Updated Mossberg SA-20 Autoloader Shotgun

Mossberg SA-20

The newly updated Mossberg SA-20 Field/Tactical autoloader is a 20 gauge shotgun with a 20″ barrel, synthetic stock and a variety of features that might make it a good home defense gun for you.  With the updated version shown at the 2013 SHOT Show, I immediately saw the gun’s home defense potential for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is reduced recoil.

The semi-auto action tends to absorb some of the recoil in the mechanical process of moving the bolt, extracting a spent shell and chambering a new one.  Combine that with the lower recoil of a 20 gauge compared to a 12 gauge, and one can see how this gun will likely be more tolerable to someone who is more recoil sensitive.  I’ve never had a problem training people of all sizes to shoot a 12 gauge, but a semi-auto 20 is simply easier for some people to control.

But the Mossberg SA-20 Field/Tactical offers more than just reduced recoil.  The shotgun comes standard with a ghost-ring rear sight and and AR-style, fiber optic front sight.  I have long preferred the ghost-ring sight for shotgun use, as I have found it to be a fast and accurate system for putting both buckshot and slugs on target.

Mossberg SA-20

The shotgun also has a Picatinny rail on top of the receiver for adding your choice in optics.  So, for the cost of the optic only, you can drop a red-dot holosight on the gun for even faster target acquisition.

At the far end of the magazine tube is a tri-rail.  This means you can very easily add a white light to the shotgun for proper threat identification.

Other information on the new SA-20:

  • 5 + 1 capacity
  • 2 3/4″ or 3″ shells
  • cylinder bore choke
  • weight:  6 pounds
  • length of pull:  14″
  • MSRP $525

A second, updated SA-20 was also shown by Mossberg.  This one has all of the same features, but has a fixed pistol grip stock instead of the traditional shotgun stock.  The pistol grip stock reduces the length of pull to 13″, drops the weight of the gun to 5.75 pounds and adds only $6 to the bottom line.

By Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, amateur historian and - most importantly - a dad. He's done a lot of silly things in his life, but quitting police work to follow his passion of writing about guns was one of the smartest things he ever did. He founded this site and continues to manage its operation.

12 replies on “Updated Mossberg SA-20 Autoloader Shotgun”

I will do that Richard, after I buy mine, of course!
Actually, I’m all new to this– I’m not a hunter and I don’t even own a firearm (yet). But I figured I need something for home defense and I’d better get it before guns are outlawed entirely for law abiding citizens. Since I have a bad shoulder, a 20 gauge with a sort pipe seemed like the way to go. I guess people are buying up and hording all the tacticals right now, for fear of not being able to get them in the future.

I’m pretty handy so if I can’t get my hands on that SA-20 I’m looking for, I might have to get me a cheap 20 gauge pump and hack saw the barrel off to 18″. I recently saw a slightly used SA-20 tactical for sale in Oklahoma for a whopping $800, which I passed on, but I looked again today and it was gone… I suppose the guy actually got the $800 for it. Crazy times, huh?

20 gauge is definitely a little easier on the shoulder than a 12, but it will still get the job done. A lot of people opt for the 12 gauge just because “bigger is better,” but the 20 will do almost everything a 12 will, especially when we are talking about home defense.

Personally, I’d even go with a #3 buckshot shell instead of 00-buck. It reduces the amount of penetration through barriers, but still gives you adequate penetration into flesh, and throws 20 or so pellets. I’d recommend not going to birdshot for home defense. Depending on the distance and other variables, birdshot just might not penetrate enough to stop an attacker.

I’ve concluded that a Mossberg SA-20 Tactical shotgun, which I’ve been looking to buy, is very probably unobtainable for the foreseeable future. So now I’m thinking about the possibility of modifying a 20 gauge field model autoloader to a short barrel configuration. I’m good with my hands but I know practically nothing about guns. I understand that autoloaders use the round’s exploding gas pressure to cycle the mechanism, so I would be concerned that shortening the barrel too much could possibly result in loss of gas pressure before the auto mechanism has fully cycled. For all I know, the gas cycling system in an SA-20 tactical model may be different from that used in Mossberg’s field model guns, to allow for the shorter barrel. So, the question is; how much could the barrel on a field model Mossberg 20 be shortened before it would inhibit cycling? If anyone can enlighten me on this, I would appreciate it.

I’ve only managed to find 2 of these with the pistol grip in my life. I ended up buying one of them. At the time however it didn’t come with the tri-rail, have they added that back in?

How many extra shells will a lower tube extension add? I saw a Mossberg SA 20 with extension in a video.How much does this add to the price?

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