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Ghost ring sights or bead?

Discussion in 'Tactical Shotguns' started by G36's Rule, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. G36's Rule

    G36's Rule Senior Member

    Dec 1, 2001
    Spring, TX.
    What does the collective GT shotgunners think are the better arrangements for sights? I'm serious in getting a dedicated defensive shotgun setup with the Mossberg 590a1 and 930spx as top runners.

    The 590 can be had with a bead or ghostring sights. I think the 930spx only has ghostring sights available.

    I think the bead might be faster, but then I think the ghostring would be beneficial with slugs.

    What say you?
  2. Big A

    Big A Herr Trigger

    Jul 11, 2007
    Jacksonville FL

  3. CAcop


    Jul 21, 2002
    Is this something that will be used primarily inside or outside the home?

    Inside I would hedge towards bead. Outdoors towards GRS.

    Not that you would be too handicapped with either.
  4. G36's Rule

    G36's Rule Senior Member

    Dec 1, 2001
    Spring, TX.
    Excellent question.

    This will be my "everything" weapon. At home it will be beside the bed. When I travel it will be under the back seat of my truck till I get to my destination. It will go on camping trips from Texas to Montana, so slugs will always be close by or in it.
  5. Rifle sights, perhaps?
  6. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy ********* Moderator Moderator Millennium Member Lifetime Member

    Jan 16, 2001
    Buried in the X-files
    Aippi is in the bead only school.

    As a pure indoor gun, i tend to agree. For your situation, especially if you're used to aperature sights, I would go with ghost rings, if not an actual dedicated optic like an Aimpoint H-1.

    Ghost rings or an optic, if you train, are no slower than a bead. In fact for me, with nearly 20 years of aperature sights, beads tend to slow me down because my mind is trying to align something that's not there since i shoot rifles far more than shotguns (currently shotgunless).

    Depending on the slug and the gun, ghost rings can make an effective hit out to 100 yards or further, but honestly, at that point, you need to bring a rifle along. A good .30-30 with an aperature sight would make a better truck gun than a shotgun though having 'both' is even better.
  7. B Coyote

    B Coyote

    Jul 3, 2001
    NW Indiana
    Then consider sights that will work better with slugs. My choice would be rifle sights, but if you like the ghost rings, run with them.

  8. Big Bird

    Big Bird NRA Life Member

    Aug 7, 2003
    Louisville KY
    Sights. A tactical shotgun is a precision weapon. You need as much shot placement precision with a shotgun as a handgun at almost any distance you care to discuss. One of the things a good set of sights does is it opens up your field of view because the front sight is raised up off the barrel. This works very much the same way a vent rib works on a sporting shotgun. Normally on a rifle you want to try and avoid raising your eye over the bore--but this is a function of long range optics which have no bearing on the effective range of a tactical shotgun.

    I've seen too many people in training excel with sights on their tactical shotguns under situations of low light and stimulated stress to know how truly effective they are. A ghost ring sight is every bit as quick as a bead and MORE accurate in tight quarters IF you have trained with one. Of course ghost ring sights are meant to be shot with BOTH EYES OPEN!
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2011
  9. I taught fighting shotguns to a lot of people over the years, and I've seen over and over that for the typical HD distances a bead sight works better for most people. As Murphy said, if you are used to something else then you might want to consider that for commonality of training. But the bead is the default, IMO, and you only move away from the bead if you have a good reason.
  10. GACajunGlocker


    Oct 26, 2010
    I recently bought a 590A1 and got it with the rifle sights (3 dot). The picture on the Mossberg website is here :

    I like the rifle sights better than just a bead for accuracy. I "fondled" a few Mossbergs with the Ghost sights but they are so high that it just disturbed my sight picture. Of course I am not used to Ghost sights and those that train with them would use them just fine.

    If you do gravitate toward the rifle type sights for you 590A1 you can get night sights here
    I have not bought the ameriglos but in looking at the sight picture it is just like my Glock 23 with night sights that is by my bed along with my 590A1. That way, in the middle of the night either weapon I pick up will have the same type sights. For me that is a good thing.

    Good luck with your search....that's half the fun. The other half is the shooting.
  11. PlasticGuy


    Jul 10, 2000
    I've taken and taught a fair number of tactical shotgun classes, and used them as issue guns at work at various times. I don't have Armstrong's experience, but I'm no rookie. Here's my take:

    Beads are best if the shotgun is only used in the home. Nothing is faster up close.

    Ghost rings are my choice for a shotgun that has to do everything. It's still very fast, and is much more precise with slugs. All of my tactical shotguns have ghost rings.

    Red dots are better than both. They are as fast as a bead, and even more precise than ghost ring sights. My ideal set up is an Aimpoint T1 on an ARMS throw lever mount, with ghost ring sights as back up irons. This is how my Benelli M4 is set up. It's a fantastic arrangement for a rifle (you see it on AR15's all the time), and it works just as well on a shotgun.
  12. aveisone


    Jan 5, 2010
    I had a 590 with bead sights. It worked well for fast target acquisition. I now have a 930 spx with ghost ring sights. I find it to be ultimately more accurate with slugs and buck shot. If I need to acquire a target quickly Im not going to use any sights. Im going to point and pull. I find I can even shoot clay with it with a quick glimpse down the side of the barrel. Id recommend the 930.
  13. Boxerglocker

    Boxerglocker Jacks #1 Fan

    Mar 6, 2003
    Lynnwood, WA
    I was just at the range today with a buddy, we were having the same debate. My 870 has GR his Mossy 500 a bead. We share a common box of 00 buckshot an Winchester slugs. Up close and personal it was a tie, but at 25-30 yards the GR were the obvious winner. My 5 shot groups were 3-4 times tighter (both guns benched and each shooter given a few practice shots to zero and determine hold over if needed).
  14. I think the bead is much faster on a shotgun.

    But when I use a slug gun for hunting it has rifle sights on it.

    Never been a big fan of ghost ring sights. In my experience the large aperture isn't precise enough to really aide with shot placement like a true peep sight does. So they really don't help accuracy that much and they stick up in the way too much.

    And while I like peep sights on a target rifle I prefer an open sight for things that may be moving, just a much larger field of view.

    Using a bead sight with a grooved receiver like my Mossberg 500 has I can use the grooves just like a rear sight if I have to slow down and place a precise shot.

    SO I'd go with either just a plain bead or the rifle type sights.
  15. old wanderer

    old wanderer

    Dec 22, 2008
    Since I shoot my G20c and G29 with ghost ring sights, my 870 is set up with them as well and a tritium front sight.

    However my Bennelli is set up with an old Obscured optics sight, very fast and instinctive (as long as you don't close the left eye).
  16. Ruggles


    Jun 13, 2005
    I do like the simplicity of the bead front sight. It is incredibly quick, easy and durable method of sighting on a shotgun IMO. It has a great proven track record as well.

    Course I prefer iron sights on an AR so I differ from a number of folks it that regard too.
  17. Z71bill


    Feb 19, 2007
    I think if you are shooting fast - 30 yards or so- clay targets - birds on the wing or a BG running at you across your living room - a bead is better.

    If you are taking careful aim - like shooting a standing deer - at 50+ yards a ghost ring or rifle sights would be better.
  18. Ferdinandd


    Feb 17, 2008
    I like a GR and have used that on a 590 and now on a 870. I have used a bead and rifle sights on other GS's, so I think tried everything short of a red-dot or other scope. If one has the front sight highly visible and bright, the GR disappears when shooting fast up close. Yet the GR retains the opportunity to be much more precise than a bead at distances beyond 10-15 yards.

    Bottom line - I'd opt for GR with a well marked front sight.
  19. Johan Beer

    Johan Beer

    May 2, 2005
    That's what I have on my Wilson Combat shotgun, with tritium inserts. I love them and would not trade for GR or a bead.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2011
  20. Warp


    Jul 31, 2005

    I just had tritium ghost rings installed on my 870 recently. It is a bit of a do-it-all firearm, just like OP is talking about. It resides in the bedroom but also goes along from time to time when traveling and is a cabin gun when visiting national parks out West.

    The first time I shouldered the gun in my bedroom at night, with the ghost rings, I only saw the front site. I actually dropped the gun down and looked at it wondering WTH was going on and if the rear site had, I don't know, fallen off or something. Nope. Still there. But with both eyes open and siting as if there was a bead...which is what I was used just disappeared into the darkness. Hence the term ghost ring.