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Surefire forend with built-in light OR Streamlight M3?

7665 Views 22 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  EnderWiggin
I asked a similar question in a previous post about the types of mounted weapon lights people use on their shotguns, but didn't get much of a response. I want to get a weapon light and have narrowed my choice down to a Surefire forend with the built-in light, and the Streamlight M3 which mounts easily to an 870 with the help of an accessory rail. The Surefire is almost $140 dollars more than the Streamlight. My question is: Is the Surefire worth the money or would I be just as well off buying the Streamlight and saving myself the dough.
I know the Surefire comes with a pressure switch and the M3 would not, but it is not my top priority. I am looking for quality and reliability. As you can imagine I wouldn't want my bulb to break on the first shot.

Any opinions/suggestions would be most welcome
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Is the Surefire worth $140 more than an M3? I don't know, as I don't have an M3. The only thing I can tell you is that the Surefire (I have a 918FA) is first-rate as far as quality and reliability.
I own the ITI\Streamlight M3 (with shotgun adaptor and remote coil), Surefire 617FGA (Benelli weaponlight), and Surefire 623FA (Mossberg weaponlight), so hopefully, I can speak with some degree of authority on this matter.
First of all, I can attest to the fact that the Surefire replacement forearms are overwhelming superior in design. The beams are flawless (have no dark rings and do not require focusing), the controls are all within your comfortable grasp, and the entire unit is contained with the forearm, which means that unlike with the ITI remote coil, there is no snagging risk. Furthermore, it may prove to be difficult to install the remote coil on some forearms. It sticks best on flat, rib-less forearms. The Mossberg special-purpose forearm I used required 100mph military duct tape to secure the remote. Functionally, this arrangement works, but it's less than pleasing to the eye. The Surefire replacement forearms, on the other hand, are sexy as HELL.
Secondly, is the better design worth the extra money? Well, I place a lot of importance on defending my life, so I say yes, spend the extra money, save for it if you don't have it. Personally though, you might want to find someone that has both and try them both out, see if you think the extra money is worth it.
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$140 difference?

I have been considering these lights as well. I don't see that much of a difference in cost though. In general the Streamlight M3 can be had for a $100 - $120 pluse $30 or so for the mount and more if you want a remote. The Surefire forend can generally be found in the $180 range. Seems pretty similar to me. Am I missing something?
I've tested both, and I am still trying to decide which I should purchase. The one thing that I feel makes Surefire superior in any way is the fact that surefire offers a Cluster-LED replacement bulb which is suppose to be brighter and longer lasting than the conventional Surefire bulbs. I accually plan on getting an M6 (the M3's bigger, meaner brother) and a Surefire Light (more than likely one of the handheld sized lilghts)

The fact that the LED are suppose to last something like 25-35 years, that would make all the difference in the the world. Enough to warrant $140 difference.
Here is the deal. I can purchase a Streamlight M3 for under $90 online. I haven't seen the Surefire for any less than $200 anywhere. To mee thats a big price difference. I am actually shying away from pressure switches because I have read they can be bumped accidentaly, possibly when you wouldn't want to turn you light on, such as when you don't want to give your postion away. I'm not sure of how valid my concern is but that is what I have read in different reviews and what not.

Just to make sure were talking about the same lights the M3 is built to fit on a Glock but can be mounted on a shotgun with $14 mount. The Surefire is an entire forend assembly, looks more ergonomic but is really pricy.

Gaurdian, when you tested the Streamlight M3, did you see any reason NOT to buy it?
I'd be interested as to where you can find the M3 for $90, always welcome new sources and I am considering the M3 for a USP 45. The Surefire can be had at for $175 including shipping. I did misquote the cost of the mount, $14 is more like it. That is still only $70 (more like $60 if you add shipping to the M3) difference not $140. And don't you need some sort of remote switch for shotgun use? Not trying to tell you what to do, just making sure you don't make a choice on incorrect dollar comparison.
I found the M3 for $87.95 + $7.95 shipping and handling to washington, at under weapon lights. Seems like a good deal to me since the ones sold over e-bay never seem to go for under $90.

From what I can tell, the M3 mounts relatively close to the forend of the shotgun. I don't think it would be much trouble for me to reach slightly forward and switch it on. Once I turn on a light that puts out 80-90 lumens and surprise an intruder I can't think of a reason for needing to be able to turn it off that easily. Like I said before, I don't like the idea that I could accidentaly bump the momentary on switch and give myself away if I were in a situation where I didn't want someone to know my position.

$175 seems much more reasonable to me for the Surefire. Even if I buy a remote switch for the M3, it would still be more money and for me, money is tight. I also like the idea of being able to remove the light when I am out practicing in the daylight. I won't have to worry about added abuse from multiple shots and/or dropping it on the ground or something. I don't think you can remove the Surefire from the forend can you? Anyway, thanks for the info on where to get the Surefire, I am going to check it out.
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sonde330, your concern regarding accidental discharges with the light is a very valid point, and one apparently shared by many, because Surefire now provides the option of a "system disable switch", which allows you disable the momentary pressure switch, if you don't want to use it at the moment (or ever). These models, which provide 3 switches (momentary, constant, and momentary disable), can be easily identified by their FGA designations. FA designations indicate a light with momentary and contant but not disable switch. F models are the same, just of an older and discontinued generation. If the forearm in question has no designation at all following the model number, it is an older, discontinued model that only has the momentary switch.
Beware though, the FGA models may or may not cost substantially more than their FA counterparts, depending on the weapon the light is for (I have no idea why this is). The Benelli M1 and Remington 1100\1187 FGAs cost the same as their FA cousins ($325 each, when bought direct from The Mossberg 500\590, Remington 870, and Winchester Defender FGA lights, however, cost MUCH more than their FA counterparts, in most cases, a whopping $157 more!
And yes, the price of Surefire replacement forearms also vary from weapon to weapon. The cheapest current production models are $235 retail, and can be found for quite a bit less if you shop around (definitely available for less than $200, my friend. I'd suggest checking out
If you own one of the pumps, and don't want to pay that kind of extra money for the disable switch, you still have the option of the adhesive switch blocker, which every light comes with. This handy little metal plate will partially cover the switch, which part it covers is up to you. I think most people install it to the rear of the switch, so they can rest their hand there without fear of accidentally triggering the light.
Keep in mind, not only must you buy the shotgun adaptor for to go with the M3, but unless you have inhumanly long arms (which I don't), you'll want to also buy a remote coil to get a normal grip on the gun.
As for constant vs. momentary lighting, they both have their advantges and disadvantges. You can flash and move with momentary lighting, minimizing your exposure time against an armed adversary (or adversaries). The constant switch is a definite necessity for home defense. It allows you keep the light on and hold the gun with one hand, freeing the other hand for tasks just such as picking up the phone and calling the police, opening doors, etc. The M3 and FA\FGA Surefire forearms all offer momentary and constant lighting, so it doesn't really make a difference.
The Surefire replacement forearm is exactly that, a forearm. If you want to avoid subjecting the light to extended daytime range practice, you can easily remove the lamp MODULE and battery stick, and replace it with a Surefire housing plug (although, as far as I can tell, that housing plug is not necessary to buy, all you need to do is remove the vulnerable components, which are the batteries and lamp assembly (you can keep the module body still on the forearm if you want, to prevent dust\debris\etc. from getting inside the housing. Hell, if you want, you can take off the entire Surefire forearm and reinstall the factory forearm, if that's what suits your fancy. Installing a Surefire forearm is a completely reversible procedure.
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Personally, I didn't think the M3 was as bright as the the Surefire lights. I like that blinding light. However, I will probably use the old saying "1 is none, and 2 is 1" Basicly, always assume that one flashlight will fail. Have a backup. I have both a Handgun and a Shotgun that I use for home defense. (I have a very small girlfriend who can't use the shotgun)
I eventually plan on getting an M6, (which is the M3 with a laser built on) and a Surefire Z2 Combat light ($90) and I found (can't remember exactly where) a Mount for the Combat light that will hold it on either an M4 (Assault Rifle) or any shotgun with a rail mount.

I have nothing really against the M3/M6, except that the Surefire models tend to be MUCH brighter.
Thanks for posting the link. That is definetly the best price I have seen for an M3.
I think the M3 or Glock lights are more versatile. We are allowed to carry them on duty at my agency. Most of the guys carry the Glock light. Seems to be a little "tighter" than the M3's. Also, these lights can be used on lots of firearms. We have guys who carry them on their AR's and shotguns. Another great thing about them is they are great for off duty or concealed carry. You can drop either in a pocket or fanny pack. Not only can they be attached to your sidearm but would be available for any low light situation. I just wish there were some rechargable battery choices, Those lithiums burn out quick!! Good luck.
I'm a newbie and have been scouring this site for an answer so I thought this thread looked like the right one to post my question. I have a 590DA and was wondering if there was a tac light set up out there that did not require the removal of the bayonet lug ... sorry, I meant the accessory lug. I don't really want to keep it. I just don't want to go through the hassle of removing it. Which brings me to my next question. How difficult would it be to remove it and how would it be done? Would this affect the performance of the gun?I like the Surefire forend setup but, like I said it requires the removal of the accessory lug.
If you don't want to remove the accessory lug to install a light mount, you might want to take a look at They have all kinds of accessory rails that might fit on top of your reciever or even down the length of your barrel. Then you would have to buy a mount to fit the rail. Also check out the link to the sight in the post about "an 870 like you've never seen" That provides a good idea of what I'm talking about. I don't know much about mossbergs but I would think removing the lug, if at all possible, would be the easiest route to go.
Guardian said--

"Personally, I didn't think the M3 was as bright as the the Surefire lights. I like that blinding light."

The Stramlight web site says their M3 produces 80-90 lumens while the Surefire says theirs produce 65 lumens with the P60 bulb, but 120 lumens with the P61 bulb.

Does anyone know how much brighter ("blinding") 120 lumens is than 65 lumens? Yea, I know, the numbers are 2X but that may not mean it is 2 times as "bright". Maybe, maybe not!!!

The P61 bulb from Surefire ($25.00 extra) may be worth it if it is fact 2X more "blinding" (whatever that means) than their P60 bulb.

One of the "side" benefits to me, it seems, would be to have the brightest light possible--so maybe I have more time before I pull the trigger, OR NOT!

Any experience out there on this?
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I think the difference between 65 and 120 lumens is this, If someone flashes a light, that puts out 65 lumens, at your eyes in the dark, you will be temporarily blinded because your pupils will be dialated and will not have time to adjust. The blindness will only last for a split second. With 120 lumens, your eyes may hurt and the blindness may last longer. I would expect to see color blotches. My M3, which puts out 80-90 lumens, causes me to squint when it is shown in my eyes from a distance even in daylight. So, I would think the 120 lumen bulb would have a considerably greater affect.
Wild Deuce,
I e-mailed Surefire several months ago about this and Surefire replied that they do make a fore-end light for Mossbergs with the "accessory lug" so that the light will clear the lug. However, you cannot have a bayonet attached to the lug at the time and it was a good bit more expensive than most other fore-end lights.
They replied that the model number was 623A01. However, I just checked their site and can find no mention of the 623A01. If you like the Surefire fore-end lights, you might want to give them a call and see if it's still available.
I reread the posts on this thread and there are some interesting and good comments.

However, some help on another 'fine' point regarding lights (for shotguns, home defense type) please.

LED cluster vs xeon (sp?) bulbs?

It is my understanding (weak) that the LED cluster devices emit light that is 'difused' and not the blinding 'spot' type of light emitted by the xeon bulb--right? wrong?

I have a nephew who is a fireman and he tells me that his department will not use the LED lights (otherwise a very fine light with many good points) because since the light is difused it will not "penetrate" the smoke environment they must operate in. Therefore they use xeon light bulbs that are more like spot lights and will penetrate the smoke.

For my purpose, I THINK I want the very bright (blinding) spot effect of the exon light on the end of my shotgun.

Helpfull hints--comments--words of knowledge--bs opinions?
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OK, I gotta ask...
About the last thing i want on my shotgun is a bright light giving away my position!!!! (bust phosporus or flair on them....)

So what does this light do except except make you the target?
One better hope what ever your searching for can't shoot back!
I'm sorry. I have been very busy and away for a little while. Sonde and Familyman, I must say thank you for all of the information and taking the time to reply. You've been incredibly helpful. You've pointed me in the right direction and now I am just trying to make a decision. Thanks again.
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