Finding the best Mossberg 500 side saddle can be a challenge. But if you know exactly what to look for, the search process will be a little easier for you.
A good side saddle reliably allows you to store extra Mossberg shells while you’re out in the field or out on the range. Fortunately, we’ve handpicked five of the best side saddles for a Mossberg 500 that are currently on the market. One of these will probably be yours if one or two unique features stand out enough to get your attention.
If you don’t know what a side saddle is, you’re not alone. Before we dig into the list of best side saddles, let’s talk about what a side saddle is and its purpose. We’ll also talk about the few aspects that you need to consider prior to purchasing a side saddle of your own.
Comparison of the Best Mossberg 500 Side Saddles
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What is a Side Saddle and What Is It Used For?
Side saddles are used to store extra shotgun shells and are designed to stay attached to the side of your shotgun. This is a handy accessory to have when you want to keep extra shotgun rounds on you while you’re out in the field or out on the range.
In a home defense situation where multiple attackers are present, having extra shells handy can be a huge difference maker. These side saddles are often installed on the buttstock of your shotgun. Also, you can install some of these on your shotgun receiver. This will allow for easy access and fast reloading, which is definitely a plus for most applications.
How to Choose a Side Saddle
There are some features and aspects that you need to consider prior to choosing a side saddle. You need to know which one will be a more reliable side saddle compared to those that are considered cheap and low quality. To get a better idea of how to choose a side saddle that best fits you, it’s important to know what drove past buyers to choose theirs. Here are a few things that they would want you to keep an eye out for while buying a side saddle of your own:
Intent and Purpose
What is your Mossberg 500 shotgun used for? Are you a hunter? Is it for home defense? Are you a competitive shooter? No matter what your intended purpose is, you need to make sure that you’re prepared with extra shells when the situation arises that you need them.
While your side saddle is designed to give you fast reloading and less time trying to find extra shells, knowing how many you can carry is key. This is based on your personal needs and preferences.
There are some side saddles that will hold up to 4 rounds, while others will hold up to 6 or more. Once again, this will depend on your intended purpose. If you’re out in the field for a hunt, it’s best to carry one with a capacity of 4. You can get away with 6 if you like. If you’re in a competition, then finding one with a larger capacity will be essential.
Of course, the ease of installation is important when it comes to side saddles. One of the ways to install a side saddle is by screwing them on the receiver of your shotgun. There are even some side saddles that you can install on your buttstock.
These are typically the Velcro type side saddles that you can easily stick to either the stock or if you choose, the receiver. Either way, they’re both easy to install without having to rely on the services of a professional gunsmith.
Review of the Best Mossberg 500 Side Saddle
Below are five of the best Mossberg 500 side saddles that are currently on the market. We chose each of these based on a characteristic or brand name. Others we have selected for the sake of those on a budget. No matter what your situation is financially, or if the brand name isn't much of an issue, there will probably be a side saddle that will best fit your Mossberg 500.
Lyman - Side Saddle Shell Holder
Our first pick for best overall side saddle currently on the market is the Lyman Side Saddle Shell Holder. A side saddle should be lightweight so it won’t add any unnecessary weight to your shotgun; thankfully, this side saddle is light in weight. It is designed to give you easy access and fast reloading, no matter the application.
This nylon molded saddle has a mounting plate that is made from aluminum, which is designed to attach to your receiver using the screw holes. If you’re worried about making any kind of alterations to your Mossberg 500, you don’t have to worry; if you’re going to install this side saddle on your shotgun, you don’t have to make any additional modification.
This side saddle is available in two counts: one that will hold up to four shells and one that will hold up to six shells. Choose the capacity that is best for you and you will have a reliable side saddle for your Mossberg 500.
The Lyman Side Saddle Shell Holder has proven itself as worthy of the Best Overall title. While it is designed mostly for law enforcement use, it can also be used by the everyday Mossberg owner. More specifically, if you're using your Mossberg for home defense purposes, this is probably the side saddle you'll want.
Whether you want a 4-count or a 6-count, you'll be satisfied with this. If you want a side saddle that will give you fast reloading and the ability to get as many shots off as possible, the Lyman Side Saddle should be a strong contender.
Best For The Money:
Mesa Tactical SureShell Side Mount Shell Carrier
If you're on a budget, you know for sure that we've handpicked an excellent side saddle for you. We've bestowed the honor of "Best For The Money" to the Mesa Tactical SureShell Side Mount Shell Carrier. This carrier is also available in 4-count, 6-count, and 8-count.
The top of this side saddle has that ribbed look (which looks like some kind of Picatinny rail). It is definitely something that you want to install on your receiver. Speaking of installation, this is easy to install on your Mossberg 500 without ever having to rely on a professional gunsmith. If you have no gunsmithing skills whatsoever, you can breathe a sigh of relief.
This side saddle is machined from high-quality aluminum, which can reliably handle the amount of shock that is produced from recoil. The finish is a matte black finish that will blend in with your shotgun without making it look like an aesthetic disaster. So if looks matter to your Mossberg, then you won’t have to worry about this making it look ugly.
Overall, this is a side saddle that is more than what you’d expect from a run-of-the-mill kind of budget side saddle. If you’re looking for something that will give you more than what you’ll pay for, the Mesa Tactical SureShell might be your best choice.
If you’re on a budget, the Mesa Side Saddle might just be the one you want for your shotgun. Even if you have money to play with, you should give this a deeper look. One of the main reasons is obviously the variation of counts that it comes in. If you need more rounds, there’s a side saddle for you.
Once again, this will depend on the application. Whether it’s for hunting, competition, or home defense, the Mesa Side Saddle will not let you down and will never leave you hanging when you need an extra shot or two.
Sometimes, a good side saddle doesn't have to be attached with screws. With that said, we present to you the best velcro side saddle on the market. This is the NcStar Universal side saddle, designed to hold your favorite 12 gauge shotgun shells.
This is a six-count side saddle that you can install on your receiver, making it one of the easiest, most accessible side saddles on the market. All you need to do is reach for a shotgun shell, load it up, and take your shot. From there, it's rinse and repeat. If you’re looking for a side saddle and not impressed with the idea of having to install one with the use of screws and tools, then the NcStar side saddle might be exactly what you need.
Get one or two of these for your Mossberg 500 and even another shotgun of your choice. These will fit most 12 gauge shotgun rounds, so you won’t have to worry about whether or not the shells you use will fit or not.
For its part, the NcSTAR side saddle does a pretty good job of holding your shotgun shells together. Since it's velcro, this will likely give all the other side saddles (Velcro or otherwise) a run for their money. For the most part, this has the ability to keep the shells snug and secure, especially when you're firing off multiple rounds with your Mossberg 500.
If you hate the idea of using screws and want a side saddle that is easy to slap on and be good to go, then the NcSTAR might be the side saddle that's best for you.
Best From TacStar:
TacStar Hunter's SideSaddle
If you're a fan of the TacStar brand, we have the best side saddle directly from them. More specifically, we have the Hunter's Sidesaddle. This comes in a 4-count holder, which is ideally designed for the bird hunter or the big game hunter. You can install this on your Mossberg 500 without ever having to make any modifications to your shotgun.
It has an aluminum backplate that is rugged, durable, and will be able to handle the recoil of your shotgun. The best thing about this side saddle is not only is it available for 12 gauge Mossbergs but 20 gauge Mossbergs as well.
This also comes in two colors: Realtree Advantage and hunter black. Whether camo is your thing or not, this is a reliable side saddle to have when you’re out in the field and ready to knock down that big game target you’ve been after all season long.
For a side saddle, this one is as tough as it gets. The polymer construction really does make it impervious to damage, which really impresses us. Not only that, this is probably going to be your best hunting buddy if you decide to go with this side saddle. So if you use a Mossberg 500 for the purpose of hunting big game or bird hunting and need a universal fit side saddle, the TacStar will probably be the side saddle worth investing in.
Best From ATI:
ATI Shotshell Holder
Finally, we’ll be taking a look at the best from the ATI brand. The shotshell holder has the ability to hold up to 5 12 gauge shotgun shells. This side saddle is also one tough customer because of the material it’s constructed from.
While it is polymer, it is not your average type of polymer. This is Extreme Temperature Glass Reinforced Polymer developed by DuPont. Yes, that’s the same DuPont that develops kevlar for bulletproof vests.
Most important, this is an easy to install side saddle. No need for fancy tools or gunsmithing skills. This is an ideal side saddle for the purpose of hunting, though you can certainly use this for just about any other application you want.
This side saddle and the TacStar will possibly duke it out in the not so distant future when it comes to side saddles. I won’t be surprised if there’s a great debate about these two at some point down the road. But for now, if you want a side saddle that is super durable and you fancy yourself a fan of the ATI brand, then this might be the side saddle that fits your Mossberg 500 perfectly.
How to Install a Side Saddle on Your Shotgun
Sure, it’s easy to install a side saddle on your shotgun. But you may not have any installation instructions that will come with the side saddle that you choose. So, we’ve taken the liberty of providing you with side saddle instructions of your own. Keep in mind that this will pretty much be the same instructions no matter which side saddle you choose (of course, if you chose a velcro side saddle, you may disregard this part). With that said, here’s how you install a side saddle on your shotgun:
- Before doing anything else, make sure that your shotgun is unloaded.
- Open the action and lay the shotgun down with the ejection port facing up.
- Remove the screw that is located inside the ejection port. You’ll need a screwdriver or a Leatherman. You will have a replacement screw that comes along with the side saddle you chose.
- Place the screw in the ejection port, screw it in.
- Pop out the pin located just near the trigger housing. You can pop it open using a long screw and tap it with the handle end of the screwdriver. The screw will pop out from the other side. Push in the replacement all the way. You should see the threads stick out. This is normal.
- Remove the washers located on the holes of the side saddle using an Allen wrench. What you’re doing here is separating the mounting plate from the shell compartments.
- Install the plate on your shotgun. Secure it properly using an Allen wrench.
- Add the nut and washer in the larger hole and tighten it until secure.
- Place the shell holders and tighten them until secure using an Allen wrench.
- Double check to see if the side saddle is snug and secure.
How to Reload a Shotgun Using a Side Saddle
Now here comes the fun part. There are two different techniques will show you on how you can reload a shotgun using a side saddle. This is ideal in a home defense or competition application. In order to reload a shotgun using your side saddle, you’ll need to follow these instructions for each technique. Let’s start with the first one:
- You need to make sure that the shells in your side saddle are placed brass side down. As you reload, make sure the stock is tucked below your armpit.
- Pull down a shell brass side down and quickly load it into the loading port. Push it into the magazine tube using your thumb.
- You can alternatively load the shell into the ejection port. You can do this without looking at the gun.
- This time, the brass part of your shells should be facing up.
- Blade your hand and point it toward you. As you’re doing this, push up the shell closest to you using your thumb. Feed the shell using the magazine tube.
- Alternatively, you can load it via the ejection port.
Finding the best Mossberg 500 side saddle is easy if you know what you’re looking for. If you need one with 4 shells or 8, having one handy in any application is always good to have. Especially when you want to reload and get a shot off fast.
Remember, if a side saddle sticks out as one of your favorites, make sure you do more further research to ensure that you are making the right decision when it comes to choosing a great side saddle. Timing is everything when it comes to these things. So find one that will allow you easy access and will quicken your ability to reload your Mossberg 500.