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Upgrade Your Mossberg Shotgun with XS Sights Rail/Sight Combo

We upgrade the iconic Mossberg 590A1 shotgun with the XS Sights Rail, Ghost Ring and Front Sight combo set.

Upgrade Your Mossberg Shotgun with XS Sights Rail/Sight Combo

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To get accuracy out of your shotgun, you need good sights. The XS Ghost Ring and Rail is exactly what your fighting gun needs. One of the biggest myths ever foisted upon shooters is that shotguns are magic tools, immune to the earthly necessity of sighted fire. This is as ludicrous as the premise of “Just rack the action, and the bad guy will run.” Shotguns, like any firearm, require aiming to place projectiles exactly where you want. At defensive distance with a shotgun, the trusty old bead sight often gets the job done. However, just getting the job done isn’t good enough. You need to get the job done with the maximum amount of precision and the minimum amount of collateral damage. With modern loads, a miss can have catastrophic consequences. In my experience, the easiest and most cost-effective upgrade to wring precision out of a shotgun is an upgrade to the sighting system. The bead sight should no longer be looked at as anything other than a secondary option, and even some decent sights should be upgraded when the opportunity arises. This was the case with my Mossberg 590A1.

The 590A1

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Because the XS rail/sight combo increases a shotgun’s utility and precision, it’s a valuable upgrade to any shotgun.

I’m an unapologetic fan of the pump-action 590A1 shotgun, having used it in multiple engagements while deployed in Iraq. It’s a superb tool that I trusted my life to. The supplied sights on my 590 were more than adequate, the ghost ring was sized appropriately (not too wide or too narrow), and the front sight was good. But the XS was just a bit better, as evidenced by the fact that Mossberg even offers it on their Magpul-equipped version. There are several sighting options available on the 590, and mine was the version with the solid-base dovetail front and Mossberg stamped-steel rear ghost ring. The XS replaces the existing rear unit with a length of anodized aluminum rail that has a fully adjustable solid steel ghost ring built into the rear.

It also replaces the existing front sight with either a “big dot” in yellow, white, or orange, a traditional-sized dot in the same color options, or a profiled front sight with a vertical stripe. Installation is simple. I unscrewed and removed the existing rear sight, then cleaned the threads in the top of the receiver with some acetone, ensuring that there was no threadlocker or any other contaminants. Even though the supplied fasteners looked clean, I also degreased them. Once everything was prepped, I applied the supplied threadlocker to the new fasteners and torqued them to the factory recommended 20 inch-pounds. In some versions, some small hand-fitting or filing might be needed, but mine fit exactly as it was supposed to. For the front sight, I rested the empty shotgun on my workbench and placed the front sight on a Brownells armorer block. I used a brass punch to drift out the existing sight and replaced it with the XS stripe because I prefer the traditional profile.

In Use

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The XS Sights make for an easy exchange with existing irons. The front sight drifts into the existing dovetail slot.

Sighting-in the shotgun was simple, as the adjustments are regulated at 1 MOA or close to 1 inch at 100 yards. I zeroed mine at 50 yards with the Federal 438-grain TruBall Deep Penetrator Rifled Slug. This zero worked fine with all the buckshot I used from 7 to 25 yards, and the Federal Flite Control kept all the pellets in a tight group at that distance. One reason the XS unit is superior to other rail options, including stock ones offered by Mossberg, is the rear sight is an integral part of the unit and doesn’t take up valuable rail space. This becomes important when you start looking at red-dot options for your shotgun. While once a contentious addition, most shooters that take the time to learn the red dot never go back to irons except as a backup. With the XS rail/sight combo, you have a rock-solid, relatively inexpensive upgrade that allows more effective sighting out of the box. As your budget increases, you can then give an optic a try. Even if you don’t like a red dot on your shotgun, you can remove it and still have an excellent set of iron sights. XS also makes sighting upgrades that allow shooters to transform bead shotguns into ghost ring guns or even just upgrade your front bead into something that you can see in a fight. When setting up a shotgun for defensive use, you owe it to yourself and loved ones to have a good set of sights.

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