The 14″ Mossberg 500 That ISN’T NFA!

I get a lot of questions from customers about the “new” ATF ruling regarding pistol-grip-only (PGO) firearms with 14″ barrels that aren’t considered NFA items.

Well, first off, let me say, it’s not a new ruling. It’s the same position that ATF has always taken regarding PGO firearms that fire a fixed shotgun shell that have NEVER had a buttstock attached to them—they’re NOT shotguns! They’re simply firearms. As such, they don’t necessarily need to have 18″+ barrels on them to remain out of the purview of the NFA.

You see, the very definition of a “shotgun” requires that it be “designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder…” Without a buttstock ever having been fitted to the PGO firearms in question, they can’t be fired from the shoulder and are therefore not shotguns. Hence, with a 14″ barrel, they can’t be considered short-barreled shotguns, as they aren’t shotguns to begin with. Read the full definition of a shotgun here.

PGO firearms that remain longer than 26″ in overall length also can’t be defined as AOWs. That’s because the term “any other weapon” (AOW) means “any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person…” And ATF maintains that to be concealed, the firearm needs to be shorter than 26″. Read the full definition of an AOW here.

More on the subject is available in these two letters to Len Savage—the guy who will be making a lot of these non-NFA firearms in the coming months and years:

All that said, I’m not a firearms attorney. And I’m not offering legal advice here. I am simply relating things the way I understand them. Be sure you check with all the appropriate agencies.

Now, a pistol-grip-only Mossberg 500 with a 14″ barrel and the Raptor Grip installed measures 26.5″ in overall length (measured parallel to the bore).

–Marty

69 comments

  1. fflincher says:

    Please tell me how many 2 3/4 inch rounds will fit in the shortened magazine of the 14 inch notashotgun?

    • marty says:

      With the 14 barrel and associated magazine, the weapon becomes 5+1. Five 2-3/4″ rounds fit in the magazine tube. And if one wanted, you could fit a sixth round in the chamber.

  2. jeff says:

    Since this shotgun is legal, would you legally be able to have it in your vehicle? I live in texas and I have a tri star tech 12 in my car legally. If I purchase a 14 barrel and raptor stock for a Mossberg 500 would I need any documents or stamps to have it in my vehicle while I travel.

  3. Dave says:

    Does anyone have information this configuration is legal in Canada/transport through Canada to Alaska? Thanks

  4. J in Texas says:

    I own a Mossberg “Tactical” Cruiser Mossberg item #54125. I suppose I could just swap the barrel for the 14 incher and one of these Raptor grips? Even if I didn’t opt for the shorter barrel I’m still considering trying out the raptor. The Mossberg pistol grip isn’t exactly pleasant to shoot for more than a mag tube or two worth.

    The model I’ve mentioned comes with a pistol grip only out of the box and even though its sold as a 500 its got the correct 590 style mag tube required. The barrel as I understand it is essentially the 14 inch 590 heavy walled barrel with a 4.5 inch permanently attached breacher standoff to get it over the 18.5 barrel requirement with a typical pistol grip. If you shop around they can be had NIB for as little as $350 like when I found mine.

    While tempting I’m cautious to attempt it. You know by the letter of the law you are golden that shorter barrel attracts more attention to those who might want to challenge it. Some gung ho LEO type might jump on the chance to bring in what they would initially interpert as a “sawed” off shotgun off the streets and its owner.

    I would like to stress that I mean no disrespect to the LEO community by my comment. I sincerely appreciate everything they do day in and day out to keep the public at large safe. Just the perception though of what most folks would consider a “sawed” off shotgun at first glance would make me really be leery of owning such a weapon. People jump to conclusions. Just saying.

    Thanks for sharing the idea. As a kid I’ve always loved the idea of owing a sawed off but I think I’ll stick to the typical Mossberg cruiser as its widely interperted as perfectly legal to most.

    Best
    J in Texas

    • OodSigma says:

      It’s not insulting LEOs when you say they don’t know the laws. I’ve been in debates with cops in the past and proved myself right by showing them the law. I recommend writing to the ATF for clarification and keeping the letter handy when you bring the gun to the range.

  5. mario says:

    Does the 14 in barrel have to be ordered from mossberg or can it simply be cut down flush with the mag tube? As long as the overall lenght remains over 26 inches.

    • marty says:

      You can order the 14-inch barrel from Mossberg. Cutting down an 18.5″ or 20″ will leave you with a barrel longer than 14″.

      • Elijah says:

        Yes, but is it still legal to just cut down the 18.5″ barrel and put on the raptor grip,as long as you have an overall length of over 26.5″? The question I guess is, is it legal to modify factory barrel length?

  6. Wayne says:

    Hello, this sounds interesting. I wonder if there is anything in Ohio that prevents this ?

    Also, how many total rounds does this have with the 14″ barrel ?

  7. eric says:

    how dose the PGO get around the definition of being a destructive device?
    i understand a DD to be “Any firearm with a bore over 0.50 inch except for shotguns or shotgun shells which have been found to be generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes. “

    • marty says:

      This is my understanding: A PGO firearm is designed to fire a fixed shotgun shell, which is exempted from DD classification for sporting purposes.

  8. JJ says:

    Do you know anybody selling this setup retail? Preferably an FFL in Arizona.

    Thanks,
    Jake

    • Dark Sky solutions says:

      I am an 07 FFL (in Arizona)and currently looking into the legalities of building these commercially using Shockwave grip. They will be over 26″ with the 14″ barrel so no tax stamp should be needed. I also am a SOT 02 so I might make them shorter for sale but that will require a stamp.

      Doc
      DarkSkySolutions.com

  9. Guy says:

    Love the Raptor Grip. I’m in California and my Mossberg 500 came with buttstock and pistol grip combo. Am I out of luck for the 14″ shorty conversion? Your parts list is spot on and the prices too. How do I get the ATF letter of approval.

    Thank you!

    • marty says:

      I won’t even pretend to know California’s convoluted, draconian firearms laws. I would post on calguns.net, and see what the hive there has to say.

      Thank you for writing,
      Marty

      • Tomasio says:

        I’m in CA also, and have been dying to build one of these. I’ve been asking around about legality, and finally took it upon myself to read through the CA Penal Code. Unfortunately, it looks like CA has done it again, defining “short-barreled shotgun” as any FIREARM designed to fire shotgun shells, with < 18" barrel or barrels. BUMMER!!! Here's the definition copied right from the penal code:

        17180. As used in Sections 16530 and 16640, Sections 17720 to 17730, inclusive, Section 17740, Article 1 (commencing with Section 27500) of Chapter 4 of Division 6 of Title 4, and Article 1 (commencing with Section 33210) of Chapter 8 of Division 10 of Title 4, "short-barreled shotgun" means any of the following:
        (a) A firearm that is designed or redesigned to fire a fixed shotgun shell and has a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length.
        (b) A firearm that has an overall length of less than 26 inches and that is designed or redesigned to fire a fixed shotgun shell.
        (c) Any weapon made from a shotgun (whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise) if that weapon, as modified, has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length.
        (d) Any device that may be readily restored to fire a fixed shotgun shell which, when so restored, is a device defined in subdivisions (a) to (c), inclusive.
        (e) Any part, or combination of parts, designed and intended to convert a device into a device defined in subdivisions (a) to (c),inclusive, or any combination of parts from which a device defined in subdivisions (a) to (c), inclusive, can be readily assembled if those parts are in the possession or under the control of the same
        person.

        So it looks like CA has focused on the ammunition, not the stock, to define the short-barreled shotgun. That's probably why the Taurus Judge and other stuff like it are also illegal here. Sorry for the bad news, I am totally bummed to find this out. Yet another reason to move out of California!!

  10. 98G almost same as formerly 206 and 202 says:

    Great comments. I’ve been following this thread for the last year plus. Living in Maryland, it’s likely we will see some action on what constitutes an NFA short barreled shotgun as a local gunsmith and dealer have been literally “silenced” on promoting this topic. I’ve written ATF to get my letter we’ll see what comes of it.

    • marty says:

      Interestingly, I sell hundreds of Raptor Grips to various dealers across Maryland. Dealers who are making these 14″ non-NFA firearms.

      -Marty

    • John says:

      Hello I saw your post on the forum and was wondering if you have received a reply from the ATF. I live here in Maryland also and am considering this option. Thank you for your time. John

  11. Survival Everyday says:

    Very Impressed with the this site and the information. I’m also impressed with how quick I got a shipping notification after buying the stock/grip, I only wished when I ordered I had included the front strap. I ordered my replacement parts today from Mossberg. Very easy, they new exactly what I was ordering and no need to give them the parts list. The Mossberg phone rep told me that they get an order once a month, and he actually had one this morning. The price was right on, little cheaper actually. The lead time is 4 to 6 weeks, he said they actually make the barrel for the customer “me”. After its put together I will post a link to photos or a video. One concern is removing the mag tube…. We will see how that goes..

  12. Bryce says:

    I’m guessing I’m out of luck in California? I’ll have to look into it, but I’m guessing we have some sort of “Assault Weapon” style law to close this loophole.

    • marty says:

      I can’t speak intelligently about California’s convoluted laws, which seem designed only to keep guns out of the good guys’ hands–and in the hands of the bangers. But please let us know what you find out. I do know that I sell hundreds of Raptor Grips to Californians.

      Thank you for writing,
      Marty

      • Tomasio says:

        I posted the unfortunate information from the CA penal code above. The Raptor Grip is totally ok in CA, as long as you don’t go below an 18″ barrel. Way to stomp on my dreams, California.

  13. Mark says:

    GREAT NEWS from my local Class 3-FFL Retailer!!! (In Arizona)
    This is a long post, but well worth the read!

    I went down to my favorite firearms retailer today, to ask their advice and guidance about acquiring an AOW shotgun. These guys have been around a long time, and I trust their expertise, BUT I also realize that they aren’t lawyers. DO NOT CONSIDER ANYTHING IN THIS POST AS LEGAL ADVICE.

    I wanted to know all the ins-and-outs of going through the Class 3 firearm application process to make sure I did ‘everything right’ so I could get approved for an AOW shotgun.

    When I explained my specific intentions to him, he asked me to repeat what I said, and clarify some details, and then he said “That’s NOT a Class 3 firearm. It’s perfectly legal without Class 3 paperwork”. Stunned, I said “How sure are you?” And he turned around and pulled a couple firearms off the wall(yes, they were for sale, but weren’t what I was after) and showed me exactly how/why they aren’t classified as Class 3 firearms, even though they appeared to be at first. My questions/concerns had been satisfied.

    (I live in ARIZONA, and the way our gun laws are written allow this. YOU have to verify this for your own State)

    Here’s how I explained MY intended firearm to him:

    1. IT MUST BE A FACTORY PISTOL GRIP ONLY model – NO shoulder stock can EVER have been on it, or even come with it as a ‘combo pack’. The box it came in has to specify it as a Pistol Grip model. (Don’t have the box to prove that? Contact the manufacturer to get official proof from them, or just go buy a PGO model)

    2. THE VERY FIRST THING TO DO, IS PUT SHOCKWAVE’S RAPTOR GRIP ON IT. (And I’d throw away the factory grip too. If an officer can see that you have provisions to alter it to an illegal configuration, he can legally confiscate it.) To obey the ‘letter of the law’, the firearm can NEVER be, or be made to be, shorter than 26 inches.

    3. ORDER YOUR 14″ BARREL, and the other front end parts. IT MUST BE A FACTORY MADE 14″ BARREL. Cutting a longer barrel down to 14″(even if you have an FFL gunsmith do it, legally changes it’s classification) When your barrel/parts arrive, just make the switch. It’s not hard.

    1-2-3, BOOYAH!!! A LEGAL 26.5″ NON-NFA firearm.

    Anyway, we discussed it for a little while longer, and he did say that it “wouldn’t hurt” to contact the ATF, carefully describe the firearm and it’s origin, and request a letter clarifying the legality of it. But he felt that it would only be “worth having” if I happen to run across a jerk of an officer. He said most LEO’s are cool and know the laws about it, and if I got harassed, it’d because the officer was just being a jerk.

    So there ya have it!

    Always remember that ANY firearm that approaches the limits of whats legal or not, is bound to cause some kind of turmoil for you one day. SO BE INFORMED – KNOW THE LAWS OF YOUR AREA – AND RESPECT LAW ENFORCEMENT – Don’t get an attitude towards them just because YOU are confident the firearm is legal. They are only trying to protect you from idiots, criminals, and psychos who don’t care about the law anyway.

    • marty says:

      Thank you for the very informative post, Mike. And while I offer no legal advice, I personally don’t believe cutting down a longer barrel would change anything legally. Whether you cut down a barrel or install a shorter barrel, the end result is the same. Any additional information here?

      Thank you again,
      Marty

      • Mike says:

        According to my local ATF guys, you can cut down the original PGO barrel yourself as long as the overall length of the firearm stays greater than 26 inches. You do NOT have to buy a different ‘factory’ short barrel. I used a hacksaw, smoothed it out with a file and sandpaper, added a touch of cold blue on the cut surface. I also installed the original bead sight into a new drilled/tapped hole.

    • Jim says:

      I believe that it is considered a smooth bore pistol. That’s why you can get by with AOW and a $5.00 Stamp.

    • Michael E. Stora, Ph.D. says:

      It is good that Arizona reads their “weapon made from a shotgun” statutory language in harmony with Federal Law, but there is nothing in Federal Law or Arizona law that would require the use of a new barrel rather than shortening an existing barrel. I think the dealer is confused.

  14. steve says:

    Would this be legal in Florida

  15. Frank B says:

    Do you think the mossberg 500 model number 54169 would qualify as a factory pistol grip? It comes with both a shoulder stock and pistol grip and two different barrels a 28″ and 18″.

    • marty says:

      Frank,

      My honest answer is I don’t know. Anyone else out there know for sure?

      Marty

    • Klawman says:

      A Mossberg 500 model 54169 is not a PGO since you say it comes with a shoulder stock and a pistol grip. I assume its overall length with either the 18″ or the 28″ barrel is over 26″ and, if so, it is legal. However, if you are thinking that you may legally configure it so that it sports a barrel of less than 18″ or that it is less than 26″ in overall length, think again. That would be an AOW. Still, it would be legal if you paid the for the tax stamp BUT THEN YOU HAD BEST CONSIDER WHETHER OR NOT YOU RUN AFOUL OF A STATE OR LOCAL LAW.

    • Adam says:

      It is considered a combination gun. It has to ship from the factory as a PGO (pistol grip only) I was a little unclear on it myself, so what I did, was send my downer gun to a smith and let him do it. I used Paladin Armory, He check my local laws to make sure it was ok before he did the conversion, also he requires it to be shipped to him in the original box, or shipped with a letter from the manufacture that states it is a PGO firearm. Hope this helps.

  16. Devon says:

    I ordered all the parts from Mossberg March 25th, received an email April 6th stating they will be shipping soon, and still haven’t received them. I sent them an email 10 days ago asking about my order, and no response. Anyone else have trouble with them?

    • Adam says:

      Yes, it took about 4 months to get all my parts. And, I’m in Texas where Mossberg builds all the parts. When I called after the fourth or fifth time, they told me that the M514 parts are all made to order. They usually wait to the end of a run to start on the 514 parts.

    • Miky says:

      I got mine in less than 2 weeks.
      Great service as usual from Mossberg.
      They also checked my serial number to make sure it is pistol grip only from the factory.

  17. John says:

    Hello Marty,

    I am a FID card holder from Massachusetts. I’ve recently purchased your Raptor grip and absolutely love it. I see the 14″ barrel conversion and would like to convert my Mossberg 500 Cruiser but cannot find enough information on whether or not I can do this in Massachusetts. As you might know, we have some of the worst gun laws in the country next to California. Could you give me some direction with this?

    Thank you.

    • marty says:

      Anyone in Mass., who can help John out with some answers?

      Thank you,
      Marty

      • Aaron says:

        Not to sound like a smart alec, but the little I know about Massachusetts gun laws would lead me to offer just one word of advice: MOVE ! That being said I used to live in Massachusetts & a large portion of my current gun collection would be illegal there & I don’t even have anything “fancy”… John, any chance of moving to a more gun friendly state, Vermont? New Hampshire? Maine even? To that point I was buying ammo in Cabelas today & spotted a birdshead grip Winchester Defender for a couple of hundred bucks & bought it. They walked me to the door & handed me my new very cool gun & out I walked into a fine autumn morning & the one thought that came to mind as I strolled across the parking lot was thank God for open carry & if I was in Massachusetts it probably would have caused a full on panic & someone would have called in the SWAT team on me! In any case best of luck with your project gun.

  18. Robert says:

    I have a 500a JIC 2, Pistol grip, 18.5 from the factory. Will i need everything on the parts list or will I be able to use anything off mine now.

    • marty says:

      Hi Robert,

      Thank you for writing. Because of the way Mossberg configures the front end, you will need everything on the list.

      Thank you again,
      Marty

  19. Joshua says:

    Just called the ATF office in my home state, this seemed a little too good to be true, but after cutting through some red tape and explaining a couple key points, I was told that as long as the shotgun never had a stock, it couldnt have been designed to be fired from the shoulder, thus, not a shotgun, and it would fall into the category of a pistol.

  20. Ross says:

    Any idea if there are mariner equivalent parts for the 14″ barrel and magazine?

  21. James says:

    Can we still order these Mossbergs thru Mr savage Just call him to place a order? I would like to order one if we still can!

    • marty says:

      Yes, you should still be able to order the front ends directly from Mossberg. However, be prepared to wait approximately six to eight weeks—last I heard. Len Savage may have them in stock. I’d check with him first.

  22. [...] on, the guy even he's links to meters he wrote to the ATF about this particular shotgun build. http://shockwavetechnologies.com/site/?page_id=88 __________________ "DON'T TREAD ON ME…..OR I'LL SHOOT [...]

  23. Althafunnisa says:

    I have a Mossberg gun lock and I’m happy to have it ($40.00) It works perfect for me. Next to it I keep a steel safe with a yepkad to open it without a key. Inside it I keep the KEY for the Mossberg gun lock. On top of the safe is a flashlight for night access.I also conceal the entire thing (in the room it’s installed). Very good video, especialy if you have kids. BTW, I keep my gun loaded with three rounds, the first to fire wil be a heavy hunting load (#2) next is buckshot, next is

  24. colton says:

    Was the shotgun’s barrel shown in the photo “sawed off” buy its owner to this length?

  25. Ryan says:

    Am I to understand from the letters that this firearm by itself is NOT an AOW or a SBS, but only as long as it’s not concealed on your person?

  26. Brad says:

    How can we contact len savage about ordering thru him?

  27. Scott says:

    Hello- First off, great looking product! My question is, why do you think Mossberg and the like are not producing models like this “from the factory”? Based on some of their current offerings, they don’t seem too worried about being “politically correct”. Has the above shotgun (RG500.11.jpg) been specifically approved by the ATF?

    Also, is it feasible a class3 dealer could get an AOW 14″ pistol grip model from the factory, have the dealer instal the grip you offer (bringing the length over 26″) and not have to deal with the NFA paperwork?

    • marty says:

      Thank you for the compliments. I’m not 100% sure why Mossberg and others aren’t yet producing 26.5″ OAL firearms like the ones shown on my website. I imagine it has a lot to do with what I’ll term “corporate inertia.” It usually takes a big company like Mossberg quite a while to move on a new idea. Big companies typically aren’t “first movers” or “early adopters” either. They will sit back and let smaller businesses like Historic Arms (Len Savage’s business) prove that there is a market there first. Then they may will possibly catch up someday.

      “Approved” is something that’s pretty tough to pin the ATF down on. The configuration shown is “approved” in so much that the ATF has stated in multiple opinion letters that it doesn’t fall within the purview of the NFA. I have my own personal letter from them as well, which isn’t posted.

      I imagine that your AOW scenario would be feasible. I would, however, suggest just purchasing the 26.5″ OAL models directly from Len Savage.

  28. Dan Harris says:

    How does this correspond with state laws? Specifically here in Texas where the Penal Code lists both the 26″ overall length but also the 18″ barrel length? I love the idea of the non-N.F.A 14″ inch barrel on a Mossberg, but I’m not sure about the state interpretation.-Dan

    • marty says:

      Hi Dan,

      Thanks for writing. Many states’ firearm laws echo the federal laws. However, people should definitely check their state laws before modifying their firearms in any way. Also, you would have to look into whether or not a PGO firearm is even considered a “shotgun” in Texas. It may just be classified a “firearm,” as on the federal level.

      –Marty

    • Adam says:

      Dan,

      I live in Texas also, and the laws are a little hard to understand. The 18 inch barrel is for a shotgun and only shotguns. Texas law mirrors federal law, and a pistol grip shotgun that comes from the factory with only the pistol grip and no butt stock is classified as a firearm, not a shotgun. Here in Texas they are sold like handguns, the box is marked 21 yrs or older. But anyway I’m just another guy giving advice, however, I do own a 14 inch 12-gauge firearm. What I did is contact a class 3 builder (paladin armory) and he built it for me. I had to supply the gun, with a letter from Mossberg saying it was shipped from factory as a pistol grip only firearm, and he verified that it would be legal here in Texas. This link and down about the middle of the page, he shows this gun that’s pictured above. Bill is a good man, and answered a lot of my questions. Ya might want to contact him. anyway here is the link.
      http://paladinarmory.com/SBSAOW.htm#Any Other Weapon (AOW)

  29. Josh says:

    I built an SBS a couple years ago. It’s funny that with all of the research I did back then on the subject, this never came up. I do have a question that perhaps someone can answer. If a pistol gripped shotgun were bought used, is there a way to verify if it is a “Factory” PGO shotgun?

    • marty says:

      Yes, call or email Mossberg. That’s exactly what I did to verify that the used 500A I bought shipped from the factory with only a pistol grip.

      –Marty

  30. [...] 14 inch 12ga shotgun that is not an NFA item. [...]

  31. [...] 14 inch 12ga shotgun that is not an NFA item. [...]

  32. Jeff says:

    In the ATF letter, the sample (Mossberg Cruiser) was originally manufactured with a pistol grip. Does the AOW apply to a Mossberg originally manufactured with a shoulder stock?

    • marty says:

      Hi Jeff,

      Thank you for commenting. Yes, as I understand it, the firearm has to originally ship from the factory with ONLY a pistol grip—and it can NEVER have had a buttstock attached to it—in order for the cited ATF letters to apply. If the pistol-grip firearm is ever built under the magic 26″ overall length number, it would become an AOW. If it EVER had a buttstock on it and sported a barrel under 18″, then it would be classified a SBS.

      Thanks again for writing,
      Marty

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *