Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: Sighting systems for the defensive shotgun & other defensive shotgun considerations

  1. #1
    Murder Machine, Harmless Fuzzball TCinVA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Virginia

    Sighting systems for the defensive shotgun & other defensive shotgun considerations

    [moderator note: Posts in this thread are from other discussions. To have a post added here, please contact a moderator.]

    TC's 2 cents on shotgun sights (original post can be found here)

    People get 9 kinds of fucked up about shotguns due to persistent myths. The shotgun as typically used by hunters is shooting at a bird at 15-40 yards with a cloud of lead 5-10x times the size of the bird at 30 yards. The typical defensive use of a shotgun happens at closer range with a completely different munition.

    The bead sight was designed for wing shooting...and that with a 24"-30" barrel on a gun with a stock that has a length of pull of 14".

    That same sight on an 18" or shorter barrel with a stock that has a 11"-13" length of pull is a very different thing altogether. This is why when the old school users of the shotgun as a defensive weapon fired it, they talked about a "belly button" hold...because the bead sights of the day sat so low that when they were visible in the sight picture on a shorter barreled gun the weapon was actually angled up significantly. You aimed at the belly button to hit dude in the chest.

    The pedestal bead on the Remington 870 barrels can work...IF your ammo shoots to the point of aim of the bead (a lot simply won't) and IF you have enough experience mounting the shotgun to get a rock solid aiming reference in a hurry. This is not automatic. In the old days everybody grew up shooting shotguns...those days are no more. So you cannot count on people getting a rock solid reliable mount because they're doing something they've done since they were 10.

    Knowing what a proper bead-sighted sight picture looks like is difficult to do in a hurry unless you have significant experience doing that...and most people do not have that experience.

    If you want to see that in action, go to a shotgun class where they do some patterning. In my Home Defense Shotgun course I had the class pattern their guns at 15 yards. On top of loads that performed poorly, several of the students struggled to get a correct aiming reference under ideal lighting conditions in slow-fire. Some of the guns patterned off center. One fellow who showed up with a 14" 870 with a 12" LOP stock shot so high his patterns were barely on target.

    You can do quality work with a bead IF your gun is set up right and IF you have considerable experience successfully using the bead. Even then, it's somewhat difficult if I take you out of a comfortable shooting position and make you use the shotgun the way Ed Mireles had to use his 12 gauge in the Miami Firefight.

    For what we are trying to do, for the munitions we are using for defensive use of the shotgun, the bead is what I would consider an expert level sight...as in you must be pretty damn handy with a shotgun to intelligently direct a decently patterning buckshot load or a slug into a target with one at any realistic defensive distance.

    I greatly prefer rifle-style sights on a defensive shotgun. I prefer them because having a visible rear reference takes the guess work out of the shot. I can get a shit mount because of an awkward shooting position, because it's sleeting and I'm wearing enough insulation to make me look like the Michelin Man, or because I just got woke up by my door getting smashed in and I fuck up the mount in all the excitement...and I can still get a quick read on how the gun is oriented, correct it, and then make the shot I need to make.

    I can also adjust rifle style sights to match the point of impact of the load that I'm using so I don't have to try and remember any Kentucky windage when there's a dude trying to kill me. Remember that at typical defensive distances even shitty buckshot is going to be in a relatively tight pattern that you can miss with EASILY. Rifle style sights are the best bet for delivering the defensive payloads we are using reliably.

    ...which is why, when you think about it, shotguns dedicated to deer hunting typically have rifle style sights. Because putting a deer down humanely is fundamentally a very similar process to what we're trying to do in self defense with the shotgun.

    The XS sights for the Remington 870 rifle sights work extremely well for our purposes. Think about it: Express sights were mounted on big bore long guns to be used on dangerous game at relatively close range. That's pretty much exactly what we are trying to do with shotguns. At close range they provide a quick sight reference that you can use to reliably make head shots with ease out to 15 yards if your buckshot patterns well enough to hold that size of a pattern. Same with slugs.

    The defensive shotgun is the one place where the XS sights make any sense.

    Ghost rings also work well. Depends on your preference. My go-to 870's have Remington rifle-style sights with either XS sights or the Tru-Glo TFX pro sights on them:

    https://www.truglo.com/firearms-tact...366B7DDEB2FF93

    Whatever 870 rifle style sight you pick, use some blue loc-tite and put some witness marks on the front and rear with a silver sharpie so you can tell if anything comes loose.

    My 1301's have the factory ghost rings and they're fine.

    Red dots work on shotguns too, but most mounts keep them too high. The Aridus mounts are the best of the optic mount options because it places the dot of the optic directly in the center of your focus when you mount the gun.
    Last edited by Tom_Jones; 03-13-2018 at 01:12 PM. Reason: added mod note
    3/15/2016
    6
     

  2. #2
    Murder Machine, Harmless Fuzzball TCinVA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Virginia
    Quote Originally Posted by TCinVA View Post
    TC's 2 cents on shotgun sights:

    People get 9 kinds of fucked up about shotguns due to persistent myths. The shotgun as typically used by hunters is shooting at a bird at 15-40 yards with a cloud of lead 5-10x times the size of the bird at 30 yards. The typical defensive use of a shotgun happens at closer range with a completely different munition.

    The bead sight was designed for wing shooting...and that with a 24"-30" barrel on a gun with a stock that has a length of pull of 14".

    That same sight on an 18" or shorter barrel with a stock that has a 11"-13" length of pull is a very different thing altogether. This is why when the old school users of the shotgun as a defensive weapon fired it, they talked about a "belly button" hold...because the bead sights of the day sat so low that when they were visible in the sight picture on a shorter barreled gun the weapon was actually angled up significantly. You aimed at the belly button to hit dude in the chest.

    The pedestal bead on the Remington 870 barrels can work...IF your ammo shoots to the point of aim of the bead (a lot simply won't) and IF you have enough experience mounting the shotgun to get a rock solid aiming reference in a hurry. This is not automatic. In the old days everybody grew up shooting shotguns...those days are no more. So you cannot count on people getting a rock solid reliable mount because they're doing something they've done since they were 10.

    Knowing what a proper bead-sighted sight picture looks like is difficult to do in a hurry unless you have significant experience doing that...and most people do not have that experience.

    If you want to see that in action, go to a shotgun class where they do some patterning. In my Home Defense Shotgun course I had the class pattern their guns at 15 yards. On top of loads that performed poorly, several of the students struggled to get a correct aiming reference under ideal lighting conditions in slow-fire. Some of the guns patterned off center. One fellow who showed up with a 14" 870 with a 12" LOP stock shot so high his patterns were barely on target.

    You can do quality work with a bead IF your gun is set up right and IF you have considerable experience successfully using the bead. Even then, it's somewhat difficult if I take you out of a comfortable shooting position and make you use the shotgun the way Ed Mireles had to use his 12 gauge in the Miami Firefight.

    For what we are trying to do, for the munitions we are using for defensive use of the shotgun, the bead is what I would consider an expert level sight...as in you must be pretty damn handy with a shotgun to intelligently direct a decently patterning buckshot load or a slug into a target with one at any realistic defensive distance.

    I greatly prefer rifle-style sights on a defensive shotgun. I prefer them because having a visible rear reference takes the guess work out of the shot. I can get a shit mount because of an awkward shooting position, because it's sleeting and I'm wearing enough insulation to make me look like the Michelin Man, or because I just got woke up by my door getting smashed in and I fuck up the mount in all the excitement...and I can still get a quick read on how the gun is oriented, correct it, and then make the shot I need to make.

    I can also adjust rifle style sights to match the point of impact of the load that I'm using so I don't have to try and remember any Kentucky windage when there's a dude trying to kill me. Remember that at typical defensive distances even shitty buckshot is going to be in a relatively tight pattern that you can miss with EASILY. Rifle style sights are the best bet for delivering the defensive payloads we are using reliably.

    ...which is why, when you think about it, shotguns dedicated to deer hunting typically have rifle style sights. Because putting a deer down humanely is fundamentally a very similar process to what we're trying to do in self defense with the shotgun.

    The XS sights for the Remington 870 rifle sights work extremely well for our purposes. Think about it: Express sights were mounted on big bore long guns to be used on dangerous game at relatively close range. That's pretty much exactly what we are trying to do with shotguns. At close range they provide a quick sight reference that you can use to reliably make head shots with ease out to 15 yards if your buckshot patterns well enough to hold that size of a pattern. Same with slugs.

    The defensive shotgun is the one place where the XS sights make any sense.

    Ghost rings also work well. Depends on your preference. My go-to 870's have Remington rifle-style sights with either XS sights or the Tru-Glo TFX pro sights on them:

    https://www.truglo.com/firearms-tact...366B7DDEB2FF93

    Whatever 870 rifle style sight you pick, use some blue loc-tite and put some witness marks on the front and rear with a silver sharpie so you can tell if anything comes loose.

    My 1301's have the factory ghost rings and they're fine.

    Red dots work on shotguns too, but most mounts keep them too high. The Aridus mounts are the best of the optic mount options because it places the dot of the optic directly in the center of your focus when you mount the gun.
    I'm quoting this because I have a couple of updated bits to share:

    1. Last Friday I went through Pat Goodale's Defensive Shotgun class and we did a fair bit of work from the weak shoulder, running the gun one handed, and shooting from awkward positions. It's fair to say when you're using a Remington 870 weak-shoulder-only you are well outside your comfort zone and you probably have a sub-optimal mount...but with rifle sights I still had no problem hitting. It was downright easy.

    We also did a fair bit of work with slugs at distance. Shooting from your weak shoulder to engage a 15 yard target and then having to slug select and hit another target 50 yards away from your weak shoulder in an awkward shooting position really shows the value of good rifle-style sights on your shotgun. Most people were shooting rifle style sights. The few running bead-only in the class were struggling mightily.

    2. I actually had the pleasure of sitting down with Ed Mireles for dinner Tuesday night and I had the chance to ask him about use of the shotgun. He told me that he was a step ahead of most folks in his agency because he actually checked out a gun that he used the whole time he was working the violent crimes unit and he cleaned and maintained it himself rather than just grabbing a random shotgun from the armory. He told me that despite this, he'd never patterned his shotgun with the agency issued buckshot and to his knowledge neither had anyone else.

    He also told me that while he was a young pup in the Feeb an older agent who had been a USMC Captain took him under the wing and due to Ed being a big strong former Marine encouraged him to do some unusual things. Like pull-ups in the bathroom during lunch breaks.

    And...doing some dry work with the shotgun one handed.
    3/15/2016
    9
     

User Tag List

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •