Shotguns are among the most reliable and easy to use weapons, favored heavily for home defense, on top of recreational, sport, hunting, and law enforcement use. If you’d ask anyone what is the one thing they would change on their shotgun, it would most likely be the bead front sight. This best shotgun sights list aims to help you pick a high-quality replacement which will improve your accuracy and speed.
The bead sight is primarily designed to provide an easy way to lead the target, such as a bird in flight or a running rabbit. However, there are better ways to handle target acquisition at a closer range. The main misconception about shotguns is how big is the spread of the shot. Even with a shell designed to spread immediately, you’ll still have to aim quite accurately to hit anything at close range.
The large spread plays a factor when you’re shooting a duck in flight at 70 yards, and not nearly as much when engaged in a self-defense scenario. It certainly helps, but having the best shotgun scope or sight would definitely improve your chances of hitting the target, and doing it quickly.
A wide range of shotgun rated holographic, red dot, and reflex sights are available to you, and I’ve picked out the very best. They’re interchangeable with a carbine or rifle for added value. For those on a tighter budget, there are excellent laser sight and illuminated iron sight options that will definitely contribute to your accuracy. If you’re unsure which type of sight would suit you, check out the detailed buyers guide at the end that will help you make an informed purchase.
Best Shotgun Sights 2020: Our Picks
|Product||Weight||Size (LxWxH in mm)||Type||Our Rating|
|EOTech 512||11.5 oz||143 x 51 x 64||Holographic Sight||4.9|
|Sig Sauer Romeo 5||5.1 oz||62.7 x 38.1 x 38.6||Red Dot Sight||4.8|
|Bushnell TRS-25||4 oz||61.8 mm long||Red Dot Sight||4.5|
|Trijicon RMR Type 2 Reflex Sight||1.2 oz||45.7 x 27.9 x 25.4||Reflex Sight||4.5|
|Sightmark Ultra Shot M-Spec Reflex Sight||10.2 oz||103 x 49 x 61||Reflex Sight||4.7|
|Hi-Viz Snap On Sight||N/A||177.8 x 101.6 x 2.54||Illuminated Front Iron Sight||4.2|
|Streamlight TLR-4||2.81 oz||69.3 mm Long||Rail Mounted Laser Sight||4.7|
|Crimson Trace Shotgun Lasersaddle||N/A||N/A||Grip Mounted Laser Sight||4.6|
|Size (LxWxH in mm)||143 x 51 x 64|
The EOTech 512 is not only one of the best holographic sights, but one of the best optics, period. Makers of the very first holographic sights, EOTech still manages to lead the industry with its innovative technology and design. No better proof of quality is needed than the extensive use by law enforcement agencies and the military. If any piece of equipment is capable of passing their tests, then you can be sure it’s never going to fail on you.
The 512 is the most popular EOTech model without night vision compatibility, it comes with an excellent 68 MOA ring and a 1 MOA dot reticle. For shotgun use, the ring will provide extremely fast target acquisition and accuracy thanks to the spread. The dot itself can be used as well, although there’s no real need unless you’re using single-shot shells.
Powered by two AA batteries, the 512 has twenty brightness settings to deliver optimal visibility in any conditions. Thanks to the true heads-up display and ability to shoot with both eyes open, it doesn’t limit situational awareness in the slightest. Mount it to a 1″ Weaver or MIL-STD-1913 rail, and you’re good to go.
High-quality materials and construction standards make for a holographic sight that is completely waterproof and shockproof. Even when the holographic window is dirty or damaged, 512 can still be used effectively. A 10-year warranty protects you from any manufacturing defects in material and workmanship. The only part of the EOTech 512 that can be called a drawback is the high price, but for what you’ll receive, it’s certainly more than worth it.
|Size (LxWxH in mm)||62.7 x 38.1 x 38.6|
|Type||Red Dot Sight|
Sig Sauer has struck gold with the Romeo 5 red dot sight. For a rather low price, you’ll get a durable sight with a high-quality picture thanks to the 24mm lens and a 2 MOA red dot. Despite the simplicity, it still manages to offer cool features and technology.
Eight standard brightness settings will be enough for a visible reticle in any scenario, but the thing that makes the Romeo 5 stand out is the two night-vision settings. By switching to either setting, it can be used in conjunction with night vision goggles while staying to the person on the other side of the sight.
Through the use of MOTAC (Motion Activated Illumination) technology, Romeo 5 automatically activates when it senses movement and turns off after a period of time to preserve battery life. Spectracoat is Sig Sauer’s proprietary coating which prevents reflection through the lens. Lastly, Stealth ID is the name for the design pattern used to make the Romeo 5 as inconspicuous and camouflage as friendly as possible.
With a battery life of more than 40 thousand hours, you’ll never have to worry about switching batteries with the Sig Sauer Romeo 5. Overall, it is a great option, with the only nitpick being a slightly smaller dot for a shotgun. I can fully recommend it, especially if you plan on using your sight on multiple weapons.
|Size (LxWxH in mm)||61.8 mm long|
|Type||Red Dot Sight|
The Bushnell TRS-25 is something I could safely recommend to pretty much anyone, and for any weapon it can be attached to. It’s the most affordable out of the serious red dot optics, and something which has been tested and used extensively on a wide range of weapons.
Eleven brightness settings are adjusted using the oversized knob on the side to deliver perfect brightness to the 3 MOA dot reticle. Purged with nitrogen to prevent fogging and IPX-7 waterproofing standard makes the TRS-25 usable in any weather conditions, while the rugged build prevents shock damage caused by drops, bangs, and bumps.
If you’re looking for a great entry-level red dot sight, or if you’re trying to see if these sights suit you, Bushnell TRS-25 is the best option to pick. Designed for hunting, recreational shooting, or self-defense, this sight will provide a much-needed benefit over the standard shogun bead.
|Size (LxWxH in mm)||45.7 x 27.9 x 25.4|
Since we’re trying to go through all the options available, a reflex sight had to be included, and with the Trijicon RMR Type 2, you’re getting the very best. Seeing heavy use with the military and law enforcement, the RMR (Ruggedized Rifle Reflex) will never let you down, while providing peak performance in any conditions. It is the official reflex sight of the USSOCOM handgun, but it still fits perfectly on the barrel of a shotgun or a rifle.
The makers of the legendary ACOG and VCOG, Trijicon delivers another gem, as the RMR Type 2 seemingly delivers everything a shooter would want. Weighing in at just 1.2 ounces, it’s lighter than one 12-gauge shell and will not hinder you in any way as you’re tracking down your game.
What gives the RMR Type 2 an edge over the other sights is the choice of dot size. While the 1 MOA dot is too small for a shotgun, the 3.25 MOA is the optimal option, with the 6.5 MOA being a great choice for rapid target acquisition at close range, or for a shooter with poor vision. Eight brightness settings, two of which are night vision compatible can be manually adjusted or left in automatic mode for ease of use.
Made out of forged aluminum, there’s no debate about the durability, as this sight can withstand harsh weather conditions and impact shock. The patented shape of the RMR Type 2 is designed to divert the force of impact away from the lens, further increasing the durability and longevity.
If you’ve got the budget for it, do not hesitate to buy the Trijicon RMR Type 2. Not only is it one of the best reflex sights, but it also competes for the best non-magnified sight in general. Along with the EOTech, Trijicon is pushing the boundaries of what modern sights can do, and having a reflex sight of this caliber will give you a noticeable advantage over any other option.
|Size (LxWxH in mm)||103 x 49 x 61|
If you’d like a mix of unmistakeable holographic design and reflex technology, then the Sightmark Ultra Shot M-Spec is the sight for you. The striking resemblance to some of the EOTech models comes from the integrated sunshade which not only enhances visibility but also acts as an additional layer of protection. One of my personal favorites, Ultra Shot M-Spec comes with an array of unique features that make targeting a whole lot easier.
The 65 MOA circle and 2 MOA dot combination provide an excellent shooting reticle. Since we’re using it on a shotgun, at closer ranges the ring itself will be more than enough for accurate fire. What gives Ultra Shot M-Spec the edge over the competition is the ability to toggle between both reticles, ring only, or having just the dot visible. That way you can adjust even further to your shooting style, whether you’re a more instinctive shooter or prefer pinpoint accuracy.
Windage and elevation are adjusted by 1 MOA per click, while the motion-sensing activation preserves battery life by automatically activating and shutting down. With the LQD quick detach lever, you can remove or attach the sight in a matter of seconds, and it should retain zero every time.
Magnesium alloy body in combination with the aluminum protective shield and clever design is the key to the impressive build quality which leads to Ultra Shot M-Spec’s complete resistance to water, dust, or shock impact. Capable of withstanding recoil of up to .50 BMG, you can be certain it’ll operate flawlessly on your shotgun. The integrated sunshade does not hinder the field of vision when retracted but provides far better visibility when extended in very bright sunlight.
Aside from the shorter battery life, the only other criticism that can be noted is the weight. This Sightmark model is heavier than the other reflex options but provides better protection and visibility, so it’s a tradeoff worth considering. Something different and very cool, Ultra Shot M-Spec easily takes a spot on this list.
|Size (LxWxH in mm)||177.8 x 101.6 x 2.54|
|Type||Illuminated Front Iron Sight|
If you’re not in the market for an optical sight, something like the Hi-Viz Snap On Sight might just be what you’re looking for. This illuminated front sight does not require you to modify your shotgun, simply snap it on and you’re ready to go.
As previously said, there’s nothing wrong with the bead sight, but we can still do a few things to improve it. Having an illuminated front sight definitely helps in maintaining the vision of it as you’re tracking the target in low light conditions. In the daylight, the fluorescent green or red lite pipes stand out from the terrain much better than the metallic bead.
Weighing practically nothing, it will not affect your aim in the slightest. When you add the very low price on top, there’s no reason not to get one regardless of your setup. It would also make for a thoughtful gift for a fellow shotgun shooter.
|Size||69.3 mm Long|
|Type||Rail Mounted Laser Sight|
Among laser sights, Streamlight creates some of the best, and the TLR-4 is the most prominent model. This two-in-one unit provides a powerful tactical light and a laser sight to greatly improve visibility and accuracy in low-light conditions. As it is designed and assembled in The United States, you can expect the highest production quality and reliability.
Made out of impact-resistant polymer, the TLR-4 is capable of withstanding shock damage, but also extreme weather conditions and temperatures. Completely water-sealed, it can function even when submersed into the water, with an IPX water-resistant rating.
Through the use of the C4 LED technology, TLR-4 delivers an impressive 125-lumen beam of light with a lifespan of 50 thousand hours. Laser sight comes in classic red or the more visible green color. Controls for activating the unit are ambidextrous and lets you use the tactical light and laser at the same time, or either one individually.
The battery will last for 11 hours if the laser is used, or 90 minutes if used together with the LED light. For such a compact unit, this is not bad at all, especially for laser-only use. Streamlight has really made one of the best value-for-money laser sights with the TLR-4, making it easy to put it on this list.
|Size (LxWxH in mm)||N/A|
|Type||Grip Mounted Laser Sight|
Crimson Trace has made a unique laser sight for the owners of Mossberg or Remington shotguns. The Lasersaddle models are receiver-mounted laser sights with multiple, ambidextrous activation pad points. Designed to turn on with the natural grip of the shotgun, Lasersaddle cuts out all the steps between activating the laser and taking a shot.
Not being universally applicable may seem like a detriment, but it allows the Lasersaddle to fit perfectly on the applicable models, making it feel like a natural part of the shotgun and not an attachment. Typically, laser sights are used for tactical situations, home defense, or target shooting, and due to the design, you can attach an additional optical sight without restrictions.
The 5MW peak laser comes in green or red color, presenting itself as a 0.5-inch dot at 50 yards. A master on-off switch lets you turn the unit completely off when you don’t need it, preserving the battery life which is approximately 3 hours with 4 provided CR2016 batteries. Don’t think of the Lasersaddle as a gimmick, as it is fully adjustable for windage and elevation.
Meeting all of the conditions to equip one of these laser sights might be tough, but the benefits received can be greater than with a conventional model. Because of that, and the very interesting design, Crimson Trace Lasersaddle gets a spot on the best shotgun scopes and sights top list.
How to Choose the Best Shotgun Sight
When it comes to best shotgun sight, you’ve really got a lot to pick from. I’ve rounded up the best choices from every category to provide you with the wide picture, but choosing the right one can still be tough. Because of that, we’ll go through the basics of how each of the sights works, as well as their pros and cons in this segment.
The main advantages of holographic sight over other optical options are focused on accuracy, mainly with a rifle. With an entirely different technology to that of the red dot, holographic can deliver a smaller reticle which can be magnified without the change to its size.
For shotgun use, none of this matters too much, but a holographic sight is a valuable addition to the arsenal. Still, if you’re buying a sight exclusively for shotgun use, I would recommend going with one of the red options. They are more affordable, and the slight disadvantages over holographic sight will not be noticed with shotgun use.
Red Dot Sights
The most popular and widespread options are of course the red dot sight. As technology has been developed over the decades, nowadays a great red dot can be bought for a very reasonable price. The classic tube design and a small diameter lens limit peripheral vision slightly, 0but that’s about the only drawback of the red dot. Used by hunters and target shooters worldwide, it’s a very safe option to pick.
Reflex sights make a strong deviation from red dots to deliver a much smaller and lighter sight, making them highly favored for pistols. This design philosophy leads to the best peripheral vision out of all the variants, as the lens shell is just a few millimeters long.
What speed and accuracy increase is gained over the red dot comes as a tradeoff for the higher price. Even at the lower end, reflex sights are typically twice as expensive, so consider your budget before deciding to buy one.
One of the best additions to a shotgun is definitely the laser sight. As shooting with a shotgun typically requires a momentary reaction, having a laser dot guiding your aim will improve your chances of hitting the target. As they truly come in all shapes and sizes, you’ve got a large assortment to choose from.
I’ve pointed out just two great options, but there are many more available on the market. Get it as your primary sight attachment, or pair it with one of the optical sights, and you’ve got a great setup for fast and accurate fire.
The final type of sight we’re going to cover is the iron sights. The classic bead sight can easily be replaced by an illuminated strip or a front post, and it’s the cheapest upgrade you can do. A trend of installing rear sight post on shotguns has really picked off, so it’s not uncommon to find ghost rings tailored to a specific shotgun model. As they’re rarely universal, I’ve skipped adding one to this list, but it’s worth looking into if that’s an appealing idea to you.
The trend of adding sights on shotguns has been really picking up, and we can definitely see why. Adding any optical sight drastically improves accuracy, whether you’re a hunter, target shooter, or using your shotgun as a home-defense weapon.
If budget is a non-issue, holographic or reflex sight is the way to go. For a more budget-conscious purchase, a red dot goes a long way, especially if you can pair it with a laser sight. Even an illuminated front post will be enough for a noticeable difference when aiming with a shotgun. My personal favorite is the combination of Bushnell TRS-25 red dot and the Streamlight TLR-4 laser sight with a tactical light.
As always, we strive to deliver the best choices that have proven themselves in practical use and to provide a guide on how to buy the best option. I hope you’ve learned a bit about the sights available, and picked the best shotgun sight for your needs!