Tactical shotguns are used for home defence, by police departments and for competition. Tactical shotguns are usually shorter than shotguns used for hunting, and carry more shells in the tube magazine. Because these weapons are designed for short-range use, the types of sights available for them are based on ease of use, fast target acquisition and study frames designed to withstand the intense recoil of a shotgun blast.
Combat Iron Sights
Iron sights are the most basic type of sight for a combat shotgun. Iron sights, named for the type of metal used to manufacture them, give the operator a quick sight plane using small metal posts mounted on the receiver and on the front of the barrel. When properly aligned, iron sights are accurate up to 100 yards. There are two main kinds of iron sights. One type is permanently mounted. The other type can be folded down and used as a backup sight when using another type of optic.
Red Dot Sights
Red dot sights are usually larger than iron sights, and mount only to the receiver. Most red dot sights are electronic, and rely on batteries to project an image of a small red dot within a clear tube. There are several types of red dot sights. Reflex sights are among the smallest, and use a flat panel to project a red dot onto. Holographic sights, such as an EoTech, are larger and designed for heavy-duty use. EoTech sights are used by the U.S. military. Other red dot sights are small tubes that resemble long-range scopes, but usually are not magnified.
Most shotguns have the ability to mount a magnified scope. However, tactical shotguns are designed with shorter barrels; their accuracy is diminished at distances of more than 50 yards. For this reason, magnified scopes should generally not be more powerful than 2X magnification. Having a small level of magnification allows the operator to have a clearer picture of targets at distances up to 50 yards, while still maintaining the ability to use the sight for close-range shots. Shotgun scopes usually require a special mount.
Laser sights are available for tactical shotguns. A laser sight can be mounted on the top or side of a shotgun, and project an illuminated red dot onto targets. This system allows the operator to keep both eyes open and see the target and the point of impact at the same time. Some laser sights project a green dot, which is easier to see in some daylight environments. Laser sights are effective at ranges up to several hundred yards, depending on the type of weapon.
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