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To gear up for 3-Gun, shooters need to open their wallets wide, particularly for shotguns. Whereas pistols and rifles that qualify as competitive can be purchased for less than $1,000, it isn’t unusual for the price tag on a shotgun, the most specialized gun among the three, to flirt with or surpass $2,000 once all de rigueur modifications have been made. (To be clear, I’m speaking of guns in the tactical optics division, the most popular category in 3-Gun. Open-class guns, where anything and everything goes, are all pricey.)
To capture these 3-Gun shooters, whose numbers are on the rise, gunmakers have started to offer shotguns that are ready to compete out of the box–or at least they’re marketed as such. But these match-ready shotguns are still expensive and beyond the reach of those with modest means or modest shooting addictions. However, this has changed with Mossberg’s introduction of the 930 JM Pro Series, which lists for $710 and is part of the 930 line, making it several hundred dollars less than its peers.
The JM in the shotgun’s name stands for Jerry Miculek, who is one of the greatest action shooters around. Last time I checked, he had won USPSA’s 3-Gun national championship five times.
Miculek worked with Mossberg to create the 930 JM Pro and include the design features he deemed essential. But because he can take first place with anything he shoots–a revolver in his hand sounds like a belt-fed machine gun and is more accurate–his participation in this project wasn’t enough to sell me on the 930.
What did sell me was the time I’ve spent at the range with the shotgun, particularly the days I spent at Gunsite Academy last December putting it through a 3-Gun torture test.
In 3-Gun, the shotgun portions of a stage are won not with accuracy or speed, but with the quickness of the reloads. Stuffing shells into the magazine is where time is either gained or lost. To facilitate this, shotgunners have for many years used files to bevel the edges around the loading port in the receiver. Gunmakers have finally started to catch on by beveling receivers at the factory. The beveling cut into the 930 isn’t much, but it is enough to encourage the shells to enter the extended magazine tube (which is another must-have feature for 3-Gun) and to prevent the shooter’s fingers from hanging up.
The 930 JM Pro also has a large bolt handle and bolt-release button, two standard items for 3-Gun, that benefit smooth firearm manipulation.
The robust tang-mounted safety is impossible to miss with the thumb while putting the gun on “safe” or “fire.”
My only gripes with the ergonomics of the shotgun had to do with radius of the grip, which I wish were more vertical, and the overtravel adjustment screw, which protrudes from the rear of the trigger guard and rubbed against the first knuckle of my middle finger on my trigger hand. A more vertical grip would make the shotgun easier to hold in place against the shoulder while reloading, reducing fatigue and improving times.
While the receiver on the 930 is tapped and drilled to mount a rear sight, it would be nice if Mossberg included one pre-installed, either on the receiver or clamped to the rib. These are necessary for long-range, 30-plus-yard slug targets. The single red fiber-optic bead isn’t precise enough for steel or paper targets at those distances.
Speaking of accuracy, the two 930 JM Pros I’ve shot delivered good groups with rifled slugs out to 50 yards, and tight patterns with a number of different buck- and birdshot loads at distances out to 35 yards.
The shotguns also proved impressively reliable. The 930 operates on a gas system, and I experienced no feeding or ejection issues despite heating up the guns with hundreds of rounds. Like most gas guns, the action also tamed recoil, which never proved to be an issue.
The 930 JM Pro comes in two configurations–a 22-inch barrel with a nine-round magazine or a 24-inch barrel with a ten-rounder. I shot and liked both but preferred the longer shotgun.
I wouldn’t feel handicapped in any way relying on the JM 930 Pro for my next 3-Gun match. So to focus too much on its price would be to do it a disservice. This gun can hold its own against any stock 3-Gun shotgun out there. It just happens to do so at a really attractive price, which puts it in a class of its own.
Chamber: 3 in., 12-ga.
Weight: 7 lb. 4 oz.
Barrel Length 24 in.
Overall Length: 44.5 in.
LOP: 14 in.
Trigger Pull: 4 lb. 6 oz.
You won’t find a better value in a factory shotgun that is ready to compete in 3-Gun out of the box. Mossberg has set a new standard for competition shotguns for the action-shooting sports.