Different agents handle this differently, expecially REO agents. Pending is supposed to mean that there are no more contingencies, whatsoever, that all the inspections are done, the loan is finalized, and you're just waiting for the closing date. Some agents (this is especially true of REO agents) will mark the listing pending as soon as there is a contract. There are many times where the property is marked active contingent, and is never marked pending, only marked closed when the sale closes.
In short, I wouldn't worry about whether the MLS says Pending or Contingent. Showings during active contingent status are almost as unlikely as showings during pending status.