Once I got the bugs ironed out (or filed off, as the case may be) I had a tremendous amount of fun running it at this year's match, too. I had forgotten just how... kinesthesiologically satisfying it is to run a pump gauge at speed. Boom! shalakalak Boom!
|See the shells in the sidesaddle there? I'm doing it wrong.|
|Surprisingly, I haven't injured myself with the (optional) rear sling loop. If a klutz like me didn't hurt herself, it's probably safe for normal people.|
The Mesa sidesaddle holds the shells with a death grip. Now that it's a little worn in, you no longer need to beat the rounds in with a rubber mallet*, but they're still awful snug. Even given how tight it holds them, though, you probably want to keep the shells brass-up; even the mild recoil of low-brass bird shot was causing reloads in the side-saddle to "walk" downward, so why tempt gravity?
In the lighting department, my experimenting has left me convinced that the SureFire forend is the industry standard for a reason. If you want a light on your gauge, this is probably the way to go unless you have a technique- or situation-specific reason to use something else.
I have a Magpul forward sling attachment doohickey en route, and that will probably finish the shotgun project from the hardware side of things for the foreseeable future.
Whether or not I install ghost rings and/or a red dot remains an open question. I haven't had any real difficulty with the factory rifle sights, but then I haven't had any really challenging shooting problems with it yet. We'll see.
When it comes to shotguns, I can't recommend this thread at p-f.com highly enough. There's more hands-on, real-world experience with running a gauge in those five pages than there is in some whole fora. It should be stickied, if not made into an e-book.
*Only moderate exaggeration.