Do You Need Sights on a Shotgun?


The simple answer is yes. While many people choose a Shotgun for home defense, the fact is, the farther away your target is from you, the less accurate your shotgun becomes.

Imagine shooting a duck 5-feet away, pretty easy right? Imagine the duck is 25 feet away and moving. In your home, this same rule applies. For me, with children in the home, I want a sight system that is fast and accurate.

Generally on a shotgun, the fastest and simplest is a plain-Jane beaded sight. But the moment the dynamics change and you are on foot, moving and shaking, you might want to consider an alternative that gives your shotgun more options.

Spitfire Armory sent Guns & Tactics a complete set of their Ghost Ring sights to retro-fit onto a Remington 870. So we dug up a candidate that was in need of some TLC. Here is a photo of our 870 before we started, like most stock shotguns, it just has a bead on the front and no rear sight. Like I said, this is great for CQB but leaves a lot to be desired beyond that.

The Spitfire rear sight is not a simple do-it-yourself project for most people and I personally recommend you have a competent gunsmith install and align them. The rear sight needs to be drilled and tapped so we took it to Fred Car of Car Firearms who had it turned around in less than a week. Fred is one of those guys who can do just about anything you need to a gun and trust him not to screw it up.

The front sight comes in a couple of different configurations depending if you have an extended magazine tube and they can be used in in conjunction with the rear or independently.

The front sight is pretty easy to install yourself, but does require you to remove the front bead. Some 870’s unscrew and some are compression fit, requiring you to remove it permanently. Make sure to follow the instructions, which will save you a lot of wasted time, ask me how I know.

Initial Impresions

I was impressed that the rear sight added a Picitanny rail so that one could mount a red dot although that would pretty much make the rear sight useless unless you used a riser for co-witness. For me, I’ll just use the sights as-is. The rear sight is a ghost ring style peep hole with two green dots that work well in low light environments, but turn out the lights and you will need a light, and it just so happen Spitfire makes a Pictinny rail that attaches to the front sight making that possible. Also available is a smaller aperture that screws into the rear aperture hole to prove a tighter sight picture.

The front sight utilizes a single contrasting orange dot that is quick to acquire and easy to see.

Since we were giving the 870 a makeover, we replaced the stock and pump with Magpul furniture and added the Elzetta two-cell bravo light and low profile head.

The 870 is still very light with the added hardware as the sight bases are made out of 6061-T6 aluminum that is CNC’d to precision. The fit and finish are excellent!

I ran the shotgun through a couple of scenarios including some clay pigeons, which with a beaded sight would have been challenging at best. This sight system offers a great compromise for someone who wants an all-in-one shotgun for home defense and fieldwork. This sight is not for everyone but if you want to have a multi-purpose gun then these might be a good option. MSRP for the front and rear are $195.

Learn more about the Spitfire Armory Ghost Ring sights at


  1. A red dot makes the iron sights useless………right up until the red dot fails. Redundancy is a good idea in a gun fight.

  2. You say the sight is not for everyone but you don’t say why. Also, your review sounds more like a paid commercial instead of a review.

    For example, have you used ghost rings in the past? If so how do these compare?

    Also, how’s the fit and finish of these sights? Especially after running some rounds through the weapon. For example: did the front sight become loose?

    Etc., etc., etc.

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