Gear Review: Surefire DSF-870 Shotgun Weapon Light

Surefire DSF-870 shotgun weaponlight

Travis Pike for TTAG

Pump shotgun weapon lights are always tricky. Finding the right combination of ergonomics, light output, and design is a real hassle.

One company that’s been doing it right for decades is Surefire. They’ve been building integrated forend weapon lights, it seems, forever. The Surefire DSF 870 is pump integrated with a weapon light that’s long been a proven design. 

The integrated pump weapon light combination ensures you are always in control of the light and the weapon. With different lighting systems, you may have to abandon the pump momentarily to activate the light, and using an intermittent mode is impossible.

Attaching lights to pumps like the Magpul series gives you an easy reach pump, but you sacrifice ergonomics for it. The trickiest part typically being a pressure pad that’s put under too much pressure when the weapon is racked. 

The Surefire DSF-870 – Designed for Success

The Surefire DSF 870 gives you a powerful and easy to control light option that will still allow you to stick the gun in a weapon rack. The light has two output-modes via the output-mode-selector switch; high (600 lumen maximum output) and low (200 lumens). The Surefire DSF 870 has ambidextrous controls, and that means you have two control buttons on each side. The left side has the output control button. 

The forward-most button is the momentary mode that’s perfect for quick light-ups and turns off as soon as it’s released. The rear button is the constant illumination mode.

On the left side, the third, much smaller button it the output control. To set the output between 200 or 600 lumens, turn the light on in constant mode and hit the brightness button to adjust as needed. 

Surefire DSF-870 shotgun weaponlight

Even on low power, the DSF-870’s wide beam provides a wide field of view for good situational awareness. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The buttons are massive, very easy to find with your hand. They are rubberized and offer a distinct texture over the rest of the pump so there’s no fumbling or guessing.

My standard right-hand grip allows either my thumb or index finger to work the light. My thumb rests in such a way that I can activate the momentary mode without moving my hand. My index finger rests in such a way that it can activate the constant mode. 

Surefire DSF-870 shotgun weaponlight

The DSF-870 on its high setting gives you more than enough reach for defensive uses. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

If you’re in constant mode, hitting either the momentary or the constant mode will turn the light off, so if it needs to be off in a hurry, it can be. The controls are extremely well thought out and work with ease. Any idiot with minimal training can be effective with this light, which suits your author just fine. 

On the very bottom of the light is a kill switch that deactivates all the buttons. This allows the gun to be stored without worrying about accidental activation and draining the batteries. The Surefire DSF series runs on two CR123A batteries and will last for three hours on the 200-lumen mode. 

Surefire DSF-870 shotgun weaponlight

Momentary, Constant, Light Output Change with ambidextrous switching in a replacement high-impact polymer forend unit (Travis Pike for TTAG)

As the name makes obvious, the DSF-870 is designed to replace the original factory forend on the ubiquitous Remington 870 shotgun and all its variants (Surefire makes a version for the Mossberg 500/590 as well).

I have the Surefire DSF mounted on a Remington TAC-14, which may seem silly, but I’m going through a form 1 and creating an SBS, and I think this would be the perfect light for a dedicated home defense SBS. The light stays slightly south of the barrel, and this helps create less shadow with the 14-inch barrel. A 12.5-inch barrel might be even better. 

How It Holds Up

Recoil on a normal shotgun can be a breaker of things, and the TAC-14 in its stockless configuration can be even rougher. It’s a good test for durability, and I’ve pumped many a round through this set-up. Mostly birdshot, but quite a bit of standard 00 2.75 inch buckshot and lots of reduced recoil Federal Flitecontrol buckshot, too.

Surefire DSF-870 shotgun weaponlight

The DSF-870 light in the slender forend body has an aluminum body unit with a precision reflector that turns out a wide true white light beam in a tough, lightweight system. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The DSF-870, with its tough polymer construction aluminum light module, never even flickers under fire. Round after round after round goes through the gun without phasing the light. It seems positively recoil-proof and even stood up to five rounds of Winchester PDX slugs without any problems.

With the front of the light being behind the muzzle, the build-up of carbon isn’t a major issue. I tend to give it a wipe-down with a napkin after a range trip and it keeps things clean. 

As I mentioned, barrel shadow isn’t a big problem. In fact, it only occurs when the pump is actuated. The 14-inch barrel is absolutely perfect for this light and gives you a nice clear beam of light. It’s more of a spotlight that a precision-guided beam, giving you a wide view that fills your peripheral vision. 

Surefire DSF-870 shotgun weaponlight

The extremely tough DSF-870 is built to stand up to use on combat shotguns. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

One of the benefits of a shotgun is its ability to react quickly to close range threats and deliver a lot of power per trigger pull. The wide spotlight beam style light lends itself perfectly to closer-range shotgun applications. 

One side benefit of tossing the Surefire DSF on a short-barreled shotgun or firearm is the fact that the unit creates a big lip that gives you a hand stop. If you’re in a hurry, you most certainly won’t throw your hand in front of the muzzle with the Surefire DSF-870 mounted on your gun. 

Surefire DSF-870 shotgun weaponlight

The DSF-870 mounted as the shotgun forend gives you a secure hold and an effective handstop that’s handy on short barrels. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The Surefire DSF-870 LED weapon light is built like a tank. It’s durable, incredibly strong, and quite bright.

The downside of the TAC-14 is that without a stock, it’s quite unbalanced when you’re aiming it. However, that extra weight on the front end gives you a noticeable reduction in muzzle rise. It also adds over 17 ounces to your gun, so that’s a consideration you’ll have to make. 

The Surefire DSF-870 is an extremely well-made piece of gear. It can be used, abused and trusted for both home defense and duty use. Surefire is a company well-known in the professionally armed world, and that reputation is well-deserved. 

Specifications: Surefire DSF-870 Pump Shotgun Weapon Light 

Output: 600 lumens (high), 200 lumens (low)
Bezel Diameter: 1.37 inches
Weight: 17.8 ounces with batteries
Batteries: 2 CR123A
Runtime: 3 hours on low, 1.5 hours on high
MSRP: $399 (about $290 retail)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Ergonomics: * * * * *
Sometimes gun gear seems to be designed by someone who doesn’t shoot. The Surefire DSF 870 isn’t that at all. Surefire expertly designed this light, and I can’t help but think the designer must love the shotgun as much as I do.

Reliability: * * * * *
It doesn’t stop. With its mil-spec hard anodized light unit as well as o-ring and gasket seals weatherproofing, rain, snow, or recoil don’t slow down the DSF-870. The two-output level light is made to last for years and you can still find working models of Surefire’s early shotgun lights from the 90s. 

Bang for Your Buck: * * *
I spent my hard-earned $300 on this thing and I’ll admit it’s worth the money. However, as a normal Joe, I doubt I need something this tank-like. If I was a soldier or law enforcement, I’d want the best, but with the Streamlight TL Racker being about half the cost, this is a tough call. 

Overall: * * * * 1/2
The Surefire DSF-870 is a brilliant (no pun intended) tool for a shotgun. It’s well-made, expertly crafted, and designed to last. The initial investment is high, but the price is well worth it. The Surefire DSF-870 is the ultimate weaponlight for shotguns on the market. 

 

comments

  1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    won’t fit any of mine.
    looks nice.

  2. avatar M1Lou says:

    I have the older SF forearm on a Benneli M2 Entry with the 14″ barrel. It works pretty well and throws enough light for indoors. It rattles slightly, but hasn’t come off.

  3. avatar pwrserge says:

    Silly way to retrofit obsolescent guns is silly. What next? Are they going to come out with a model for your matchlock?

    1. avatar Ron says:

      In what world is a TAC 14 obsolescent?

      1. avatar pwrserge says:

        In the world where SBRs and PCCs are a thing.

        1. avatar Thixotropic says:

          I have a Tac-14 with a steel folding armbrace that works superbly as a shoulder brace. It is also fitted with an Surefire M910 foregrip light with a most excellent Malkoff upgrade to 740 lumens. 5+1 easy to manage, pie corners and reload from the GGG side saddle. Custom Giles sling makes it easy to handle and carry.

          You are correct. I prefer my SBR, MCK (custom G19), OR 14.7″ LWRC M6 to a shotgun for home defense. Number of reasons including BLOOD SPLATTER.

        2. avatar pwrserge says:

          740 lumens? You plan to flag down spacecraft?

      2. avatar pwrserge says:

        But sure, let’s go run a shoot house. You with the Biden Special and me with my Mk18 bet we both know what the results would be.

        1. avatar Travis Pike says:

          A Shoot House isn’t representative of real life. It’s paper targets that don’t shoot back. The shotgun is a niche weapon but inside that niche, it excels. In a shoot house, a paper target dies when you want it to. Real-life isn’t so smooth and easy.

          The biggest problem is people are unwilling to train with such a niche weapon and that’s completely understandable. Why train for such a niche weapon when an AR is pretty good at every range?

        2. avatar pwrserge says:

          Inside that niche it’s passable. I wouldn’t say it “excels”. There is nothing a Biden Special can do in a CQB scenario that a properly loaded mk18 can’t do better. (Especially if the mk18 in question has a select fire trigger pack.)

        3. avatar Ron says:

          If I were nearby, I’d gladly take that bet. I’m pretty good with a shotgun, and I bet I could best more then a few people alternatively armed with another weapon. I wouldn’t dis those weapons you provided, but shotguns can certainly compete or excel vs them in room to room fighting.

  4. avatar Username says:

    I had a Gen 2 DSF for my Mossberg. It was a great light, but the forend was quite slippery.

  5. avatar Arc the Paid Walmart Shill says:

    Why buy this when I can get a roll of duct tape and 10$ flashlight at Walmart and do the same thing.

  6. avatar RedFlagRising says:

    No strobe function.

    Weapon lights are useless without the epilepsy inducing disco button.

  7. avatar former water walker says:

    That light is worth more than my Maverick88(which I never shoot). Sure didn’t cost 300 buck’s to put a light on my AR15…

  8. avatar PTM says:

    I had one like it on one of my shotguns and found that it hurt my hand under recoil. I much prefer a rail mounted light out of way to keep the foreend free and open.

  9. avatar Andrew Stromfeld says:

    Damn! Four hundred dollars you can buy another shotgun 😉

  10. avatar Tom in NC says:

    The main advantage of the shotgun is the terminal ballistics power it brings to the fight. When you want to stop a threat right now, it is hard to beat it. There are very few instances where a bad guy needed more than two rounds, and the large majority are settled with one round. There are no minor wounds with a shotgun at home defense distances. Heck, even one 00 buck pellet can, and has, killed a person, so a bad guy receiving a full load of 8 or nine of them in a pretty tight pattern is pretty much done.
    In contrast, a handgun cartridge requires 3-5 rounds to get the bad guy to stop what they are doing, and that seems to be the case even in a PCC. With a rifle such as an AR, it still often takes a couple of rounds. I have heard that standard doctrine in spec ops units when clearing a house is 3-5 rounds per bad guy when using their M4’s.
    That said, there are very good reasons to also include carbines/rifles and handguns in the options you have available. But if the fight is coming to me, I’m definitely going to use a good shotgun.
    As far as the Surefire forend goes, they are great. The only thing to watch is that the batteries should be checked periodically so they don’t get corroded and ruin the internals of the light,

  11. so nice, how long this have battery charge?
    is that portable battery or charging

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