The Maverick 88 is a slightly handicapped, being the reason for a lower cost version of the pump action, 12 gauge Mossberg 500 shotgun, however in appearance it is virtually identical to the 500 model. Factory Maverick 88s feature a black, synthetic only stock and forearm, cylinder bore (although interchangeable chokes are available on some hunting models), and cross-bolt safety. Most accessories are interchangeable with a Mossberg 500.
The Maverick line of shotguns are assembled in Eagle Pass, Texas, using some parts manufactured outside of the United States, mainly from Mexico, which contributes to their relatively lower price in comparison to the Mossberg 500 series of shotguns.
The trigger groups will not interchange between Maverick 88 and Mossberg 500 models, but the majority of other parts, including barrels, stocks, and magazine tubes, will (the barrel and magazines must be the same length). Maverick 88s do not come equipped with any sling mounts, as the Mossberg 500 series do.
Maverick 88 shotguns feature a trigger guard-mounted cross-bolt safety as opposed to a top tang safety, which is used on the Mossberg 500 series.
Early Model 88s were equipped with a single slide rail, but this was updated to a dual slide rail in 1990. Also the Maverick 88 does not have a receiver top pre-drilled and tapped for a Weaver scope mount rail.
Maverick 88s are factory finished with steel bluing only, whereas Mossberg 500s have factory-blued, nickel-plated or parkerized (barrel/magazine) options.
There are two basic models of the 88, the 88 field and the 88 security. The 88 field comes with a longer 28-inch vent-rib barrel, whereas the security comes with an 18 1⁄2-inch or 20-inch non-vent-rib barrel. The 88s have a cartridge capacity of 5 in the tube magazine and 1 in the chamber and cannot have their magazines easily extended without machining. Magazine capacity is further limited, if loading 3-inch shells, to 4 in the tube magazine and 1 in the chamber.
The Mossberg Maverick shotgun comes from the factory with a black synthetic stock and fore-end. Sling swivels are not included. However, they can be installed to allow the use of a sling. The pistol grip only (PGO) variant of the Maverick 88, however, does have a built-in sling attachment point at the top of the pistol grip, for a single-point sling.