Tuesday, August 9, 2011

When Tactical Goes Wrong

It seems that the rush to make a new "tactical" accessory or firearm continues.  We've seen this trend for several years by many manufacturers, but occasionally you'll stumble into a product that makes you think, "what the heck?".  I recently stumbled into two such products and interestingly, they're both from the same manufacturer.


Mossberg seems to be suffering from a bit of an identity crisis lately.  Mossberg made a name for itself early in the 20th century by designing and manufacturing classics like the Brownie pistol and eventually traditional rifles, shotguns and optics.  In the last couple of decades the Mossberg Model 500 shotgun has become something of an icon and is used by the U.S. military.  Mossberg is also one of the oldest firearms makers in the U.S. and is the oldest family owned firearms manufacturer in the U.S.

Despite being a seasoned firearms manufacturer, they've made some real head scratchers lately.

702 Plinkster
Take the 702 Pinkster .22LR autoloader as an example.  Here we have what almost seems to be a traditional semi-automatic .22LR rifle with a detachable magazine and polymer stock.  Where things get really strange is at the muzzle.  That's right, they've added what appears to be a .50 BMG muzzle brake to a .22LR, similar to the brakes found on rifles such as the Barrett M82 sniper rifle.  The massive Barrett brake is designed to tame the vicious recoil of the .50 BMG rifle cartridge.  I don't know why anyone would see a need to use such a device on a rifle that is generally accepted to have no recoil.  I would pay to be a fly on the wall during the conversations between the engineers and the marketing folks at Mossberg when this concept was being pitched.

But apparently the 702 Plinkster wasn't tacticool enough to stand on its own, Mossberg stepped up with yet another head scratcher, perhaps eclipsing the 702 Plinkster.

Model 500 "Chainsaw"
Enter the Model 500 "Chainsaw" 12ga shotgun.  This little gem looks like it's right out of The Evil Dead movie.  Take a pistol grip 12ga shotgun, add a tacticool muzzle device and a chainsaw grip to the front pump handguard and you have what's possibly the craziest looking shotgun ever created and sold by a major firearms manufacturer.  The image to the left is not photoshopped in any way, this is a real product.

I wish Mossberg well in their pursuit of profits, but honestly, I'm a bit dumbfounded with these two products.  When I first saw images of them I honestly thought it was a joke, that someone had photoshopped a couple of images for a gag.  But it's no joke, these are real products.

Mossberg Modern Rifle (MMR)
Mossberg has also stepped into the ring with another new product that's a little more conventional, the MMR or "Mossberg Modern Rifle".  The MMR is basically another AR15 clone which I would argue isn't "modern" in the slightest.  To me calling another AR15 clone based on a design that's 48+ years old "modern" is like producing another 1911 clone and calling it the MMH (Mossberg Modern Handgun).  About the only thing I can see that's unique about the MMR is the unconventional looking pistol grip they've added.

I honestly wish Mossberg the best of luck with these products.  It will be interesting to see how these products fare in the marketplace.  Perhaps they'll sell like hotcakes and I'll be forced to eat a hearty serving of crow.

*** Update 2/17/2012***

It looks like Mossberg out did themselves.  Words escape me when looking at their latest tacticool offering.  This one is called the 464 SPX and it's something to behold, for sure:


  1. Maybe it's time and I'm completely serious that we start calling the M4/AR15 style firearms "traditional" rather than "modern". I'm sure I'm like many who grew up with the AR15 as really the only military style rifles outside of the movies that existed in my mind.

    It's hard not to be a big fan of the .22lr, but slapping tactical on every new product that comes out is getting ridicuious. CCI makes tactical rimfire ammo. I do like the new crop of rimfire AR style rifles for cheap shooting and practice, but the marketing sometimes does go a little over the top.

    By the way I love my traditional M4 style carbine.

  2. Thanks for the article. Yeah, the 1st 2 (22 rifle and shotgun) look like a pure marketing ploy... "hey, lets throw a few gimmicks on to make it sell". For the level-headed consumer, this won't get any traction. It sounds like me, mossberg is trying to diversify their product line to increase profits and insulate themselves against dips in the market... kind of like investing, you don't put all your eggs in 1 basket.

  3. The grip looks like Stark Enterprises and it is a departure from pretty much every other Ar15 grip. So you could say it is modern in that regard. It is also ugly.

  4. 464 SPX: Adjustable stock, fiber optic front sight, Flash Suppressor, Room for flashlight, laser and a vertical grip, but why no attachment for a bayonet? :)
    This would be good for laughs to pull out of the gun safe.
    If it actually works, I think this will be a good seller for Mossberg. Although, I cannot find anywhere on the internet any reviews where someone actually fired this thing.

  5. I want to buy that .30-30 just because I laugh so fucking hard I almost shit my pants every time I see a picture of it... I could just pull it out of the safe on a gloomy day and roflcopter my bad day away. Then again I'd probably realize at some point that I spent good money on that horrid piece of shit and try to shoot myself with it.