Light placement on pump-action shotguns

#1
I am curious about preferred light placement on pump shotguns, specifically 870s. It seems like the popular options are lights mounted or integral to the forend (Magpul, Surefire) or mounts clamped to the barrel/tube.
I can see a mount forward of the pump being a problem as it requires movement of the hand to activate. At the same time, I would think a mount on the forend itself would have its own disadvantages.

I’ve never handled a shotgun with a light mounted myself, so I’m curious- how do you folks like to set up your shotgun lights? And why?
 
#2
Light options on shotguns are many today, it really comes down to your application of what you are planning on doing with it. My experience is Law Enforcement & SWAT usage of the shotgun. My preference is a forend light. There are several clamp on versions that have come out over the years, which work fine, but most have to be either turned on or off, and if you want a momentary pressure pad it is usually done with a wired pressure pad of which can be an issue if you snag the wire on anything (could happen when cycling the action).

We never had lights on shotguns until Laser Products (Now known as Surefire) came out with a replacement forend that was 60-Lumens, and these were a great addition as it allowed us to have a light that was controlled with the support hand. The first lights we did get had only a pressure pad on the right side, iwhen depressed the light came on, and when you let go it turned off, so you had to keep pressing the pressure pad to keep the light on. A few years later we were able to get the lights with an additional constant on/off switch added to the left front of the forend, this allowed us to go support hand and leave the light on if needed. Over the years Surefire has made several changes to forend shape and materials that it has been made out of, and the brightness (Lumens) options have been upgraded to put out more light, the latest offerings have been in LED vs the traditional incandescent offerings. Both Surefire and Streamlight offer great forend lights.

Steiner offers a decent light that replaces the magazine tube cap, which we have a few and they are very well made, and put out a decent amount of light.

There are also many brackets and clamp offerings to be able to attach lights of your choosing to your shotgun barrel and/or magazine tube (or extension). If going this route, I like the Mesa Tactical stuff, as their stuff is built like a tank and will hold up to abuse.


CY6
Greg Sullivan "Sully"
SLR15 Rifles
DefensiveEdge.com
(763) 712-0123
 
#3
Light options on shotguns are many today, it really comes down to your application of what you are planning on doing with it. My experience is Law Enforcement & SWAT usage of the shotgun. My preference is a forend light. There are several clamp on versions that have come out over the years, which work fine, but most have to be either turned on or off, and if you want a momentary pressure pad it is usually done with a wired pressure pad of which can be an issue if you snag the wire on anything (could happen when cycling the action).

We never had lights on shotguns until Laser Products (Now known as Surefire) came out with a replacement forend that was 60-Lumens, and these were a great addition as it allowed us to have a light that was controlled with the support hand. The first lights we did get had only a pressure pad on the right side, iwhen depressed the light came on, and when you let go it turned off, so you had to keep pressing the pressure pad to keep the light on. A few years later we were able to get the lights with an additional constant on/off switch added to the left front of the forend, this allowed us to go support hand and leave the light on if needed. Over the years Surefire has made several changes to forend shape and materials that it has been made out of, and the brightness (Lumens) options have been upgraded to put out more light, the latest offerings have been in LED vs the traditional incandescent offerings. Both Surefire and Streamlight offer great forend lights.

Steiner offers a decent light that replaces the magazine tube cap, which we have a few and they are very well made, and put out a decent amount of light.

There are also many brackets and clamp offerings to be able to attach lights of your choosing to your shotgun barrel and/or magazine tube (or extension). If going this route, I like the Mesa Tactical stuff, as their stuff is built like a tank and will hold up to abuse.


CY6
Greg Sullivan "Sully"
SLR15 Rifles
DefensiveEdge.com
(763) 712-0123
Thank you,
Do you find slings mounted forward of the forend cause any issues with forend lights? IE swinging in front of the light
 
#4
Thank you,
Do you find slings mounted forward of the forend cause any issues with forend lights? IE swinging in front of the light
We set up the shotguns with a side sling mounting plate on the front and back end, which puts the sling on the side of the shotgun. Side mounting the slings hasn't been an issue with interference of the forend lights. The side mounting of the sling is nice, as the shotgun lays flat on its side whether its in front of you or slung over your back. The side sling mounts can be used with a 2pt sling, Vickers/BlueForce style 2pt, and my preference is to run a Wilderness Giles 3pt as I like it's versatility.

There are several different makes of side sling mounts for the front, these are what we use.


CY6
Greg Sullivan "Sully"
SLR15 Rifles
DefensiveEdge.com
(763) 712-0123
 

jnc36rcpd

Regular Member
#5
My former agency had lights mounted on most of our shotguns. Depending upon the budget, the lights would be either Surefire forends or smaller Surefire lights clamped to the barrel. The forends worked great while the barrel attachments...worked.

With the forends, an officer could use momentary or constant on/off depending on tactics and training. I don't believe most of the smaller lights had the click switch, so the officer could use the push switch and pretty much be assured of losing the light when firing, cycling the weapon, or perhaps not keeping a perfect grip during a high risk call. Alternatively, the light could be kept in constant on which works until it doesn't. Then the officer has to either hit a button or twist the back of the light. This is preferable to having to rely solely on a handheld, but it is far from optimal.

Given the quality and cost of Streamlight's forend lights, there's really no reason to go with the barrel clamp alternative.
 
#6
Being the resident shotgun guy at my department, I carried my guage with one of the surefire forends for a while. I had one of the newer forends that you can buy from a retailer today. I wasn't a fan of it at all. It was VERY bulky, heavier than necessary, not terribly comfortable, and the light output was dismal. Not to mention it was damn near impossible to fit in most of the shotgun racks in the patrol cars.

I got rid of the surefire forend and replaced it with the simple magpul MOE forend. I attached a small piece of pic rail to one side and mounted a TLR-1HPL to the left hand side of the forend. I've been much happier with this set up. I found the switchology on the TLR-1 is very intuitive and easy to use with my forward hand. The light only sticks out about as much as my side saddle on that side of the gun so the footprint isn't a big deal. The weight reduction was very nice, and I have found that light to be more than enough in every situation I've deployed it whether it be open area searches or looking into vehicles (often with tint.)

The downsides to this setup I've found so far (other than co-workers making fun of the "satelite dish" on my gun) are: for right handed shooters the possibility exists that your left hand will slam into the light under recoil (I've never had this problem but my less shotgun oriented partners ran into it). The barrel (18.5" on M590A1) obscures the far 3 o'clock portion of the throw. As a left hander I can see this obstruction but I still have plentiful light to work with, I'm not sure a right handed shooter would even notice it. The last is with a Vangcomp'd barrel I get a fair amount of carbon build up on the lense of my light if I shoot more than about 50 rounds.

Added bonus, If I am shooting under NODs I can easily trade out the HPL for one of streamlight's IR laser/illuminator combos.

I can add pictures later if desired. Hopefully that helps.