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| category: Guns and equipment

Shotgun Front Sight

A sight is an aiming device used to assist in visually aligning ranged weapons with the intended target. The sight is composed of Front Sight and Rear Sight or/and Vent Rib. Today we are going to talk about Front Sight only. Usually, stock shotgun's Front Sight is a small piece of metal that is called a bead. If a gun owner is satisfied with the accuracy of shooting this Front sight would be a good option.

If gunner strives to improve his shooting performance we would advice to change a bead to something more modern and competitive. One of the biggest bead problem is its poor contrasting quality. You will be surprised to realise how it easy "to lose" a bead on the barrel's background especially on a foggy day when visibility is limited. You can try to tune up your Front Sight with fluorescent colors but I would recommend not to waste your time and just simply replace an original Front Sight with up-to-date reliable and modern device. Anyhow, I attached a couple links and video tutorial about a painting of Front Sight.

Over the last years, an optical fiber (aka light pipes) has become one of the most popular material for Shotgun Front Sights. An optical fiber allows shooters to get perfectly clear sight picture nicely and easily. The bright dot of a light pipe creates a bright contrast on a barrel/target that significantly easy correct aiming.

The light pipe Front Sight is recognized as the #1 choice among many shooters nowadays. Different types of Fiber Optic Sight and the ways of their installation are debatable. Let's review three of the most popular types of Fiber Optic Front Sights such as regular, hollow tube design and protected.

Type 1 - Regular Fiber Optic Front Sights

Regular Fiber Optic Front Sights is just a piece of light pipe. It can have different colors, length, and thickness. A length of a sight impacts its brightness. The longer light pipe is, the more bright dot (bead) it has. In my opinion, an optical fiber length of 1"-1.5" (2.5 cm - 4 cm) accumulates enough light for comfortable easy aiming. Choosing a diameter of your Front Sight you have to consider distances you plan to practice shooting. The further a target located, the smaller diameter of sight should be. An oversized sight can overlap with a target and completely cover it, interfering with an aiming process. Based on my experience, I would recommend using a sight 2.5-3mm for up to 50 m. It is a good option for all kinds of sport shooting and hunting. High-speed tactical shooting to short distance could require a bigger diameter of Front Sight.

Type 2 - Hollow tube design Front Sight

A tiny tunnel at the one end of the sight is a unique feature of this Front Sight. You can see the front sight dot (bead) only with your dominant eye. Using this type of sight a shooter can easily aim to target with both eyes open. Moreover, the black circle around a Fiber Optic creates even better contrast that guarantees comfortable aiming to improve your performance.

However, Hollow tube design front sight has some disadvantages which don’t allow to call this sight the one and only one right choice for you. The black circle around a light pipe could cover targets that located at long distances (70 yards and further). If you buying this type of sights I would advise to try choosing a Front Sight with a tiniest border around an optical fiber.

Type 3 - Protected Front Sight

This type of Front Sight would be appealing to shooters who practice a tactical shooting. A Protected Front Sight can survive hard usage and stay attached. You can find a bunch of different Front Sights with sides or entire protection which make your light pipe non-sensitive to external shocks.

Next thing is an installation of Front Sight. A few most common types of fastening are double-sided foam tape (1), screw attaches (2), magnetic base (3) and plain barrel snap-on (4).

Way #1 — Foam Tape

Foam tape is used with all long types of Front Sights (1 inch and longer). Based on my shooting experience, I believe that this method is optimal. I have never seen that something bad happened with a Front Sight due to a foam tape used to install a sight. Nevertheless, I would suggest paying attention and following an installation procedure and, of course, not ignoring cleaning and degreasing procedures. You can watch an installation process from the beginning in our video.

Way #2 Screw-attached

Also, I used a screw to attach a Front Sight to a barrel. I would say that it is a relatively reliable type of installation but you have to remember checking if a screw is fastened as it could lead disattaching and losing a Front Sight. Using Lactite can help you with solid fasting.

Way #3 - Magnetic base

Magnetic base and plain barrel snap-on are good temp installation options but for a long-term usage it would be better to choose fist or second ways of a Front Sight installation. However, there is one huge advantage of a magnetic base and a snap-on base. They are easy to install in a few seconds and you are ready to shoot. On the other hand, you can as easely lose them in a few seconds as they were installed. I would not recommend to use these installation methods on a regular basis.

Considering everything said above, it is needed to emphasise the importance of a Front Sight. This device is definitely one of the most essential parts of a gun that has to be customized regardless of your shooting purposes: hunting, sports, tactical. Front Sight has a crucial effect on your aiming, accuracy and shooting performance. Evaluating with stars score Front Sight Customization for different shooting activities such as: sport shooting, tactical shooting (aka home defense), and hunting. I will get the highest score of five stars to a Front Sight for all type of shooting: hunting, sport, tactical.


Pavlo Portianko - competitive shooter and gun expert.