By Lars Dalseide | November 7 2012 11:51

Complete shooting system for hunting or personal protection

Mossberg Flex Shotgun from American Rifleman

In the November Edition of American Rifleman, Glenn M. Gilbert took Mossberg's FLEX shotgun out for a spin:
Modern Marvel - Mossberg Flex
With interchangeable stocks, buttpads, barrels and fore-ends, the Mossberg FLEX pump-action shotgun, based on the tried-and-true Model 500 action, is a complete shooting system that can serve for deer hunting with slugs, scattergunning for spring gobblers or personal protection.

Mossberg’s signature product, the Model 500 pump-action shotgun, has long been valued for ruggedness and reliability. Let’s face it; one of the reasons you buy a pump shotgun, a Mossberg 500 in particular, is that you don’t like surprises. When you take it to the field, all you want to hear is shuckclick- boom, shuck-click-boom, shuck-click-boom until you’ve bagged your limit. Another selling point for pump shotguns is their near-limitless utility. Deer stands, goose pits, turkey blinds, home defense—they can do it all. Or at least, that’s what everyone will tell you. Really, though, you can swap barrels on a pump gun, but not much else. When you get down to it, a perfect duck gun is a clumsy turkey gun and vice versa. With its new FLEX system, Mossberg has turned a hunting camp myth into a reality: one shotgun that can do it all.

Briefly described, the Mossberg FLEX System is a new concept that allows for the accessorizing of Model 500 or 590 FLEX shotguns with stocks, foreends and recoil pads using its new Tool-less Locking System (TLS). Mossberg’s goal with the FLEX was to create a modular system similar to what shooters have in the AR-15-style rifle. In much the same way, one FLEX shotgun receiver can serve as the basis for anything from a field gun to a home-defense firearm. At present, the FLEX system is offered only on new production FLEX guns.

With most shotguns, it has always been easy to swap out barrels, but the FLEX system allows stocks, fore-ends and buttpads to be changed without tools. With the tactical models in particular, you can switch from a close-quarters shotgun to a breeching tool by swapping the collapsing stock for a pistol grip and adding Mossberg’s Chainsaw horizontal grip to the fore-end and switching from a tactical barrel to one with a breeching muzzle. That’s not something that usually would need to be done on the fly, but it would certainly simplify the armorer’s job in a police department or military unit. FLEX fore-ends range from tactical railed models to field version in various camouflage patterns.

buttstocks of the mossberg flex shotgun from american rifleman The Mossberg TLS locking devices are designed to withstand hard use, whether on the front lines or in the hunting fields. Another important component of the FLEX system is Mossberg’s extensive selection of barrels, all of which fit Flex System models. They include short tactical barrels, vent-rib skeet barrels, camouflaged waterfowl barrels and tight-choked turkey barrels. The receiver itself is the proven Model 500 design, which features twin-action bars and an antijam shell elevator for greater reliability. Its anodized aluminum construction reduces weight. The slide release, located to the left rear of the trigger guard, and an ambidextrous, top-mounted sliding safety button exhibit good ergonomics.

The TLS in the FLEX stock consists of a flush-fitting halfmoon shaped locking piece that slides into a recess in the wrist. To release the locking piece, pull it up and rotate it 90 degrees so that it is perpendicular to the wrist. The latch is captured so it can’t be lost. Once that is done, the stock slides off to the rear. The rear of the receiver has a metal peg with six splines that mate to corresponding recesses in the various FLEX system stocks. Tight tolerances in the mating surfaces between stock and receiver as well as the bevels in the locking ridges maintain proper alignment between the FLEX system stocks and the receiver.

Six different stocks compatible with the FLEX system are available from Mossberg. They include: standard fixed stocks in three different lengths of pull (12½", 13½" and 14½"); an Adjustable Dual Comb (ADC) stock with short and tall raised combs that can be swapped out; a six-position collapsible M4-style tactical stock with a separate pistol grip; and a pistol grip without a stock in the style of the Mossberg Cruiser.

The fixed and ADC stocks are compatible with three interchangeable recoil pads. FLEX recoil pads are available in three different thicknesses, including small (3/4"), medium (1¼") and large (1½"). The FLEX recoil pads are made from a compressible synthetic material that helps cushion recoil.

Get the rest of American Rifleman's look at the Mossberg Flex pump-action shotgun on their digital magazine.

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