I thoroughly enjoy my Mossberg Shockwave, but shooting it “from the hip” is fraught with danger when it comes to using it for personal defense. Initially, I mounted a Crimson Trace laser ahead of the foregrip to solve the problem. And on that first range trip, while using Aguila “shorty” shells, it worked great.
Upon my follow up trip, things changed with beefier, more conventional rounds. To make a long story short, things didn’t work out well. Because of that, I recently took the plunge on a Crimson Trace Lasersaddle LS-250G. It gets two thumbs up along with a big grin for me, and if you have a Shockwave it can do the same for you.
My lovely bride bought me a Shockwave for our fourth wedding anniversary. I didn’t know gunmetal was the traditional 4th anniversary gift, but we all have to make concessions, right?
Realizing right away that trying to aim the Shockwave like a traditional shotgun would result in more than a little blood, pain and a trip to the dentist, I opted for a laser sight. In the end, I tricked the Shockwave out and wrote about it at TTAG. Even Mossberg’s people saw my post (along with a few tens of thousands of other peeps) and they liked my final product.
As I wrote earlier, my setup worked great with mini-slugs, but firing more traditional slugs and buckshot loads, I quickly discovered the Crimson Trace switch won the recoil impulse battle against the skin on my thumb every time. Repeatedly. You would think my family tree didn’t branch given how slowly I figured out there was no way around the problem. To give you an idea of how unpleasant it felt, sans the blood, the collision proved violent enough to move the laser out of alignment.
These problems when using defensive loads relegated Mr. Shockwave to the back of the safe. Recently, I ran into a pair of Guns Save Life members (including Terry Zeiters) with the Crimson Trace Lasersaddles installed on their Shockwaves. They raved so I took the plunge and I picked the LS-250G unit (about $210 street price) with the green laser.
I’ve been around long enough to know that red lasers (a more “affordable” version selling for about $150 street price) are fine indoors in ideal conditions, but green lasers excel even outdoors under sunny skies. Like most, I don’t want to have to search for a laser dot in an “Oh crap, I’m gonna die” moment.
Mounting the Lasersaddle proved intuitive. Intuitive as in I didn’t need to read the directions before starting or even mid-way through. I perused them afterward and I scored an “A” for intuition.
Even better, the mounting screw for the TacStar Side-Saddle shell carrier worked perfectly with the CT Lasersaddle to secure both with one screw (for that aspect of things at least).
Before leaving the house, I co-witnessed the laser only to find that I needed modest changes when I sighted it in at 10 yards at the range. I chose that distance because that will reliably cover common interpersonal conflict resolution distances against any of Murder City USA Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s out-on-‘affordable’ bail miscreants.
One aspect of the switches to note, at least for right-handed users…one of the activation buttons lies just beneath where your trigger finger should naturally rest on the gun when not shooting. In other words, if you have a bad habit of keeping your booger flicker on the bang switch, you can’t activate the light. For some people this might provide a real bonus towards safety.
Five slugs into live-fire, I’d successfully sighted the laser and picked up a bit of a temporary flinch that I had to concentrate to suppress. More double-ought buckshot rounds at varying distances left me quite pleased (and only occasionally flinchy). However, no more bloody thumb and pushed-out-of-alignment laser sight.
In other good news, the shell carrier and the Lasersaddle played well together. Nothing shook loose or caused any malfunctions over about 50 rounds of shooting from the hip. While 5+1 capacity of 12-gauge goodness will reform the most dedicated adversary, 5+1 plus six more on the side makes me feel better.
The bottom line: my Mossberg Shockwave has returned to the defensive tool line-up, albeit with Remington Reduced Recoil slugs and buckshot. Not only that, but it will bring plenty of hours of happiness blasting tin cans and water bottles at the range.
Specifications: Crimson Trace Lasersaddle LS-250G for Mossberg 500 series shotguns
Laser color: Green
Battery type: Four #2016 Lithium Batteries (free for life)
Battery life: 3 hours
Sighting: windage and elevation user adjustable
MSRP: LS-250 (red laser) $195 (about $190 on the street)
MSRP: LS-250G (green laser) $249 (about $230 on the street)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Reliability * * * * *
Flawless as expected, given Crimson Trace’s reputation earned the hard way over the years. Pros trust Crimson Trace. If it’s good enough for them, it’s certainly good enough for my family.
Operation * * * * 1/2
The unit offers multiple places to activate the laser. And for those times when it’s not in service, there’s a switch to prevent unintended activation. It takes a short acclimation process to get used to the switches, but it quickly becomes intuitive. For right-handers, it reinforced good safety practices of keeping one’s finger off the bang switch until you’ve decided to fire. I would like to see a tactile sensation associated with activation, but that’s getting persnickety.
Value * * * * *
Yes, a couple of hundred bucks makes this a significant investment, but if it saves your life or that of a family member — or helps prevent an errant shot from hitting an innocent downrange — it will prove a priceless upgrade. Installed, the Shockwave becomes a potent conflict resolution tool in a small package.
Ergonomics * * * * *
The CT unit plays well not only with the receiver of the Shockwave, but also the TacStar side-saddle shell carrier as well. It doesn’t meaningfully change the size or shape of things, nor does it create sharp edges or bulges that might cause it to hang up on gear, gun cases, or mounting hardware. It doesn’t bruise or bloody the user. It simply plays well with the entire defensive system.
Overall * * * * *
Again fair disclosure: Crimson Trace didn’t send me a free unit or fly me out to their corporate headquarters to burn their ammo while enjoying fine cigars and finer bourbon afterwards. CT has no ad contracts with Guns Save Life. Having said that, for Shockwave owners, this product borders on a “must-have.” It works. It makes the Shockwave (and similar “firearm” shotguns) a bona fide self-defense tool that even rookies can use with confidence, accuracy and effectiveness. And if you want plinking and recreation, the Crimson Trace Lasersaddle will provide that as well.