At the gun shop I frequent, a customer recently dropped off an M4 carbine to have an accessory added. There seemed to be quite the commotion as employees called others over to take a look. I couldn’t imagine what was going to be added, as it was already overloaded with nearly every possible accessory. The crowded rail included a bipod, variable power scope, reflex sight, weapons light with remote wire-connected pressure switch, inexpensive green laser sight with remote coiled-wire pressure switch connector and side-mounted BUIS sights. His setup made the AR look ridiculous. It also transformed an effective defense tool into something so complicated that it would be impossible to deploy in an emergency.

How Many Is Too Many?

You should keep your defensive shotgun simple. You need to be able to pick it up, rack the slide and instantly fire! Electronic optics are unnecessary on defensive arms, in my opinion. They often need to be turned on and adjusted for proper brightness, adding time to your shot.

Below, I will list three potential accessories that I might add to a home-defense shotgun. But again, all you really need to do in a defensive scenario is grab your gun, rack it and shoot. These are listed in order of importance, in case you don’t want or can’t afford everything at once. The best part? These additions all operate without having to remove your hands from the firing position.

XS Sights Big Dot Tritium Orange Front Sight —

XS provides options for mounting its fine line of sights on shotguns with plain barrels, directly over existing bead front sights. They also offer options for dovetailed rifle-type front sights and vent rib with bead sights. There are no switches to flip; just a large eye-catching orange dot that works great in any light and a bright green tritium insert for “high-level dark.”

Streamlight TL-Racker 850-Lumen Shotgun Forend Light —

The TL-Racker replaces the entire forend with a solid, cord-free 850-lumen LED lighting system. The built-in light features an ambidextrous switch with momentary and constant on/off capabilities. The TL-Racker is available for the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500/590 pump shotguns.

Crimson Trace LS 250 Lasersaddle —

The Lasersaddle eliminates the need for laser sights that require a remote corded pressure switch to operate. Available with red or green lasers, the Lasersaddle attaches over the top of the receiver — like a saddle. It projects a beam along the right side of the receiver and barrel. The laser is activated by multiple ambidextrous pad points. The Lasersaddle is available for the Mossberg 500, 590 and 590 Shockwave pump guns but does not fit 20- or .410-gauge guns.

When you look to add accessories to a shotgun, keep in mind its mission — the defense of your home and property at a moment’s notice. You don’t absolutely need any of the items I’ve discussed. But adding just a few things won’t affect your ability to get your shotgun into action when the time comes.