By Mark Fike
My mom had three of us boys. We all had guns and shot them regularly. She was used to, “Hey Mom, can you get my rifle in the rack; Yes, the one on the left.” Or, “Mom, I ran out of .22 ammo. Can you pick up some Yellow Jackets at the store today?”
However, my mom never really was interested in shooting. In fact, she found it a bit unnerving to shoot our guns. I took her squirrel hunting once, but she was apprehensive about the gun going off and the hunt was not successful. She really did not mind us having guns, but she did not feel comfortable handling them.
These days, given the current climate of the country, she started to become interested in having a gun for self-defense. Dad got her a handgun, but she wanted something for at home that would be easy for her to handle. Any guns we set her up with she did not like. Either they were too heavy, too hard to operate or they had too much recoil.
For that reason she never shot a gun that she really was comfortable with. That changed the other day. Dad asked me what I thought about a .410 pump. We mulled it over and decided to try it. A .410 is not the first gun or even the 10th gun one thinks of for self-defense. But for an older adult with less than Popeye-like strength, it can be a tool to level the playing field.
After Dad and I went through the Mossberg 505 I picked up to try (my suggestion for this problem) and showed Mom how to operate it safely and efficiently, my mom tried working the action. For the first time I saw her eyes brighten a bit when handling a gun. She stated that she thought maybe she could work this gun.
So, out to the yard we went and set up a target. She was apprehensive, but when she shot the Mossberg at a target the first time she blurted out, “Ooohh, I LIKE this gun!”
I was stunned. I NEVER thought I would hear my mom say something like that. She wanted to keep shooting and she kept blowing the center out of a human sized target. She shot from the shoulder and she shot from the hip multiple times at “inside the house ranges” and never missed. I was impressed.
My mom is very active, cuts her own grass, runs, competes in marathons like the Marine Corps Half and so on and places high in her age group, but her strength is not such that working the slide on most pistols would be feasible. The Mossberg 505 Youth Model was perfect. She can load and work the action, unload and handle it safely and it is long enough that she can get a bead on her target.
I have come to the conclusion after watching my mom use this gun that a youth model Mossberg pump gun is a great answer to the dilemma that many of our parents or older relatives may be facing. These small pump guns are light enough, and simple enough, that they can be worked by just about anyone. With no little ones in the house, she can have it loaded and next to the bed should something go bump in the night.
I am pleased with how well she shoots it and how comfortable she is working with the gun. A Mossberg .410 can be loaded with a variety of shells to include slugs down to 8 shot or even 9 shot. A shotshell with #4 or buckshot or slugs would very likely do the job no problem in a bad situation. Not only that, but at close range this gun will cut the heads off snakes, ward off varmints, etc.…
She can hunker down behind the bed if an intruder comes in the room and she has a total of five shells to cover the door or any other part of the house.
The tech specs on this great self-defense gun for those with limited strength are as follows:
A 3” chamber, 4+1 shell capacity, 20-inch barrel, dual beads, length of pull is a short 12 inches, top tang safety for ease of operation. It is 5.25 pounds which is easy to hold and just an inch and a half over three feet long!
My comments on the gun are as follows:
For the money (MSRP is $445 but I have seen them much less) the gun is very much worth it. You can rabbit hunt with it, shoot starlings, teach a kid how to shoot safely, plus the self-defense noted above. It is easy to use. I love the safety position on the gun. It is well made; better than the Mossberg pumps were 25 years ago in my opinion. I hope to rabbit hunt with it next month.
Because the shells are long and narrow, they sometimes can stick a little. Some of that is the gun needing broke in some. I would recommend any “sticky” or “stiff” guns be worked EMPTY for ten minutes or so a few days and then cycling shells will become easy. We had a minor issue when a shell got stuck between the tube and coming up to be taken to the chamber. That was due to Mom not working the action fully back and forth.
Users need to fully work the pump to avoid jams. A bit of practice solves this issue. The gun design is not at fault here. My mom really wants one of these guns now. She wants to use it each day. This is a lady that never wanted a gun for herself. I call that a win.
Consider the Mossberg 505 Youth Gun as a great gun to have in your house or the house of an older person with limited hand strength. It doubles as a great gun to teach little ones or a gun you can use around the yard for varmints. When Mom shot this gun it was quiet and yet the target was destroyed! Give this gun a serious look. I don’t think you will regret it.