Having had prior experience with Elzetta products, I was pretty sure that I'd like their new shotgun light mount, the ZSM. In fact, when I heard about it months ago, I shelved plans to buy a railed forend for my Mossberg 500.
As it turns out, I made the right decision. Like the ZFH-1500, which attaches to the front sight base of an AR-15, the ZSM requires nothing more than a flashlight - you don't need any rails. Everything, including adapters for 20 and .410 gauge shotguns, as well as flashlights from .7" to 1.05" in diameter, is included, and the standard model retails for only $39.95. The railed forend I was looking at was $75 - and would have required another $30-40 for a flashlight mount. Beyond that, it was of dubious quality - whereas the ZSM is of the highest quality. Every component - even the raw materials and the supplied allen wrenches - is made in the United States.
Elzetta also sent me their ZFL-M60 light, which has an excellent flood lens - although they're sold as a package for $194.90, I'll be reviewing them separately. I will say, though, that the "flood" effect is phenomenal indoors.
The ZSM places the light just below the bore of my Mossberg, with approximately 1/2" between the light and the barrel. It's obvious that a lot of thought went into the exact placement of the light, for not only did I find it to be an easily accessible location, but so did several other people with varying hand sizes and thumb lengths. Because of the position of the light, as well as the flood lens, the gold bead front sight reflects enough to be very visible against all backgrounds without reflecting so much that it obstructs my view of the target. Frankly, it's better than any night sight I could imagine.
As I mentioned before, the ZSM is of the highest quality - the polymer is identical to that of the ZFH-1500 mentioned above, which I used on a rifle that sometimes had half a dozen 30 round magazines dumped through it at a time, for several thousand rounds, resulting in barrel temperatures over 600 degrees. After that, I took the light mount off - there wasn't a single mark, burn, line, anything that indicated heat had compromised the strength or form of the mount. Given that, I don't think it would be possible to load and fire a shotgun fast enough to cause damage to a ZSM mount attached to said weapon.
I loaded up several Walmart "bulk packs" (100 shells) of 12 gauge birdshot, as well as a box of 00 buck, and headed to the range. The only damage done was to my shoulder - the mount and light stayed in place and maintained perfect function. Obviously, that was a limited test, and I will continue to beat on this device until it fails - which might be a while. In the meantime, Elzetta has definitely earned my admiration for a well-designed and well-executed product, made entirely in the USA, which sells for a very reasonable price.