If you own a shotgun for home defense, you’re likely to have to use it at night. This means you’re going to need a light source.
You could always just turn on the lights, but that would blind you as well as the intruder.
Instead, why not use a tactical light to give yourself an advantage?
Comparison of the Best Mossberg 500 Tactical Lights
Streamlight Tactical Flashlight Light
SureFire Dedicated Shotgun WeaponLight
Trinity 800 Lumen Flashlight for Hunting
Best for the Money
Monstrum Tactical LED Flashlight
Mossberg 500 Barrel Mount 300 Lumen Flashlight
Pros and Cons of Tactical Lights
Before we go any further, let’s take a look at what’s good – and not so good – about having a tactical light on your Mossberg 500.
It’s one less thing you’ll have to grab. In a home invasion, every second you spend fumbling for a flashlight is another second the intruders have to get the jump on you.
It can blind intruders, giving you an important advantage in a confrontation.
It lets you see if you’re actually dealing with a home invasion, or if your teenager is sneaking into the house after a late night.
It illuminates the entire room, so you’ll know if there’s a family member behind the intruder who you need to be aware of.
Your gun is pointed at whatever the light is pointed at.
Light can be visible under doors or across several rooms, giving your location away to an intruder.
How to Choose a New Tactical Light Setup
When you’re buying a new tactical light, there are a few factors you’ll want to consider before you make a decision. Here are some of the most important ones to check.
Simply put, can you reach the on/off button while the shotgun is shouldered? This is easy to overlook, but it’s the first thing you should check. It doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles the light has if you’re not able to operate it.
This is a matter of preference more than anything else. Of course, 100 to 200 lumens is more than enough for home defense purposes. However, a brighter light will blind an invader for longer. Some lights provide over 600 lumens, which is enough to make the flashlight useful as a hunting accessory if you’re trying to get to a tree stand before sunrise.
A Strobe Setting
A strobe light is more disorienting than a continuous one, increasing your advantage. This feature is available even on many inexpensive tactical lights.
Review of the Best Mossberg 500 Tactical Lights
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at the best tactical lights on the market. All of these are highly recommended, but they have different features that are worth taking into consideration.
Streamlight Tactical Flashlight Light
The Streamlight Tactical Flashlight Light is a tactical light that’s designed specifically for pistols but is also well-suited for use on a Mossberg 500 – or on any shotgun with a Picatinny rail. This light is engineered from aircraft-grade aluminum with a tough, anodized finish. The lens is shock mounted, so you don’t have to worry about it getting broken from a bump or a drop. If you’re in law enforcement, this light will be rugged enough to meet your demands.
The rail mount is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it’s easier to attach than a tube mount. It also keeps your hands clear of the muzzle while you’re attaching or detaching it. On the other hand, you’ll want to torque it down with a screwdriver to keep it secure. While Streamlight advertises that it only needs to be hand-tightened, this is only the case for handguns. A Mossberg 500 has a lot more recoil and is likely to throw the light after the first shot unless you’ve tightened it down all the way.
We really like the bulb on this light. At 800 lumens, it will light up a football field on a cloudy night. There’s also a strobe setting. If that’s not enough, this tactical light is weatherproof and is water-resistant up to one meter of depth. While the Streamlight isn’t cheap, it’s well worth the price and should last you for years.
The Streamlight is a beast of a tactical light that’s extremely bright and can take a lot of abuse.
SureFire Dedicated Shotgun WeaponLight
The SureFire Dedicated Shotgun WeaponLight is designed specifically for Mossberg 500 and 590 shotguns with a 6 ¾ or 7 ¾-inch forend. It mounts directly to the tube, so the light shines directly where the barrel is pointed, as opposed to a side mount which will be off to one side or the other. This light will only attach to standard barreled shotguns. The lightweight barrel’s heat shield gets in the way of the mount.
The WeaponLight is crafted from aircraft-grade aluminum with an anodized finish, while the mounting sleeve is molded polymer. It has O-rings throughout the body, making it highly water-resistant and the lens is shock mounted for plenty of drop resistance. The grip itself is ergonomic, with a comfortable groove for your thumb. It’s also ambidextrous. All controls are located on both sides of the light, so lefties can use it without being handicapped.
The light has two settings: a 600-lumen wide beam and a more focused 200-lumen beam. You’ll get more than twice the battery life on the lower setting and the more focused beam allows you to use it for aiming at short ranges.
While this is a top-of-the-line tactical light, it’s also very heavy. This isn’t a problem for home defense but can be inconvenient if you’re firing off a lot of shells. You’ll probably want to take it off when you go to the range. It’s also very expensive. That said, you’ll never have to buy a new light again.
The SureFire WeaponLight is, hands down, the most durable tactical light on the market.
Best for the Money:
Trinity 800-Lumen Flashlight for Hunting
The Trinity 800-Lumen Flashlight for Hunting is a tactical light that mounts to either side of your shotgun tube using a simple clamp. If your shotgun has a heat shield on the barrel, it will get in the way. Otherwise, this light is compatible with Mossberg 500 and 590 shotguns, as well as most Remington, Savage, Stevens, and Benelli guns.
The anodized aluminum body is durable and shock-resistant, and the internal O-rings keep it safe from most foul weather. Unlike a lot of tactical lights, the Trinity 800-Lumen takes AAA batteries, which are easier to find than watch batteries. This also gives it a much longer life than most flashlights: up to 100,000 hours of use.
There’s a zoom setting, so you can set it wide for maximum illumination, or narrow for use as an aiming aid. You can also use it as a strobe light if you want to. All of this comes at a very reasonable price. If you’re looking for the best value, this is it.
The Trinity 800-Lumen is bright enough for indoor or outdoor use and comes at a fraction of the price of some other lights.
The Monstrum Tactical LED Flashlight is a bit of a misnomer. While the mount is made by Monstrum, the flashlight itself is a Cree. This isn’t a bad thing. Cree makes high-quality lights, and this one does not disappoint. The anodized aluminum frame is durable and lightweight, and the beam is nice and tight. And believe us, you’ll want a tight beam with this light, since it’s only 90 lumens.
Consider this light only if your shotgun is strictly for home defense. The rail mount will attach to either Weaver or Picatinny rails and tightens with an Allen key. This means it will stay in place even with the powerful recoil from a Mossberg 500. It’s ambidextrous, thanks to the self-adhesive pressure switch.
Attach the switch on your shotgun’s grip, and it will light up when you squeeze it. Be careful, though. The switch isn’t on/off. It only works as long as you’re holding it down, so you may need to play with the location to make it easy to use. This is by far the cheapest tactical light we’ve reviewed. If you’re on a budget, it’s a good choice that will get you started.
If you want a tactical light but money is tight, the Monstrum Tactical will get the job done.
The Mossberg 500 Barrel Mount 300-Lumen Flashlight is a combination of a 300-lumen tactical light and a green dot sight. The reversible hardware can be mounted on either side of the shotgun tube, so this is a good choice for left-handed users. In addition to the Mossberg 500, it will also mount on the Remington 870, as well as many other similar shotguns.
The anodized aluminum body is rugged enough to take some abuse and has rubber O-rings to protect it from foul weather. That’s an important consideration, since it means you can take this device out in the field without any concerns.
This flashlight accepts easy-to-find AAA batteries and will last up to 100,000 hours. It has a zoom setting, so you can adjust the beam for your own convenience. Our only real complaint is the lack of a strobe setting, which some people prefer for home defense.
If you use your shotgun for hunting as well as home defense, you’ll get a tactical light and a green-dot sight in a single package.
Tactical Light Tips & Tricks
So how do you use a tactical light? Here are a few quick pointers.
Use a Separate Flashlight for Searching
One of the first things any gun safety course will teach you is never to point your gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot. Unless you want to point your shotgun at everything that goes bump in the night, it’s a good idea to have a separate flashlight for searching your home.
Only Use the Light When You’re Actively Searching
A light can give your position away. Since you can probably find your way around your home in the dark just fine, it’s a good idea to stay in the dark as much as possible. Turn the light on only when you need it to clear a room, then turn it off while you move to the next room.
Always Have a Backup Light
This is another good reason to use a separate flashlight. Batteries have a way of failing at the worst possible time and having a backup can save your life.
In the event of a home invasion, every second counts and you’ll need to use any tool that puts you at an advantage. A tactical light is one of those tools. But the most important tool is the one between your ears. Remember that a light lets an invader know where you are and never pull the trigger unless you’re certain your life is in danger.