The Future Is Flexible

Especially with the new Mossberg FLEX 500 12-gauge shotgun.

I was always curious about European arms makers who offered one rifle receiver and interchangeable barrels in a dozen different calibers. Knowing a few sportsmen who bought into the concept, I observed that, most of the time, their one receiver was mated with one favorite caliber barrel while the other barrels languished, gathering dust in the gun safe.

Then along came the AR’s and, depending upon the mission, both soldiers and shooters began swapping out uppers, buttstocks, handguards, sighting systems, flash suppressors and suppressors willy-nilly. We are definitely headed into a modular world of firearms in which form follows function and right at the head of the flexible shotgunning pack is Mossberg. Modifying their already modular Model 500/590 pump shotgun series, Mossberg has created a fascinating array of low-cost optional assemblies and a unique quick-change system they call “FLEX.”

Mossberg’s FLEX system was originally developed with a military application in mind. The military had made it known they were interested in a modular shotgun. Mossberg’s rugged and utterly reliable Model 590A1 pump gun already was the US military’s primary fighting shotgun, as it has been here for the last 25 years and currently in 41 other countries as well, so Mossberg moved vigorously ahead to design a flexible shotgun system that would put them in first place for the next 25 years. Then the climate changed.

For whatever reason, budgetary or otherwise, military interest in the modular shotgun concept waned so Mossberg moved the project to a back burner where it simmered for 7 years.
By Holt Bodinson

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