I didn’t get a hippopotamus for Christmas. Instead, my wife bought me a pump shotgun.

A Bit of History

As a family, we often discuss security and try to use news stories as learning experiences. We have handguns and ammo, knives, and tools in our go-bags. Important papers are easily accessible, and we have two barking dogs.

Recently that didn’t seem like enough. What made home defense seem more important?

  • A funeral. Frank Black, 93, a family friend who lived with his wife just a few miles away, has died. Frank was the victim of a brutal, unsolved home invasion last year and never recovered from the beating.
  • A party. At New Year’s with a group of Second Amendment friends, civil war between the right and the left was discussed as an event that could foreseeably occur rather than as a nightmare.

Our pistols and revolvers are excellent, but they’re point-to-point weapons. “Common knowledge,”1 according to Michael Bloomberg’s Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts, is that even cops hit targets less than 30 percent of the time. If cops can’t do better than 30 percent, it’s unlikely I’ll measure up in an emergency.

Enter Mossberg

Hence, an eight-shot (7+1), 12-gauge Mossberg Maverick with 20-inch barrel and cylinder bore. Overall, this 6-pound, matte-black shotgun measures 30.375 inches (including the pistol grip). At $231 MSRP, every homeowner can keep one near the bed and another near the television.

What is most identifiable is the lack of a conventional stock. Obviously, this Maverick won’t be killing sporting clays pigeons. It’s only correct for emergencies, although it can be retrofit with a conventional Mossberg (or Hogue) buttstock for hunting.

Man holding Mossberg Maverick 12-gauge

The 12-gauge Mossberg Maverick is tricky to shoot. Still, at 30 inches with an eight-shell capacity, it can be supremely effective for home defense. (Photo by Rick Sapp)

The plastic pistol grip gives this Mossberg special shooting characteristics. (The receiver is aluminum, but lock-up parts are steel.) In Hollywood, actors may fire it one-handed and jack in a live shell by bouncing it in a hand. These are strictly movie actions and not practical in the real world.

In real life, Maverick recoil is significant. After firing a few shells, my hand tingled. And after eight shots, my thumb and “thenar eminence” were sore. I learned to keep the grip against my body to cushion the recoil. Still, any negative for this Mossberg is outweighed by its maneuverability and the eight-shot load.

It’s also “common knowledge” that you don’t have to aim a shotgun; that simply pointing it down a home hallway should put pellets on target. Nonsense. Imagine someone bursting into a room. At 10 feet, the 00 buckshot pattern spreads only to fist-size. That’s why there’s argument about the utility of buckshot versus small game or birdshot for home invasions.

So for Christmas and many years to come, I’m a happy camper … even if I didn’t get a hippopotamus. This Christmas gift (unlike a hippo) will give me hours of range-time patterning.


(1) “Do more than seven in 10 police bullets miss their mark, as this gun-control advocate said?” is addressed at PolitiFact.com.


Mossberg: Mossberg.com

About Rick Sapp

After his stint in the U.S. Army, including time as an infantry platoon leader and working with West German KRIPO during the 1968 Soviet invasion, Rick Sapp returned home to earn a Ph.D. in social anthropology. Following his education from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Catholic University of America and the University of Florida, he moved to France for a year. Rick worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service before turning to journalism and freelance writing, authoring more than 50 books for a variety of publishers.


We’ve changed our commenting platform to help protect your private information and make sign-in and commenting easier! Our new commenting platform is also our USCCA Online Community platform and allows you to use your USCCA login information for all of the USCCA website. 

You do not need a USCCA Membership to comment on the blog posts or in the Online Community. If you’re not a member, sign up for a free USCCA account.