So, suppose you are a proud owner of a shotgun that was never touched by an aftermarket accessory. You might be pretty content with its performance, but they say the sky’s the limit when it comes to improvements. Those ‘they’ are pretty insightful, as the potential lurking within your scattergun can be truly realized only with the help of accessories. You might be surprised to learn that there’s a whole world of aftermarket products designed to make your shotgun even better (if you are looking for a shotgun, here are 5 great home-defense options). In this article, we’ll explore five categories of shotgun accessories that can enhance your firearm’s performance and efficiency.
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Weapon Lights: Shedding Light on the Situation
The first category of shotgun accessories we’ll discuss is weapon lights. These nifty little gadgets attach to your shotgun’s barrel or rail, illuminating your surroundings and making it easier to see and aim in low-light conditions. Whether you’re hunting at dawn, dusk, or in the dead of night, a weapon light can illuminate your way in the dark.
Not only do weapon lights help you see, but they can also serve as an intimidation tactic when used on home-defense shotguns. Imagine the look on a home intruder’s face once they’re suddenly dazzled by a blinding beam of light. You might end such an unpleasant encounter without wasting a single shell.
There are several styles of mounting available for shotgun lights. The first one offers a light integrated into a forend either directly or through a mount. Such a configuration allows for a smoother, more natural fit of shotgun lights. Streamlight is a brand known for its forend-mounted lights for popular pump-action shotguns like Mossbergs and Remingtons. The TL Racker weapon light offers 1000 Lumens packed in a compact nylon body.
Another option is a regular mountable light. If your shotgun is equipped with a Picatinny rail, you can mount pretty much any weapon light you want. The Nightstick LGL-150 can be one such example. The brand made lighting products their major specialty, so quality is assured.
Slings: Taking the Weight Off Your Shoulders
Next on our list of shotgun accessories are slings. Everyone who’s ever tried carrying a shotgun around for an extended period knows it can become pretty tiresome after a while. It can get pretty tiring after a while. A good sling can not only distribute the weight of your shotgun more evenly across your body, but it also frees up your hands for other tasks. Those can include anything from withdrawing an item from your backpack to calling 9-1-1. Whether you’re trekking through the woods on a hunting expedition or navigating a home-defense situation, a sling can make all the difference.
Single-point slings attach to your shotgun at a single point, usually near the receiver, allowing the gun to hang freely across your chest or at your side. Such slings are easy to use and allow for quick transitions between different shooting positions. They’re also great for close-quarters situations where maneuverability is key. On the flip side, single-point slings offer limited shooting support and can cause your shotgun to swing around while you’re on the move.
Two-point slings attach at both the forend and the buttstock of your shotgun, providing a more stable and secure carrying solution. They offer superior weapon control and stability compared to their single-point counterparts. They also distribute the weight of your shotgun more evenly, reducing fatigue during extended periods of use. The trade-off for this added stability is reduced maneuverability, making two-point slings less suitable for rapid transitions between shooting positions or tight spaces.
Three-point slings feature a unique design that connects to both the forend and buttstock but also has an additional loop that goes around the wearer’s torso. Three-point slings offer the best of both worlds, combining the stability of a two-point sling with the maneuverability of a single-point sling. They also provide additional carrying options and can be quickly adjusted to suit your needs. The downside to this versatility is increased complexity. Three-point slings can be more challenging to set up and adjust and may not be the best option for beginners or those looking for a simple, no-frills solution.
Side Saddles: Quick Access Equals Quick Action
Shotguns aren’t particularly known for high round capacity. Fumbling around for shells in your pockets is not only inconvenient but can cost you a trophy and sometimes even life. A sidesaddle is a shell carrier that attaches directly to the side of your shotgun, allowing you to store extra rounds within easy reach. A sidesaddle allows you to reload faster, getting you back into the action with minimal delay.
The biggest concern when choosing a side saddle for a shotgun is shell capacity. Your shotgun’s dimensions and your finances are the only limits here. The more, the better, as it usually goes, but it’s better not to overdo it. The majority of models come in 4-, 5- and 6- round variants, but there are side saddles that can hold as many as 8 shells. All side saddles come with compatibility information, so the chance of you buying a shell holder you can’t use is minimal. The Trius Mossberg 500 12Ga side saddle for 6 shells combines the shell holder with a rail mount so you can get two accessories for the price of one.
Shotgun Sights: Making Every Shot Count
It’s no secret that shotguns are powerful weapons, but you still need a good aim for them to remain effective. Luckily, there are shotgun accessories that can solve that problem as well. Even though these firearms aren’t usually associated with any optics, sights are still used to help with target acquisition.
There are some sight models designed specifically for shotguns, but shotgun owners utilize several traditional varieties, including bead sights, ghost ring sights, and red dot sights. Each type has its own advantages, so it’s important to choose the one that best suits your needs and preferences. The HIVIZ CompSight, for example, offers a sleek profile and the opportunity to aim in darkness.
Recoil Pads: The Unsung Heroes of Comfort and Control
Recoil pads are essentially shock absorbers for your shoulder, cushioning the blow from your shotgun’s powerful kick. But do they make that much of a difference? The answer is a resounding yes! By reducing felt recoil, these pads can help minimize discomfort and fatigue, allowing you to shoot for longer periods without feeling like you’ve been on the wrong end of a heavyweight boxing match.
Recoil pads not only save your shoulder from bruising but can also improve your shooting performance. Thanks to reduced recoil, you can more easily maintain control over your shotgun, which results in faster follow-up shots and improved accuracy. A true win-win situation!
The major thing to consider is recoil pad materials. All pads are designed specifically to reduce torque and be relatively comfortable to lean against. The Hogue EZG Medium recoil pad offers a rigid material that grinds easily without cracking.
Conclusion: Accessorize for Success
Your shotgun is a powerful tool, but with the right accessories, you can bring its performance to a much higher level. By investing in weapon lights, slings, side saddles, shotgun sights, and recoil pads, you’ll be able to make the most out of your shotgun. Just remember, with great power comes great responsibility – and a whole lot of fun!
What are the essential shotgun accessories for a hunter?
The list of must-have accessories for a shotgun hunter includes all the items mentioned in this article: a comfortable sling for easy carrying, a recoil pad for comfort, a weapon light for low-light visibility, a shotgun sight for improved accuracy and a shell carrier or side saddle for quick access to extra ammunition.
What are the different types of shotgun slings?
Firearm slings are classified according to their mounting style. There are single-point slings that attach at one point near the receiver, two-point slings that attach at both the forend and buttstock and three-point slings that look like two-point slings with an additional loop that goes around the wearer’s torso.
Do you need a light on a shotgun?
While not strictly necessary, having a light on a shotgun can be beneficial in certain situations. A weapon light improves visibility and target identification in low-light conditions, such as hunting at dawn or dusk, or during home defense scenarios. It can also serve as an intimidation tactic against potential threats. However, if you primarily use your shotgun in well-lit environments, lights may not be as essential.
What sights do shotguns use?
Shotguns use the types of sights that are also used on other firearms. Those include bead sights, ghost ring sights and red dot sights.