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Thanks to the byzantine regulations that define what guns are and are not legal for Americans to own, there’s a classification of gats that fall into a sort of legal limbo. As they’re technically neither shotguns nor rifles, these pistol-gripped smoothbore self-defense blasters are known to our persnickety friends at the ATF as “Non-NFA Firearms.”

Read Mossberg’s informative description of how the federal bureaucracy defines these types of guns here. Firearms like their Compact Cruisers and the new-for-2017 Mossberg 590 Shockwave shotgun. You can read the ATF’s determination letter for the Shockwave here.

Anyway, because of how Texas defines “shotgun” without the Fed’s caveat of having been made to fire from the shoulder, these firearms weren’t legal in the Lone Star State (where Mossberg happens to have a manufacturing facility). Texas viewed them as short barreled shotguns (which are legal here but require NFA registration first) even if the ATF doesn’t see them as NFA items…or even shotguns at all.

Now all that is about to change. Here’s Mossberg’s press release trumpeting the legislative victory . . .

Mossberg® 590® Shockwave® Becomes Legal in Texas on September 1, 2017

Mossberg Thanks Local Leaders for Passage of House Bill 1819

North Haven, CT – Thanks to efforts by members of the Texas House of Representatives and Texas Senate, House Bill (HB) 1819 passed in May 2017, the Mossberg 590 Shockwave will be legal in the state of Texas, beginning September 1, 2017. The legislation was advanced through the combined efforts of Senators Charles Perry and Craig Estes, Representatives Poncho Nevarez and Drew Springer, the National Rifle Association (NRA®) and Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA®) and clarified Texas state laws concerning the purchase of suppressors and certain firearms, including the 590 Shockwave pump-action. The change in the law hits close to home for Mossberg as the company proudly manufactures the 590 Shockwave at their facility in Eagle Pass, Texas, which is also the home district for Representative Nevarez.

“All of us at Mossberg recognize that this Bill would not have passed without the efforts of many,” said Joe Bartozzi, Mossberg Executive Vice President and General Counsel, “We were proud to add our small role in the effort and are pleased to recognize the tremendous efforts of Senators Perry and Estes and Representatives Nevarez and Springer, the NRA and TRSA.”

Mossberg introduced the 590 Shockwave firearm at the 2017 SHOT Show, accompanied by a determination letter from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), defining the pump-action as a “Non-NFA Firearm.” The 590 Shockwave comes from the factory with a 14-inch barrel, Shockwave Technologies Raptor® grip and overall length of 26.5-inches. Because the 590 Shockwave is not capable of being shoulder-mounted and meets the overall length requirement of 26 inches, it is defined as “firearm” under the federal Gun Control Act (GCA).

To read the BATFE letter of classification or for more information on the 590 Shockwave, please visit

Shockwave® and Raptor® are registered trademarks of Shockwave Technologies/Ewer Enterprises, LLC. NRA® is a registered trademark of the National Rifle Association. TSRA® is a registered trademark of the Texas State Rifle Association.

About O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc.

Founded in 1919, O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc. is the oldest family-owned firearms manufacturer in America, and is the largest pump-action shotgun manufacturer in the world. Leading the way with over 100 design and utility patents to its credit, and standing as the first ISO 9001 Certified long-gun manufacturer, Mossberg is considered to be one of the most innovative firearms manufacturers in U.S. History. For more information on commercial, special purpose, law enforcement and military shotguns, rifles and accessories, please visit their website at

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  1. I like the idea of the Shockwave, and may purchase one, or the Remington TAC-14.

    With what I believe is the now most varied form in history of modular and consumer modifiable firearms, ATF classification(s) of firearms seems at least outdated, if not stupid.

    • This right here.
      There is a huge untapped market for 20ga defensive shotgun to market to folks who just don’t want all that 12ga recoil (the 16 is dead, let it go…), yet if you look at the racks of defensive shotties at your LGS, all you see is a long row of 12s.
      It’s not like manufacturers don’t make 20s, they just don’t push them and distributors seem to avoid them – what gives?

      • Whoa, the 16 ga. is great if you’re half a decent enough shot and don’t want to waste the meat of lighter game by hitting it with a Howizer 12 ga.

        Don’t go killing a round just because you don’t use it, or I’ll ixnay the inemillimeternay right here.

  2. After reading that determination letter, it seems to me that the ATF’s rejection of Taurus’s 28 gauge, rifled barrel revolver was arbitrary.

    • aircooled,

      Not that I like nor agree with the ATF … I believe the ATF rejected Taurus’ 28 gauge revolver because they (ATF) would view it as a short barreled shotgun or rifle that did not meet the 26 inch minimum overall length standard.

      The reason that the .410 revolvers are good to go is because they are chambered for .45 Long Colt … with really longggg chambers that also happen to accommodate .410 shot shells.

    • The Taurus is a pistol and fell under different rules.

      This article is in error since “any other weapons” are restricted under the Nfa.

      These guns are legal because they are considered “firearms” not shotguns (because a shotgun is considered to be fired from a shoulder Stock).

      They are not any other weapons (aows) because they aren’t easily concealable. The atf generally looks at overall length when making that determination and >26″ is the magic length.

      Thus, not an AOW and not a shotgun, they are just firearms.

      • Like California and some other states, the law in Texas defines “shotgun” without the part about something that was designed to be fired from the shoulder. Therefore, these firearms (the Mossy Shockwave and Remmy TAC-14, among others) were shotguns under TX law and, because they have short barrels, were then defined at short barreled shotguns. Which are subject to NFA regulation, which means they’re illegal in TX without being properly registered. A catch-22, as the ATF wouldn’t register them as SBSs because their definitions don’t match that. So…they weren’t legal in TX.

  3. Fun question of the day:

    Can I take a typical 20 gauge pump-action shotgun, cut off the stock to make a crude pistol grip, and then (and only then) cut down the barrel to 14 inches (assuming that the overall length is still greater than 26 inches) and not run afoul of the 1968 gun control act?

    In other words can I make my own version of the 590 shockwave in 20 gauge and be legal in the eyes of the ATF as long as I keep the overall length to 26+ inches and cut the barrel as the last “machining” operation?

    • I think the ATF language states that AOW has to be “as manufactured” or something similar. Meaning you can’t modify a legal shotgun to make AOW, it has to be produced as AOW.

      • Orcon,

        That very well might be. And here is the problem if that is true:
        (1) ATF defines the receiver as the “firearm”.
        (2) Mossberg can use identical receivers for shotguns and AOWs.
        (3) Whether or not a receiver ends up a shotgun or an AOW (the Cruiser depicted in this article) is simply a matter of which grip and barrel Mossberg attaches to the receiver.

        This shows that ATF rules which declare that the receiver is the firearm are meaningless. It also shows that ATF rules which declare that “once a firearm, always a firearm” are arbitrary and capricious.

        • Hickock45 answered that: the strap flies right off. He had to reattach the one on his and his boy John simply took his own off completely. Yes, he was two-handing them because of course he was.

    • Not sure if you’re asking out of sarcasm or not, but I’ll help if I can.

      Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, don’t pretend to be one, and none of this is to be construed as legal advice.

      As long as you have a blank receiver that hasn’t started life as a shotgun, yes. If the firearm you are attempting to convert was ever sold bought or manufactured as a defined shotgun, you would be making an SBS and would require paperwork, or you’d be committing a felony.

      • John in CO,

        No sarcasm at all … I am totally serious. I would love to have a Cruiser in 20 gauge but nobody manufactures one. Hence, I wanted to know if I could make my own.

        It sounds like I could do this without running afoul of the ATF if I:
        (1) Order a butt stock and cut it off.
        (2) Order a 20 gauge barrel and cut it off.
        (3) Order a 20 gauge receiver that was never assembled as a shotgun.
        (4) Assemble the whole thing.
        (5) Have no compatible shotguns on my premises to ensure that ATF cannot claim “constructive possession” of a short-barreled shotgun until after I have completed assembly of this AOW.

        Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

        • I’d say you could do this, but I’d also say don’t do it. The gun manufacturers have a hard enough time knowing whether or not the ATF will give them a favorable determination letter.

          One of the big things determining whether a firearm is an SBR or pistol is if it started out as a rifle, receiver, or pistol. If you start out with an AR lower receiver or pistol, you can always make it into a pistol. If that receiver was rifle before a pistol, it will always be a rifle. (Or at least that is my understanding).

          Rifled firearms are simple compared to shotguns. Shotguns are more complicated because the statute has more to say about smooth bore firearms.

        • “until after I have completed assembly of this AOW.” Also do whatever it is to make sure it isn’t an AOW as an AOW requires a tax stamp. As knightofbob said below, that may be making the OAL 26″ or greater.

        • TX_Lawyer,

          All good points.

          And thank you for clarifying that I wanted to make a “firearm” rather than something that the ATF would classify as an AOW (Any Other Weapon). I misspoke when I kept saying “AOW”.

        • I believe 80 percent scatter-gun receivers are a thing, and therefore would be “as manufactured”, no?

        • No. If you find a pistol grip factory 18″ firearm you could.

          Put raptor stock on. Then cut barrel to 14″.

          If you use a shoulder stocked shotgun your modified a shotgun into an sbs

    • No. An aow “shotgun” must start out as a firearm. An 18″ pistol grip shotgun is a firearm, not a shotgun Bc it has no stock.

      You would be making a short barrel shotgun.

      You could make an aow from an 18″ firearm, but it would cost you $200 to make it.

      Or you could buy an existing one and pay $5 to transfer it to you. Your call.

    • Short answer: No.

      Longer answer: It all depends on how a receiver is designated by the manufacturer. For example, an AR-15 lower can be designated as a pistol or rifle. Physically, they’re identical. If it’s a pistol, you can have any length barrel as long as you don’t have a stock, and it can’t be sold to someone under 21 or from a different state. I believe you can even convert a pistol lower to a rifle configuration (16″+ barrel and stock) and back with the TC ruling. However, a rifle stays a rifle forever and can’t be in a pistol configuration unless it is registered as an SBR. Similarly, a shotgun receiver is always a shotgun receiver and becomes a SBS with $200 NFA. An identical receiver that was never a shotgun could be made as an AOW with $5 NFA. An identical receiver that’s a firearm has no NFA. A firearm receiver could be made into an AOW with the proper form. If you could get a shotgun maker to sell you a bare 20 ga. receiver as a firearm, then you can make is a 26″ firearm or a shorter AOW. If going the AOW route, wait for the paperwork before possessing a shorter barrel — even if it isn’t attached to the receiver.

  4. I would love one of these. Take the grip off and mount in on my ar like Sonny Landham in Predator. Lol.
    Alas not legal in illinois.

  5. PONCHO NEVAREZ!?!?!?!?!

    That’s… flabbergasting.

    Poncho Nevarez is one of the most odious left-wing lunatics in the Texas House. He’s the one who threatened to kill Matt Rinaldi on the House floor, when Rinaldi called ICE on a bunch of illegals protesting from the gallery.

    Nevarez is the one who had “panic buttons” installed in legislators’ offices after loon Kory Watkins and his band of thugs (masquerading as open-carry advocates) intimidated him in his office. He’s been a virulent anti ever since (and probably before, but he wasn’t on my radar before). He’s even been called “Panic Button Poncho.”

    The notion that he’d be behind and even sponsoring legislation to make ANY firearm legal, is mind-blowing. Mossberg must employ a lot of voters in his district.

    If that’s how it works, we need to have new companies that move to Texas choose their locations wisely — move into districts that are represented by rabid mouthbreathing antis, and maybe you’ll convert ’em…

  6. I still want Ithaca to be able to make & ship the Auto & Burglar shotgun again. No there was a handy firearm.

    • “I still want Ithaca to be able to make & ship the Auto & Burglar shotgun again.”

      Could they do it as an AOW?

      Yeah, it’s still an NFA, but five bucks stings a lot less than two hundred…

  7. I own one of these, its awesome. Lots of people want to try it when I break it out at the range. Its an uncomfortable bitch to shoot with out gloves. That loop on the pump has sharp ends where it was melted to keep it from unraveling and the safety switch is sharp as hell. I cut my thumb on it with the first 5 rounds through it. I do not recommend using slugs in this gun, buckshot is definitely the load of choice.

    • I replaced the pump on mine with a pistol grip. It works awesome now.

      And no, that doesn’t change the classification of it, since it is not and has never been a pistol.

  8. For being “gun heaven” Texas has some pretty strange and odious restrictions, this being one of them until September.

  9. In open-carry states, one of those in a scabbard on an American-made motorcycle’s front fork would look just so friggin’ *cool*.

    *sigh* 😉

    (It would look even cooler if there was aftermarket American stained hardwood furniture available for it, as well…)

  10. Two points.

    1) Until September 1st, the Shockwave might be illegal in Texas. Texas law basically says you have to have a tax stamp or your NFA item is illegal. The problem is that it doesn’t say that. It actually says is closer to “SBS are illegal unless you have a tax stamp,” but doesn’t define SBS exactly the same as the Feds do. After September 1st, it will say if you’re good with the ATF, you’re good with Texas. A lot of Texas law is just cribbed from federal statutes, often with minor changes.

    2) The Shockwave is either a non-NFA firearm, like Mossberg says, or it’s an AOW. An AOW is an NFA firearm. (I know the article doesn’t say that the Shockwave is an AOW, but it does imply it).

  11. I thought the entire point of the Shockwave was that it’s over 26″ OAL and therefore not classified as an AOW.

    • KnightofBob,

      I believe that you are correct.

      And that was why I asked in an earlier comment whether I could make one myself without running afoul of the ATF.

    • It is not an AOW. AOWs are legal in TX as long as they’re registered with the NFA. These are illegal in TX because, under TX legal definitions, they are short barreled shotguns. They aren’t viewed as shotguns by the Feds at all, but Texas law says they are. While SBS are also legal here, since the Feds don’t define these guns as SBS you couldn’t NFA register them as such…so default illegal in TX. Cool that they passed legislation to fix this and TX will now recognize these firearms as non-NFA firearms and treat them like any other normal gun.

      • That is a far better explanation than I’ve read elsewhere, and this makes sense now (well, legally). Most of the articles I’ve read on this (many have been very sloppily written as far as spelling and grammar) have at least implied that these “firearms” were illegal in Texas because they are AOWs and Texas wouldn’t allow them based on that.

  12. I’m not getting the e-mail enabling subscription to follow-up comments, so if I don’t respond, that’s why.

  13. Finally, now I can carry a cut down pump shotgun concealed, with the right holster of course, as a back up to my Maverick 88 pump. Both shoot 12 gauge 00 buck. Win, win. (Reality means nothing to me).

  14. Geoff PR
    (It would look even cooler if there was aftermarket American stained hardwood furniture available for it, as well…)

    There is a seller on the bay from Thailand hand making wood birds head stock sets.
    I just bought a set for my 870. Check out item# 172796536485 . When he sells out he makes more. He also sells grip sets for pistols and revolvers.


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