Pump-action shotguns and lights don’t always get along well. They can be tricky to use, and typically the best way is an entire forend replacement. Surefire started the trend, Streamlight followed, and now Nightstick wants to take up the mantle.
The Nightstick SFL, or shotgun forend light, replaces the pump on your gun with a big, powerful, bright flashlight. Off the bat, the big difference between the SFL and others is the option for a laser.
Nightstick makes the light for two shotgun models, and I’ll give you two guesses, but you’ll only need one. They’re made for the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500/590 series of shotguns. The Nightstick SFL comes in a few different configurations. We have orange for less-lethal guns, lights with lasers, and options without the laser.
Nightstick ships the SFL with a tube wrench, an optional retention strap, and the batteries needed to get it running. Mine is the Mossberg model and, interestingly enough, it fits both the Shockwave-sized tubes and standard tubes.
Nightstick tosses in a spacer to fill the gap and allow the light to fit both guns. Installation takes no time at all. The long wrench makes it easy to remove your castle nut, take off the old pump, and mount the Nightstick SFL.
Buttons, Bumps, and Grip
Nightstick sent me the SFL-11GL model, that includes a green laser and white light. Nightstick’s designers nailed it with a large, ambidextrous button setup. It’s smaller than the huge Streamlight controls, so there is less likelihood of an accidental light discharge. The buttons are still easy to find on either side and can be activated with your thumb or index finger.
When you hit the button, the feedback is tactile and audible. It’s simple, but effective, and the buttons are a good size to avoid accidental activation while being easy to engage on the fly.
Nightstick made the pump fairly tall and beefy. It’s shorter than the Surefire light, but taller and offers you a lot of light to grasp. The light itself features a heavy texturing, and you can get a good squeeze on the pump and work it with some gusto without worrying about the light slipping back and forth.
The Nightstick SFL – Shining Bright
At 1,200 lumens of output, the Nightstick SFL leads the way in power, at least when measuring lumens. The candela rating puts it a step behind the Surefire and Streamlight options at 10,315 candela.
Still, the Nightstick’s beam shines bright and wide. At shotgun ranges, the light offers more than enough illumination. Indoors you get a super-bright and wide light beam that fills a room. Bad guys or noisy cats can’t hide when they go bump in the dark.
Inside of 50 yards, you can establish PID and easily see a threat and whether that threat is armed. That’s a fair bit of range for defensive shotgun tasks. I’d hazard to guess that Nightstick SFL users will be more concerned with indoor use for home defense, and in that role, you get a ton of white, bright light with the Nightstick and will dominate at home-defense distances.
We get two modes of operation with the SFL, momentary and constant. Momentary requires a ‘long’ press and hold. When released, the light shuts off. Constant is a single quick click of the button
Laser Beams and Blasters
On the laser front, this is one of the brightest I’ve used. It’s a big green dot, and even at high noon in Florida, I can see the dot at 25 yards. That said, in a fight at 25 yards, I’d probably be trying to find the dot, and using the sights would likely be quicker. Take the laser indoors, and it’s very easy to see and massive.
Weapon lasers aren’t typically my jam, but I can see a place for a laser/light combo here. If you’re shining a light, you are already focusing on the target and not the sights. A laser gives you an instant aiming point in that situation. If you don’t like the laser, a light-only model is available. You can also swap between laser and light, just light, and just the laser with the Nightstick SFL.
Running the Pump
Shotgun forend lights can’t just be good lights. They also have to be good pumps. The Nightstick SFL features a bulbous design that uses a ‘palm swell’ to fit the hand. I don’t need a palm swell, but I don’t mind it. The texture provided by the Nightstick grips the hand and provides the non-slip grip you want.
I push forward on the pump while pulling rearwards on the stock to mitigate recoil and keep the weapon controlled. A bad pump won’t allow that to work, but the Nightstick SFL makes it possible to utilize the push/pull technique. I’d love a little hump to press against, but ultimately nothing stops me from controlling the gun.
Ripping the pump rearward and forward again isn’t an issue, and your hand won’t slip off the grip. The only thing I don’t care for is the weight of the light. It’s a hefty 17.5 ounces and will make your gun front-heavy. Admittedly that helps with muzzle flip, and most shotgun forend lights are fairly front-heavy.
Nightstick has a winner with the SFL, and at this price point, it competes with the Streamlight TL Racker for home defense dominance.
Specifications: Nightstick SFL-11GL Shotgun Forend Light and Laser
High Lumens: 1200
High Candela: 10315
Drop Rating: 2 m
Water Rating: IP-X7 Waterproof
High Runtime: 1.5
Power Source: CR123
Length: 7.1 in
Width: 2 in
Weight: 17.5 oz
Head Diameter: 1.3 in
MSRP: $199 with laser, $149 without
Ratings (out of five stars):
Light Output * * * *
1,200 Lumens backed by 10,000+ candela isn’t bad at all. It may seem a little dated when compared to modern lights from Modlite and Cloud Defensive, though. For shotgun stuff and this price, it’s tough to beat.
Ergonomics * * * *
Nightstick designed the buttons well. They are big enough to easily engage but small enough to easily avoid light ADs. The SFL’s grippy texture is nice, and my main complaint is weight — 17.5 ounces feels heavy hanging off the end of your shotgun.
Overall * * * *
The Nightstick SFL offers shooters another affordable shotgun light option, and that’s tough not to love. It’s well made, easy to use, and takes the recoil of 12 gauge without complaint.