Top 10 tactical toys for your 12 gauge
Story and photo by John N. Raguso
The 12-gauge shotgun in its many forms is arguably the most universal home defense and short-range tactical weapon in the American arsenal for the simple reason that it totally dominates the space in its confined, 25-yard world. And it does this better than anything else short of the Terminatorâ€™s famed â€œphased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range.â€
With an entry price of $300 or less for a reliable weapon and no special license required for purchaseâ€”other than your state driverâ€™s ID and typically, a national instant criminal background check system check (NICS)â€”the tactical 12 gauge is eminently affordable for all socio-economic levels of our society.
This fact has not gone unnoticed by a growing cadre of shotgun accessory manufacturers, which make a wide range of tactical toys that will customize your 12 gauge to fit your personal needs and truly make it â€œbad to the boneâ€ (like that relentless cyborgâ€™s model 1887 Winchester lever-action shotgun in the opening biker bar scene of Terminator 2).
Some of these aftermarket add-ons might be as simple as swapping out your brass bead front sight for a tritium dot or fiber-optic pipe to enable a quicker sight picture, adding a recoil-reducing stock to tame the 12 gaugeâ€™s formidable back-blast, or maybe snapping on a tac light or laser aiming device to a Picatinny rail.
The combinations are endless, so without further introduction, letâ€™s take a look at the top 10 accessories for your home-D or tactical 12 gauge.
1. HI-VIS FRONT SIGHTS
Â Itâ€™s simple logic that you canâ€™t hit what you canâ€™t see. Going with a relatively hi-viz, inexpensive front sight (red fiber-optic factory front sights for my Mossbergs cost me only $5 each on sale last year) in lieu of the low-pro/low-viz standard front brass bead sight is the first change I usually make to /all/ my shotguns, no matter what their intended purpose. Although practically invisible in total darkness, if thereâ€™s any ambient light, these red fiber optics will do the job better than the brass beads, and the more light there is, the more they amplify it.
Mossberg also makes a large white dot sight on its new Thunder Ranch Model 500 that will interchange with most other Mossy weapons systems. But if you want to truly â€œsee in the dark,â€ the Big Dot (.161-inch/4mm) tritium front sight manufactured by XS Sight Systems might be just what youâ€™re looking for. It has a street price of $60 from Brownellâ€™s.
NOTE: The full story is in the May issue.