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  1. #1
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    Default LIGHTS ON SHOTGUNS

    Surefire-DSF-Lead.jpg
    The first time I used a shotgun in low light was against, what today would called, an active shooter. He was armed with a Beretta and running around shooting at people the beach. No scene from Bay Watch (look it up snowflakes) - it was at 3 AM and darker than Batman's cape. I recall the need for light, and trying to juggle the Maglite with the wooden forend of my 870. Surefire was not even a twinkle on the horizon. It was 1991.

    Today, nearly three decades later you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a weaponlight or another. And so while setting up a special 870 for a project I am working on I sought to add a light. More on this in a moment. First let's discuss purpose. I do not like to add anything to a weapon platform that does not serve a specific mission-crucial purpose.

    A light is not needed on every single weapon. Lights make weapons larger, sometimes clumsier, and definitely heavier. I will say, and have said multiple times, that a light is contra-indicated on a concealment pistol. If you find you might require a light in addition to your handgun, a small handheld light is better than anythinh else I have seen to date mounted on a CCW handgun. A uniform carry patrol/SWAT pistol with a light on it is a different matter due largely to the different mission.

    On shotguns its similar. On a Stakeout for example, I don't care for a light. The concept of the weapon is proactive usage, usually when away (in vehicle and in public) so the requirement to illuminate before shooting is not usually present. On other weapons...such as the new Pointman Series, it is a more multi-purpose application. And yes, the Stakeout could find use in the same application...and in that instance it would benefit from a light added.

    So lets look at light requirements on the weapon and then see about selecting a light.

    1). It has to be handy. Lightweight is an issue but not as much as handy...meaning it must fit the weapon and not get in the way of deployment...whether from a hidden location or from slung across a rucksack in the wilds. In that vein, vertical space take (or height) is less onerous than width in my experience.

    2). It cannot interfere with the natural shooting or cycling of the weapon. I still shake my head at all those sexy pistol lights that require trigger finger or offhand to use, and marvel at the explanations of their proponents about why they have chosen well. With a pistol you often have only one hand on the weapon...but with a shotgun you have two. So the support hand can be used to work the light...but not if it must conduct any operation other than gripping.

    Can you imagine touching off a man-level buckshot round while your index finger is operating some switch? Come on dude...it simply won't work.

    3). It must be robust and hold up under the power of the shotgun.

    So...after looking far and wide and trying many different possibles, mounting them on shotguns and running drills with varied degrees of success, I went back to the tried and true system I used on SWAT and in my last years in LE...the Surefire Forend.

    Yes...I know...the Magpul M-Lok is supposed to accept a light and...

    The problem I found with that was excessive addition of width. In my experience...well...read it above - I already said it once. The MP is a very clever design, but it adds excessive mass and width and I found it clumsy to use.

    Yes, I know it costs, but if you make the realization that a light on your battleaxe is a wise addition, this is the one I have arrived at as the best answer.

    forend2.jpg
    Last edited by Gabriel Suarez; 01-15-2018 at 05:45 PM.
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

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  2. #2
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    Yup.
    Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be. Hymn, Come Ye Thankful People Come

  3. #3
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    No matter what anyone has ever said to the contrary, I've always thought the Surefire forend (especially the newer DSF model) was the best thing going in shotgun weaponlights. A lot of people say it adds an excessive amount of weight, but I've never found it to be a problem. It's a more streamlined solution than anything else, easy and natural to use, and you don't end up with a tape switch and wire hanging off of your weapon.

    The only "downside" is cost, but it's only a one-time investment per weapon. Once that's out of the way, you have the peace of mind of knowing you have the best. And you can't put a price on that.
    - "When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers."- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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  4. #4
    MagPul forend, light w/ a pressure pad. Boom. No need for $300 Surefire.
    James 1:5 - "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nabalfodrows View Post
    MagPul forend, light w/ a pressure pad. Boom. No need for $300 Surefire.
    That was addressed in the OP:

    Gabe:+
    Yes...I know...the Magpul M-Lok is supposed to accept a light and...

    The problem I found with that was excessive addition of width. In my experience...well...read it above - I already said it once. The MP is a very clever design, but it adds excessive mass and width and I found it clumsy to use.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nabalfodrows View Post
    MagPul forend, light w/ a pressure pad. Boom. No need for $300 Surefire.

    Wow...astounded - color me.

    Do you not think we tried that? I did...and it adds excessive width to the weapon. And the pressure pad is either threaded through the forend (eventually to wear on the cable making it inop), or wrapped around the handguard exposed to everything. Again...not something we wanted. Our focus is not on rigging things up...it is on making it the best way possible. And after working with the very system you described, I dropped it as less than optimal.

    See the light mounted here - on the side. Not optimal -



    Tape switch on the side...necessary if the light is to be used well



    By the way -

    Surefire DSF870 - about $350

    Magpul forend - $30
    Scout light (because salvation army lights don't belong on weapons) - $250*
    Surefire tape switch - $100**
    M-lok illumination kit - $20

    So the Magpul system ends up costing more. I like magpul...and Duane is a personal friend (running for NRA BTW...vote for him if you do such things), but in this case...Surefire is better.

    So I see your "BOOM" and raise you a BOOM - BOOM - BOOM


    *Surefire Scoutlight because in my experience (if anyone cares) cheap lights do not hold up to shotgun use. Moreover, only Surefire and maybe Streamlight have tape switch capability which is required for what we are discussing)

    **Surefire tapeswitch because the "finger pressure" everyone likes to use on carbines will not suffice on a 12 ga. The required movement of the forend and the forces produced by a 12 ga will not allow you to work the weapon and operate the light properly. But a grip pressure activated switch will do just that.
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nabalfodrows View Post
    MagPul forend, light w/ a pressure pad. Boom. No need for $300 Surefire.
    It's one thing to disagree with the whole point of an article...but it helps to present a counter argument.

    "Boom" is not an argument.
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  8. #8
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    Aug 2014
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    Between Murphy and my innate clumsiness, every weapon light using pads and exposed wires I've used has failed, no matter how well secured.
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  9. #9
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    SOOOOOOOO....

    Show me all your shotgun lights. And its not like those other forums where looks and checking off the list are the only issues.

    I want you to show me why this is the best option and how you use it while shooting.

    Ready - GO!
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  10. #10
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    Nice article. When hosting Greg Nichols for CQB last year, I experimented with adding a Surefire X300 light and pressure switch to my Stakeout, and came to the same conclusion: Adding a light to the M-Lok just makes the thing too damn wide.
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