While single-stack 9mm pistols seem to be all the rage in modern concealed carry, subcompact pistols that hold a bit more ammunition shouldn’t be dismissed by anyone interested in personal protection.
In this Springfield Armory XD Subcompact pistol review, I take a look at the smallest gun in the company’s Defend Your Legacy Series of handguns. While thicker than the XD-S Mod.2 pistol, it is still small enough for most people to easily conceal but offers significantly more ammunition.
From hunting to protecting the homestead, the lever gun proved its worth in American hands time and time again. In the modern era, lever action rifles like this Mossberg do have a place.
In this review, I will show you how Mossberg equipped the rifle, how it performed and where it might fit for your protection needs.
Let’s not waste any time and dive right in.
Mossberg 464 SPX
Lever action rifles have faithfully served lawmen, soldiers and ranchers alike.
Even so, I’m sorry to say that my first impression of the 464 SPX was that Mossberg jumped the shark with the tactical gear. Since I’ve had time with it, I’ve changed my tune.
Chambered for the classic .30-30 Win cartridge, the gun looks a little out of place with all of the modern furniture. From the A2-style muzzle device to the adjustable buttstock, the gun looks like it has been fitted with gear from my AR-15 spare parts box. For some reason, that rubs me the wrong way. Maybe I’m just a traditionalist.
Nevertheless, the gun is equipped with these things because they work. Isn’t that what we should be looking for in a “tactical” gun – performance over aesthetics?
The SPX is basically a 464 lever action rifle refitted to make it more suited for tactical purposes.
Mossberg shortened the barrel from 20″ to 16.25″ to make it more maneuverable. While they were at it, the company threaded the barrel. As it ships, the gun is fitted with an A2-style flash hider. However, you can easily replace this with a sound suppressor for safer shooting.
Working back from the muzzle, the synthetic forend is textured with grooves to give it a modern look as well as to improve your ability to grip it. Three short Picatinny-type rails are included on the forend at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions. These rails make for perfect mounting points for a flashlight or weaponlight.
The hand grip is fitted with grooves that match those in the forend. Farther back is the adjustable, AR-style stock. My test gun had an ATI stock while the newer production models have a synthetic stock with a QD socket on each side for a sling.
On top of the gun is a set of fiber optic sights. The front sight is red while the rear 2-dot sights are green. They are quite bright in both outdoor and indoor settings. In dark conditions with little ambient light, they are harder to find.
Out on the range, I shot at varying distances to 100 yards with the sights. I’ve recorded how the different ammo performed in the gun below.
The gun met my expectations in terms of reliability. I had zero issues with loading, feeding or shooting. The lever action was smooth and had no hitches in the movement.
Recoil was moderate and on par with other .30-30 Win rifles. The ATI stock has a reasonably thick recoil pad that made a full day of shooting relatively comfortable.
The trigger pull was ok. While the break was crisp, there was quite a bit of take up before you got there. I felt almost no overtravel.
During shooting, I discovered that hand position on the rifle is critical. A plunger on the underside of the stock serves as a trigger safety. When you grip the rifle, the lever should depress the plunger and allow you to fire. However, there were several instances in which I failed to depress the lever far enough to disengage the safety.
I suspect that my regular shooting of AR-style rifles created a typical hand positioning that is slightly different than what should be used with the 464 SPX. The safety is designed to prevent accidental discharges, but is a potential failure point for which you have to train.
Like other Mossberg long guns, there is a tang safety. Push it forward to fire and pull it back to put it on safe.
One thing I was surprised by was the weight of the gun. Unloaded, the gun weighs 7 pounds. Yet, it feels lighter when handled. I suspect the gun’s even balancing reduces the heavy feeling that an unbalanced rifle can relay. For homestead defense, it is possible that you may have to keep an intruder at gunpoint for an extended period of time. The balance and relatively light weight will make that easier for you.
I tested the gun with three different loads: one each from Hornady, Remington and Winchester.
Hornady LeverEvolution 160 gr FTX
Remington Core Lokt 150 gr SP
Winchester Super X 150 gr
Performance measured with a Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital Chronograph at an approximate distance of 15′ from the muzzle of the pistol. All measurements are an average of five shots.Accuracy measurements represent the best 5-shot group at 100 yards from a sandbag rest.
With the Hornady LeverEvolution, I was able to get the best 5-shot groups at 100 yards. They tended to range from 2.75″-3.25″.
Shooting the Winchester loads, I was able to get very consistent 3.75″-4″ groups. Unfortunately, the Remington Core Lokt load did poorly in this rifle. I shot groups up to 7″ wide with a best of only 5.5″
These are not the tiny groups you might expect with an AR, but keep in mind that I was shooting with the standard sights – no scope. Additionally, groups are 5-shots, not the three used by a lot of reviewers.
While the ballistics of a .30-30 Winchester cartridge suggest lower theoretical accuracy than a .223 Rem or .308 Win, I freely admit that the weak spot in the shooting is me – not the gun. Frankly, my eyes and hands aren’t as young as they used to be.
Does It Make Sense for You?
So, does the Mossberg 464 SPX make sense as a home defense weapon?
That depends on you and your needs.
For me, a rifle makes good sense. While I like shotguns and keep a Beretta 1301 Tactical for self-defense, the fact is there are three other people in my house that may use the rifle for self-defense. While all of them can shoot a shotgun, the reality is I’m the only one who relishes the punishment a 12 gauge can dish out.
The lever action gun in .30-30 Win is a proven manstopper, yet it is easier on the shooter than a shotgun. In fact, the lever action rifle is even easier to run for most folks.
So, for my family, the Mossberg 464 SPX makes a lot of sense.
Does it replace an AR15?
Again, that depends on your needs and desires.
For many people, an affordable AR-15 will be a better choice. AR rifles tend to be a bit lighter in recoil and offer up to 30 rounds in a standard magazine. While I’d rather take a deer with a .30-30 than a .223, the fact is humans are easily stopped by both cartridges.
While this shouldn’t be an issue in the US, the sad truth is you can be perceived in a better light by the criminal justice system by shooting an attacker with a lever gun that with a so-called “assault weapon.” Depending on where you live, this may be an important consideration.
The Mossberg 464 SPX is a solid tactical lever action rifle. I do not hesitate in recommending it.
Last Update: October 15, 2022
As with all of my reviews, I fully disclose any potential biases that may sway my opinion.
Mossberg provided the 464 SPX used in this review. It was a loaner gun that was returned after my testing was complete. The company did not offer me money or other consideration to write a review of this rifle. Nor are they an advertiser.
I have no financial interest in Mossberg or any other firearms manufacturer. All of the opinions in this review are my own.
Unlike many (most?) of the gun blogs and forums on the internet, GHG is not owned by a large corporation based in who-knows-where. It’s just me and my family with a few friends that pitch in from time to time.
GunsHolstersAndGear.com is a for-profit website.I do not charge readers a dime to access the information I provide.
Some of the links on this page and site are affiliate links to companies like Amazon and Palmetto State Armory. These links take you to the products mentioned in the article. Should you decide to purchase something from one of those companies, I make a small commission.
The links do not change your purchase price. I do not get to see what any individual purchases.
Questions about anything? Please ask in the comments section below. Also, if you’ve spent any time with this gun, please share your thoughts. Agree with me or not isn’t relevant. The more folks talking about their hands-on experience with the gun the better.
I just ask that you keep things civil and free of profanity. I want this to be a family-friendly site.
The news section of the site has been a bit quiet since I shifted the focus of the site slightly. Instead of trying to pump out the latest news and press release information, I am focusing on providing more reviews of gun related products. As one of the few sites that fully discloses all biases in each review -and- doesn’t have annoying advertising plastered all over, I hope that the product evaluations I write are a help to you.
Here are some of the latest reviews I have published:
Anker LC90 Flashlight Review – Flashlights are must-have piece of equipment for daily life and self-defense. Although Anker tries to position this as a tactical flashlight, it is better suited for daily use in my opinion. I have a full review of it including runtimes and an examination of its questionable specifications.
Beretta 1301 Tactical Shotgun – Sadly, I wrote this review some time ago and failed to link to it from the rest of the site. So, this one sat unread by most people. While not “new” in the sense that I just wrote it, it is likely “new to most people” because it hasn’t been seen by many people at all.
IWI Tavor X95 Review – The X95 proved to be a great shooting rifle. And while its price tag is larger than the budget of many shooters, it is a top-shelf, compact rifle that was reliable and accurate.
Ruger American Compact Pistol Review – Beefy. Generally, this is not a term associated with a compact handgun. Nevertheless, the Ruger American Compact pistol is just that. It works well, though it is not my first choice for concealed carry.
SIG SAUER P320 Airgun Review – This might be a fun gun to play with, but its not a training pistol. It has some positive aspects, but don’t expect it to replace your actual P320 for practice or training.
Smith & Wesson Model 66 Review – I take a look at a pair of the modern manufactured .357 Magnum wheelguns from Smith. Some purists won’t like the two-piece barrel design, but these were good shooting handguns.
Taurus Spectrum Review – As much as I want Taurus to succeed, the company can’t seem to make a working gun at launch or fix its customer service woes. I detail both in this review.
I have also updated these reviews to reflect new versions of the books that have been released.
Black Man with a Gun – From my brother from another, Kenn Blanchard released a follow up to the original book. I updated the review to include information on the new tome.
Cartridges of the World – This is one of my go-to reference books for firearms information. The updated edition has been expanded and includes even more information than before.
Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson – Another fantastic resource, this book is a must have for any S&W collector. The current edition is even better than the previous – and I was not sure that would be possible.
While the gun is interesting on its own, I find that it is an even more compelling introduction when it is put head-to-head with the Colt Cobra. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s first take a look at what the gun is.
Just the Facts
At its most basic, the Taurus 856 is a 6-shot, compact revolver with a steel frame. It comes in at less than 1.5 pounds unloaded and is chambered for the venerable .38 Special cartridge.
The gun has sights typical to concealed carry revolvers of this size: a fixed front ramp with a trench-style rear that is integral to the frame and top strap.
Taurus uses a set of its own rubber stocks on the gun. I’ve not had a chance to shoot a gun with these grips yet, but they look to be an improvement over some of the grips the company used in the past. The profile looks similar to Pachmayr Compac grips I’ve used occasionally on my Smith & Wesson J-frames.
(Update: Taurus will introduce new frame colors for the 856 at the 2019 SHOT Show.)
Six Shots or Only Five?
When Dirty Harry asked that question, he was talking about the rounds in his 6-shot .44 Magnum. But a lot of cops were asking themselves the same question when that movie was released. Should their backup gun hold six shots, or only five?
While many compact wheel guns use a 5-shot cylinder to decrease the gun’s width, there are a lot of people who are hesitant to give up that extra round of ammunition in their defensive handgun.
Guns like the Colt Cobra battled the 5-shot J-frames from Smith & Wesson for position in the ankle holsters of cops in the 60s and 70s. That single extra round of ammo made the decision easy for a lot of lawmen. A little extra width and weight were a cheap price for 20% more firepower.
With the renewed interest in the compact revolver, companies have expanded their wheelgun offerings in recent years. This includes Colt, that rolled out its updated Cobra in 2017.
Bull vs. Snake
The new Taurus 856 is a direct competitor to the new Cobra. Both are compact, steel-frame revolvers with 6-shot cylinders.
There are differences, of course. Here’s a look at some of their specs:
carbon steel or stainless steel
serrated front ramp, fixed trench rear
fiber optic front, fixed trench rear
Taurus branded rubber
matte blue or matte stainless
While I would prefer the Colt’s fiber optic sight to the Taurus’s serrated ramp, the specs seem to heavily favor the Model 856 when you factor in the final comparison: the price.
The Colt Cobra is more than twice the price of the Taurus 856.
I would never buy a self-defense handgun on price alone. However, the huge price difference is likely to sway many people standing at a gun counter.
For me, the key differences are the ones not listed in the spec chart above. What kind of reliability can I expect out of each gun? How smooth is the trigger? Does the gun feel good in my hand?
Those are things that I can only determine through testing of the guns.
Taurus USA and its parent company have been through some rough years. I don’t know if the bad times are truly behind them, but I do like the guns I’ve seen announced at the SHOT Show this year. The guns expand on the company’s best lines and are interesting enough to bring in new buyers.
The Model 856 seems to be introduced with the same reasoning. It is a known winner and is competing in a popular niche with relatively little direct competition: compact, 6-shot revolvers. With such an inexpensive MSRP, I suspect these guns will be good sellers.
If Taurus quality control can keep these guns in the hands of its customers and out of the repair center, I think this gun can go a long way in restoring trust to the Taurus brand.
The Model 692 is a revolver that is chambered in .357 Magnum. As most shooters know, you can shoot .38 Special loads from a .357 Magnum wheelgun. The twist, however, is that you can also shoot common 9mm rounds through this gun with the use of a conversion cylinder.
Taurus already offers a 9mm revolver, though it cannot shoot other cartridges from the gun. (Read more on the Taurus 905.) The 692 is designed to give your greater cartridge flexibility with a single gun purchase.
Swapping a revolver’s cylinder is easy and takes just a minute with a screwdriver. One of the things I like about the cylinders on this gun is that they are unfluted. Generally, I like a fluted cylinder, but the unfluted version looks good on this gun.
Taurus offers the 692 in two different barrel lengths: a 3″ model for concealed carry and a longer 6.5″ model for target shooting and fun at the range. Interestingly, Taurus elected to port the barrels on this model. The porting should help reduce muzzle rise and felt recoil, though it is possible this could increase the visible flash in low light.
Both versions of the revolver are available in either a matte black or matte stainless finish.
Although many people still refer to revolvers as six shooters, the Taurus 692 is not. It is a seven shooter. In both the 9mm and the .38/.357 cylinders, you have seven rounds. For the 9mm shooter, Taurus includes its stellar clips so the rounds are easily loaded and the empty cases can be extracted without any problems.
Up front, Taurus uses a pinned ramp sight. An adjustable rear sight is standard.
The Taurus 692 is a double-action gun that can be cocked for single-action shooting. The spurred hammer is fully exposed.
The suggested retail price on this gun is $659. Your dealer sets the final price, so I imagine you could get out the door with a Model 692 for less than $600.
.38 Special, .357 Magnum, 9mm
35 oz (3″), 46 oz (6.5″)
pinned ramp front, adjustable rear
Taurus rubber grip
matte black or matte stainless
MSRP (at launch)
Update from the SHOT Show
The 692 was on display at the 2018 SHOT Show. The gun was pretty much as described, porting and all. The one thing I didn’t like was the huger “TRACKER” logo down the left side of the barrel assembly. Otherwise, the gun looked good. Early indications show a lot of interest in this revolver, so I am expecting to see Taurus sell a good number of them.
Yes, the Model 692 made it into production and can be purchased now. I know that the company has failed to deliver some announced guns in the past (28 gauge Judgecough, cough,) but this one is real.