OVERVIEW

The 940 lineup debuted in 2020 with the JM Pro competition shotgun, an astute move by Mossberg. Rather than immediately move to production with a mass-market version, the new JM Pro allowed the company to put a limited number of high-touch examples in the hands of high-volume shooters; any shortcomings could be identified quickly and corrected before too many were in circulation. Since then, the company has rolled out a waterfowl version and a turkey model, before finally committing to a tactical or home defense variant. We were the first members of the press to get hands on an example outside of the carefully controlled environment of a press junket. 

With its extended bolt handle, bolt release, and ambi safety, the 940 Pro comes equipped with everything you might need for controls on a fighting shotgun.

HANDS ON

The 940 Pro Tactical is an 18.5-inch barreled, gas-operated semiauto 12 gauge, capable of accepting both 2¾- and 3-inch shells, for a total capacity of 7+1 or 6+1 respectively. We were able to ghost load another 2¾ shell onto the carrier for 7+1+1 all up, a decent payload for a Title 1 shotgun. Put another way, that’s 81 pellets of 00 buckshot, 189 pellets of #4 buck, or nearly 4,000 grains of lead if you’re slinging slugs. 

Rather than lock the end user into a fixed, improved cylinder choke, the 940 Pro is threaded for Accu-Choke tubes, with the muzzle featuring an expanded section to accommodate the threads. A red fiber-optic front sight is fitted to appease users who like that sort of thing, while the aluminum receiver is cut to directly accept a Shield RMSc-pattern mini red dot for those who live in the 21st century. A polymer barrel clamp captures both tubes and provides a single M-LOK slot on either side for accessories. A traditional sling swivel is mounted on the left side (and can be reversed for lefties). We’d like to see the number of M-LOK slots doubled, with a second one on both sides over the magazine tube, which would allow us to mount both a weapon light and a QD sling swivel point. While we’re at it, a QD cup on either side of the buttstock wouldn’t go amiss, either. 

The 940’s forend, like its stock, is injection molded from glass-filled nylon with reasonably aggressive checkering on the wrist and sides. Those wanting more grip can break out the ol’ wood burning tool and stipple to their heart’s content, and there’s a conveniently located panel at the forend’s 6 o’clock position to keep things neatly between the lines. At its shortest length of pull the stock can accommodate the smallest of small-statured shooters or those wearing plate carriers, while if you choose to add every one of the spacers, plus the second, longer buttpad, you can increase its LOP by another 2.5 inches. Rise and cast can also be adjusted by means of shims at the rear of the receiver, so there’s a good chance the 940 Tactical can be made to fit your particular physique. Shooters with larger hands might find the stock’s wrist dimensions to be a bit slender, but women and smaller guys won’t notice it.

The versatility embodied by different 12-gauge ammunition types is also an Achilles’ heel when it comes to reliability, as accommodating pressure curves found in everything from 1-ounce birdshot loads to 3-inch magnum slugs is a big ask. The 940 Pro manages to achieve this by means of a redesigned piston, which vents excess gas out the front, and a separate spring-loaded valve in the gas block that work together to trap just enough propellant to cycle the action. 

Despite the 508K being one of the smallest red dots on the market, it appears much larger than it would on a pistol slide due to how close it gets to your eyeball when on a shotgun receiver.

Any gas that makes its way under the forend meets a pusher tube connecting the piston to the twin operating rods, and this lightweight aluminum component features holes, vents, ridges, and ribs that both reduce friction and give carbon and plastic somewhere to go besides the outside of the mag tube. Mossberg claims the 940 Pro can run 1,500 shells between cleaning sessions — we were unable to verify this (try finding 1,500 shells of anything 12-gauge these days), but we had no failures to feed or eject. In an effort to further enhance reliability, key components of the gas and fire control system are nickel boron coated to reduce friction and make cleanup easier. 

We added a SureFire Mini Scout Light to the M-LOK slot on the barrel clamp, but doing so left us without a good option for mounting a sling. While we toyed with the idea of cutting a slot in the forend, we have a feeling it’s gonna be 550 cord to the rescue …

In keeping with its intended defensive role, the 940 Pro features oversized controls, with a large-diameter, knurled charging handle, elongated and serrated safety button, and a lengthened, contoured bolt release. The loading gate is relieved to accommodate quad loading techniques, though additional material could still be removed to slick this up further. Anyone who’s ever impaled their thumb on a shell lifter can rejoice — the Mossberg’s is solid, flat, and almost immune to DNA sampling. Slug accuracy is helped by a decent trigger with a slightly creepy rollover break tripping the sear at a consistent 5 pounds, with about 3/16 inch of travel before reset.

ROUNDS DOWN RANGE

Our sample arrived from the factory with a Holosun 507K installed in the receiver cutout; its circle/dot reticle seemed ideal to place in the center of a shot pattern. Due to how low it sits, setting up the stock to get an ideal cheek placement behind the optic is a fairly straightforward process. Once complete, we found it’s as easy to shoot as, well, a shotgun. Just throw it up and the dot magically appears over the target. Unlike the usual kluge where you’re forced to add a Picatinny rail, then a Pic rail mount, then the optic itself, the 940 Pro slams it directly into the receiver. Once installed, the bottom of the glass sits just 1/8 inch above the top of this surface. In the event of the dot becoming inoperable, the window can be used as a huge ghost ring in conjunction with the fiber-optic front sight. 

As this was a preproduction sample, it showed of evidence of having been shot. A lot. In fact, this was one of the filthiest sample guns we’ve ever gotten from a manufacturer. We added to its round count, stuffing everything from 1-ounce, cheapo Wally World birdshot to 3-inch magnum slugs into its mag tube, almost all of it pushed out through the full choke tube. 

Federal FliteControl buckshot corresponds almost exactly to the Holosun’s reticle — perfect for defending your dumpster.

Like most non-inertia shotguns, recoil was very manageable, with the gas system taking much of the sting out of even spicier loads and consistently launching empty hulls about 7 feet from the ejection port. At 25 yards, #4 buckshot was thrown into a 12×16-inch pattern, all of it remaining inside the boundaries of a IPSC target, while Federal FLITECONTROL 00 could be contained within the A-zone — which by happy coincidence aligns almost exactly with the 32-MOA ring of the Holosun 507K. Low recoil slugs grouped into about 2 inches and showed a slight tendency to string vertically. 

For the past five years or so, the Beretta 1301 has been our tactical shotgun of choice. Mossberg has always been a blue-collar brand, lacking the finesse and finish of Italian smoothbores and coming in a distant second when it comes to reliability. The new 940 Pro seems to be more consistent in terms of performance, getting a leg up over Euro shotties with its optics mounting system. 

Gas system handles anything from 1-ounce birdshot to 3-inch magnum slugs by virtue of a relief valve in the gas cylinder, NiB coated components, and plenty of space for waste gases to dissipate.

When combined with the various stock spacers and shims, it’s easy to set up the gun to fit the individual user — and when it’s all working together mowing down a target array looks like an FPS video game, the reticle appearing effortlessly in your field of view. 

It’ll take a few more months and a couple more flats of ammo before we’re ready to anoint it as the new favorite, but at a street tariff of $950, the 940 Pro is off to a blistering start. If you’re inclined to keep a shotgun on hand for home defense purposes, the 940 Pro offers an excellent feature set at a very reasonable price. 

There’s no way we can think of to mount an MRDS any closer to the bore. This is the future.

Mossberg 940 Pro Tactical

Caliber: 12 gauge

Capacity: 7+1+1

Barrel Length: 18.5 inches

Overall Length: 38 inches

Weight: 7.5 pounds

MSRP: $1,120

URL: mossberg.com

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