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Sawed-Off Shotgun
aka: Sawn Off Shotgun

If you're a Badass and you want your firearm to represent how awesome you are, there's only one choice for you - the Hillbilly Dueling Pistol, AKA the sawed-off shotgun. It is a standard weapon for anyone in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse. In the hands of a suitable badass, it can take out anyone in a single blast. The sound of chambering a round in a pump-action sawed-off is like a Catch Phrase showing how awesome you are — for extra badassitude, you hold it by the slide and sort of wave it in the air, allowing the weapon's own weight to do the chambering (this is a great way to ruin your shotgun in real life, FYI). And if you have a sawed-off double barrel shotgun with dual triggers, you have the option of either unloading one barrel at a time at an opponent, or "giving 'em both barrels," as it were (also an excellent way to destroy it).note 

In popular media, the sawed-off shotgun combines the power of a shotgun with the profile of a large handgun. It's also easy to make - all you need is a regular shotgun and a hacksaw, it seems. Its popularity easily eclipses all guns aside from the most famous, like the Desert Eagle.

In real life, sawed-off shotguns aren't very practical. Contrary to popular belief, shortening the barrel of a shotgun has little effect on the spread of the shot. Spread of shot is actually purposely limited with a 'choke' inside the very tip of the barrel. Sawing off 2 inches or 20 inches has basically the same effect. Shortening the barrel has different effects depending on the era. Until the advent of high quality smokeless gunpowder, longer barrels on shotguns allowed for more velocity, and a sawed-off shotgun would have reduced power because of the reduced velocity. Modern powders lose extremely little velocity even when the barrel is cut down to a foot long. However the biggest problem with sawed-off shotguns is when the stock is cut down to a pistol grip, making the weapon either extremely hard to aim, or, if aimed properly, likely to recoil straight into the shooter's teeth.

In close quarters, the ability to hide the gun until the last possible second and fire a spread of large buckshot with little or no aiming is valuable, but this has the unfortunate effect of making the gun a gangster's weapon fit mostly for assassins or poachers and therefore carries most legal restrictions for civilian users.

Some law enforcement agencies use compact shotguns for breaching — that is, shooting hinges and locks off doors for expedient entry. There's even shotguns designed for this that can be mounted underneath the barrel of an assault rifle, in the same way as an M203 Grenade Launcher (one of the most well-known is even rather humorously called the "Masterkey"). A sawed-off shotgun is also more easily concealed than the full-sized variety, so they are often used by criminals (bank robbers are a common example), especially in countries where normal handguns may be difficult to procure but hunting shotguns are relatively easy to buy.

This trope is prominent in British shows, where the sawed off shotgun remains the weapon of choice for the London Gangster, or the villains in any police procedural, particularly if it involves an Armed Blag. This is mainly due to the difficulty of obtaining handguns in the UK, while shotguns are still legally available. Incidentally, British English prefers "sawn-off" (the past participle) and American English "sawed-off" (the past preterite, which, while sounding perfectly fine to American ears, sounds like something else to British ones - though it still works pretty well, considering the context).

See also Shotguns Are Just Better and Short Range Shotgun.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime And Manga 
  • In Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Westernophile Kinzo has several sawed-off Winchester rifles (also known as a Mare's Leg) in his room. After the story gets going, the adults tend to start using them; Natsuhi in the first arc, Rosa in the second arc, and nearly everyone in the third.
  • Similar to the previous example, in the Devilman manga, badass Ryo Asuka uses a sawed-off rifle to great effect, first scaring some bullies and later injuring Sirene.
  • Beelzemon from Digimon Tamers wields two double-barreled versions before going Blast Mode.
  • One of Shogo Kawada's many victims in his first go-round is seen with one in the manga Battle Royale.
  • Renton Thurston in Eureka Seven AO.

    Comicbooks 
  • In the Batman comics, Detective (later Sheriff) Steve 'Shotgun' Smith carries one of these as his standard weapon.
  • This was the weapon of choice for the Sineater, of 1980's Spider-Man.
  • Wielded by Scrooge McDuck in some Italian stories of the late '60s/early '70s and called with the Italian moniker 'lupara'. Current Italian stories have replaced the lupara with a salt-loaded blunderbuss.
  • One The Punisher comic has Frank run into Wolverine with a shotgun. Frank comes out of it with a sawed-off shotgun.

    Fan Fiction 

    Film 
  • Mad Max used one as his main weapon during his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, which he modified himself.
    • For that matter, he has it placed as his sidearm in the movie, akin to a police officer's pistol, though he still carries his pistol in the first film.
  • Several Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, most notably Terminator 2: Judgment Day, in which he fires and cocks a lever-action shotgun single-handed while riding a motorcycle. Of course, he is a terminator.
    • Slight variation in Terminator 2 as he is using slugs rather than the more commonly seen shot. Additionally, the gun is a 10 gauge, rather than the more popular 12 gauge (though because the model in question was no longer available in 12 gauge). The larger slug, with the lack of a spread effect, effectively turns a shotgun into a BFG.
    • Also, the loop of the lever-action shotgun is enlarged, enabling the Terminator to use the loop and the shortened barrel to flip the shotgun, reloading the lever-action. If one can avoid whacking themselves with the barrel, one can effectively use it one handed.
    • Kyle Reese saws off the stock of his shotgun for concealment purposes in the first The Terminator, finishing with a nice Dramatic Gun Cock.
  • Antonio Banderas holds one on the cover to the movie Desperado, and he uses the weapon in the first major bar shootout before switching to two blazing Ruger semiautomatics for the remainder of the movie. You just know it'd be a bad move to mess with him.
  • Ash from the Evil Dead series uses a sawed-off shotgun that not only never runs out of shells, but can also blow a sword in half. The quote above, delivered after blowing the sword in half, pretty much says it all.
    • Interestingly enough, Ash's shotgun seems to get upgraded every film, all this despite the fact that it's ostensibly the same weapon. In Evil Dead, it was a single-barreled, non-sawed-off single-shot. In Evil Dead 2, he sawed it off down to the foregrip, and it became double-barreled. In Army of Darkness, it remained a side-by-side, but somehow grew back about eight inches on the barrels. In the follow-on video game, it effectively functions as a semi-automatic, despite still being a double-barrel.
  • The title character in the "Jewsploitation" film The Hebrew Hammer pulls a pair out of his coat in order to blow away a bar full of skinheads.
  • In Sweeney 2 the criminals use gold-plated Purdey shotguns stolen from a rock star. There's a notable scene where the blagger sticks his sawn-off in a bank manager's face.
    "Hold it right there, squire. You are privileged to be looking down the barrels of a gold-plated Purdey shotgun. Now as a bank manager, you'll appreciate that any man capable of cutting a gun like that in half wouldn't think twice about cutting you in half."
  • Reggie Bannister's signature weapon from Phantasm II onwards is a sawn off double barrelled shotgun tied to another one, creating a quad barrelled shotgun.
  • Used in the British gangster movie The Long Good Friday, though only the barrels are cut down, not the stock.
  • Vietnam veteran Llewelyn Moss' first step after finding out his grab-the-drug-money-and-run plan in No Country for Old Men may not go strictly according to plan is to buy a shotgun and hack off the barrel so it fits in his duffel bag. Very fitting with the grim realist nature of the movie.
  • In the climax of The Punisher (2004) with Thomas Jane, the titular character draws his Hillbilly Dueling Pistol after being shot several times in the chest (he had body armor on, natch). After unloading both shells into a mobster's face, he does the smart thing and throws it away (he, of course, had several other weapons on him).
  • The Dark Knight:
  • The official reason the Big Bad of the Steven Seagal movie The Patriot is arrested is for sawing the barrel off of a shotgun. This was because the authorities didn't have the evidence needed to arrest him for the criminal actions of his 'militia group', and didn't know that he had stolen a biochemical weapon and was planning to use it, but did have concrete evidence that he had made an illegal modification to a firearm.
  • Killing Them Softly takes it Up to Eleven. The barrels of one character's shotgun have been cut down so short that they are shorter than the shells they are loaded with.

    Literature 
  • The Dresden Files:
    • In the novel Death Masks, Karrin Murphy wields a sawed-off shotgun against the vampires and their Renfields.
    • Harry has a sawed-off shotgun in the backseat of the Blue Beetle.
  • The Sherlock Holmes adventure The Valley of Fear featured a man who tried to kill the supposed murder victim with a sawed-off shotgun. Unfortunately for him, the victim fought back, and he ended up getting shot in the face at point-blank range as they struggled over the gun. Since the man who was killed was an agent for a larger secret society out to kill the victim, the victim decided to try and throw them off his trail by passing off the murderer's corpse as his own. With the face so horribly maimed, no one would be able to tell the difference...except Sherlock Holmes, of course.
  • In the novel version of Battle Royale, Shogo Kawada uses a sawed-off M31 Remington shotgun. In the movie, it was changed to a Franchi SPAS-12 shotgun, which was designed with a shorter barrel than most guns.
  • In The Tomorrow Series, a lot of tension in one scene where the group gets surprised by enemy soldiers comes not from the risk of them dying, but from the fact that the enemy soldiers are shot down almost immediately by a sawed-off shotgun that no one knew Homer was carrying.
  • Able Team #7: Justice By Fire. Intrepid Reporter Floyd Jefferson buys a friend's shotgun and saws off the barrel when he's targeted by a Salvadorean death squad. Rather than insist he hand it over, a team member shows him the Unlocked Carry (chamber empty, safety off, action partly closed) so he doesn't accidentally blow a kid's legs off.
  • In Andrew Vachss's Burke books, the Prof favors one of these.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Wire, Omar Little uses a double-barreled sawed off shotgun.
  • In Garth Marenghis Darkplace, Thornton Reed carries one with him always. It's a wonder the hospital doesn't look like Swiss cheese.
  • The Winchesters in Supernatural use sawn-off shotguns loaded with rock salt to fight ghosts. Dean uses a double barrel Baikal IZH 43 shotgun, while Sam prefers an Ithaca pump-action.
  • On LOST, Caesar finds a sawed-off shotgun at the Hydra and takes it. But when he tries to use it, Ben has already stolen it and shoots him.
  • Zoe's Weapon of Choice in Firefly is a sawed-off Winchester rifle called a "Mare's Leg."
  • Another gun called "Mare's Leg" is wielded by Josh Randall in Wanted: Dead or Alive (Zoe's weapon is based on it).
  • The X-Files. In "Piper Maru", Agent Mulder makes inquiries at a salvage company, unaware that it's a Front Organisation for a French Secret Service operation. The audience sees the secretary has her hand on a double-barrelled shotgun attached to the underside of her desk, but fortunately she doesn't use it.
  • This is the Mafia's mid-range weapon in the "Yakuza vs. Mafia" episode of Deadliest Warrior.
  • The Weapon of Choice for Bounty Hunter Jesse Colton in MacGyver.
  • In "The Big Gun" episode of the 60's revival of Dragnet, the title object is a sawed-off shotgun with a spoon attached to the butt so it can be hooked into the armpit of a coat or jacket and quickly swing into firing position.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Incredibly common in tabletop roleplaying games.
    • In the first and second editions of White Wolf's Old World of Darkness games, the only difference between a sawed-off and a regular shotgun was that the former was easier to conceal.
    • Shadowrun has the Remington Roomsweeper, a shotgun that comes pre-sawed-off and features an adjustable "choke" that allows it to substitute quite handily for a full-length shotgun (though with reduced range). It's probably the second most common weapon amongst Shadowrunners, right behind the Ares Predator handgun.
      • One supplement for the game even included a weapon that was basically a pistol chambered for shotgun shells. Even the book commented on how brutal that'd be on the user's wrist. Then again, a somewhat similar weapon also exists in real life, even though it's only chambered for .410 gauge/.45 Long Colt and isn't nearly as hard on the shooter as a heavier gauge might be.
    • Averted in d20 Modern, however, as the lead equipment designer for that game has admitted a personal distaste for this trope. Shotguns are markedly inferior to assault rifles or submachineguns, and sawed-off models hold no particular advantage.
  • Also curiously averted in Warhammer 40,000...and this is a setting in which the Rule of Cool is physics. Rules-wise, the shotgun is basically a lasgun with a shorter range but the ability to be fired when rushing into melee. It's decidedly inferior to most other weapons. Of course, considering that "most other weapons" in this setting includes multiple-shot RPG launchers, anti-tank microwave cannons, and single-shot railguns capable of sending a shot all the way through a tank, this isn't really surprising.
    • In the related Necromunda game however, the shotgun is many a ganger's trusty weapon. Not only is it more powerful than the rest of the store-bought weapons (balanced by the shorter range); but when firing slugs the target is pushed back a bit. Necromunda features lots of thin catwalks spanning between high buildings. Do the math.
    • Space Marines in 5th Edition have access to shotguns equipped with man-stopper rounds, upgrading their strength to that of a bolter and making them slightly more useful.
  • In GURPS sawed off shotguns are just slightly lighter and easier to use in close combat. The stock can also be sawed off but that just makes it hard to fire.

    Toys 
  • The NERF N-Strike Barrel Break IX-2 is a reverse-plunger'd double-barreled breech-action short-barreled shotgun of a dart blaster. It even has a Tactical Rail-mounted dart rack to hold more ammo! Some modders merely shorten the barrel a little more, while others go farther and minimize it extensively.
    • A 2013 subline, the Nerf Zombie Strike series, will feature another short-barreled shotgun blaster, the Sledgefire Shotgun. It will be able to chamber and fire 3 darts at once with specially-designed shotshells, and will be a break-action blaster like the Barrel Break.
    • Their competitor, Buzzbee, also has a Double Shot blaster, which is a slimmer double-barreled shotty with individual "shells" that you load the darts into before loading them up. While it is not sawn-off in its stock form, many modders will indeed saw off the barrels so they don't slow down the darts (due to how plunger-driven dart blasters work, too long a barrel in some kinds of blasters will actually reduce their range and power).

    Videogames 
  • Even if he's prematurely aged into an old man, Solid Snake is capable of shooting a sawed-off one-handed in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.
    • Played more realistically in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, where the shotguns were shortened specifically for use in the jungle environments in which the game takes place.
    • Played straight and subverted in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, the double barrel starts off as a normal shotgun and gets the barrel shortened and the stock removed through research. However, the M37 starts as a sawed-off; research actually adds a longer barrel and a stock.
  • Rufus Shinra's weapon of choice in Final Fantasy VII.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has several shotguns, but for about the first third of the game you only get the sawn-off. It starts well as a decent short-range weapon, and it's your best defense against wild animals, but the fact that it's handled realistically - no lightning-fast reloads with both shells in one hand, no flip-up closing of the breech and both hammers have to be manually cocked - makes it a pain to use on anything requiring more than two shots to go down. Since such enemies come around pretty early, especially in a vanilla experience, it's easy to come to hate the sawed-off as you constantly reload it slowly, getting shot full of holes in the meantime.
  • You Are Empty suffers from a similar problem: the sawn-off is damn useful - for the first enemy or two. Then, the slow reload causes everybody who hasn't croaked from the first two shots to demonstrate their extreme displeasure about the player's presence by severely increasing the amount of lead in his bloodstream. The game, however, has no other shotguns, so most players prefer to use the more universal machine gun or nailgun.
  • Blood has an unusually accurate example as one of the most common available weapons. Blood II: The Chosen nerfs it with slower firing and reload speeds, and worse accuracy. Even so, it has a greater damage-per-shot rate than the Auto Shotgun introduced in The Nightmare Levels.
  • Alliance Of Valiant Arms has the Winchester M1887S which has a sawed-off barrel and stock. The weapon is a clear Shout-Out to the one used in Terminator 2: Judgement Day; the player-character even flip-cocks it between shots.
  • Shadow Warrior has the Riot Gun, a weapon that looks like a cross between a rotary chaingun and a shotgun, but behaves just like your average shotgun in primary mode, with the four barrels rotating every shot but not actually granting a much higher rate of fire than a normal shotgun. And then there's the alternate firing mode, which allows all four barrels to be fired in succession. Much like Blood above, despite the barrels being rather short, the gun is very accurate.
  • These sort of appear in Marathon 2 and Infinity. Sort of, because "sawed-off" indicates that they were once full-size shotguns, and these seem to have been originally manufactured at this size. And they can be used Guns Akimbo in a fashion akin to the Terminator 2 example above. It even lampshades the "flip it around to reload" maneuver.
  • Oddly, for a game that's largely an enormous mass of action movie tropes and Badass, Max Payne handles its sawed-off shotgun comparatively realistically. You can't fire both barrels at once, it only holds two shots, and although devastating at extreme close range, it's much less useful than your standard pump-action at longer ranges. The primary mistake is that he uses it one-handed.
    • The primary advantage of the sawed-off shotgun is that, by abusing the game mechanics, you can shoot-dodge into a group of enemies, blast one or two, then immediately shoot-dodge again to reload immediately. Max Payne 2 "fixes" this by still requiring a reload animation, but you can still reload incredibly quickly by doing the fancy-looking bullet time reloads.
    • The True Matrix Mod adds Sawed Off Shotgun Akimbo as a weapon option once you pick up a second SOS. It basically doubles the firepower of a normal one, making it a four-shot weapon.
  • In Team Fortress 2, a lever-action shotgun is the Scout class' weapon of choice: Scouts being the fastest and most vulnerable class in the game, Scout players are expected to get close to their enemies, fire, and make a hasty retreat before the target gets a chance to retaliate - provided that he survives.
    • The unlockable "Force-a-Nature" shotgun is a sawed-off par excellence - double-barrelled, cut down to just past the foregrip, and capable of unloading both barrels in a fraction of a second. The tradeoff is that you only get two shots before having to reload.
    • The later Soda Popper is sawed off even farther than that; it's barely longer than the soda can that replaced its foregrip.
    • Also, the Engineer, Soldier, Heavy and Pyro classes have shotguns that are slightly sawed off, much like the picture on top of this page, though the Engie and Heavy also have access to unlockable full-sized shotguns with different strengths and weaknessesnote .
  • Doom 2 has the super shotgun, which is a sawed-off shotgun with a big punch. It deals the damage of three regular shotgun shells while only consuming two, making it even more powerful than a rocket when fired at extremely-close range, but is much less precise and takes twice as long to reload as the regular shotgun.
  • The Grand Theft Auto series often includes a sawed-off shotgun, with the advantage of greater spread and no real reduction in power versus the basic shotgun. In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, not only can sawed-off shotguns be wielded like pistols, but CJ can use two at once with enough practice. Best not to think about how he reloads.
  • Planet Alcatraz has 4 different types of sawed off shotguns (Juda, Greetings, Friend, Best Friend), both single- and double-barrelled, chambered in 12 gauge and 16 gauge. There's even a perk that improves accuracy when you use one of these.
  • The sawed off shotgun in Fallout 3 is quite weaker than any other shotgun in the game. It's also highly inaccurate, but as it's very very short, that may be why. The spread is all over the place, making it worthless except for large enemies, or being within kissing distance.
    • It is, however, relatively easy to get the unique sawed-off, The Kneecapper, which, while suffering the same accuracy issues as other sawed-off shotguns, has over double the firepower and is uniquely suited for Small Guns-focused characters who are interested in cleaning out ghoul-infested tunnels, close-range ambushes, and/or ammo conservation.
      • When a super-mutant DOES get in your face, however, it's much more convenient than the long-barrel variety for blowing theirs clean off. And if you can get close enough for a sneak attack it will ruin their day rather thoroughly. Additionally, in Fallout: New Vegas, it's a holdout weapon, which you can sneak into most casinos, just in case you really need to kill dudes in there.
      • Also in New Vegas, the Big Boomer is the unique sawed-off shotgun that does the highest non-explosive, non-energy damage in the game. And the kicker? It can be acquired as early as the fourth town. Provided you know how to get it without hurting its owner, it can be gotten very easily. And it's also right next to an important quest location that involves intense fighting at close quarters. Have fun!
    • Played straight in Fallout 1 and 2 as well. The first game even gives you a sawed-off rifle as a quest reward, although the sawing is just one of the modifications - the result is to all effects a revolver firing .223 cartridges, and is the most powerful small arm in the game, even more than the Desert Eagle. Amusingly, it also appears completely unchanged in the sequel as a Random Drop from raiders - meaning that you can accumulate several of these "One-of-a-kind weapon(s), obviously made with care and skill." The sequel also starts recruitable character Cassidy off with a sawed-off double barrel shotgun. Played straight in that it somehow deals more damage than a regular shotgun, though the range is reduced.
  • Dante of Devil May Cry has used, along with his trademark guns Ebony and Ivory, a double barreled sawed-off shotgun in every game, finally given the name Coyote-A in 4. And because he's a badass, Dante does not reload it at all, AND it's a break-action shotgun.
    • If you upgrade your Gunslinger style enough, he can also use his shotgun like a friggin' nunchaku!
      • HOW DOES THAT EVEN KIND OF MAKE SENSE?
    • Dante also has another shotgun-centered move, wherein he charges at an enemy and rams his sawn-off into them like a spear, before pulling the trigger, blasting them away. 'Tis great fun.
  • Oda Nobunaga in Sengoku Basara uses one in conjunction with a longsword as part of a Sword and Gun combo. Unlike many other sawed-offs, its disadvantages are completely averted by the fact that it can fire dark spheres of hatred.
  • Deus Ex featured a sawed-off shotgun, which fired slowly but was slightly more powerful and took up less inventory space than the automatic shotgun. The way the game handled weapon skills also allowed you to completely avoid the "shorter barrels = shorter range" effect; indeed, if you got to Master level, all the pellets would hit in the same spot - making the sawed-off shotgun the ultimate precision rifle from hell.
  • A similar weapon appears in the prequel Deus Ex: Human Revolution as well, as a pre-order bonus. It has excellent stopping power against most enemies, but its reach is predictably ridiculous and only has two shots. The weapon skills finally making sense, it's also impossible to use it in a precise way. Its greatest advantage is how little space it takes in the inventory compared to every other non-handgun.
  • A sawed-off double-barreled shotgun makes a rather surprising appearance in Call of Duty: World At War, as a one-time pickup in campaign mode (found in an abandoned insane asylum of all places) and as a variation of the standard double-barreled shotgun in multiplayer.
  • Resident Evil 5 has the Hydra, a three barreled sawed-off break-action shotgun. Little magazine and long reload time, yes, but also the power to shred anything in front of it. Characters hold it with one extended arm (except Sheva, who holds it with both hands), though it's understandable considering the sheer bulk of Chris and the Super Strength of Wesker.
  • Played completely straight in the ridiculously goofy and full of More Dakka TimeSplitters series. Strangely, only the double-barreled sawed-off variant may be used akimbo in the series. And it reloads the same as any other bullet weapon, dropping of the screen then coming right back as if you merely had to exchange shell clips. It is far superior to the automatic merely for this reason. Of course, the game itself is full of silly tropes taken to their extremes.
  • Ryouko wields one of these in Saya no Uta. It's played realistically, though, and the character has trouble with the weapon due to insufficient knowledge of how to care for the shells properly.
  • Played dead straight with the damage upgrade to BioShock 2's shotgun; the game literally says sawing off the barrel makes it deal more damage. Precisely why the developers think long-barreled shotguns actually exist is anyone's guess.
  • In BloodRayne, a sawed-off shotgun is used in the Louisiana levels. Interestingly, for a Dhampir who is super humanly strong and can dual-wield assault rifles, she fires the sawed-off realistically.
  • Red Dead Redemption features the sawed-off shotgun as the first shotgun type weapon you can get. It has pretty horrible range, but against marauding ninja kitties, there's no better weapon until you get the longer-barreled coachgun.
  • The Gears of War series has always involved heavy abuse of its shotgun, and the third game has a new sawed-off, double-barreled variety.
    • Played straight. The sawn-off is obscenely powerful but has an insane spread, abysmal range and a long reload, even when active reloading. It's effectively a melee weapon, hence its nickname the "Bad Touch".
  • Killzone 3 brings us the VC8 shotgun pistol, which as its name suggests, is a tri-barrelled shotgun shrunken down to pistol size.
  • Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, a game heavily inspired by gangster films, features this weapon prominently. Especially in the mission where you are given the lupara to take out the traitorous informant.
  • The Near-Sighted Assassin from Ghost Trick uses one. Lynne even comments on how he's probably just trying to enforce the Rule of Cool by doing so, given that it's also a blinged-out, lever-action weapon that really has no excuse for being used for an assassination.
  • Gallows, The Big Guy (well, even if he looks like one, in fact he's more a Black Magician Amerindian) from Wild Arms 3 uses one, though he's the worst attacker of the party, the weapon itself is the weakest ARM of the game (stats-wise, his ARM is just awful), and his aim is terrible. On the other hand, when he manages to land a critical hit, prepare yourself For Massive Damage.
  • Jagged Alliance 2 features the pump-action Serbu Super-Shorty, which comes factory-manufactured as a super-sized handgun. The description invokes the trope by noting that it saves time-consuming hacksaw work. They are usually regarded as Awesome but Impractical as backup weapons since smaller, lighter handguns like the FN Five-SeveN are much faster to draw and fire, and most players instead load them with a clip of lockbuster rounds as an instant lockpick.
  • PAYDAY: The Heist also features the Serbu Super-Shorty as the Locomotive 12G. Compared to the game's other shotgun, it has paltry range but a very fast fire rate, and its puny magazine size (four shells) can be upgraded by two. Plus, being such a small weapon, it's treated by the game as a secondary, allowing you to take an assault rifle alongside it for other situations.
  • The Twisted Metal reboot has this as a sidearm and a bigger one as a weapon pickup. The former is near useless when not used in extreme close range and can either unload both shells at once For Massive Damage or just one shell and use the other when appropriate. Did I mention that you have unlimited ammo for it? On the other, there's nothing special for the latter, except being a lot stronger obviously. Both weapons are potentially among the strongest weapons in the game.
  • In Mass Effect 3, the asari-made Disciple shotgun serves such a purpose: It's easy on the pack load, but still performs adequately as a shotgun. It's useful for players that want to predominantly use powers instead of guns but still have a heavier small arms weapon (as pack weight affects cooldown rates of the special powers).
    • The more recently released AT-12 Raider shotgun hews even closer to a sawed-off: it deals high damage, but holds only two rounds, has insane spread and reloads slowly.
  • The Darkness II has a few shotgun types, one of which being a "Sawn-Off", a pump-action with a cut down barrel (which somehow holds more shells than the full-length Defender shotgun?). A more archetypal example comes in the Vendetta campaign, where gunslinger Shoshanna, who's Dark weapon double barreled sawed-off shotgun with unlimited ammo and can hold up to 6 shots, which can be changed into a huge cannon blast. Under most circumstances, however, she wields it on her left hand as a shotgun, along with any sidearm in her right hand.
  • EYE Divine Cybermancy has the Betty Boom sawed-off shotgun. It's wildly inaccurate and lacks the room-clearing abilities of its automatic shotgun rivals, but it has the advantage of fitting into a hip slot (normally reserved for pistols and small SMGs), weighing next-to-nothing, and it has a sweet crucifix iron sight.

    Web Animation 
  • Sun Wukong in RWBY uses a staff that seperates into nunchucks that contain short-barreled shotguns inside them.

    Webcomics 
  • Schlock Mercenary referenced this trope in the "Sawn-off Schlockgun" arc, with Schlock sawing-down two multi-cannons and being told that they were now a danger to everyone around him, since he'd removed the regulators and cooling systems.
    • When they were repaired he kept the look for sheer intimidation value, since just holding them made it obvious he was a maniac.
  • In S.S.D.D Norman owns a sawn-off double-barrel, when his partner in crime insists on standing behind him when he shoots that thing he assures him that it's loaded with slugs, not shot.
    Gary: So what do you hunt with slugs?
    Norm: Small cars.

    Web Original 

    Web Serial Novel 
  • The party in Statless And Tactless find a sawed-off shotgun that Joe quickly names "Murder-Blood the Truth-Knower" after a brief disagreement over whether or not it was used in a murder. Ian's character Mari ends up carrying it around.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons has a few instances where a character weilds a sawed-off shotgun.
    • In the episode where Mr. Burns is trying to kill Grandpa to get the Hellfish Bonanza, an assassin bursts into the retirement home spraying machine gun bullets everywhere. A nurse retaliates with this weapon.
    • When Mr. Burns takes on Bart as his heir, Homer tries to get him back. In a deleted scene, shown on a clip show special, instead of releasing the hounds (or the bees, or the hounds with bees in their mouths so when the bark they shoot bees at you) Burns chooses to release the Robotic Richard Simmons. It chases off Homer, but continues to antagonize Mr. Burns. Smithers attempts to take it out with a sawed-off shotgun blast to the face, but it reforms a la Terminator T-1000. The shotgun itself, and Smithers hiding it in his jacket, is a reference to Terminator as well.
  • Archer uses one in the second season episode "White Lightning" that he "borrowed" from Wodehouse, who used two to protect Malory in Double Duece. It pops up every know and a again, notably as an instrument in his family feud game with the Irish Mob

    Real Life 
  • Sawed-off shotguns were used extensively in trench warfare during the first World War by the United States; according to the other wiki, one Sergeant in particular managed to single-handedly retake a French town from German control using only such a shotgun. The Germans, who deployed gas weapons and flamethrowers, considered the use of shotguns a war crime, even declaring that they'd execute any soldiers captured who used one (America responded that they'd do the same to any German POW's that were issued submachine guns).
    • They weren't the only ones. Also taken directly from The Other Wiki: "During the trench warfare of the Gallipoli Campaign, Major Stephen Midgley of the Australian 5th Light Horse Regiment was widely known to use a sawn-off double barrelled shotgun while leading his troops, the weapon's effectiveness resulting in Turkish officers complaining that it was not a 'weapon of war' under international law after Midgley took one Turkish soldier's head "clean off his shoulders". Midgley was ordered by an Australian general to cease using his shotgun and switch to a conventional rifle and bayonet, to which the Major was "bitterly peeved"." Don't fuck with Australia.
  • In the United States, a sawed off shotgun is illegal. Each state has their own laws which regulate the minimum barrel length of a rifle or a shotgun. Of course, law enforcement and the military are exempt from this.
    • At the Federal level, the National Firearms Act of 1934 requires registration (and a $200 tax stamp, which was punitive then and perfunctory now) for machine guns, short-barreled rifles, and short-barreled shotguns. The minimum legal length of an unregistered short-barreled shotgun is 18 inches.
      • United States federal law classifies a shotgun with a barrel length shorter than 18 inches AND/OR an overall length of less than 26 inches is an AOW (Any Other Weapon), which has to be registered with BATFE. Rifles with a barrel length shorter than 16 inches AND/OR an overall length less than 26 inches fall into the same category. Short barreled rifles and shotguns aren't illegal according to federal laws (states have their own regulations), they're just heavily regulated. Shotguns built by firearms manufacturers as a short barreled shotgun only have a tax stamp of $5, but making one from a normal shotgun carries the full $200 price tag.
    • The US Supreme Court ruled this law was legal in 1939, in the landmark case of United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174. Of course only the prosecution showed up as the defendant was too poor to show up, and was dead before the ruling came down. Also, the ruling was based upon faulty information as to whether a short-barrelled shotgun was used by any national militias.
  • A sawed-off shotgun was the weapon of choice of Clyde Barrow. It hung from a strap around his shoulder so that he could easily conceal it under his coat, and quickly raise it up into a firing position.
    • Another favorite of the Barrow gang was a cut-down BAR. Not quite the same, but it's an automatic rifle with a shortened stock and barrel. Quite possibly MORE badass.
  • Both Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold carried sawed-off shotguns during the Columbine High School massacre.
  • This isn't always a modification, the Ithaca Auto & Burglar (1922) was a known as a "factory-built sawed-off shotgun" and aimed at police forces. Er...make that sold to police forces.
    • Ditto for breaching shotguns, which often have a shorter barrel for ease of wielding and are made for destroying door locks, usually by using powdered lead rather than shot.
      • Speaking of breaching shotguns, honorable mention must go to the Knight's Armament Company "Masterkey" shotgun, which is a 4-shot pump-action breacher shotgun cut down even further - so that it can be mounted underneath the barrel of an M16 or M4 assault rifle, just like an M203 grenade launcher.
      • There's also the M26 Modular Accesory Shotgun System (MASS), which is considerably lighter, has the advantage of using box magazines, and is allegedly more comfortable to handle thanks to a bolt-action operation. And unlike the Masterkey, is actually starting to see some use in the US Army.
    • Behold, the Serbu Super Shorty.
  • In Sicily, the sawed-off shotgun is called a lupara ("for the wolf"—it was originally a hunting weapon), and is infamous for its use in vendettas and by The Mafia. They feature heavily in Mario Puzo's The Godfather.
  • Thanks to the highly vegetated jungle environment during The Vietnam War, pretty much everything from shotguns to grenade launchers have had their barrel sawed off at some point to ease maneuvers. Special mention goes to the "Bitch Gun", a weapon used by the SASR, which is basically an SLR (a semi-auto FN FAL, for those uninformed) with everything in front of the gas block sawed off and the bipod detached to make room for an under-barrel XM148 grenade launcher.
    • Another addition to turn the SLR into "The Bitch" was the addition of a matchstick (or similar) to the working parts, rendering the semi-automatic weapon fully automatic.
  • Already back around 1600 cavalry would often be armed with large pistols, loaded with several small pellets or with "buck and ball", a combination of that and a single muzzle sized ball. Both in looks and in effect these pistols were a lot like sawn off shotguns.


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alternative title(s): Sawn Off Shotgun; Sawed Off Shotguns
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