Holographic Sight on a shotgun?


August 17, 2009, 05:37 PM
Hello all; Quick question: Does anyone currently use or plan to use a Holographic or Reflex style optic on a shotgun??




I've got a 590 that i'm thinkin real hard about a rail and Holographic sight on; only other concern is would the 12GA recoil be too much for these optics?


If you enjoyed reading about "Holographic Sight on a shotgun?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
August 17, 2009, 05:42 PM
I wouldn't plan to use one on a shotgun, if I were going to be shooting shot in it.

Slugs are a different matter.

August 17, 2009, 05:43 PM
hahaha, nope no shot; Slugs are why I'm even considering this....

August 17, 2009, 05:45 PM
On a dedicated slug gun it's something to consider. But I'd probably throw on some rifle sights or ghost rings in that case. Batteries die, holo sights break and wear out.

August 17, 2009, 05:52 PM
hahaha, nope no shot; Slugs are why I'm even considering this....

Well, you never know.:)

There are other things to consider, like the stock. I think that, if you put that sight on top of a gun with stock drop meant for a bead or ghost rings, you could be in for a world of hurt when you touched it off.

But, set up right, with top-notch sights, it should work.

People use those sights on slide mounts on 1911s, meaning they get slammed back and forth every time the things cycle. So they are tougher than they'd seem (though I agree with Acceptable: electronic doo-dads are GREAT, when they work...).

August 17, 2009, 06:04 PM
I have used a EO on a shotty for turkey hunting for years.

Holo's and red dots are great for using on hunting shotty's. You can really get the "meat of the pattern" where you want it.......

For slugs it woudl great too....

August 17, 2009, 06:07 PM
Reflex or holosights are good for either shot or slugs, when it comes to getting a quick sight picture. The only thing is, if you're talking about a basic pump action 12 gauge, you're potentially talking about an optic that costs more than the weapon did. It's a very subjective, but still very relevant question about diminishing returns.

If you have the money, are willing to use it on this form of aiming device, and are able to practice on it and get proficient with it, I can tell you from experience, it will undoubtedly improve your ability to run the shotgun accurately, and quickly. I CAN'T tell you that it'll definitely be $300+ worth of improvement. That's up to you to decide.

August 17, 2009, 06:10 PM
Yeah, turkey hunting with very tight chokes is a whole different application, with sighting more like what you'd want for slugs than for shot.

To the original question, a lot of turkey loads are BRUTAL. I doubt that slugs would cause any more recoil, wear and tear than some of those turkey shells do!

August 17, 2009, 06:11 PM
Thanks for the reply's! I'm leaning towards getting one, I have to decide on a mount now; plain flat rail on top or one of the reciever wrap-around type mounts??


August 17, 2009, 06:17 PM
I used the saddel type mount you have pictured with great results....

I was able to have it on there for Turkey season and then take it off for Pheasant season...

When I put it back on - I always had perfect zero everytime......

August 17, 2009, 06:19 PM
If your receiver is already drilled and tapped, there's no reason not to go with the plain rail. The wrap-around ones aren't any more or less stable, and are usually more expensive.

On the other hand, and I will be stressing this point in just about every post I make on this topic... it /IS/ your money. If you prefer the appearance of the receiver wrap-over saddle rails, enough so to feel it is worth the extra few bucks, god bless you.

August 17, 2009, 09:08 PM
I've used an EOtech in the past, and currently have a Bushnell on the bullpup shotgun. The Mossberg SPX has a Pride-Fowler mini red dot that's set up so that the dot is exactly where the fiber optic is when I have my head correctly aligned.

The PF is Tiny, compared to most red-dots, as most MRD's are. I figure it's the best of both worlds as I can see the MRD when it's dark and the fiber optic when there's enough illumination.

When I had the EOtech on the bullpup it was amazingly fast, pull the trigger as soon as the big circle was getting on target and it gave consistent center-of-mass shots out to 25 yards.

August 17, 2009, 09:21 PM
I have the Burris Speed Bead that doesn't require holes to be tapped or anything. But mounts between the stock and the receiver. Works great for skeet. It's actually on a 20" Remington Express for HD so it's excellent as a night optic. No issues with mounting height as it comes with several spacers. And battery life is several thousand hours so just leave it on. And the red dot is plenty bright even in bright day light.

August 17, 2009, 10:59 PM
Does anyone currently use or plan to use a Holographic or Reflex style optic on a shotgun??

Have you been watching that idiotic show on the Sportsmans Channel? Flyway Highway, I think it's called.

One of the hosts on that show uses one (misses more than he hits, as far as I can tell.) He claims it helps him with cross-eye dominance. Never having had that problem, I can't really comment on it any more than plausible.


August 17, 2009, 11:26 PM
If you're shooting dynamic targets versus static targets, and you're focusing on the bead/sights, you'll be missing your target. Turkey/deer hunting, being more static this might be nice; clays, birds, being dynamic, this would be a waste

August 18, 2009, 11:52 AM
Among Open Division 3 Gun shooters, it's extremely common to see them running a red dot or holographic sight of one sort or another. Presumably, it not only makes it faster/more accurate to make long-distance slug shots, but also speeds up transitions and target acquisition with bird shot as well.

I don't know what the effect would be on shooting flying targets such as clay pigeons.

August 18, 2009, 12:51 PM
I don't know what the effect would be on shooting flying targets such as clay pigeons.

The effect is a missed bird - the focus needs to be on the TARGET, not the sights. many a good wing-shooting instructor will remove the beads completely. If the gun fits properly, they're not necessary

August 18, 2009, 01:00 PM
If the gun fits properly, they're not necessary

Worse yet, they'll sometimes divert your attention from the target, especially whey you're shooting under lights and the bead suddenly goes from being a dark dot to a bright shiny gold object.:)

I've paid to have a brazed-on fiberoptic removed from a shotgun.

August 18, 2009, 01:09 PM
I used a Weaver Quik Point years ago and I can tell you it works great on flying targets. I ran many a 25 at skeet and trap warming up for waterfowl season. The dot and the bird are in the same focal plane, so instead of using the traditional sight picture you just concentrated on putting the red dot where you wanted the pattern to go. I stopped using it because I had continual problems with the mount, it was heavy, and it was bulky, and it used natural light, not because it didn't work well when light conditions were good. I am seriously considering a Speed Bead, except the cost is putting me off since I am without a job at present.
You do not have to worry about fit, cheek weld, keep head down, nothing, except if you can see the dot and it is where you want it, and you calculated the lead correctly, you will hit the target. It's different. I even shot some targets using an occluded sight. You block the sight tube, and your normal dominant eye sees only the dot, and your other eye sees the target, and your brain puts them together and you still hit the target. I got a 23 at skeet and a 24 at trap doing that and amazed the heck out of some people, including me.

August 18, 2009, 01:57 PM
I even shot some targets using an occluded sight.

I use an Occluded Eye Sight on my rifle for shooting targets at < 50 yds.

August 20, 2009, 11:51 AM
Slugs, yes. Shot, no. Most setups raise the sight picture too high for a proper cheek weld. If you are gonna do it and into to shoot at moving targets, look for a low setup that places the dot as close as possible to the natural sight line down the barrel.

August 20, 2009, 12:08 PM
You don't need cheek weld. Your eye position is no longer the "rear sight".

August 20, 2009, 12:10 PM
You don't need cheek weld. Your eye position is no longer the "rear sight".

The two things are not necessarily mutually exclusive. You don't need a cheek weld in order to have the POI match the POA. But there are other reasons to have a cheek weld.:)

August 21, 2009, 10:31 AM
Your eye position is no longer the "rear sight".

Cheek weld will keep your head on the stock.....There's an old saying: "Head on the stock, eye on the rock"....Your eye SHOULD be the rear sight when you're talking about moving a gun to hit a moving target

Successful baseball hitters watch the ball, not the bat. Successful tennis players watch the ball, not the racquet. Successful shotgunners watch the target, not the sight

August 21, 2009, 11:11 AM
Your eye SHOULD be the rear sight when you're talking about moving a gun to hit a moving target

I started shooting my rifles better -- even scoped rifles -- after getting some shotgun experience. I learned that the rifle was an extension of my upper body and head, and that everything should be locked together and move in unison.

Shooting is not just about looking down the sights or through the scope.:)

August 21, 2009, 04:25 PM
I am seriously considering a Speed Bead

I've never heard of a Speed Bead and I'd like to know more about it. I would appreciate a link to it if anyone has one.

Thanks -- NoAlibi

August 21, 2009, 05:29 PM
Speedbead link-

You guys don't get it. If you had a tall enough mount you could shoot the shotgun from the hip with a holographic sight, assuming you had it sighted for your shooting distance. I am not saying you can't cheek weld or do anything else you want to, I am saying all you have to see is the dot.

August 21, 2009, 05:42 PM
I am saying all you have to see is the dot.

That's obvious. It's a sight.

Hitting a moving target from the hip would require the same use of the full upper body that a cheek weld helps with. One could do this without a cheek weld. Tossing the gun around, however, doesn't work well on moving targets.

See the video of Tim Bradley shooting clays with a .22 AR with a red dot sight. Note that he still uses a cheek weld, not because he needs the weld, but because hitting the target requires the use of his whole upper body.


The same goes for pistol rapid fire. You can't just flap the thing around, even though you obviously can't get a cheek weld with a pistol.

August 22, 2009, 01:16 AM
I own a speed bead.

The mount for the 870 is terrible. You cannot use it with a synthetic stock -- it has to be used with a stock with some 'give.' Unlike the Mossberg mount pictured by most vendors (a big steel donut, which is probably stable enough) the 870 mount is two thin wires with small flanges that dip between the stock and the receiver. The sight itself sits on a small platform insulated from the receiver by a foam cushion, and in my experience the mount does not allow the dot to hold a zero worth a darn. I tried sighting it in at 25y with slugs, but the spread was 6" left, then 8" up, then right ... On the fourth shot, when I realized no matter how well I zeroed the sight the process of zeroing changed the position of the mount, I gave up rather than destroy the target holder.

I recently purchased a picatinny mount for the fastfire dot. In that configuration, it's a beautiful red dot. My complaint is entirely with the 870 speedbead mount itself.

Oh, and as an additional kick in the junk, when you order the speedbead you get the fast fire model 1 -- whereas the fast fire model 2 is out everywhere else, and is waterproof.

August 22, 2009, 01:24 AM
How would something you consciously have to use/look for (red-dot, holo) vs. a plain barrel/bead you instinctively POINT like an extension of your eye IMPROVE target acquisition time?

I don't think that's possible no matter how much some people want it to be. It looks real cool, but like I've said in other threads, if I had to use one in a life or death situation against someone who was armed with, say a Glock pistol, I'd probably be a goner. In that kind of situation I'll take all the advantages I can get, and having to fool with a sight (on a SHOTgun nonetheless) is not one of them. If you want to hunt or use this as a dedicated slug gun, I'd say go for it because accuracy is an issue there and getting shot out as quick as possible instinctively to save your life isn't. I can see the merits in having an optic on a gun I'm going to be shooting strictly slugs out of, but if I have buck in the gun, which I probably would at practical ranges, it would hinder me just as the ghost rings I took off one of my 590's did. You decide. Just my two cent's worth.

August 22, 2009, 07:30 AM
Virginian -- Thanks for the link on the Speed Bead. If the mount for an 870 was the same as pictured in the link and not as described by tkopp, it would seem to be a good choice for a dedicated slug gun because if you had sight/battery failure the sight wouldn't obstuct using the front bead. As you mentioned, it is a bit pricey!

I've had good training and lots of practice shooting conventional sights on SHOTguns that I'm very comfortable with it and I feel that a red dot sight offers me no advantage when using shot on moving targets.

The same goes for pistol rapid fire. You can't just flap the thing around, even though you obviously can't get a cheek weld with a pistol.

You can get a cheek weld with a pistol and it has made an immense improvement in my action shooting. With the exception of instinctual shooting it's the only way I shoot a handgun now.

How I do it: Your forearm, arm and shoulder become the stock. You must use the weaver stance. Assume the weaver stance and all you have to do is raise your shoulder to meet your jaw and part of your cheek. You will immediately notice a big increase in stability and as you mentioned using the upper body puts it all together - like a shooting platform.

I would hope that you, or anyone else would at least give it a try. If my description is not clear, I'll get one of the range rats to pose for a picture if you would like.

August 22, 2009, 07:56 AM
Thanks tkopp, that is very good to know. My biggest issues years ago were with the old Weaver Qwik Point mount. The screws thru the receiver were not a close enough fit to prevent movement, and I did not want it marking my receiver by rocking back and forth. I never shot slugs but it would have been a bit of a problem there, too. And you couldn't tighten down the screws too much or you would deflect the receiver and screw up the gun. I ended up having special fine threaded rods made, and had half nuts welded to the mount, painted the receiver to protect that, and used blue Loctite to keep everything together.
AcceptableUserName, you do not have to consciously look for anything if you have a halfway decent consistent gun mount. When you throw the gun up and look over the shotgun the dot is right there with the target. Until you have tried it it is hard to believe. I had guys at the range laughing at that new "Rube Goldberg" sight, but most of them were willing to try it and they were amazed as how easy it made things. Most of them never believed you could possibly shoot skeet with it, but most of the better shooters were hitting the clays within two or three shots.
I can't believe that after 35 years someone still hasn't come out with a light, effective, easy mounting system for holographic sights. I was hoping the Speedbead was it.

If you enjoyed reading about "Holographic Sight on a shotgun?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!