Mossberg Maverick 88: The Best Home Defense Shotgun You Can Buy?

June 13, 2020 Topic: Security Region: Americas Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: MilitaryTechnologyWeaponsWarGuns

Mossberg Maverick 88: The Best Home Defense Shotgun You Can Buy?

Is this the best shotgun to defend your home or property?


Almost every pump-action shotgun enthusiast is familiar with the Mossberg 500.

But for the average person, it’s just a pipe dream to ever imagine owning one. Enter the Mossberg Maverick 88 Shotgun: essentially the same gun, but at an affordable price.


The Mossberg 500 is famous for its usefulness in home defense, and the Maverick 88 brings that same usefulness to the table in an affordable way. Let’s take a closer look.


For a lightweight shotgun, the Maverick 88 is surprisingly accurate and well-balanced! The fixed cylinder bore choke allows for optimum shot patterns at close range. In fact, when I fired four buckshot rounds, they all hit dead-center in the target. The accuracy of this shotgun isn’t something you’d find on any pump-action.


Reliability is never really an issue when it comes to pump-action shotguns. They’re known to be extremely reliable, especially when used for personal defense.

If used right, the Maverick 88 will never jam or fail in any way. You need to make sure you use the proper, recommended ammo and you need to rack the gun completely, or else it won’t pick up the next round.

For added reliability, it features dual-action bars to guarantee reliable cycling without any binding and an anti-jam shell elevator. It promises a smooth, consistent shot every time. In fact, when I tested it out at the range, everything operated properly and smoothly—just like the Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter.

I cycled through three loads with total reliability. This is pretty characteristic of a pump-action shotgun, however, so that’s not really a surprise.


The Maverick 88 is extremely user friendly, it cycles well, and it’s a lot of fun to shoot! The pump is ribbed for easy and secure gripping. The dual extractors keep everything nice and efficient. And the simple brass bead up-front sight system is fantastic.

The stock is comfortable to shoot, and a spring-loaded button on the left side of the shoulder stock’s hinge allows you to fold or extend the stock (it can be fired from either position).

However, the Maverick is kind of challenging to disassemble, and you’ll need tools to do so. The good news is you don’t need to break it down often. Pump-actions don’t really need to be cleaned on a regular basis. The only thing you need to worry about cleaning is the barrel.


The Maverick’s trigger is a smooth-faced, steel bow trigger. It breaks around 6 lbs., a bit heavy but not too bad, and the pull itself is very nice. It’s housed in traditional polymer housing with a rounded trigger guard, and the cross-bolt safety is located right in front. This is the main difference between the Maverick and the 500—one of the only parts between the two that isn’t interchangeable. The safety is ambidextrous and highly visible, making it easy to reach without moving the trigger finger.

Magazine & Reloading 

My Maverick has a capacity of 5+1, 4+1 if you’re using 3” shells. Some come with a capacity of 2+1, but you can increase this by removing the wooden dowel in the magazine tube. As mentioned before, it also features dual extractors. Loading the magazine is simple and quick, which allows for faster shooting!

Length & Weight 

The Maverick 88 has a barrel length of 28” and an overall length of 48.5”. Unloaded, it weighs around 7 lbs. It’s a relatively lightweight gun, letting you point accurately and hit targets easily.

Recoil Management 

As with any defensive 12-gauge shotgun, the recoil is a lot. The full-length buttstock and thick, ventilated recoil pad keep it manageable, but the manual operation doesn’t really do much to reduce recoil. I definitely wouldn’t recommend using any 3-inch magnum loads. But with this gun, you wouldn’t really need them anyway.


The MSRP for the Maverick 88 is about $250. Typically, pump-actions are the cheapest type of shotgun, and this one was manufactured specifically to be a bargain version of the Mossberg 500. Although the materials used are cheaper, no reliability or quality is sacrificed. It’s perfect for someone looking for a reliable, quality shotgun at an affordable price.

My Verdict? 

The Maverick 88 is reliable, rugged, inexpensive, and powerful. It is the perfect choice and an excellent value for anyone looking for a home defense gun on a budget. Here are some of its best features: 

  • Incredibly reliable 

  • User-friendly and simple to use 

  • Amazing accuracy and usefulness for home defense 

This is no ordinary budget shotgun. It’s ideal for home defense, offers extreme power, but won’t break the bank.

Richard Douglas is a firearms expert and educator. His work has appeared in large publications like The Armory Life, Daily Caller, American Shooting Journal, and more. In his free time, he reviews optics on his Scopes Field blog.

Image: Mossberg.