View Full Version : Negatives-ghost ring sights

July 19, 2001, 10:02 AM
Can any of you shotgun guys (I definitely ain't one, but I'm learning) come up with any real or even alleged negatives to ghost ring sights on a shotgun for LE/defense? This would be for a buckshot only weapon, no slugs.

July 19, 2001, 11:24 AM
Cost. A ghost-ring sighted shotgun will cost more than an identical shotgun with a bead sight.


July 19, 2001, 11:39 AM
I have a 20" barrel with rifle sights, and it's INSTANT aquisition...cant see GR faster than that for me. Mucho cheaper also...

Dave McC
July 19, 2001, 12:36 PM
As usual, Justin nailed it. They cost more. Both my 870s used for HD have them, but this is because these are used for hunting with slugs. A simple bead also works very well for most folks.

NOTHING is quite as fast as a plain bead, but my experience is a peep sight(That's a GR sight w/o a press agent)comes very close.

The key is to find out what works for you and use it all the time...

Remember, sporting shotguns are pointed, "Serious" shotguns are aimed.....

July 19, 2001, 07:18 PM
Like a number of people, Remington's with beads shoot VERY high
for me, so all my Remington's have had rifle sights. Peep's are the best and fastest rifle-type sights to use. I'm of the opinion that rifle sighted shotguns are just one more aid to getting a good first hit on target.

Shawn Dodson
July 19, 2001, 08:44 PM
Shooting in low light with ghost ring sights -- it's hard to determine whether or not you're actually peering through the rear sight, over the rear sight or to the side of the rear sight.

I prefer rifle sights with tritium inserts on both front and rear sight because I like to have a visual cue on my rear sight in low light conditions. I currently have MMC tritium rifle sights on my 870.

July 19, 2001, 10:11 PM
Thanks for the info guys, it is exactly what I was wanting. As far as the cost, hey, I work for the CITY, money is JUST NO OBJECT! :D
I think I might like rifle sights better myself, especially when considering the information from Mr. Dodson. I have never heard anyone say that before, and it makes sense. I was watching the Gunsite Tactical Shotgun video, and they act like ghost rings are so superior as to obsolete anything else.
Will look up the MMC site and see about cost and ease of installation. I have an 18 inch 870 rifle sights, and if I decide to keep it, I'll add a Speedfeed and tritiums of some sort. I am going to sell the Remington folding stock and mag extension, though, so if anyone wants it before I post in the for sale area, just holler.

Shawn Dodson
July 20, 2001, 07:46 PM
I apologize. My sights are IWI (Innovative Weaponry, Inc.) not MMC (although MMC (Miniature Machine Co.) and IWI are essentially the same company).

A lot of people like the Ashley Express rifle sight for shotguns. I'd like to try out the express rifle sight with the big dot tritium front sight and the tritium rear sight. You might want to consider the Ashley setup too.

Good luck!

July 21, 2001, 09:32 AM
I have tried a bead sight, rifle (Remington stock) sights, ghost ring (MMC) sights, and Ashley Outdoors Big Dot combat sights. Best of all is Ashley Outdoors, for my eyes and purposes.

Al Thompson
July 21, 2001, 09:49 AM
I have had an 870 set up by Scattergun when they were in Nashville. Good rig.

Once I started thinking through what I wanted a HD SG to do, sold it and went with a plain jane bead. The key for me was that in my crowded subdivision, over penetration was the concern. My HD load is # 2 birdshot as I have a crowded field of fire.

If my situation changes, the ghost rings will be back on duty. The key is (IMHO) to evaluate what you want your system to do and modify accordingly.


July 21, 2001, 11:25 AM
I'm starting to agree with Shawn more and more:) One other problem I've seen with GR sights...at night, I've seen our police shooters suffer from a shadowing effect from the peep(M-4's). They will fire a good group, but it will be left or right depending on the shadowing.

July 21, 2001, 09:29 PM
I was wandering over on Gunspot BB's shotgun area, this one moderated my Randy Cain of Cumberland Tactics (had a short version of a class of his BTW, excellent instructor). He sort of went to ghost rings because he thought it was the thing (like I did or do) but likes something different, a big post type set up. He said he had a Novak pistol sight put in the front dove tail of the rifle sighted 870, then "opened up" the rear notch a bit. I'm guessing a few strokes with a file could do it. This sounds like a plan! I don't have any more info on how or how much he filed off of the rear leaf, but you could file and try until it suits your eyes.

July 22, 2001, 02:13 AM
I enjoy reading what the "experts" have to say. The Anchorage P.D. uses Vang Comp shotguns with MMC ghost ring sights. I haven't heard any complaints from them and it's dark about 6 months of the year. Of course, they practice and know what their shotguns can do. I mean, they actually shoot their shotguns instead of their mouths.

Want a list of other ignorant law enforcement agencies who use MMC sights? Take a look at the Vang Comp web site.

Oh well, I guess all this keyboard pounding is entertaining.

Dave McC
July 22, 2001, 07:17 AM
A coupla small things, DML....

First, most police agencies have shotgun training right at the bottom of their priorities list. The thinking runs something like," Well, they hardly ever need to use a shotgun and it's hard to miss with one anyways". The exceptions are few and far between.Or course,when something horrible happens, they can blame the prob on the lack of funds in the training budget, not incompetent supervision with a callous disregard for the safety of the officers and public.

Second,police and HD shotgun use occurs under different conditions and most importantly, ranges.
Police use could be at rifle range, HD almost always occurs where it can be measured in feet, sometimes inches.

Third, people very greatly in what sights they can use effectively. My guess is that the folks who prefer the rifle type open sights tend to be younger than I, or the other folks who use and depend on peep sights or beads.Eyes change,seldom for the better, as we age....

July 22, 2001, 08:31 AM
We're getting these swoopy new tactical shotguns. The department actually loosened the purse strings and is spending treasure on upgrading our existing guns and also buying new ones up to this spec. Huzzah!


We still get no shotgun in-service training besides shooting a very short and frightfully easy course once per year.

So...now that we have these tactical wunderweapons, will we, as a group, be proficient with them?


So what the hell was the point, anyway?


PS Don't get me wrong...its a damn nice upgrade, if for no other reason than the surefire fore-end. But a little training to go with it might be a good idea.

PPS And don't get me going on the ordie who opined that we should not be using slugs, since 'a shotgun isn't a rifle.' Someday the Lord will provide one who will deliver us from bull-CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED-, but until then I'm learning to float. ;)

July 22, 2001, 10:12 AM
DML...if your referring to my post, I have never proported to be an "expert." And I never said I didn't like GR sights...I just happen to think rifle sights are better/faster for ME and offered an opinion and an observation (what these boards are all about?) I don't think anything I've said is wrong...definately not the only way, but not wrong.

Dave McC
July 22, 2001, 10:32 AM
Mike, it's a rare and special thing when a line officer with cojones and good sense gets to the point where they can institute changes for the better. Sounds like you're saddled with an equipment upgrade but the same old mentalities.

Most courses are designed to "Qualify" 90% of new shooters with a 70% score or better. The conventional thinking is that the duds are eliminated quickly and the rest know something about what they are suppposed to be doing w/o major expenditures. Reality, of course, has a way of showing just how silly this is in places like Miami, North Hollywood, or South Central. Trouble is, the wrong people die.

Good luck, and I hope that you never need to use that new upgraded equipment. If you do, I'm sure you'll do well. I hope all your backup is of good quality also,and that's really reaching for it....

July 22, 2001, 02:45 PM
Hey guys! I was rattling your collective cages. :D

As was pointed out, many departments don't have the funds and/or the smarts to see the value in a properly set up shotgun and training. A number of Alaska agencies have gone to Vang Comp shotguns with MMC sights because they found that they work. The problem is that a 14" 870 with MMC sights, Vang Comp mods and a Surefire light costs as much as 3 Police Magnums.

It may surprise you to hear that a lot of individual officers buy 870s with all the goodies after taking shotgun classes at places like Gunsite, Blackwater and Frontsite.

A note to Dave McC. All the Alaska Dept. of Corrections 870 barrels have been Vang Comped. I guess they saw some value in having tight buckshot patterns out to 25 yards.

As far as speed goes, I wish you could see the video of a trained officer shooting 6" plates at 12 yards with a 14" Vang Comp 870 and MMC sights. He knocked over all 6 plates and all 6 shells were still in the air.

Dave McC
July 22, 2001, 04:45 PM
Sorry I missed it, DML.

Kudoes to Alaska DOC. I'd wager the usual flagon of mead that if they're smart enough to do that, the female officers get stocks that fit for length AND have the toes rounded off for comfort. Many kudoes if they did.

FYI,there's a still someplace at the Md Academy (probably in a drawer)that shows a younger me on some dropping plates at a demo. There's three shells in the air and the 5 shot COF was timed at about 4 seconds. Not bragging, lots of folks can do that with practice.The weapon used was what's now my HD 870, all 9 1/2 lbs of same.A heavy weapon but it stayed on target on what I'd call a tolerably fast traverse.IIRC, the forcing cone on that chokeless bbl is about two inches long.No overbore nor porting.

The more I hear about Vang, the better they seem. Complaints are rare,if at all.

July 23, 2001, 06:05 PM
Quick question...am I the only one that has seen the GR set-up that has tritium dots on the front post and two on either side of the rear peep???...I don't remember where I saw them, but they would seem to be the best compromise...line up the dots in low light and use the peep when there is enough light...

just a random thought...


Shawn Dodson
July 23, 2001, 07:59 PM
am I the only one that has seen the GR set-up that has tritium dots on the front post and two on either side of the rear peep???...

The tritium inserts on the ghost ring are too close to the eye, and, for many people, they're too bright and overpower the tritium insert on the front sight.

I reckon I should clarify my original comment: Shooting in CERTAIN low light conditions with ghost ring sights -- it's hard to determine whether or not you're actually peering through the rear sight, over the rear sight or to the side of the rear sight.

July 23, 2001, 09:23 PM
This neophyte will throw his two cents into the fray...

I have often wondered about a set up like DeakonG describes - a rifle sight whose two-dotted bullhorns close up to form a ring, thus a hybrid ghost-ring/rifle sight. I'd also like to see the rear sight barrel-mounted, primarily because I lke that location, it works well with my eyes, but also to avoid that re-zeroing thing that Dave McC talks about, when the rear sight is mounted on the receiver...

And I'd like to see the whole setup in cheap-ass fiberoptic stuff (looks like fishing line to me) instead of tritium...

Just thinking out loud here...

July 24, 2001, 01:14 AM
Trijicon make a very nice set of sights that replace the rifle sights on a Remington barrel. The front is a square post with a tritium dot and the rear is a square notch with tritium dots on each side. They are much like what you see on pistol sights. They are very expensive.

The Ashley Outdoors express sights are very fast, but I find that they not any more accurate then a bead. For precise aiming with slugs it's hard to beat a good set of ghost rings. Of course, a scope would be better, but it would add bulk that would make the shotgun less useful. (IMHO)

Scattergun Tech. used to make a rear GR sight with tritium dots, but as said before, they are to close to the eye. MMC puts a tritium bar under their aperature. LPA is coming out with a GR sight with tritium dots, but I haven't seen one yet.