Shotgun Recoil Tip from Mossberg

Former USMC and current LEO Jeremy Stafford recently completed a video blog for Mossberg that caught my attention. The video blog’s purpose is to illustrate how to use recoil to your advantage, specifically with pump shotguns. For the video Stafford used a Mossberg 500 Pump Action Tactical Shotgun. In order to make the concept clear he exaggerated his movements; the goal is to practice this method until your movements are fluid and uninterrupted.

Wondering if training is worth the time and ammo? Easy answer: yes. Training with firearms puts truth to “practice makes permanent” so make sure your trigger time is the type you want ingrained in your muscle memory.

Training is part of Stafford’s job in LE and he puts his skills to use within the firearms industry as well. In addition to creating lesson plans, training, and making the occasional video, he also writes for publications such as Guns and Ammo.

Mossberg is well known to you all, as are their 500 series shotguns. One of my first shotguns was a 500, and today I have quite a collection of Mossberg long guns. It remains one of my favorite do-it-all weapons for everything from home defense to hunting turkeys. If you want to get a closer look at the 500, take a look here. To see the company’s entire lineup, visit their website here.

View this video on Mossberg’s website here.


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TFB Staff, bringing you the latest gun news from around the world for a decade.


  • BattleshipGrey

    I wish he would’ve used a few more words to describe HOW to do it. It looks as though he’s perhaps putting some rearward pressure on the forend to let the inertia of the recoil help cycle faster once the shot happens. Is that a correct assessment?

    • Hellbilly

      He’s simply cycling it during recoil – as soon as the trigger is pulled and the shotgun begins to push into your shoulder, you’re working WITH recoil force instead of against it by pulling back on the slide immediately versus waiting until you have recovered from the previous shot. You can fire a pump-action surprisingly fast with this technique. Ignore Hollywood where they pump a shotgun seconds to minutes after firing it. Simply think of that spent hull sitting in the chamber as holding a hot potato – you want to get rid of that sucker as soon as possible.

    • M.M.D.C.
    • Twilight sparkle

      The way I’ve done it before is by pulling the shotgun in kinda tight with my non firing hand. If you do that dry firing you’ll notice the action isn’t going to open because your pressure is keeping it locked; however, when you do it when you’re shooting the force of the recoil is enough for the inertia of everything moving back to counteract the force that you’re applying to the action and it allowes the action to unlock before the force you’re continuously applying takes over and ejects the spent shell. From there it’s just a matter of training to remember to push forward.

  • adverse4

    Sometimes I think, I knew that. Then I think, maybe some people didn’t.

  • Big Daddy

    That is the secret to operating a pump, use the recoil to cycle the shotgun. I figured that out quickly. I see it time and time again, a shooter presses the trigger than waits till after the recoil impulse to pump the shotgun. Use the recoil to pump it…..I shocked a whole lot of combat vets one day at the range doing it. They were all just like WTF!!!! I am a short guy and close to 60 years old and disabled, but I had the Mossberg 500 12 gauge singing. Once you get it in a clean fast stroke it does mitigate the recoil somewhat.

  • Will

    As a retired military and police firearms instructor I’m a big fan of the KISS principle of training. I like this guys style and explanation.
    You will notice he puts the majority of his weight on his left leg, bends his left knee and leans forward.
    This stance will allow his lead leg to act as a shock absorber and as he rocks backward it uses his entire upper body mass to absorb the recoil, not just his shoulder as he works the action. This was what we taught our officers. Especially helpful considering we trained , exclusively, with issued duty ammo not skeet loads. Magnum OO Buck and slugs.
    Good video.

  • DIR911911 .

    “using the inertia” . . .wrong , you are having to move faster than that inertia to cycle the gun while it’s still moving rearward. just say rack it as soon as it booms. tacticool fool

  • This is the one thing that pretty much every video game pump shotgun gets wrong; they pump too slow and reload too quick to be “realistic”. If a dope like me could figure out the trick of rolling the pumping movement into the recoil recovery movement as a teenager hunting mourning doves back in the Pleistocene, anyone with serious tactical training should definitely be doing this as a reflex; it’s such an easy and natural motion that the hardest part about it is remembering not to do it on the last round, so you can load a new shell before you cycle the action.

  • claymore

    LOL loved the “Stern Face” checking the approaches after firing. That mean look will scare off anybody approaching at those angles.

    • Dan Moore

      You are seeing something in his face we don’t. He is simply looking left and right with normal resting face.

      • claymore

        You mean to say he ALWAYS looks like that………………… Scary dude

  • uisconfruzed

    Now try that with the Winchester, MUCH faster and more natural feeling.
    I’ve Mossbergs, Bennelli, Winchesters and have shot many others.
    None of them cycle as fast or as smooth as the Wins.
    I’d love to have an Ithaca Mdl37 again.

  • John Cheek

    Us old country boys who grew up hunting doves with a pump Winchester model 12, 410ga or 16ga learned this at 12. I always “push” with my slide hand and as soon as the round is fired, it’s a pretty automatic reaction to “pump” that slide for another quick shot. Lord knows when those doves or quail flush, it’ll scare the crap out of a young kid out for his first hunts.

  • whskee

    I’ve had quite a lot of entry level students that hadn’t learned this technique. I try to teach riding the recoil early on, and then start working reloading techniques once they get the basics down. I find getting them reloading with good economy of motion to be the most challenging concept for most of them to develop.