Adding a light to a shotgun, especially to a pump-action shotgun, isn’t an easy task. Options from Surefire and Streamlight work but tend to be large and somewhat front-heavy, and as of late I’ve preferred to keep my shotguns lighter.
A lighter shotgun is a quicker shotgun and, what I use now, the new Mossberg 500 Retrograde is a lightweight classic. The Mossberg 500 Retrograde has a very unique look with its wood furniture, and therefore I also didn’t want to replace its pump in installing a light. Therefore, the only option I could find that fit my needs was the Steiner Mk7 Battle Light.
The Steiner Mk7 throws a bright and wide 300-lumen light that is well suited for a shotgun at shotgun ranges. Although 300 lumens may not seem much compared to the common 1,000-lumen rifle lights, keep in mind that a shotgun’s effective range doesn’t warrant the need for 1,000 lumens of power.
The Steiner Mk7 mounts easily and is powered by a single CR123A battery. The unit comes in two pieces: the base and the light itself. The base replaces the magazine endcap and keeps the spring and follower in place. The light attaches to the base.
This design choice has some obvious benefits. Firstly, you can change batteries without having to worry about a spring popping out. Secondly, you can dismount the light and use it as a handheld light without rendering your shotgun unusable. It is a neat, and well-designed system.
The Mk7 In Action
Because the Mk7 mounts to the magazine it may slightly extend past the barrel of the shotgun. Its all-metal body is designed to absorb a bit of the blast and this won’t be an issue. I would advise against mounting the light on a gun with a magazine tube that is as long as the barrel. For one, it would add a few inches to the length of your weapon, and secondly the whole light would be absorbing every bit of the muzzle blast. It would also make the light harder to reach.
The Steiner Mk7 fits perfectly on a Mossberg 500 with a five-shot tube and an 18.5-inch barrel. The Mk7 has ambidextrous buttons for activation. It only has one light mode and that is the constant mode. That leads us to one of the issues with the light and how that relates to ergonomics: You have to reach far forward for the light to activate it; this may require you to take your hand off the pump.
Like most things, technique has to be developed to properly use the Steiner Mk7. My technique is to reach forward and, using my index finger, activate the light while part of my hand stays on the pump so I can run it if necessary. This does reduce some control over the pump, but overall the technique does work and allows you to control the light and the gun simultaneously.
Light it Up
The Steiner Mk7 is very light at only 4.1 ounces. This does ensure that your weapon stays balanced. The light is well suited for home defense and for general indoors use. It is not perfect but it is a solid compromise. It allows your shotgun to have an integrated weapon light while at the same time keeping it very lightweight and quick. And that’s where the Steiner Mk7 really shines.