Can You Put A Scope On A Shotgun?

Shotguns, who doesn’t love them? Coming in different sizes, shotguns date back as far as the 16th century! While the 16th-century people might have not imagined putting a scope on a shotgun, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t either.

Scopes are useful items that improve our shooting experience. But as a scope tends to be long-range and a shotgun is the opposite, do they synergize well? The talk about synergy will come later as you need to know if you can put a scope on a shotgun to begin with. Well, can you? Let’s find out.

Can I Put A Scope On My Shotgun?

Can You Put A Scope On A Shotgun

Short answer, yes. Long answer, it’s not a straightforward process. There are times when you shouldn’t bother with a scope and there are times when you need one. More on that later.

Back to the topic on hand, you most definitely can put a scope on your shotgun. A lot of modern AR-style shotguns tend to have support for all sorts of AR accessories. That includes a Picatinny rail that is kind of a universal gateway of scopes.

But if your shotgun is a bit dated or just didn’t bother including a rail on it, then you can opt for a rail and add it yourself. Keep in mind, your gun needs to have screw points on top of it for rails to sit. But if your gun doesn’t have those, then you can use the service of a gunsmith to drill some holes in it.

A lot of shotgun scope mounts are dovetail style and they sit on the gun directly. But if you plan to put in a weaver rail, then you will have to screw them in. either by the top side or the side. Depends on the variant of the mounting rail you are using, of course.

Should You Use A Scope On A Shotgun?

Now that you know if your shotgun will accept a scope or not, it’s about time you ask whether you should or not. Different types of users will use their guns for different purposes. If you are someone who mostly hunts birds or shoots clay targets, the na optic will hinder your shooting experience, not increase it.

Wing shooting is largely intuitive and requires your focus entirely on the bird or the clay that you are shooting. As you will need to keep both of your eyes open for your brain to register the moving target and land the perfect shot, using a scope with one closed eye in that scenario makes no sense at all.

But if you have no relation with birds or clay targets, but rather shoot standing still targets, then a scope is your best friend. A magnified scope to be exact. If you are using a slug gun, a magnified scope will triple your chances of landing a deer instantly.

If you are using a good scope, it will also come in handy while shooting down a turkey. In general, if you are a tight choke user with a narrow shot pattern, a scope is a must for you. But if you are anything else, then you might want to skip the scope.

Types Of Shotgun Optics

As you might know, there are different types of shotgun optics available on the market. As usual, some are better than others. But what kind of “optic” is good for your shotgun? Let’s find out.


First and foremost, scopes. Usually, you see them on large rifles, bolt-action rifles, snipers, submachine guns, etc. But due to some madmen and experimenting over and over, it has made its way down to the shotgun realm as well. Nowadays, companies produce shotgun-only scopes as well.

Normally a scope would be made out of an aluminum billet and created through CNC machining. Depending on the brand you opt for, the machining will be flawless or it will feel like sandpaper.

They also tend to have different reticles depending on the models. The cheaper one tends to have an SFP reticle while the more expensive one tends to have FFP reticles. A scope usually doesn’t come with any kind of mounting accessories. You will need to buy a rail for your shotgun and a pair of mounting rings on your own.

Red Dot Sights

As the name suggests, they are sighted with a red dot reticle in the middle. Nowadays they feature an outer circle around the red dot as well. Depending on how much you spend and what brand you choose, the red dot might or might not be compatible with shotguns.

As they are made for lighter guns with lower recoils, their structures aren’t made to withstand large recoils continuously. That is unless stated otherwise by the manufacturer. Make sure to see if the red dot you are buying is rated for shotgun support.

Holographic Sight

They are a lot like red dots. They tend to have different reticles. A holographic sight creates an aiming point with a laser. This illuminates a holographic film sandwiched between the glass plates. That’s why they tend to work even if you have a crack on your lens.

Night Sights

They are the most basic types of shotgun sights. They are just steel shells equipped with a fiber optic. As it’s tritium, they glow during the night without any light. If you are someone who shoots a lot during the night and all of the shooting is done in CQB, then a night sight is a good option for you.


There you go. I hope you now know whether to use a scope or not with a shotgun. Depending on the type of shooting you do, the answer to that question will be different. That’s exactly what I expect as well.

Hopefully, you learned something new from the post and found it fun to read as well. Thanks for spending your time with me, I will be back with more soon enough. Till then, don’t contemplate whether you can put a scope on a shotgun or not. Just do it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *