Are Shotgun Heat Shields Usefull?

Not open for further replies.


Dec 16, 2010
Is a heat shield usefull on a shotgun? I see them occasionally on military or SWAT type guns. I presume the shield is to protect the gun in some way. (or is it only cosmetic?)

Does anyone have an idea under what circumstance you would find the heat shield usefull? Say, firing 100 shells through the gun rapidly. (Ouch, my shoulder would probably give out).

This may be an idle question, though depending on what I learn, I may end up installing one of these on my Maverick 88.

Your thoughts are welcome

Thanks, G&R
Grab a shotgun by the barrel after running just 8 rounds through it in a three gun match...the heat shield will save your hand. They are useful as they give you more to grab comfortably when doing a reload after shooting it empty fast as well.
The only gun I can think of that comes with one is the Mossberg 590A1 which is used by the military and police.

Try to resist the temptation to add a bunch of cheap crappy doo dads to your gun. The temptation can be strong, many succumb. Save that money, spend it on ammo to practice with, or a higher quality gun that's completely made in the US or Italy.
I believe you will find heat shields are on weapons that have bayonet lugs. This is so your hand does not get burned from a hot barrel when making a bayonet thrust. If it is on one with out the bayonet lug, it is only for cosmetics.
I have no use for them. To me they just make the gun a bit heavier, and I very much prefer a light, quick handling shotgun. I can't seem to think of a situation when I'd need to touch the barrel of the shotgun to reload. To reload, I am going to put the stock under my right arm with the barrel still pointing downrange or towards the threat. My trigger finger will still be able to shoot the last shell that is in the chamber. I will reload with my left hand. This is only how I train, YMMV.
Grab a shotgun by the barrel after running just 8 rounds through it in a three gun match...the heat shield will save your hand.
The best advice I can give is don't grab a fired gun by the barrel.

When I was in the service I once had the stupidity to pick up an ar16 by the barrel after firing 5 mags through it. That was 42 years ago, have never done it again.
Heat shields also protect the barrel from dents during hard use.
Heavy wall barrels such as those on modern combat shotguns are not so susceptible and they hold heat better than the older shotguns which were really nothing more than cut down sporting shotguns.
Heat shields are still useful.HTH
Onmilo said:
Heat shields also protect the barrel from dents during hard use.

This is the most practical application for a heat shield that I have found. During training after knocking my barrel hard into a couple of stationary stands I started thinking about the cost of a new barrel vs. the cost of a heat shield.

If it were called a dent shield instead of a heat shield I think you'd see wider adoption.
Are dents in barrels really a problem? I've scraped the finish on the top of my barrel once during a match. I really can't imagine doing something rough enough to leave a dent in it. It's a loaded firearm, not a baseball bat.

Anyways, I took mine off. Looks cooler without it, and it's lighter.
zhyla said:
Are dents in barrels really a problem?

With today's very thin barrels if it is dented through to the bore, then yeah it can be a problem. A buddy closed the door of his truck onto the barrel of his 870, it left a dent that you could see inside the barrel. A gunsmith charged him $50 to raise the dent (but you could still see some ripples), a shroud costs about $20-25, a new barrel ~$150.
I don't like them, but if you do, go for it. The Maverick should be one of the easier barrels to put one on, I'd think the Mossberg design should fit it. You might welcome the extra weight more than anything else.

Keep in mind it might move around under recoil if not installed properly and checked occasionally. If it does so it can interfere with the proper operation of the shotgun. And to me they always seemed a pain to clean under.

Add up the pros and cons and try what seems best to you. It isn't permanent either way...

I don't like them because they add weight to the gun, making it harder to hold on a target for any length of time (like as you are calling 911 with the other hand). As far as burning your hands - you probably wouldn't feel it during the bigtime adrenaline and in any case is better than being shot to death.
I used th two bolts that hold the heat shield on my 590 to bolt on a small piece of rail on the gun. Now I have a place to mount a light. When you bust off 9 shells in a row she gets hot and shield can be a lifesaver.
If your reload technique invites dropping the gun from the shoulder and inverting it in the weak hand, the heat shield can save you a burnt hand. Otherwise it's a great way to hide rust from potential buyers. (yeah, I bought one of those.)
I am more or less with Lee. I think they're a waste of money and weight but if it floats your boat, what the heck.

I had a 500 with one. It added a lot of weight at the wrong end of the gun. It wouldn't stay put until it was so tight that it actually slightly crimped the barrel. Boo x 2. And, I didn't find any benefit, and I've done a lot of high-round-count training. I've never managed to burn myself uncomfortably on a shotgun barrel. I usually come home with various other minor scratches & dents (in me, not the gun) but burns have never been a problem. YMMV.
I have one on my Mav88. I've singed my hand on a hot barrel before. Is it neccessary? No. But the weight issue mentioned is really a non-issue. I can't tell the weight difference with or without it. Mine has the ghost ring sights, which I've improved with fiber optics for night sights, which is ultimately why I bought it as I hated the single bead sight on the 18.5" bbl.
Are we talking Barrel shrouds? You know the thing that goes up? Lol. Sorry just can't lose the anger I have for that person.:cuss::fire::fire::fire: For those not in the know, Google Carolyn McCarthy on Barrel shrouds.
It wouldn't stay put until it was so tight that it actually slightly crimped the barrel.
i don't doubt that it happened but thats gotta be a pretty rare accurance.
They are one of those things that when you burn your hand after shooting a bit you will wish was on. I have a 590 with one, I like it. I like how it looks and has does serve a purpose, doesn't mean i have one on all my shotguns though. for 25 bucks you can always take it off.
I like the look of them on the military "trench" style shotguns. The shields themselves weigh very little and don't make that much of a difference, but the bayonet lug is a different story. As far as their original purpose, I too have heard it was to stop from burning your hand when using the bayonet. Letting the barrel cool down wasn't always an option in the trenches! I could see how a heatshield on a regular barrel would block the bead a fair amount. On the trench guns the bead was mounted on the bayonet adapter so the bead was raised up higher then the heatshield making the sighting picture normal again. I wouldn't add an aftermarket one though....just my thoughts.
depends on how high your barrel is on the reciever if its flush with the top of the reciever it might, other wise it shouldn't block the bead.
I have the stock heat shield on my 500a Cruiser, and it's pretty useful. Two or three shots makes the barrel warm, 5 or 6 makes it too hot to touch. It makes loading easier because I can grab the heat shield and control the weapon during reloading instead of having a subconscious concern that I'm going to burn my hand. That fear will translate directly from training to a real shooting.
I've got one & Like it. I took my MB500 to the range to pattern some HD ammo. Shot & Reloaded a few times. If you notice a MB 500 loads from the bottom. Flipping the gun upside down and loading the tube is much easier if your not being burned by the barrel.....

and an added .5 - 1lb isnt going to ruin my day LOL.
It is pretty unlikely that you will be wielding the shotgun as a bludgeon or with a bayonet after you've fired all the rounds, so the heat shield is superfluous outside of a World War I trench (for which it was invented).
Not open for further replies.