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I love Mossberg shotguns. I have a fair number of them, and they tend to be my preferred pump gun option. They’re great guns, but they aren’t perfect.

On Mossberg’s tactical shotguns, they tend to either use ghost ring sights or a bead sight. On the bead-sighted guns, they attach a low bead directly to the barrel. This isn’t optimal, and Defender Tactical offers a solution in the form of their HighBall bead sight backed by their SafetySight design.

The problem with the standard bead being so low is that it will often mess with your point of aim and point of impact. This isn’t too noticeable with standard birdshot or buckshot, but it does make slugs and modern buckshot like Flitecontrol hit high on target. The shorter the barrel, the more this POIA/POA shift affects your accuracy.

Big bead better than little bead (Travis Pike for TTAG)

It’s such a noticeable problem that instructors used to teach shooters to aim for their belt buckle to hit targets center mass. It’s a problem that Remington fixed by using a pedestal on which to mount their bead. Mossberg hasn’t done that yet, but the Defender Tactical HighBall sight fixes the problem in a simple, efficient, and affordable manner.

The HighBall and SafetySight

Defender Tactical sells the HighBall front bead and he SafetySight safety switch replacement separately, but also as a kit. The HighBall is a bigger, higher bead that rises off the barrel to compensate for those POI/POA issues. It’s a bigger bead in diameter, made of solid marine brass and a nice bright gold color.

The difference a bead makes (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The SafetySight is a replacement rear sight with a pronounced hump and a white tick mark combined with your thumb safety switch.  It’s not a proper rear sight but a secondary reference point.

Installation of the bead is simple. A 4mm socket pops the bead off without a problem and installs the new sight very easily.

Removing the Mossberg safety is another issue. Mossberg uses an odd, easily stripped screw. Once that’s out of the way, the safety sight snaps on without issue and mounts with a standard Allen head screw.

The SafetySight is exactly what the name implies (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The entire kit costs $25 with shipping. Defender Tactical is a small, family operation. That’s a surprisingly good price especially compared to other replacement beads, and the fact you get a bigger, larger-sized safety is a nice touch.

The HighBall

If you’re going to order one of these, the HighBall is the way to go. It solves the Mossberg standard bead problem quickly and easily. Prior to installing it, I took a stock Mossberg 500 with the standard bead and fired a few rounds at 15 yards. My ammo of choice is slugs and Federal Flitecontrol loads. I used the Sage Dynamics targets and aimed at the chin on the target.

Point of aim illustrated by red dot, versus point of impact (Travis Pike for TTAG)

At only 15 yards, the rounds consistently struck several inches high. No big surprise.

After swapping the beads, I grabbed another handful of slugs and Flitecontrol and repeated the test. The POI/POA issues were gone like yesterday. The rounds hit right where I aimed. Right in that stupid target’s heart.

POI and POA on top of each other. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Besides correcting the POI/POA, the replacement bead is much easier to see. It’s massive and isn’t easily missed. I like big beads, and I cannot lie.

Its quite easy to see (Travis Pike for TTAG)

It’s a simple upgrade that ensures I’m putting loads right where I want them.

The SafetySight

The SafetySight isn’t to be mistaken for the Safety Sight Colt M1900, but is a fairly similar idea. The safety switch is also a sight. Mossberg’s tang safety switch is aligned with the front sight. The raised SafetySight hump provides a sight high enough to be used in conjunction with the front sight. It’s not as precise or as exact as a dedicated rear sight, but it provides a quick and easy-to-use second reference point.

Its not a ttoal rear sight, but a nice point of reference (Travis Pike for TTAG)

For longer-range slug-throwing activities, it’s quite handy. I wouldn’t say it greatly improved my slug accuracy, but what it did do is help prevent the occasional flyer. It’s also a quick and easy reference if you have to get a slug fired off fast with good accuracy. It helps remove and correct human error more than anything else.

If I made a pie graph of things that affect accurate shooting, human error would occupy the biggest slice by far. If your shotgun doesn’t have a rear sight, this is a simple upgrade to improve accuracy and it mixes perfectly with the HighBall front bead. Not only does it act as a handy sighting solution, but as a larger, improved safety. It’s quick and easier to switch on and off with ease.

A Winning Combination

The SafetySight and HighBall combined are a rock-solid kit for improving your Mossberg 500 or 590 series shotgun. These two little pieces make a huge difference in how your Mossberg shotgun shoots. It’s well suited for a stock gun or even a Shockwave. For $25 it’s the best dollars-for-performance upgrade I can suggest. Check it out here. 

 

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20 COMMENTS

  1. That’s a good idea. You’re right about the small bead on the barrel resulting in a high p.o.i. When I went to the academy the only social shotguns I had owned were an Ithica 37 and a Benelli M1 Super 90. Both had rifle sights. The academy had 870s. Some had the ramp/bead. Some the plain bead. Those issued the plain bead were instructed to aim at the “belt buckle”. I wondered, how much difference can it make? The answer was, a lot.

  2. The only thing that bothers me is that tall bead, with no protection on a defensive shotgun, is begging to be broken off.

    • My thoughts exactly. Before this article, I was reading another site’s debate about red-dot capability vs. loss of compactness on EDC pistols. There are valid arguments (and circumstances, body build, clothing choice, etc.) on both sides. With a shotgun, there really isn’t much to debate.

    • “Put a grease fitting on it and call it good.”

      “If it’s the first day of duck season and your front bead fell off, and you just replaced it with a grease zerk and called it good, you might be a redneck…”

      *snicker* 🙂

  3. $15-$25 for something meant to “fix” a problem you could have just had fun learning to mitigate yourself with a few slugs through the gun, which you’ll fire anyway just to test this thing and make sure it works. The selling of “skill” that people years back didn’t have to pay the price of a gadget to get. Strange, hmm?

    Advertising and propaganda are a strategy to set the table so you’ll be in the right mindset to sell something to yourself from the menu offered, of course, and then be happy paying the bill for the thing. Here you see an example but one small example. No different than a flat-faced trigger or other gadget.

    He had no equal as a propaganda strategist. Always thinking far ahead, his aim was not to urge the buyer to demand the product now, but to transform the buyer’s very world, so that the product must appear as desirable as if without the prod of salesmanship. What is the prevailing custom and how might that [custom] be changed to make this thing or that [thing] appear to recommend itself to people?

    • “Here you see an example but one small example. No different than a flat-faced trigger or other gadget. ”

      Yeah, but that flat-faced trigger do-dad is guaranteed to lighten your wallet by at least $100, most likely $200 plus. That thing is only $25.

      That’s what pisses me off about AR ‘upgrades’ constantly pushed here, it’s rare to find one that isn’t a $100, and that shit adds up *fast* to those of us not made of money…

  4. I ordered one of these when I read about Defender’s shorty shell adapter a couple days ago. And while I would prefer a peep/ghost ring to an express sight it represents a huge improvement over nothing.

    For a Mossberg with a tapped receiver the Williams “Ace in the Hole” will provide a peep sight and Picatinny rail. Be careful however as the supplied screws are not necessarily the proper length.

  5. I recently got a Mossberg Shockwave as a surprise birthday gift. And then I discovered Defender Tactical… and tricked out my Shockwave.

    I have the Highball and Safety Sight installed. Very nice.

    I also got the Universal mini-shell adapter. Works a charm!

    If you have a Shockwave, I cannot recommend DT’s Recoil Strap Kit highly enough. A must have!

    I also got their tri-rail and overmolded forend.

    All top quality stuff for very reasonable prices. I have no personal interest in Defender Tactical. Just a happy paying customer.

  6. Both products provide noticeably enhanced visibility in low-light conditions, which is especially beneficial for law enforcement and military personnel. The Defense Tactical HighBall features a wide field of view that allows you to see more area around your target. I got my essay on this topic from Prime Online Class to accomplish my academic task.

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