Trimming the Forend Grip on a Mossberg 500 Field Model and Installing an Esstac Shotgun Card

I have a Mossberg 500 field/security combo, which means it comes with two barrels, a  28″ hunting barrel, an 18.5″ self-defense barrel, and a pistol grip.

It’s a great shotgun combination that works very well but there is a small modification that would make it even better.  I am making this change so that I can carry some additional shotgun shells on my shotgun receiver for either hunting or home defense. This article may seem a little out of place on this EDC/Concealed Carry website but it is definitely related.  

Why Trim The Forend Grip?

So the initial pandemic is over and things are getting back to normal.  Guns and ammo are beginning to return to the shelves at gun stores and that is a good thing if you are a gun enthusiast.  But what about parts for your guns?  I have been waiting for a new Mossberg forend slide assembly to become available so I can replace it on my shotgun and they are all on backorder.  No matter where I look online they are not available.  The reason I want a new assembly is so I can buy a different forend grip that will accommodate a 6-shot side saddle on my shotgun.  Unfortunately, the style forend that I have will not let me do this, it has small wings that overlap the receiver making it impossible to have a 6 or 7-shot card in place. I can only put on a 4-shot side saddle on my receiver and that limits my extra shotgun shells capacity.

If I cannot buy a new action slide assembly then the only other thing to do is trim the rear portion of my forend grip to remove the wings so it will not overlap with the receiver and hit the side saddle.  I looked on YouTube for videos that explained this procedure but I could not find anything on that subject, so I had to use my best judgment in doing this project on my own.

Getting The Forend Grip Off Of The Shotgun

I looked at many videos on Youtube to understand how to remove the forend from the shotgun. Removing the forend grip is not difficult but does require a few steps.

  • The first thing to do is make sure the shotgun is unloaded and move any loose ammunition away from your work area and to a secure location.
  • Loosen the gun barrel nut until it is free from the end of the magazine and pull the barrel off, and set it aside.
  • Push out the pin just above the trigger and place it in a dish or safe container so it does not get lost.  
  • Pull the trigger assembly down and forward from the receiver and set it aside.
  • When the trigger assembly is removed, two rails will become loose and they need to be set aside too.
  • Place all the parts in a container so they will not get lost.
  • Lastly, align the tabs on the slide with the cuts in the receiver and pull out the bolt assembly, and set that aside as well.


  • At this point, you can pull the forend grip out of the receiver and off of the magazine tube.

OK, The Forend Grip Is Off Of The  Shotgun, Now What?

In order to trim this forend grip, I used a reciprocating saw, bench disc sander, a single-cut file, an orbital sander, and some sheets of 100, 150 & 220 grit sandpaper, as seen in the picture. My first choice would have been a bandsaw, but mine is out of commission right now.

I used blue painter’s tape to mark where I wanted to cut.  I used painter’s tape because it does not leave tape residue. Normally a sharpie would work to mark my cuts but they are difficult to see on the black surface.

When I used my reciprocating saw I had a metal cutting blade in it so the cut would be very smooth. As I cut the synthetic forend grip I cut very slowly so I could keep control of the saw so it would not over-cut the grip.

When I finished cutting I lightly touched up my cuts on the bench sander (100 grit), followed by the single-cut file, then with the orbital sander (150 grit).  Finally, I used some  220 grit sandpaper by hand to finish the job.  Each of those steps got my sawed edges smoother and more contoured. The last thing I did was take some gun oil on a cloth and buffed the edges.  This turned the whitish edges a darker black. At that point, I removed all the paper and blue painter’s tape and my finished product looked like this.

Then of course I had to put the forend back on my shotgun and got it back to working order, here is the completed job.

What Are The Advantages To Trimming The Forend Grip?

My first choice would have been to purchase a new action slide assembly so I could have selected a new forend grip of my choice, as there are many good ones on the market.  But since they were not available right now I thought this was the very best thing to do so I can set up my shotgun as I desire.  This alternative will work for now and if in the future I really feel a need to get a new forend grip, I can go that route.

Was Trimming The Forend Slide Worth The Trouble?

I feel this customization was a really good choice for me.  It saved me about $125 and was completed within 2 hours.  As you can see by the picture on the right, it really turned out great and if you did not know I changed it you would not know anything was different. 

When I open the action, there is very little overlap on the receiver. This modification will let me add the Esstac 6-shot shotgun side saddle in a way that looks and functions well. If you have any questions about this procedure, feel free to leave comments below and I will get back to you. 

Look for a review on the Esstac shotgun cards in the near future.  If you find yourself in this situation I would highly recommend you try this method first and see if it works for you.  If not you can always go the more expensive way.

Now How Do You Install The Esstac Side Saddle?

Installing an Esstac Side Saddle is a very simple job, but must be planned out.  The side saddle goes on the left side of the receiver.  The only thing is that is where the serial number is located on a Mossberg 500, so we must not cover that number.  

The process of installing the shotgun card is as follows:

  • Again make certain that your shotgun is unloaded and any shells are removed from your working area.
  • The first thing to do is trim the piece of Velcro to fit your receiver so it will be easy to put on, making sure that the serial number is visible and not covered up by the Velcro.
  • Then clean the receiver surface with alcohol to remove the dirt, oils, etc. that might cause the Velcro not to stick.
  • Once the alcohol is dry you can remove the clear backing and put the Velcro in place. Make sure you press all over the piece of Velcro so that the glue bonds to the receiver. (Leave it alone for a few hours so the glue sets well. It might be helpful to place a heavy book on top of the Velcro during those few hours).
  • When the Velcro strip sets you are ready to place the shotgun card on your shotgun, I like to have the loop facing forward so I can pull it off in one clean motion after racking the slide, then replace it with a full one.

Final Comments

Making the decision to modify the forend of my Mossberg 500 worked out very well,  I was a bit nervous when I started but once I figured it all out things all came together perfectly. Do I wish I could have purchased a new style slide forend instead of trimming my old one, Maybe?  Only because there are so many new styles out there and it would have given my shotgun a new look and feel.   

Would I do it again?  Absolutely!  I saved myself some money and did it all myself which is a big plus.  I also learned how to disassemble and reassemble a Mossberg 500 which is a good thing.  I really enjoy doing things myself and making things turn out well.  For anyone out there that may be in the same place as I was, I would recommend trimming your forend first.  If you like it then stay with it.  If not then you can always buy a new one later.

As I said in the beginning, the subject matter of this article was a little outside the EDC parameters. But EDC is about being prepared for whatever comes along and being able to protect your family and yourself is about as important as it gets.  So if you choose to have a shotgun for home defense, then it must be set up in a way that works for the user and that is very important.  I chose to use a pump shotgun for home defense; therefore, this article was very relevant.

If you have any questions about this post or anything related to Everyday Carry (EDC) or Concealed Carry, feel free to leave a comment below and I will be happy to get back to you.

All the best,


Founder of Everyday Carry Essentials


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