Y-man again… Improvising a Mossberg 500 Safety button…Amongst others…

The famous curse of the breaking plastic safety buttons on Mossberg pump-action shotguns has finally hit me.

My tang broke (Sounds like the punch-line of a dirty joke!) and I FIXED it, like a boss!

I fabricated a new tang from a bit of aluminum, dremelled it into shape/ size, and fixed it: it works!

1.Y-man's Mossberg 500A Safety Button breaks


2.Y-man fabricates Mossberg 500A Safety Button


3.Y-man fixes improvised Mossberg 500A Safety Button


Notice how it gives me positive surface for thumb contact, with enough curvature to avoid snagging?

I know it may look ugly, but at least, until I am able to buy a new factory safety tang, this would have to do. I did NOT feel comfortable without a safety button, and this is functional enough.

Let me know what you think?

There has been some recent “tacticalisation” of my shotgun.

From a basic stock Mossberg 500A, which has gone through a LOT! (Improvised stocks, improvised sights, I have shot a LOT of improvised slugs through it…)

From this:

Y-man's Mossberg 500A BEFORE

To this:

Y-man's Mossberg 500A AFTER


–          Fab Defense Group Folding stock with adjustable cheek pad. (Sold by Mako Group)

–          AIM Full Length picatinny rail.

–          Troy Tritium folding Iron Back-Up Sights (Front and Back.)

–          Magpul barrel and magazine clamp.

How did I get these? Let’s just say my birthday came early this year, and I had a visit from the “shotgun fairy”! Actually, they were legally brought as samples, and I was able to buy them off. That’s all I am permitted to say.

I got to shoot my Mossberg 500A after these most recent mods, and I must say that I am happy I had done so under “test” conditions, and not in a real life situation. Quite a lot failed.

Folding stock:

It is great for folding for carriage and concealment, but it did not work very well for me in practice.

I forgot to change the folding direction to the right side, and got a badly busted lip from the protruding hinge for that. I have changed the folding direction and my lip should be good from now on… (My second busted lip in one year.)

However: I have now changed my stock to the exceptional Magpul SGA stock for Mossberg 500.

It handles perfectly and I realize now that I had been “misguided” in my initial love for pistol-grip type or folding stocks! Access to the safety button and the slide release just got magically PERFECT.

Y-man's New Magpul SGA stock

While shooting, I practiced using my new Safariland Shell carrier for quick reload with a tactical drill…

Safariland 2-shell belt clip Shell holder

A good, useful, easy-to-use product. Easy access to your spare shells, but must be used with a belt, and God help you if you have a large gut, and “love-handles” like I now do! [Strangely: I actually do not drink!] I did a tactical drill with my Mossberg and it was sweetly intuitive to pull out shells and do fast reloads.

In practice –  AIM full-length rail (Used with Troy Folding Battle Sights)

This did NOT work as advertised at all! When fixed: the rail curved from the receiver to the front mounting point. So the sights were not properly aligned. I initially tested and confirmed my sight alignment with a laser bore-slighter but it did NOT work at all and led to woefully inaccuracy. I was unable to put even ONE slug or bird-shot pellet on a two foot by two foot metal tray which was the target at 20 yards. (Bulls eye was a red spray-painted 4 inch circle.)

I have now taken off the rail, and installed separate barrel rail clamps and receiver rails. I have gone back to a simple tube-type sight, which I have used before and it served the purpose.

Y-man's new improvised Tube sight

Y-man's new improvised Tube sight Close-up

This time, I machined a good, precise tube out of stainless steel pipe, and aiming through it is by using what is called the Halo effect. (When you cannot see any of the inner edges of the tube, and can only see a perfectly round two-shade “halo” with your target right in the middle – you know you are well aligned on target…) I have in the past simply clamped an aluminium tube to my barrel as a sight, and I got good accuracy with it out to 50 yards… I’m sure you guys remember…Several cannons have similar sighting. (Hotchkiss 25mm Anti-Tank for example…)

This is “Matilda” (As I like to call my shotgun) now, after all the changes… Next stop: a good [improvised] sling, and then some test-shooting when I am able to!

Y-man's Mossberg 500A Mod complete

And oh, if you ever have a desperate need for cuff-links, you have an interview or dinner, and no cuff-links, but you have a couple of thumb-tacks at home, the sort with plastic grips.

Just do this:

Use pliers to remove the metal pins.

Plastic Thumb-Tacks - Pin-1

Make sure to pull out the pins properly…

And there you have them! One-use expedient cuff-links. Just make sure they are the same colour!

Thumb-Tack Cuff-Links

Ha ha!


Y-man is based in a firearms restricted environment in West Africa, he is really interested in shotguns [Which is all he can legally get], and he makes the best of whatever he is able to lay his hands on.

Y-man had some training at an early age in the “Gentleman” forces of the Air Force in his country, including some weapon training…

He also appreciates your advice, comments and feedback almost as much as the air he breathes…


  • Steve Truffer

    glad to see you finally ditched the pistol grip.
    ETA: Yay more Yman posts!

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Very first Yman posts with a pistol grip I was saying drop that crap. Finally did and “magically” the gun works better now 😉 Good for him.

      It still boggles my mind how many pistol grips I see on shotguns. You can always tell when someone doesn’t really use or doesn’t know how to use one.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    Nice improvisation with the temporary safety tang. If you anodize it or at least coat it with a suitable matte black finish ( remember that aluminum is less forgiving of paint when it comes to adhesion, but there are now several brands of highly durable paints available at a reasonable price on the commercial market that are designed to work with aluminum, and some actually do not require priming or detailed surface preparation ), it will actually look pretty good and appear a lot more integrated.

    As for your initial choice of accessories, I think you did quite well — sorry to hear that the AIM full-length Picatinny rail didn’t work out, though. Otherwise, the choice of components was logical and of high quality, especially the Troy tritium sights and the FAB Defense UAS-500 buttstock / pistol grip kit. The latter is easily one of the very best folding stocks available ( the ability to easily interchange the hinge point from the left-hand side to the right-hand side is a big plus ), but whether it works for an individual user in a 12-gauge application depends a lot on that individual user’s shooting stance and personal preferences. Some shooters work very well with full pistol grip-type set-ups, while others don’t ( and end up generally preferring a more “traditional” buttstock configuration ). It all amounts to what you are most comfortable and at home with. I’m happy to see that you have started to zero in ( no pun intended ) on the later set-up with the Magpul buttstock, et al, that appears to be working out for your particular needs.

    By the way, the “emergency” pushpin cufflink idea is really neat — although I’m sure the choice of color should be discreet! :).

    Thanks for posting this, Y-Man. I think most — if not all — of us here at TFB always look forward to your articles!

  • Chase Buchanan

    Did anyone besides me just crack up when they read the “Ha ha!” at the end?

    Y-man, you’re as awesome is ever and I’m thrilled that you got your hands on a Magpul stock.

  • Dv

    This entire post. It’s like firearms-enthusiast-ADD. I like it.

  • gunslinger

    Shooter and Gentleman’s stylist, extraordinaire.

  • Acad Ronin

    Your ability to improvise and pursue your hobby despite the impediments you face continually astounds me. However, should you ever be in the market for shooting-related non-improvised cufflinks try https://www.etsy.com/shop/MettleandOre. I have pair (.223 Remington brass), and I like them.

  • Nicks87

    Matilda is looking great Y-man! Keep up the good work!

  • Hey Y-man, have you tried wax slugs? I know you have the roll crimper from BPI, I also bought some over shot cards, plan on loading hulls like normal but no crimpimg, dump the measured shot load in with some melted wax, then put waxed shot back in shell with an over shot card and roll crimp. I tried a few with the crimp cut off (like you see alot of on YouTube) and they did hold together and hit like a slug. Problem was some tended to slip out of the shell a bit, not so good.
    I’m thinking of these as home defense rounds, which will hit like a slug but won’t over penetrate like a solid slug, kind of like a Glaser safety slug for my 12 ga.

    Oh, and my safety i replaced with a piece of brass, looked nice and it was laying around. And if it ever breaks there probably won’t be much left of the rest of the gun either!

  • Ralph Jenkins

    Yep !been there done that.
    My safety broke right in the middle crossways during a hunt. When I got home and cleaned my gun I set about to make a new one. I had a black handle toothbrush and made one from it just a tad taller and I made deeper ridges across it for a more sure and better feel looks great as if it came from the factory. Question ? have you ever tried to break a toothbrush good luck doing so.