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Short-Range Shotgun

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For metric users, that's 0.75 metres and 3 metres, respectively.

"Also, at this time, we would like to make a few corrections: Shotguns are actually not hilariously, stupidly inaccurate. Also, getting shot with one is lethal and does not, as depicted in the game, merely tickle."

In the real world, shotguns are a weapon with an effective range anywhere from 20 to 40 meters (66 to 131 feet), depending on the choke used and amount of charge in the shell.note  This is laughably short compared to any rifle or carbine, even a tiny .22, but comparable to the effective range of a standard, non-custom semi-auto handgun or revolver (usually about 25 to 50 meters), enough to be lethally dangerous for game or whichever people happen to be in vicinity, but in Video Games, this range is invariably about five to ten meters or less. Anything farther away will rarely ever receive more than Scratch Damage, but anything inside this range will be quickly reduced to the consistency of chunky salsa. Shotguns in video games also tend to be stupendously inaccurate, but this too is the opposite of reality; the purpose of the wider spread of a shotgun's shot is that it increases the chance of hitting the target. Extreme examples will enforce the shotgun's short-range specialisation by giving it an Arbitrary Weapon Range — that is, the shot doesn't do less damage at long range, but physically ceases to exist.

This trope is largely the result of weapon balancing mechanics in shooter games, since most multiplayer shooter maps are actually just small arenas designed around player and weapon balance, and those tend to be very short-ranged compared to reality; too short for an actual shotgun's range limitations to be an issue. In many cases, the shotgun has its own niche in a game's Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors, outclassing all other weapons at point-blank range, but losing everywhere else. Some games have your choice between a weak shotgun blast that has better range, and a more powerful attack that has virtually no range. Others have a choice between a Sawn-Off Shotgun with a huge spread and an intact one with longer range.

In addition, a shotgun's damage output in video games tends to be inversely proportional to its rate of fire. Pump action and double-barrel shotguns are massively more powerful and often inflict a One-Hit Kill at short ranges, while automatic shotguns require two or even three hits to score a kill under the same circumstances. The obvious reason why this happens is because automatic shotguns that don't have their damage output nerfed to compensate for their higher rate of fire risk becoming major Game Breakers, and the resulting efficiency compared to other shotguns means players won't pick anything else other than automatic shotguns.

Although "realistic" shooters are something of a current trend, the trend-setter follows this trope to the letter, assuring that it will remain common despite other attempts at realism; even when some games try to create a more accurate shotgun, it is often decried as "unrealistic" or over-powered.

A subtrope of Short-Range Long-Range Weapon. How appropriate the cone of fire is for the situation may affect whether Shotguns Are Just Better. Contrast Sniper Pistol, where a weapon with a relatively short range in real life is given extreme range and hitting power in video games. Compare Video Game Flamethrowers Suck, where another decently-ranged real-life weapon is given awfully short range in video games.


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    First-Person Shooters 
  • The first version of the shotgun from Ace Of Spades suffered from this quite badly, but the player base took issue with this and lobbied for a patch... at which point the developer overcompensated to the point where the thing became a total Game-Breaker that could One-Hit Kill at ranges comparable to the semi-automatic rifle.
  • In Battleborn, Ghalt's Revolver Shotguns are best effective at close range. Originally, Ghalt had the "Slug Rounds" augment as a Helix option which would increase his shotgun fire range, however this was swapped for the "Barrier" augment in a later patch as the former augment proved to have changed his intended playstyle too much when used.
  • Battlefield: Bad Company 2: When using buckshot rounds, they have terrible range as per this trope, but equip them with slug ammunition? You can score a one hit kill from one side of the map to the other. Granted, this does take exceptional skill and/or luck (or Magnum ammo), but it is possible.
  • Battlefield 3 tones down the shotguns' ranges, but still allows them respectable damage at mid-range, and respectable maximum ranges. The max range for shot, compared to the ten feet or so in contemporary games, is 300 meters. For slugs, it's 1,500. This is offset by most shotguns either having an awfully slow firing rate, or pitifully-sized magazines, though the extended mags unlock can help with the latter issue. That said, if you can compensate for the bullet drop, the Remington 870 with a sniper scope and slugs is extremely deadly at extremely long range — a literal sniper shotgun.
  • The shotgun in BioShock has abysmal range and doesn't even have sights. Bioshock 2 zigzags it - the shotgun has poor range with default ammunition, but loading it with slugs extends the effective range considerably. It's played straight again in BioShock Infinite, which even reminds you that the shotgun is only effective at short range every time you fire it and hit no one.
  • In Blood the sawed-off, despite its nature, has a surprisingly tight spread when firing single shots. Secondary fire and the version of the gun in the sequel are more in line with the trope, but the shotgun's still a bit more accurate than average. As in the below-mentioned Duke Nukem 3D example, this is at least partially because the Build engine has a limited autoaim feature for everything, which effectively negates the vertical part of the spread, putting every pellet into a horizontal line. Its high power and lightning-quick reload (at least in the first game) help make it, like the original Doom shotgun before it, possibly the most versatile weapon in the game.
  • Borderlands:
    • Scatterguns, Matadors, Shredders, and Sweepers all trade relatively high damage for pathetic range.
    • An utterly ridiculous example is Sledge's Shotgun. It fires two rounds in a burst, has a range of literally four or five feet and has a spread only about twenty degrees shy of being able to shoot sideways. However, anything in the shot cone vanishes. Not to mention that it's one of the only three guns in the game that can (and will always) have 0.00 accuracy. The other two are The Chopper and The Boomstick, which are both shotguns of a sort — except the Chopper shoots 18 machine gun rounds per second, and the Boomstick imitates a shotgun effect with rockets.
    • That being said, shotguns can be extremely deadly at range depending on their parts; some shotguns have a very tight spread or fire in a pattern that ignores the accuracy stat – or both. These can easily be used to snipe very distant targets, especially if they have a scope. Shotguns titled "Death" or with the prefix "Hunter's" are so accurate they're actually impractical to use at short range, Mashers are revolvers that fire scattershot with accuracy above 61.0 (rivaling the best shotguns), and the Skullmasher is a scattershot-firing sniper rifle.
  • Borderlands 2:
    • Sledge's Shotgun returns, although with a bit of a stat rearrangement (it tends to have accuracy in the neighborhood of 30 instead of 0).
    • Another unique shotgun is Captain Blade's Orphan Maker, which usually spawns with a decent accuracy stat — however, because it only fires between two and four pellets per shot, it can be hard to hit anything that isn't right in your face.
    • Some of the other unique shotguns, like the Octo (pellets converge at various points as they fly), the Flakker (designed specifically to combat aerial enemies), and the Striker (just really accurate, has a critical hit damage bonus) are better at range.
    • And if we really want to destroy this trope, the Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep DLC adds the SWORDSPLOSION, that fires a single (or three with the right accessory) sword, which explodes on impact into three more swords in a surprisingly tight cone (which also explode).
    • While Hyperion-brand shotguns are no more accurate than normal shotguns for the first two or so bursts, once the stabilizers present in most Hyperion weapons kick in, they provide a nice tight cone of fire that's as accurate at long range as most other weapons, if not moreso (with the exception of scoped Sniper Rifles) for as long as the shooter doesn't need to stop firing. They're quite a lifesaver during Fight For Your Life mode thanks to the reliable long-range burst damage, and are arguably among the most accurate weapons in the game while downed due to the inability to scope.
    • More generally, any single-barrel shotgun in the game tends to be usable at medium range at least. At least the ones that have sights or scopes.
    • Before the nerf, using any shotgun with an amp shield (adds damage to every shot as long as it is full) made them about the most powerful weapons in the game, since the full amp bonus was added to each individual pellet. Regardless of spread, you could just point the shotgun in the general direction of enemies and mutilate them with one shot. Post-nerf, it's instead divided between them; this only applies to actual shotguns, though, and other weapons that fire multiple projectiles exactly like a shotgun but are not explicitly shotguns still apply the full boost to every bullet.
    • Torgue shotguns tend to be more useful at short ranges, because the slow movement of Torgue gyrojet rounds mean that the target may well move before the shots actually reach them. The shots will still do a fair amount of damage to whatever they hit, though, for the simple reason that they're basically mini-rockets.
  • Borderlands 3:
    • Taken to absurd extremes with the Face-Puncher, which treats every individual pellet as if it were a melee attack. If you've got a melee build and are willing to get up close and personal, it's a Game-Breaker. For literally any other build, it's completely useless.
    • The Nimble Jack is a shotgun that has insanely high accuracy while in the air—it's tricky, but if you're quick you can reliably get headshots from a reasonable distance away. While on the ground, however, you'll have difficulty hitting anything more than five feet away.
  • The Boneduster from Bulletstorm follows this trope pretty faithfully — you pretty much have to be in kicking range to score a kill with it. Unlike most examples, it still manages to remain useful beyond short range since mid-range shots will still send enemies flying backward, which is great for knocking enemies off ledges or into environmental hazards, and the Charged Attack mode has a much longer range.
  • Call of Duty:
    • The Trench Gun in the original two games was actually pretty good. It wasn't going to beat the instant-kill-anywhere bolt-action rifles at long ranges, but it was still at least worth using when you could get reasonably close.
    • Starting from the fourth game, however, every shotgun in the series has shared an effective range of about seven paces. Regular walking paces, not the big leaping ones. Inside this range (which is also within the enemy's "Instant Death" Radius on higher difficulties and in multiplayer), almost guaranteed one-hit kill. Outside, the pellets disappear, causing not even slight damage. In many of the games, shotguns are almost useless for this reason, most firefights happening inside a range where a real-life shotgun would be frighteningly lethal but the in-game versions are literally harmless. There is something indescribably appalling about being shot from the other side of a small room with the game's weakest pistol, when all you can do is fire off shell after shell in a futile gesture of defiance, willing your pellets to stop dissipating for no reason. It's made especially apparent as the developers seem to ignore actual bugs and game-balance issues with other weapon types in favor of nerfing the shotguns' range even further at least once per game.
    • In World at War, most maps are much larger with farther ranges than that of Modern Warfare. Both games allow you to carry two primary weapons (non-pistol guns) with the Overkill perk, meaning you could use an assault or sniper rifle with that shotgun. However, both games require you take time to receive that by the RPG Elements (even more so in World at War), and even with it, it doesn't become any less hindering to run around holding a shotgun out at all time as opposed to another gun. Unless you like camping, which will frequently make you very hindering to your team in many objective-based game modes.
    • In Modern Warfare 2, the shotguns' usefulness is improved by making them secondary weapons — almost making the now-removed Overkill perk an inherent part of the game — but in turn, most of them are locked away until ridiculously-high ranks. Not to mention they all had slightly different (but still infuriatingly short) maximum ranges:
      • The Ranger has such a wide spread that it stops being effective before the pellets disintegrate. This is "balanced" by giving it the single highest damage-per-shot (assuming all pellets hit) of any weapon in the game. Plus, you get two barrels with a single one, and you can double them up to get four, with reload-cancelling allowing for lightning-quick reloads and certain combinations of perks allowing you to kill multiple people in one shot if they're all on-screen at the right time.
      • The AA-12 fully-automatic shotgun, which should be the most incredibly awesome weapon in the game but is instead literally useless outside knife range. Indeed, you may fire off an entire magazine at an enemy without effect, only for him to Commando-lunge at you from outside your shotgun's maximum range and knife you. Firing it essentially creates a cone of instant death three feet wide at its widest and seven feet long spread out in front of you until your ammo runs out, which can be very useful for room-clearing and snap-firing but is completely pointless if employed any other way. It also has 8-shell box magazines, which are far too small for effective sustained fire (the only tactic that's even remotely useful with a range that poor) instead of the 20- or 32-round drum mags it could have — although if you have the skill (and patience) to get four hundred kills with the thing you can finally get Extended Mags to double that to a more useful 16. You could also attach a suppressor to it, reducing the range from "knife range" to "you might as well just shoot yourself."
      • The Striker, a semiautomatic, drum-fed weapon with the shortest range of all "viable" shotguns that competes with the highest capacity (12 unmodified, 18 with extended mags) but also gets potentially the slowest reload of them all (since it's not a detachable box like the AA-12).
      • The M1014, which actually has a decent range and fires quickly enough to offset pellet spread simply by shooting more little balls of metal at the target, but compensated with an even more ridiculously-small magazine of 4 shells, which after the same 400 kills as mentioned above can only be increased to a measly 6.
      • The SPAS-12, the first shotgun unlocked in the game, is a pump-action with long enough range to deal with the majority of maps. The weapon infamously has a rather glitchy range that fluctuates between normal shotgun ranges and similar to the max full-damage range of the submachine guns; especially when combined with Stopping Power, this allows for one-hit-kills at ranges that any other shotgun (other than the one just below) in any other game of the series could only dream to reach, but only as long as the glitch is working in your favor - and as long as you actually hit, since the pump-action delay is long enough that only a healthy dose of luck will keep you alive long enough to get through it and fire again if you miss the first shot.
      • Finally, the glorious Model 1887. Before the nerf, people ran about wielding akimbo lever-action shotguns with incredible range (and yes, the animations for cocking the lever when used akimbo are exactly what you think they are). Now they run about wielding a single lever-action shotgun with slightly-less-incredible range, or akimbo lever-action shotguns with not-so-incredible range.
      • This game also introduced the Shotgun attachment for assault rifles, which mounts a Masterkey shotgun under the barrel in the manner of a Grenade Launcher. It's kind of a confused weapon, with its short barrel ironically paired for the longest reach of any shotgun in the game, double that of the infamous 1887... but with such poor spread and so few pellets fired that you're not actually going to be hitting anyone, much less killing them in a single shell, unless you shove the gun right into their gut. Meant to be something of a cross between a regular shotgun and a faster sidearm, but most people just forget it exists.
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops doesn't treat shotguns much better. They're primary weapons again, for one, with no equivalent of the Overkill perk to pair an assault rifle or submachine gun with them. They've also still got ridiculous short max-damage ranges, and even more ridiculous ranges beyond that which the pellets disappear:
      • The starting Olympia has the longest max-damage reach, potentially instakilling someone at ten meters, but then dealing no damage if they're past fifteen. Compounding this is the fact that it's a double-barrel shotgun, so it only gets two shots before a long reload, and the occasional glitch that makes it deal no damage whatsoever.
      • The Stakeout has similar damage to the Olympia, but again with confused design, as its max-damage range is a shorter seven meters, but its spread is tighter and its overall reach goes out to sixteen. It has double the capacity of the Olympia, but that's compensated for by being the only pump-action shotgun in the game (save for the singleplayer-only KS-23, which being a singleplayer weapon reaches much further) with a delay of almost a full second between each shot, even with its sole attachment (a grip under the pump) speeding it up slightly.
      • The SPAS-12 returns as a semi-auto shotgun this time, firing five times as fast as the Stakeout and with twice its capacity (the highest of the shotguns in the game at 8) in return for poorer damage at any range and a lower maximum distance. It also doesn't get any more accurate when aiming - in fact, the spread actually widens for some reason. Interestingly, it's also the only shotgun in the game that can equip a suppressor, and this time it doesn't actually affect the gun's damage or spread in any way, so - since it's the only attachment option the gun gets in multiplayer - there's no reason not to attach one.
      • The last is the HS-10, something of a mix between the Stakeout (the low capacity and reaching out to a maximum of sixteen meters) and the SPAS-12 (its semi-auto rate of fire and slightly longer max-damage range). When used on its own, it's basically a lower-capacity but slightly-faster-firing SPAS. When used Akimbo, though, it becomes a comical exaggeration of this trope even for this series, with the second gun and its faster reload granted by the attachment compensated with by a ridiculously-wide spread on top of its max-damage range being reduced to five meters and hitting the lowest point of its damage fall-off at twelve and a half.
    • Modern Warfare 3 keeps shotguns as primary weapons and otherwise more or less keeps the same theme as in 2 (in particular fixing the ranges on the SPAS and 1887 — they're still unusually long, but not nearly as much as before), with the caveat that some particularly poor shotguns like the USAS-12 actually had their ranges increased in patches, but also fixes this somewhat with its new Weapon Proficiencies — the "Range" proficiency, for shotguns and submachine guns, increases the range you can still deal maximum damage with a weapon, and in the case of shotguns increases the maximum range their pellets actually go as well. Unfortunately, like the above Overkill perk, you can't use it until you level up the shotgun you want to use it with to level 23 - by that point you'll be good enough with the damn thing you don't need increased range. Unless you like the AA-12, which returned in this game with terrible range only very slightly improved - which is good, because the AA-12 is the shotgun enthusiast's answer to akimbo FMGs.
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops II fixes this better with the Long Barrel attachment, which has the same effects as the above "Range" proficiency but is the second attachment unlocked for shotguns, on top of both a somewhat-longer "Instant Death" Radius overall which was never touched in patches and the small size of most maps making it very easy to get into close range. The game does, however, have the usual issue that automatic shotguns are weaker than pump-action ones for balance, so only the default Remington 870 noticeably benefits from these changes (you can be standing within five feet with a Long Barrel S12 or M1216 and still not kill someone with one hit) — and if lag compensation isn't in your favor, it really doesn't matter what you use, anyway. There are two standouts for uselessness, however:
      • The Executioner is the most pure embodiment of this trope in the game, if not the series. Within knife range, so long as every pellet connects with the target's chest or above, it's a one-hit-kill. Any further back than that, and at best you need the entire five-round cylinder to kill someone, even with the Long Barrel. Worse, since the one-hit-kill range is so short, you need to have good reflexes to use it properly as well, since any enemy who isn't already aware of you (where they'll just kill you with their gun before you get close enough) will likely be running about at top speed instead, which means even once you do get close enough, they'll slip off-screen entirely in a quarter of a second. Ostensibly, it's supposed to combine the power and spread advantages of a shotgun with the quickness and practicality of a sidearm, but it makes too many sacrifices to fit into this role and ends up losing all of the practical advantages of either weapon class - for all the trouble you'd be just as well off using the Overkill perk to pack a full-size shotgun as a secondary weapon, or even foregoing a secondary to save up on Pick-Ten points.
      • The KSG is another matter entirely. When it first appeared in Modern Warfare 3, it wasn't popular due to its low damage capability and very slow pump action. Black Ops II speeds up the pump and makes it fire slugs that are an instant-kill nearly to the very edge of the series' normal shotgun range. Handy, except for one single thing: the slug still vanishes after a few metres, so no long range use, even with the long barrel attachment. And since it only fires the one slug, there goes any real short range capability as well — most people who do use it treat it more like they would if they were quickscoping with a sniper rifle, but with pitiful range. In MW3, it was only good at very close range; in BO2, without killstreaks to mark enemies on the map for ambushes, it's not good at any range, especially against the fast-firing and high-capacity SMGs that dominate the smallest maps.
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops III overall plays this the same as Black Ops II, but make it less apparent by way of new shotgun mechanics. Almost all shotguns in this game deal a semi-fixed amount of damage that is affected by range if any of the pellets connect with a target, before adding on a small, fixed amount of extra damage for each of the pellets that actually connect. The Argus, however, is the closest thing to an aversion because of how differently it works: a fixed 50 damage (i.e. half a player's health) if any pellet hits, then noticeably-higher, range-affected extra damage for each connecting pellet. What makes this good is that it has a tight spread when hip-fired, ensuring that except at the very extreme of its maximum range you're just about guaranteed a one-shot kill. What makes it great is that firing while aiming down the sights removes the spread, effectively turning it into a slug-firing weapon like the KSG in II - but it still fires all eight pellets, all of which even at the shotgun's maximum range deal enough combined damage that you will be getting one-shot kills with aimed shots.
    • Call of Duty: WWII plays this trope straighter than most of its predecessors, using the same modified shotgun damage profile started in BO3. The Combat Shotgun is the go-to weapon in the class, with the best range, while the M30 Luftwaffe Drilling has the best damage. The Sawed-off Shotgun fits in-between these two, and the Toggle Action excels in capacity. The rub however, is that out of all the weapons, the Toggle Action has too low damage to be effective, and the M30 and Sawed-off only have 2 rounds and take forever to reload, making the Combat Shotgun the only one worth using, save for maybe one factor: the M30's Rifle Bullet. This turns the M30 into a shotgun/sniper hybrid, as the Rifle Bullet has little to no damage dropoff at range. The downside to it is that, much like the Range proficiency in MW3, it is the last attachment unlocked, and it still takes ages to rechamber, but can be a real nice surprise.
  • Command & Conquer: Renegade has a shotgun, but it's notably absent from the singleplayer, only used by a small handful of enemies in one or two missions, and only available to one of the most basic characters in multiplayer. The trope is in full effect for the weapon anyway, making it pretty much worthless - notably, the handful of shotgun soldiers in singleplayer go from actually being a decent threat at extreme close ranges to beneath notice from a few feet away. It's a decent weapon against vehicles, but considering most vehicles will just run you over when you try to get close enough, you'd be better off just trying to drop your charge of timed C4 on it. Even then it falls short to another basic character, the GDI Grenadier, in almost every way except for the possibility of hurting themselves with splash damage.
  • In the Counter-Strike series, the pump-action shotguns are basically a one-hit kill weapon at point-blank, and trying to run-and-gun with any shotgun in the series generally results in little more than tickling your enemies with lead pellets. However, with the exception of Global Offensive's "Sawed-Off" (which the game itself describes as "you'll be lucky to hit the broad side of a barn"), most shotguns are effective at a similar range to pistols (i.e. mid-range by the game's standards) if used while stationary and crouching, and the spread is no worse than the SMGs in the game.
  • Crysis has a setting that allows the shotgun to change the choke as needed between wide spread and tight spread. It's notable for being one of the few games that'll allow you to mount a sniper scope on your shotgun — and for good reason too, as in tight-spread mode it's a perfectly viable medium-range gun, able to one-shot human enemies up to about a hundred feet or more.
  • In Deus Ex, shotgun spread is determined entirely by (and inverse to) the "rifle" skill level. Your stats are essentially zero when you start, so equipping a shotgun will require you to close to almost-melee range in order for its immense spread to ensure a sizable impact. Once you max out rifles, the spread will be completely negated — all the pellets hit precisely where you're aiming, making shotguns improbable murderizing machines at all ranges and causing the autoshotgun to essentially transform into an automatic sniper rifle of doom.
  • There's two shotguns in Deus Ex: Human Revolution — a magazine-fed combat shotgun, and a double-barreled hunting shotgun. They're also known as the weapons you'll never use, because they lack power even at close range and at long range can take the entire magazine to take down one target, which is only exacerbated by the tiny magazine size. The magazine-fed shotgun's sole unique modification is a device that allows you to fire two shells at once, which only compounds the problem. The double-barrel is somewhat useful as a holdout weapon due to its small inventory footprint, but you're better off using literally any other weapon.
  • Deep Rock Galactic features two shotguns - the Scout's Boomstick, a sawn-off double-barreled shotgun, and the Engineer's "Warthog" Auto 210, a semi-automatic shotgun. In this case, the spread is depicted rather realistically. The Scout's shotgun is pathetic at range due to having such a short barrel, but the Engineer's shotgun is still effective at medium range; you can even snipe enemies on the cavern roof with it in a pinch.
  • The Remburg-7 from Dirty Bomb has high spread, but the Ahnuld-12 does well in medium range.
  • Destiny 2 has a rather interesting example in that the pellets of a shotgun have fairly long range, but the damage does not. Which can lead to seeing damage numbers pop up on enemies outside of the gun's range, but the numbers are all just "0".
  • Doom:
    • The original game's shotgun was depicted fairly realistically, with a reasonable range and a fairly tight purely horizontal spread that make it a very versatile gun capable of delivering decent damage to a single target in close-to-mid range or carpet multiple enemies from afar.
    • Doom II introduced the Super Shotgun, which fires two shells at once with nearly triple the amount of pellets the regular Shotgun fires, but with a massive spread that will cause most pellets to miss against targets more than a few yards away, being quite possibly the earliest example of this type of shotgun in videogames. Unlike the regular shotgun, the SSG has a vertical spread as well.
    • Doom³'s shotgun is one of the most extreme examples ever, with a shot pattern of 10 feet at a distance of about two yards; needless to say, it does nothing past about two yards and even at two yards it takes 2-3 shots to kill most enemies (to get a one-shot kill against common enemies the barrel has to be essentially touching the enemy's chest or head). Fortunately, much like the classic games, pretty much every encounter for 2/3rds of the game happens within a two yard radius, and at point-blank range it's an instant kill. It's also worth noting that this tiny range was primarily for game balance - if the shotgun hits with all of its pellets, the shot actually does more damage than the rocket launcher. Ironically, the Super Shotgun introduced in the Resurrection of Evil expansion pack actually has slightly better range than the regular shotgun, not because it's more accurate (it actually has a slightly wider spread), but because it shoots so many pellets you still have a decent change of landing enough hits to kill most basic enemies with one shot even at several feet away.
      Civvie 11: I don't even know where to start [with the shotgun]. No, wait, I do know where to start. YOU CAN'T FUCKING HIT ANYTHING WITH IT UNLESS YOU STICK IT UP A DEMON'S NOSE!
    • The SNES release of the original Doom didn't have individual pellets, so the shotgun was more like a sniper rifle - if you were aiming at something it would take the full force of the shot regardless of distance. This led to situations with enemies so far away you could only see them as a couple of alternating pixels in their idle animation suddenly becoming a non-alternating pixel with one shot.
    • The Brutal Doom and Project Brutality mods exaggerate the traits each of the shotguns had before - the standard shotgun becomes much stronger at distance, with an even tighter spread and more pellets, while the Super Shotgun has a ridiculously wide spread, but an insane damage boost at point blank range, almost making it a melee weapon. The latter mod also adds shotgun slugs for even better long-distance shooting. Interestingly, the slugs are not penalized in any way at close range, but they don't need to be: with shot, one can score a grazing hit where just enough pellets connect for a kill, but the same shot with a slug is a total miss, so the spread rightly increases its accuracy.
    • At the start of Doom (2016), the regular shotgun has decent range and spread, while the Super Shotgun has very low range but massive damage. However, getting enough upgrades for the Super Shotgun (particularly the Mastery, which also allows it to fire a full blast per shell so you can shoot twice before reloading, which also helps save ammo) increases the range to the point where it outclasses the regular shotgun.
  • Duke Nukem 3D inverts this. The shotgun, despite having a fast reload, is kind of shitty at close range, due to most enemies (especially the Protector Drones) being Made of Iron - even the basic Pig Cops typically take two shells from close range - making long range combat highly desirable. While it does somewhat less damage per shot at long range, like all the bullet-firing guns it will still instantly hit, and you don't need to worry about vertical spread either thanks to limited autoaim putting every pellet in a Doom-like horizontal line.
  • Far Cry:
    • The first Far Cry's shotgun falls off in usefulness more due to how the game is designed rather than deficiencies in how the shotgun works. It's still a terror-machine that kills regular enemies in one shell at decent distances, but the problem is that the game takes place in levels that generally give you extreme ranges to shoot and be shot from; it's good for quick and messy room-clearing when a level takes you indoors while you try to stock up on assault rifle ammo, but the rest of the time all it does is just take up one of your weapon slots. Even then, later varieties of the Trigens still take a ridiculous amount of shells to put down even at close range. The console spinoff Far Cry: Instincts somehow makes it even worse - the shotgun doesn't show up until after you gain your upgraded melee attack, a One-Hit Kill with decent range and speed, rendering the shotgun totally useless except for the purposes of handicapping yourself.
    • While guns in Far Cry 2 generally deal far less damage than they do in real life (with the weakest of the full-sized 7.62x51mm battle rifles requiring six shots at minimum for a kill and the strongest occasionally requiring only three), the shotguns can still deal relatively decent damage up to 30 or 40 meters. It's perfectly viable while driving a boat under a bridge checkpoint to shoot up at the bridge with a shotgun and potentially make a kill. Interestingly, and true to reality, barrel length is treated as more important than whether the weapon is automatic or manually-operated, as the automatic ones reach just as far and hit just as hard as the pump-action ones, with the only one that's deficient past close range being the Sawed-Off Shotgun added as a sidearm with the DLC.
  • Zig-zagged in F.E.A.R..
    • The VK-12 shotgun in the first game and its non-canon expansions can kill even a late game Replica trooper in one shot when close enough, and is a very realistic murder machine even at medium range. What hamstrings it is not its accuracy, but damage falloff: even at around 20 metres you can score a perfect shot on a larger target with no missed pellets, but it'll deal negligible damage.
    • The SHO Series-3 from the second game is worse as far as spread goes, but makes up for it by being slightly more powerful than the later Ultra92 — explained as due to it loading larger 10-gauge shells rather than the Ultra92's smaller 12-gauge —, and is mostly restricted to the first third of the game where there's plenty of cramped spaces and cover to easily slip into within its effective range, and from there, gib people with one shell.
    • The third game's EL-10 CAS, which fires by far the most pellets with higher damage than any other shotgun in the series, but in return gives them ridiculous spread — even unarmored cultists will shrug off a shell or two from past about five feet, the kind of range that the VK-12 tore fully-armored soldiers in half at.
  • While Garry's Mod's SPAS-12 from Half-Life 2 fits the trope, Spy's Customizable Weaponry averts it completely. The pellets travel in a consistent, tight clump but the accuracy of said clump is affected like an individual bullet. This means you can miss with a shotgun completely at moderate range if you don't sight in, but aiming allows you to do a scary amount of damage against targets at ranges where most video game shotguns normally fall short.
  • GoldenEye (1997) has two shotguns, an Automatic Shotgun, and a "standard" shotgun note  which is only available through cheats note . Despite the name, both guns have the same rate of fire; the Automatic does more damage per pellet and has a tighter spread. Although neither version is especially powerful by typical FPS standards (firing five pellets per shot, with total blast equaling around 2 - 3 normal bullets' worth of damage), both pack a reasonable punch at close range, and the generous rate-of-fire combined with the large number of pellets makes it easy to stun-lock weak, unarmored enemies.
  • The shotgun is purely a close-ranged weapon in Half-Life, but is a capable medium-ranged weapon in Half-Life 2. Later Valve Software games have gradually shifted closer towards real-world ranges for shotguns. The shotgun in Half-Life: Alyx is pretty crap unless you're within spitting distance of an enemy, though.
  • Halo is a prime offender here, though Halo: Combat Evolved was an exception - the shotgun was notoriously overpowered in range and reach.note  Said range and reach, as well as the capacity, got nerfed pretty severely in subsequent games, though the devs eventually started to buff it again (it can even use a scope in Halo 5: Guardians). Supposedly, this was done to make the energy sword, made playable in Halo 2, more viable.
    • Halo 3 introduces the Jiralhanae Mauler, a sidearm that is equivalent in power and range to a sawn-off shotgun. As quoted by the game's own strategy guide:
    Firing the Mauler at someone at anything other than close range is like insulting their mother: it's just a lot of hot air and noise, and it's just going to make them angry.
    • One of your NPC allies in Halo: Reach, Emile, uses a shotgun as his signature weapon, but seems to believe that it has a much further range than it actually does, shooting at enemies from a range where the shotgun will do absolutely no damage.
  • Killzone — which is remarkable, since weapons are already inaccurate as it is. The shotgun in the second game actually has a decent range... but you can't go into aiming mode with it, so it's still most effective at extremely close ranges.
  • Left 4 Dead 2:
    • The chrome shotgun in particular has a tight enough spread that it can quite easily kill at longer ranges. Moreover, while shotguns do have much wider spread than the other weapons, especially when moving, it actually plays to their strengths thanks to how penetration rules work in the game - whereas the scoped rifles penetrate up to 15 infected, but only along a very thin line, and the assault rifles only penetrate through one or two before being stopped, buckshot goes through as many infected as there are within five meters, allowing for surprisingly quick clearing of large hordes. And much like in Doom, the effective pellet spread is purely horizontal, so no damage is lost above or below.
    • Certain game mods reduce the cone of fire of the shotguns to those of their real life inspirations. This makes them deadly at medium ranges and veritable special infected killers, but with the tradeoff that they're all but useless in a zombie rush unless they're aimed at a chokepoint.
  • The Marathon series averts this, with the WSTE-M shotguns actually being among the most accurate weapons in the game, firing tight spreads over huge ranges. Oh, and you can dual-wield them. And they reload extremely quickly, via twirling them of all things.
  • In the Medal of Honor series, the shotgun can't hit the side of a barn at more than six or so meters. The effective kill range is even less than that; trying to nail a Nazi at less than arm's reach will at best injure and stagger them for so little time that he will recover and fire back before you can fire a second shell. The submachine guns are much better at any range.
  • In Metal: Hellsinger, the Persephone is the game's shotgun, which is effective close-up, and drops in effectiveness the further away the target is.
  • In Overwatch
    • Roadhog wields a "Junk Gun" that fires a scattershot blast with either a wide or narrow choke, though both are only useful at short range. His ultimate ability allows him to continuously fire a rapid and wide-spread assault of pellets that has a slightly longer effective range.
    • Torbjorn's Rivet Gun has an alt-fire that shoots a shotgun-like scattershot blast that is best for short range.
    • Reaper dual-wields sawed-off shotguns, giving him tremendous damage at short range.
    • Dva's Fusion Cannons rapid-fire a bullets in a spread that do decent damage up close but rapidly lose their effectiveness at range.
    • Ashe has a shotgun meant to be used when the opponent is up close. It pushes the enemy back and jerks her back in the opposite direction to give her some distance for her rifle.
  • Paladins has several champions with shotgun-like weapons.
    • Barik's blunderbuss is pretty weak at long range, but he reloads all of his shots at once and does decent damage at mid range. The "Tinkerin'" legendary card makes his blunderbuss fire slugs for longer range precision shots.
    • Buck, being a flank champ, has a strong shotgun that needs to be reloaded one shell at a time.
    • Makoa is all about reeling in enemies with his anchor and naturally has a cannon that does more damage the closer you are to someone.
  • PAYDAY: The Heist has two shotguns; the primary Reinbeck shotgun and the secondary Locomotive shotgun. The Reinbeck performs more like a real life shotgun where it can cause some serious damage at a medium range. The Locomotive can't hit anything beyond two feet and even in close range, it still requires a few shots to kill even lightly armored enemies. "Buff the Loco" became the cry of many players and it wasn't until the sequel where the Locomotive returned and was given the buff it deserved.
  • In the first Project I.G.I., the SPAS-12 turns the player into a ten-meter circle zone of instant death. Then there's the Jackhammer, which makes it a 30-meter zone of full-auto pellet death. These weapons do have some effect outside their ranges, but a particularly nasty cough is worse than the shotgun damage. Considering that the game levels are usually huge, open-world bases, its usefulness is only for the indoor gunfights. The overpowered, silent, instant-kill-to-the-toe sniper rifle takes care of everything else.
  • In Project Reality, the shotgun has a realistic spread for buckshot, but most combat occurs past the 100m range, so this really is short range. Buckshot also works as a breacher round for doors and beanbag rounds for capturing insurgents. Some maps have slug rounds available as well for longer range combat.
  • Quake:
    • The first game follows the same pattern as Doom, with the normal shotgun having good range but the double-barrel being a short-range gun that feels more like an upgrade to the axe than to the regular shotgun. Interestingly, it also played to the crowd that stuck with the single shotgun for the entirety of Doom by straight-up making that your starting firearm rather than some sort of pistol, so you always have it on you even between episodes, while at the same time trying to curb overuse by making most higher-level enemies more resistant to them, requiring you to actually make use of your upgraded nailguns and grenade/rocket launchers.
    • Quake II is even worse, with the regular shotgun having about three quarters the diameter of Quake's super shotgun spread, while its own double barrel super shotgun has an effective range of about two yards. For the enemy to take the full brunt of your trigger pull, you literally have to be touching it.
    • In Quake IV, your shotgun has a decent range, but shotgun-wielding Strogg prefer to blast you at point-blank range anyway.
  • In the Rainbow Six games, shotguns are quite deadly. But so is every other weapon, and if it is a pump action shotgun, the first shot must kill, because you WILL be dead before you can fire again if your target survives. In the Vegas games, this made the weapon bad to have outside of extremely cramped and cover-heavy areas, since it doesn't always kill your target in one shot, but dangerous for the computer to have, since it can kill you in one shot even with heavy armor on low difficulty. And worse, some enemies have rapid-fire shotguns that they can snipe you with. The player also has no option for non-buckshot rounds in Vegas, meaning sticking anything other than maybe the red dot or laser on it is entirely pointless. Raven Shield at least lets you use slugs to actually make use of the 4x scope, but for the slow rate of fire and reloading you'd be better off packing an assault rifle.
    • Rainbow Six Siege either downplays or exaggerates this depending on the shotgun. The caveat about auto-shotguns is for the most part followed, but not to such an extreme that the Spetsnaz' Saiga-12 is that much worse than the SAS' M590 or the GSG-9's R870. Buck's "Skeleton Key", an extremely short shotgun mounted underneath his primary weapon, plays this to absurd degrees, but that's part of its strength, since it's designed to be a breaching tool the real weapon it's modeled after is rather than an extra weapon that happens to also make big holes - taking full advantage of it involves making use of the lightning-quick switch time between it and the rifle it's attached to to make a big hole in a wall then shoot through it. Less justifiably is also the AA-12 added in Operation Para Bellum, which has similar ridiculous spread to offset the fact that it's allowed to have its full-auto ability and 20- or 30-round magazines. To the other extreme then is the "BOSG.12.2", an over-under shotgun from Operation White Noise, which loads slugs to act more like a low-capacity sniper rifle (even originally having ridiculous penetration to match, and being treated as a rifle as far as challenges are concerned).
  • Red Faction has a shotgun that can fire one single shell in automatic mode with a lot of spread, or two shells in a more concentrated shot. The 'aiming' mode available to all weapons in the console version basically works by reducing the weapon's spread to 0, meaning all shots land exactly where the reticle is pointed. This also applies to the pellet spread of the shotgun, making an aimed double-barrelled blast the single most devastating attack in the game, at any range.
  • The godawful scattergun in Redneck Rampage. It does pack a certain punch, especially if double-fired, but its horizontal spread is only beaten by the Doom 3 shotgun's. For all pellets to hit an Alien Hulk, the resident Giant Mook and wider than the side of a barn, you have to be standing at three meters or less from him. To kill a Skinny Old Coot, The Goomba and with a hitbox as thin as his name implies, Leonard has to almost literally shove the barrels up his gut for a one-shell kill.
  • Serious Sam loosely follows the Doom example. The basic shotgun can one-shot a basic mook from a good distance, but that's because they only take two pellets to die: the full spread is very loose horizontally and only really hits a human target with all pellets from five meters or less. The Coach Gun's spread is twice as wide. Thankfully, most enemies are way bigger than human-sized, and human-sized ones appear in large clusters, so the shotguns can be effectively used on several at once. They're too anemic to be efficient against larger enemies, however. The pellet spread for both shotguns follows a fixed pattern, so a savvy player can use it to just hit two pellets on that cheeky Rocketeer a good distance away without having to swap guns.
  • Shadow Warrior (1997) features the Riot Gun, a four-barreled gatling-shotgun with an insane amount of spread even over short distances.
  • Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix actually predates Call of Duty in "disintegrating pellets past a certain distance". A close-range shotgun blast is instant death with a surprisingly tight cone, making other guns seem like peashooters, but past ten or so yards, they vanish completely and inexplicably, possibly leaving you in a lethal situation with a USAS-12 ineffectually shooting at an enemy with a 1911 who'll chew you up and spit you out with total impunity. The best multiplayer strategy when it was still up was to run straight into a hail of gunfire and get shot repeatedly in the chest, so long as you got to squeeze off your one lethal shotshell. Ditto for the first game, where you're better off using the 9mm or Hand Cannon for medium range shots.
  • Splitgate's shotgun will one-shot another player with a solid meatshot anywhere within ten feet or so; beyond that, the damage falls off very quickly; while it's still solid for most gunfights, the scatter will quickly kill most of the damage.
  • The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series has a variety of shotguns, and plays the trope in a variety of ways.
    • In all three games there is the TOZ-66, a Sawed-Off Shotgun that is crazy inaccurate. It's hardly an issue, though, because one of the best uses for any of the shotguns is dealing with the many, many types of mutated wildlife that will attempt to turn your intestines into a tennis racket. With very few exceptions, they will attempt to do this at point-blank range, making the shotgun's inaccuracy over distance irrelevant. The sawed-off obviously also weighs less than a full-size and higher-capacity shotgun, which lets it remain useful well into the game if you prefer to use a different gun as your primary weapon. Considering that the wildlife is a greater threat than the humans simply due to numbers, buckshot (as opposed to slugs or armor-piercing darts, which are more rare and better used on humans) is an ammo type you'll always want to have on you.
    • The later two games (and mods for the first, as it existed in the first game but was never given to you) include the TOZ-34, an over-and-under hunting shotgun that is closer to realistic. Using slugs and some weapon modifications, this shotgun becomes a poor man's sniper rifle.
    • Mechanically, it's less a matter of the shotguns themselves (all but the sawed-off shotgun have similar accuracy to assault rifles) than it is the ammo: while all the other ammo types in the games don't affect spread, buckshot takes the weapon's spread and multiplies it by a factor of fifteen. Even the most accurate one (the hunting shotgun), if not modded by a tech, will have its pellets spread out about a foot for every ten traveled; not as extreme as some examples on this page, but still several times wider than what's typically used in real life. On the other hand, a TOZ-34 modified for accuracy (without replacing the barrel with a rifled one) has a more realistic spread, being able to put most pellets in someone or something's face at well over 50 yards when using buckshot.
  • Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force
    • Strange example: the Stasis Weapon has a shotgun-style fire mode that sprays energy beams in a horizontal arc. At close range, an enemy will be hit by every beam before they diverge, but in a pinch, the gun can be used at extremely long range, as every individual beam is pinpoint accurate, and one of the beams always goes straight forward from the gun, in addition to the others firing at increasingly wide angles.
    • The sequel features the Federation Assault Rifle with shotgun-like properties. The Secondary Fire is a condensed burst that fires out as a projectile instead of hitscan.
  • Team Fortress 2
    • The game doesn't just have Short Range Shotguns, it has Short Range Everything. Every single bullet weapon save the Sniper Rifle experiences damage falloff that affects damage by up to a factor of three, and the shotguns are no exception. That said, the Shotgun deals consistent damage up to medium range with a fairly tight spread, and it is still quite possible to use it to finish off a low-health enemy or mess with the aim of a sniper from a reasonable distancenote .
    • The Panic Attack shotgun deals higher base damage than the stock Shotgun, but its spread is wider and gets worse with subsequent shots, so it has to be used at closer ranges to be effective.
  • In the Tribes series, shotguns are very ineffective when the range of the target is anything more distant than point-blank. This is especially problematic in a game where you're skiing across the terrain at over 100 km/h, so it's doubtful you ever get that close to a target.
  • Unreal's shotgun equivalent, the Flak Cannon, fires a spray of glowing shrapnel that spreads pretty fast. Taking the whole shell at close range is usually a one-shot kill, but it's not much use at longer ranges except for harassment. Secondary Fire lobs the primed shell like a grenade over a short arc, and it explodes upon hitting anything solid.
  • The SLY 2020 shotgun in GoldenEye (2010) has good range for a shotgun, being able to hit at surprising distances considering how its Call of Duty-derived engine usually handles shotguns, but since it's shorter than the other shotguns its accuracy leaves a lot to be desired, meaning it is probably best suited to close quarters or medium range when firing at someone.

    Hack-and-Slash Games 

    Massively Multiplayer Online Games 
  • While EVE Online doesn't have shotguns per se, the blaster turrets favored by the Gallente are treated like shotguns. Their damage potential, out of all turret weapons, is theoretically monstrous, but their range/falloff makes them flatly unusable if your ship isn't practically point-blank with the enemy.
  • In Fallen Earth, even the most basic shotgun's effective range goes out to 30 meters — right in the middle of the range mentioned above — and lacks the ridiculous spread common to video game shotguns. They do respectable amounts of damage, but fire and reload slowly enough that if you're expecting to fight at those ranges too often, you'd do better with dual pistols or an assault rifle instead.
  • In Phantasy Star Online 2, the Diffuse Shell photon art loads a single round of shotgun ammo into your assault rifle and fires it immediately, which has an effective range of about two meters.
  • PlanetSide:
    • The first game's New Conglomerate anti-personnel MAX and BFR have a shotgun with three fire modes changed by adjusting the choke. The first is useless at any distance past melee but has wide spread useful for clearing rooms, the second is decent enough for indoor use, and the third is as narrow as a real shotgun, and quite the surprise for enemy troops expecting this trope. The infantry shotguns follow the trope straight.
    • Most shotguns in the second game are short-range as a compromise on the game's space-compressed terrains; but, they can be loaded with slugs to allow them to fulfill a medium-long range niche at the cost of aiming time. Unfortunately for the New Conglomerate, their MAXes no longer have the multiple fire modes; and, slugs, while still useful, are not as accurate as they could be on that platform.
  • Shotguns in The Secret World have a range of less than ten meters, but the same is true of every other weapon in the game. Whether they fire at a single target or in a cone that hits multiple targets is also dependent entirely on which ability you use, not on the shotgun you have equipped — and again, every weapon has its own single-target vs. group attacks. The main purpose of the shotgun is 'crowd control' in a different sense, the weapon's other abilities meant to fulfill the tank role in a Damager, Healer, Tank setup by drawing aggro.
  • Star Trek Online features "pulsewave assault" weapons for your captain and bridge officers while on an away mission. Given that it's an MMO, the shot will always hit the target but the damage decreases the further you are away. The game later provided "Zefram Cochrane's Shotgun" to those who finished a particular timed event. It plays the trope dead straight, plus has an alternate fire that has a high chance of knocking back (and down) any enemies in firing range. It's also physical damage, which means it bypasses personal shields entirely. You have to get up close to use it well, but it can still be devastating against slower enemies like Borg drones (who can't adapt their shields to it).
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic does this strangely. Scoundrels are the only player character class that can use scatterguns as their secondary weapon. It is used by certain abilities, and can shoot from 10 meters away at most, where it deals minimal damage and cripples the target's legs, and is generally used at 4 meters, the same range melee weapons are used in (in fact, the Imperial counterpart, the Operative, does use melee weapons for the same purposes). On the other hand, Kaliyo and NPC enemies can shoot their scatterguns from up to 30 meters away, which doesn't sound like much until one realizes that sniper rifles have a maximum range of 35 meters.
  • In Tabula Rasa, shotguns didn't follow the normal weapon rules. Instead of locking onto a target and hitting that target directly, they hit every target within a specific cone in front of you. Unlike pistols, rifles, and machine guns, which slowly lost accuracy when you used them at targets beyond their optimal range, the shotgun's blast vanished exactly twenty meters from the end of the barrel.

    Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas 
  • Honor of Kings: Liu Bei wields a shotgun instead of twin swords. Therefore, his passive involves shooting multiple bullets at once, which deals more damage if he's closer to the target, in addition of shredding armor per bullet. To facilitate this, Liu Bei's abilities include a dash which can cause him to bump onto enemy heroes, preparing him for his close range shot, which he can enhance into a double shot that also slows down his enemies for more close range shots. This general playstyle is inherited to Rourke from Arena of Valor with a slight modification, but Rourke wields an Arm Cannon in the shape of a crossbow, but the weapon still works like Liu Bei's shotgun.
  • League of Legends:
    • Graves, the Outlaw, uses a unique mechanic for his double-barreled shotgun. Unlike other marksmen, his autoattacks can be blocked by intervening targets, but each attack shoots four pellets in a cone. Targets at point-blank range take up to 233% damage of his weapon damage, assuming all four hit. Longer-range attacks run the risk of getting blocked my minions, or possibly missing outright, though hitting with a single pellet will still inflict full damage. His other abilities are essentially ways to carefully manage spacing to inflict optimal damage from a safe distance.
    • Kled uses a similar system for his Pocket Pistol, which sprays five pellets in a narrow arc, each of which has its own damage. He only uses it when he's been knocked off his steed, but its main job is to let him try and claw back some Courage to get Skaarl back so he can stop waddling about slowly with a pitiful health pool.

    Platforming Games 
  • The Scatter Gun in Jak II: Renegade, which is essentially an energy shotgun, has an effective range of, ooh, somewhere between five and ten feet. On the bright side, it does its damage to every target within the shot cone, and can be combined fairly effectively with melee attacks, and has a decent ammo clip, meaning that you'll be using it a lot more often than, for example, the Peace Maker.
  • Ratchet & Clank:
    • In Ratchet: Deadlocked, the basic shotgun sprays hundreds of tiny, white-hot rounds, but they disappear after a certain distance. Indeed, one viable multiplayer strategy is to use the Charge Boots to swiftly close the distance between you and an enemy, and then nail them point-blank, usually for a KO. When the shotgun upgrades to v10, it transforms into the Vulcan Fury that has quite an impressive range and homing capabilities.
    • Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time lets you go from this trope (double barrel) to rather realistic spread (choke barrel) with the Constucto Shotgun.
  • The Energy Scatter in 20XX deals punishing amounts of damage... providing you're willing to stick it up your enemy's nose. Its shots dissipate about ten feet from Nina, fifteen if you charge your attack. That being said, combining it with the Dracopent Set Bonus, which auto-charges all your attacks, will allow you to tear through anything that comes within those fifteen feet in a hurry.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • The Scrap Musket in Bastion fires pellets which have both range/damage dropoff and a ridiculous spread pattern. It's extremely useful for taking out groups of weaker enemies, which are encountered quite often, but less useful for taking on larger, tougher enemies without standing right next to them (which is usually ill-advised). You can buy upgrades for it that increase its range and tighten its spread, making it more useful against the big things, but weakening its crowd control abilities.
  • DRL has three different kinds of shotguns. The standard shotgun is mediocre, but usable at the edges of your vision. The combat shotgun is actually pretty decent at long distance, and because it always hits, you can even use it to kill people just outside your visual range. Finally, the double shotgun has ridiculously wide spread and can't even hit everything you can see.
  • The Fallout series has an assortment of automatic shotguns, which are devastating at point-blank range but much less effective at longer ranges, making them ideal for close-quarters combat but making you rely on lucky critical hits to be anywhere near effective past that. There is also a sawn-off shotgun with an even shorter range, making it a half-step above a melee weapon.
    • Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel's Double-barreled Shotgun is incredibly devastating at point-blank range early on. With a little luck, giving someone both barrels can result in an instant kill.
    • The special sawed-off variant in Fallout 3, the Kneecapper, is more or less a perfect example of this trope. The Kneecapper is more accurate and stronger than the standard sawed-off but less accurate than combat shotguns. Both sawed-off guns are still terrible in this game due to most enemies being out of melee range, and those that are can take more damage than the sawed-off can deal, especially the ones found in the Broken Steel DLC.
      • The Double Barrel Shotgun from the Point Lookout DLC is also obscenely powerful, and a VATS attack with it in at full repair is very likely to kill most enemies, except those added by Broken Steel and a couple of others. It's still useless at more than three meters, though.
      • The Terrible Shotgun has the second highest damage of all Small Guns, but only if all pellets hit the target, and it has a spread on par with the Sawed-off Shotgun. That being said, if one has the Better Criticals perk and scores a point blank sneak attack headshot, the Terrible Shotgun can kill even a Super Mutant Behemoth in a single shot. And since Evergreen Mills has one of the game's Super Mutants in a pen nearby, it can be easy pickings as long as you have good sneak skills and a Stealth Boy.
      • Thanks to a glitch where the boosted damage from a critical hit is applied to every individual pellet rather than spread evenly across them, the default combat shotgun can be used at surprising distances when lucky or sneak-attack criticals are taken into account - assuming you prefer aiming and firing your gun yourself. Trying to use it with VATS instead results in the perfect embodiment of this trope, with the same messy results while in hugging distance but piss-poor damage or even complete misses at anything further, even when the game itself tells you the shot has a 95% chance to hit (read: absolutely would hit with any other weapon type) and will be a one-hit kill.
    • In Fallout: New Vegas, the sawed-off shotgun has extremely high spread, making it nigh-useless at a distance but capable of significant damage at close range, and it only really comes into its own with the Dead Money DLC and the perk it adds that lets you knock enemies over with shotgun blasts. The Ballistic Fist is an exaggerated case of this trope - it combines a shotgun barrel with a Power Fist with a pressure trigger mounted on the wearer's knuckles, meaning it will only fire at point-blank range. On the other end of the scale are the single shotgun and hunting shotgun, which have the tightest spread of all shotguns (the hunting shotgun can be modded with a choke to further reduce spread), making them effective at medium distance. The lever-action shotgun, caravan shotgun, and riot shotgun have a moderate amount of spread. All of them are about three times as accurate if you use slugs — the hunting shotgun, with slugs and a choke, is actually more accurate than a service rifle.
    • Played straight enough by default short shotguns in Fallout 4, but finding a double-barreled shotgun with the Two Shot legendary perk takes this to the extreme, nearly doubling its base damage but cutting accuracy down to zero. Almost useless at mid to long range, but within bad-breath distance, it packs a heavy enough punch to send enemies flying.
  • Torchlight II's "shotgonnes" fire a relatively short cone of damage. Stranger still, the shotgonnes have longer ranges than cannons, which trade range for a larger Splash Damage.
  • Referenced in Final Fantasy Type-0: The dominion's elemental magic comes in a variety of classes named after firearms: RF (rifle), SHG (shotgun), BOM (bomb), ROK (rocket), and MIS (missile). Of the projectile spells, SHG-class spells are the only ones that cannot be improved in range.
  • Averted in Wasteland 2 and Wasteland 3, where shotguns fire in a cone from the origin point and do exactly the same damage up until they hit their Arbitrary Weapon Range, no matter how close and numerous the targets are from the shooter (a talent in the third game makes your shotgun do more damage the more targets they are hitting). In both games, practically all shooting happens at 30 m or less and shotguns share gun range with handguns (roughly 10 m base).

    Side-Scrolling Games 
  • In 1943: the Battle of Midway, the shotgun barely goes half the screen, but has a wide spread and eats enemy shots. Of course, that's less of a break from reality than the fact that said shotgun is mounted on a P-38 Lightning.
  • Robert's shotgun in Barnyard Blast can barely cover a few meters in front of him, but if it scores a hit it deals devastating damage on Giant Mook enemies and bosses.
  • The Wide Cannon in Bionic Commando. "You can shoot at wide range but reach is shoot". In the remake, if you're too far away you won't hit anything at all. An upgrade increases the distance slightly.
  • Contra has the Spread Gun, which fires five bullets in a 45 degree arc to either side. It's useful at all ranges, but becomes a Game-Breaker if used at point-blank range. It got Nerfed in the second arcade game by reducing its rate of fire when too many bullets are on-screen, which gets worse with the upgrade.
  • In Cortex Command it depends on the model of a shotgun. Imperatus' "Mauler" and the Blunderbuss, for example, are short-range, but shotguns belonging to the Coalition and the Ronin have more realistic range.
  • Demon Front, a Taiwanese Metal Slug clone, practically lifts the shotgun from Metal Slug (see below) into its arsenal. It has the same firing range of a few meters, couldn't hit the other side of the screen, but can deal damage on enemy installations, vehicles, or wiping out large numbers of mooks closed together.
  • Metal Slug's Shotgun barely fires four feet in front of your character, but can often kill a tank in one shot. It's really a shotgun only in name, as it shoots directed explosions instead of pellets.
  • In Valdis Story: Abyssal City, the shotgun Vladyn starts off with will only damage enemies directly in front of him.

    Strategy Games 
  • 7.62 High Caliber makes efforts at realism. Shotguns have a decent chance of making a hit at medium or even long range with buckshot and flechettes (even if the game is telling you that your merc has a "minimal" or "remote" chance of hitting), with the main problem being that if only a few pellets hit, you'll just lightly wound and stun the target. It's also fully possible to load a shotgun with slugs and attach a scope, allowing for your sniper to make long-range shots that most guns that early in the game can't hit.
  • Battle Pirates has Scatterguns, which are a ship-mounted version of this. However, their base ranges are actually in the 70's, among the highest in the game. Conventional ballistic weaponry and rockets mostly have ranges in the 40's and 50's, with missiles getting into the 60's and 70's and mortars in the 80's. The catch is that the range of scatterguns can't be upgraded, while some specials and hulls can improve ballistic and missile ranges to over 90.
  • This is a part of the Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors in Civil War Generals 2. Cavalry units can be equipped with shotguns, and while they can hit targets at 100 meters (normal attacks), they're the weakest shoulder arms in the game at that range. They are the most lethal weapons for charges (5 meters or so).
  • In Jagged Alliance 2, all shotguns have an effective range of about as much as a pistol, meaning they are quite inaccurate in anything except very short-range encounters. Couple this with the facts that they have bad penetration (and enemies start wearing armor relatively early), and that the original developers decided that shotguns are categorically half as accurate at any range as any other weapon. "Duckbill" attachments were given to increase usefulness, as they send the pellets in a horizontal line rather than a circle, somewhat increasing usefulness, but not by much.
    • The 1.13 patch changed shotguns a little. The spread-patterns project removed the inherent inaccuracy, and added all sorts of useful patterns for the pellets (through use of chokes). The HAM suppression feature further increased the usefulness of shotguns, as they can now scare the crap out of an enemy combatant if the pellets fly close enough to the target. Effective range, however, is still quite low, and it is unlikely to kill anyone unless all pellets hit an unarmored target. When loaded with buckshot or flechettes they also have a much-improved chance of hitting a vital area and inflicting stat penalties. Slug ammunition, the rifled choke and a scope of some sort also convert it to a passable medium-range weapon in a pinch.
    • 1.13 also offers lockbuster ammo for shotguns, making them useful for breaching doors.
    • And even in the base game, if you do hit with a shotgun, its fairly likely that the target will either be out of breath or close enough to it so that they can't move their next turn.
    • As most shot types are 00 Buck, their penetration is comparable to a burst of 9mm pistol fire. This counter-intuitively helps the shotgun come back into its own later in the game against heavily armored mooks, who can resist single assault rifle rounds but can easily be stunned/exhausted by multiple, non-penetrating shotgun blasts. This keeps their valuable gear from being damaged and gives certain mercs a chance to earn their pay.
  • In Wasteland 2, shotguns do tend to have shorter effective ranges than rifles, energy weapons, and machine guns. On the other, their effectiveness and damage output within that range is pretty much constant, plus they spray the pellets in cones, allowing them to do the same base damage to all enemies within the attack cone, which is especially useful at longest possible range, where the cone is at its widest. To further complicate matters, there are shotgun mods that either shorten the range but widen the cone, or the opposite.
  • Inverted in Worms, where the shotgun works in the same way a sniper rifle would in any other game. It fires a super-accurate projectile that does the same amount of damage at any range, making it the best weapon for high-precision long-range shots, especially since you can sometimes add a laser sight for even more precision.
  • X-COM
    • XCOM: Enemy Unknown has shotguns as the only weapon to have a long range penalty, so hit chance drops very sharply past six or so tiles; by contrast, the close range aim bonus is double that of a pistol or rifle. A loading screen tip advises that using a pistol will be more accurate than the shotgun at a lot of ranges for your Assault(s) if need be, such as Overwatch in large open areas.
    • Shotguns make a return in XCOM 2 with essentially the same accuracy mechanics. Inverted by the Shadowkeeper pistol from the Alien Hunters DLC, a flintlock pistol that seems to fire a spread of grapeshot, but is actually more accurate than any other handgun in the game; it even provides a unique once-per-mission Always Accurate Attack.
  • Girls' Frontline invokes this in a manner of speaking. Tactical Dolls armed with shotguns don't actually have a reduced range compared to T-Dolls with any other weapon type, and the bonus to firing range you get for having anyone in the right-most column still applies for shotguns. However, the game's Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors revolves more around how your T-Dolls passively buff each other than how they deal with specific enemy types; since shotguns need to stand in the front row to be able to buff machine guns standing in the back, and machine guns in turn need to be at the rear to be able to buff shotguns standing in the front, making the most of the abilities of a squad which has both shotguns and machine guns in it requires you to position them as if this is the case.
  • Phoenix Point: Rather than having an all-or-nothing percentage chance to hit, the game models the flight path for each bullet fired within a cone whose width depends on the gun's accuracy. Shotguns fire a burst of 8 to 10 pellets within a rather wide cone, meaning that damage falls off rapidly with range. A target's armor is applied as Damage Reduction to each bullet in the burst, meaning that any target large enough that you can hit with most of the pellets at medium range is a Heavily Armored Mook that will shrug off most of the damage. Averted by the Slamstrike shotgun researchable in the mid-game, which fires a single high-damage slug and is only slightly less accurate than most assault rifles.

    Survival Horror Games 
  • In Alan Wake, this is actually a good thing, as you can take out multiple enemies with one blast if you're far enough away. Furthermore, enemies primarily use melee attacks, generally rendering range a near non-issue and making the shotguns typically more effective in most situations than the ridiculously-powerful but rarer and more-ammo-limited hunting rifle.
  • The budget game Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler's Green strictly enforced the "close range only" rule by having shotgun pellets disappear once they've cleared about ten feet from the muzzle; anything outside that range won't be hit at all.
  • The pump shotgun in The Last of Us. Even though the range can be increased via upgrades, it's still only effective up close. At short-range, it's a one-shot kill against all enemies except armored humans (which require at least two shots to kill at close range) and Bloaters. At mid-range, it takes two or three shots to kill. Anything further away than that and it's useless. Because of this, the shotgun is most effective against Infected, since they are more likely to get close to you than non-Infected humans, and they can take more bullets from your handguns, so it helps to conserve ammo. The shotgun is especially effective against Clickers since it can kill them in one shot, which even the fully upgraded hunting rifle can't do. All of the above also applies to the Shorty, though its range of effectiveness is even less than the pump shotgun.
  • All Resident Evil games feature this, but because the vast majority of enemies in those games are close-range attackers and most of the environments are small rooms and tight corridors anyway, the shotgun remains a sound choice for its crowd-controlling capability and incredible stopping power compared to other conventional weapons. Most games also include a shotgun with a tighter choke for more concentrated shots. Specific examples include:
    • Resident Evil 4's Striker is an exaggerated example. It has absurd spread that requires it to be fired at near point blank to knock back enemies. The Riot Gun has it much better with its tight spread and low damage fall-off making it a medium range weapon that lets you line up headshots. The exclusive upgrade for the standard shotgun removes damage fall-off for the pellets but since the spread remains the same, the damage and knockback remain minimal past its usual range.
    • In Resident Evil 5, one of the pellets will always go exactly where the players aims, so accurate players can effectively use a shotgun to pick off ranged-attack enemies.
    • Resident Evil: Revelations has custom parts which boost the power of a gun when you hit something that's within a few feet of you. While it works for several of the guns, the shotguns are the clear intended recipient.
    • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard plays this straight with its pump-action M37 shotgun, which has a rather large spread outside of point-blank range. You can find and repair a second shotgun, the M21, an over-under gun with half the capacity but a full choke, making it a lot more effective at longer distances.

    Third-Person Shooters 
  • Alpha Protocol: With a low-grade shotgun and no skill in shotguns, they're next to useless except at short range. However, amp up your shotgun skills, buy a high-grade shotgun, and equip it with mods to reduce scatter, and the shotgun becomes a medium-range murder machine that can easily blow enemies off their feet and blast through their armor. Even enemies all the way across the room will get knocked off their feet from a well-placed shotgun blast.
  • Army Men: Sarge's Heroes has this bad, but in an unusual way. The shot pattern doesn't spread at all on its own — you can literally see all the pellets the shotgun fires stay in perfect formation upon leaving the gun (the projectile being a flying sprite). The problem is weapon sway, which makes every gun except the sniper rifle inaccurate past about 50 meters. The shotgun has horrible sway in comparison to every other gun — you can aim straight at a target five feet away and still miss completely if you fire at the wrong time.
  • In Custom Robo, the Shotgun Gun Part deals fantastic damage, is near impossible to dodge, and near-guarantees the Overload of your target, but the shot instantly dissipates at a range of about two times the width of your Robo. Generally only useful for those models that can get in and out of range quickly.
  • Double Action: Boogaloo has the SPAS-12 from Half-Life 2. While it has decent range the way the game functions, gaining "style points" for every shot that lands, getting close grants the highest points for the weapon plus the style points gained from pressing the style button while jumping.
  • Firefall: Shotguns the secondary optional weapons, Arsenal battleframe ability "Combat Shotgun", Plasma Cannon alt-fire — all have wide-angle conical spread. A pretty big circle without reticles takes place of crosshair for shotguns and hints how short effective range is.
  • In Gears of War, shotguns are useless at more than five to ten meters but completely destroy when closer. If you are caught in close range combat with your machine gun, the only reliable way to kill them is to get a chainsaw kill. Since the cover and movement system makes closing in very easy, it doesn't need to effective from any further.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Most of Mass Effect 2's shotguns had painfully short damage/range attenuation, and very wide shot cones. The absolute worst was the Claymore, which was almost completely useless outside melee range (which is invaluable for a Vanguard, but problematic for everyone else). The only one with any real range was the DLC-only Geth Plasma Shotgun.
    • This was thankfully fixed in Mass Effect 3. While most of the returning shotguns from Mass Effect 2 are just as useless, several new shotguns are viable at medium range. To even further enhance their range power, a "Smart Choke" mod can be installed to further tighten the shot spread. There's even a couple of shotguns that fire slug rounds. One of these, the N7 Crusader, is actually the most accurate weapon in the entire game.
      • There are, however, two new shotguns that play this trope completely straight: the Reegar Carbine and the N7 Piranha. The Reegar shoots a spray of electricity, rather than normal projectiles and has less range than the flamethrowers used by some enemies, but will absolutely shred anything that isn't armored within range (Armored targets are also fair game if you use Incendiary ammunition, and wait for the burn). The N7 Piranha has such a large spread that the crosshair almost covers the entire screen, but it's the most powerful shotgun in the game at point blank and fully automatic.
      • And then we have the M-358 Talon, a revolver, shotgun, pistol. Massive damage, but you have to practically feel the enemy's breath on your face to use it effectively. That said, a fully upgraded Talon X is a viable weapon up to mid-range, especially since even a single pellet striking a human(oid) enemy's head is often enough for a One-Hit Kill, so the gun's spread can actually be an advantage. The effort of getting it to that level, however, is what puts the Talon back into this territory most of the time.
    • 3 also allowed a second class to use the shotgun effectively under ordinary circumstances: Infiltrators. While initially conceived as a sniper class, an Infiltrator's Tactical Cloak allows them to get right under the enemy's nose unseen. Tactical Cloak also significantly increases damage, meaning that the high base damage of most shotguns turns into a One-Hit Kill against most enemies. Shotgun Infiltrators are actually very popular in multiplayer for exactly that reason (and some nasty bugs that screwed primarily with Vanguards).
  • The shotgun in The Matrix: Path of Neo has the "about 5 or so meters" range, but is actually quite accurate.
  • In Max Payne 3, all shotguns other than the sawed-offnote  can perform respectably at range, especially if you aim for the head. The two previous installments play the trope straight, although it's not really noticeable since most of the combat takes place in small areas.
  • Metal Gear:
    • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and its now-defunct multiplayer component Metal Gear Online, both the standard pump-action Remington 870 and semi-automatic Saiga 12 play this trope straight, doing very little damage beyond close range, and also with the caveat for semi-auto shotguns so the Saiga is actually worse at range despite having a longer barrel than the Remington. Bizarrely, despite this, you can stick a red-dot or a 4X ACOG on the 870, even if the buckshot's effective range makes them completely unnecessary. You can also load slugs, though, so one of these sights could conceivably turn the shotgun into a poor man's sniper rifle, but the way weapons and attachments are handled in-game (switch between them on the fly in single-player, buy a different one next round in multiplayer) makes this pointless, since it's easier to just take a real sniper rifle. Hilariously, the shortened Masterkey shotgun attachment for assault rifles has an instant death range of 15-20m while the other shotguns only have 10-15m. Even worse, the shotguns in the online portion are physically incapable of getting a one shot kill without slugs — even a point blank shot will only take away half health.
    • In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, shotguns have a surprisingly good range and accuracy, making them effective up to some 50 meters. This probably was implemented because unlike previous games The Phantom Pain takes place in a huge open world environment. It's also possible to use slugs, making the effective range even better.
  • In Microvolts, shotguns are most effective when you're so close up that you could just as easily use your melee weapon. "Most effective" meaning "instant kill" — as long as you're accurate, at least, because all available shotguns have a pretty nasty spread.
  • In Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy, the shotgun is extremely powerful at close range, but practically worthless beyond that. It is crippled by its inaccuracy and low ammo capacity.
  • Splinter Cell: Blacklist zigzags this trope. Unmodified shotguns do huge damage at close range but barely touch enemies if you're further away. Loading them with slugs, however, upgrade their effective range to only slightly less than that of an assault rifle.
  • The shotguns in Star Wars: Battlefront are much shorter-ranged than most weapons, but not cripplingly so; on enclosed maps (Tantive IV, Death Star, Coruscant, the like) they are at least as good as the assault rifle, especially in Battlefront II with the unlockable Flechette Shotgun.
  • Vanquish's shotgun only deals Scratch Damage beyond about two or three meters.
  • In Warframe, shotguns suffered from this until Update 17, which put a cap on damage falloff and buffed their damage. They're still best at close range, but they're not completely ineffective at distances anymore.
  • In the rebooted Tomb Raider trilogy, shotguns won't deal their full damage until the target is close enough to stick their finger(s) in the barrel(s). Allowing the enemy to get that close makes the difference between expending one shell or two to take it downnote , but if you miss, things can get ugly fast, especially on higher difficulty settings where a single hit in melee is enough to (almost) kill Lara.

    Top-Down Shooters 
  • The Shot Cannon in the rebooted Alien Breed games will smash over almost anything that gets in your face in one hit if you hit them squarely, but for anything outside of spitting distance you might as well not bother.
  • Shotguns in Alien Shooter tend to follow the trope. If you're firing at a single target, and said target is a way away, you'll be missing more than hitting. The situation is ameliorated by the fact that you're never firing at a single target, the game being the sort that'll throw dozens and dozens at enemies at you at the same time. As a result, blindly firing a shotgun at the approaching crowd is a good technique to decrease the swarm's health as a whole.
  • The Shotgun and Vindicator in Alien Swarm use this trope. At close range, they do insane damage. Anything farther than mid range and the shots will either do minimal damage or just not hit the target at all.
  • In Hotline Miami, one or two bullets from any gun are enough to kill anyone, including shotgun pellets. In some cases, shotguns are better at long range as opposed to the assault rifle if you want to kill multiple mooks in an open area from far away, since the spread covers a large area and gives them less time to react to it.
  • An Exaggerated case in Livelock with the Guardian shotgun, one of the Vanguard chassis's two choices for their secondary weapon; it has a firing cone of almost 90 degrees, but a range barely longer than melee. Given that Vanguard is a melee specialist class already,note , giving up the long-ranged and accurate Reaper Autocannon to choose the Guardian instead is basically giving up on life (the fact that the Guardian has terrible ammo efficiency and isn't even particularly damaging anyway just solidifies it as a complete joke of a weapon).

    Wide-Open Sandbox Games 
  • In The Godfather, the shotgun packs a powerful punch regardless of range. This is a good thing, as the game's relatively realistic way of handling firearm damage makes engaging enemies at close range a bad idea.
  • The Grand Theft Auto series is all over the place with it:
    • There is a particularly odd case in Grand Theft Auto III. In that game, shotguns are loaded with buckshot and do the whole short range with low damage from far way thing... on human targets. Against vehicles, they hit like explosive slugs no matter how far away they're shot from, and can wreck a vehicle in a handful of shots, especially in the hands of the enemy. Hope you found all of the packages in Portland before pissing off The Mafia.
    • Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony throws this trope to hell by introducing the fully-automated AA-12 with FRAG-12 grenade shells, which obviously don't have the spread of buckshot.
    • In Grand Theft Auto V, you still have to be pretty close to get a One-Hit Kill bodyshot, but you can score headshots at a good distance, since enemies will die if so much as a single pellet strikes them in the head. As many of the game's missions gold medal requirements call for a high level of accuracy with the player's weapon when gunplay is involved, there's quite a strong incentive to use shotguns in close quarters to achieve the requirement.
  • In Just Cause 2, the Sawed-Off Shotgun has a wide spread, but the two-handed military shotgun has spread tight enough to hit targets 30-40 metres away from you. The upshot is that the sawed-off is counted as a pistol, so you can make up for the lower range by doubling it up - whether with a pistol or revolver to use on longer-ranged targets, or a second shotgun to boost how much hurt you put out in short range - and being able to use it while hanging off of something with the grappling hook.
  • In Red Dead Redemption, not only is the shotgun range relatively realistic (if the spread being somewhat randomly placed at longer range, as if the shooter isn't even aiming where the crosshairs are), the "headshots always kill" rule is in full effect, and even a graze by the spread can instantly kill the victim if it hits them in the noggin. Even if it only causes a light wound, the Euphoria physics engine means that they'll usually stumble and give you time for a followup shot or a chance to move to a better position.
  • Red Dead Redemption II follows in line with its predecessor. Shotguns still make a chunky mess of anything at short range, but remain much more effective into the medium range than they do in most video games. Few humanoid enemies survive more than two blasts at this range, and the first is likely to knock them down, temporarily preventing them from fighting back. Upgrades are available which further increase their effectiveness at longer ranges, while still keeping their high short range lethality.
  • There are a handful of different shotguns in TerraTech, including a laser shotgun. All of them deal heavy damage in a short cone and no damage whatsoever at range.

    Other Games 
  • Elite Dangerous's Fragmentation Cannons offer some of the highest damage-per-second in their class, but it comes at the penalty of absurdly poor range; at 100 meters - knife fighting range for spacecraft - a not-insignificant portion of their shells will completely miss the target, let alone at the usual 600-800 meter engagement ranges, and prior to the 'Powerplay' update they also had pathetic ammo reserves which has turned them into something of a Scrappy Weapon.
  • MechWarrior Living Legends features the enormous BattleMech-mounted LBX/20 shotgun, which has a stated maximum range of 350 meters — one of the shortest of all weapons — but its effective range is 150 meters or less. The lower caliber shotguns — the LBX/10, /5, and /2, fire less pellets with a narrower choke, which results in less damage but a higher effective range. A LBX/2 has an effective range of over a kilometer (more than almost every other non-artillery weapon), courtesy of the very narrow choke. Because of their spread and their damage multiplier against lightly armored targets (aerospace fighters and battlearmor), the LBX autocannon series are the premiere Anti-Air weapon for mechs and some tanks.
  • The shotgun in The Oregon Trail II has such short range that it's practically useless even for small-game hunting.

    Non-Video Game Examples 
  • In Haloid, the shotgun is used like it's a melee weapon. Most of the victims were practically touching it before getting Blown Across the Room by the blast.
  • Invoked in Hard Target, when Fouchon warns that Chance can't shoot at him without hitting his hostage, thanks to his choosing a shotgun ("You picked the wrong tool for the job!"). Since Chance was only fifteen or so feet away, in reality he could have easily blown Fouchon's head apart right there without hurting the hostage at all, but this movie wasn't exactly on speaking terms with reality to start with.
  • In Malifaux, shotguns have even less range than pistols, and in fact less than the charge range of most models.
  • The game-centric webcomic Nerf NOW!! discusses the trope in one of its comics, and provides the image at the top.
  • Shotguns in Rocket Age have a ridiculously short range in comparison to rifles and using shot as opposed to slugs shortens the range even further. However, shotguns can hit multiple targets.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • In the roleplaying games (Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, Deathwatch, and Black Crusade), shotguns tend to have maximum ranges of around 100 m. They also only get their signature 'scatter' attack bonus (which grants extra auto-hit attacks on your target when you roll a good attack roll) when fired point-blank range (3m or less).
    • Ogryn (space ogres) Ripper shotguns are perhaps the ultimate expression of this trope: monstrously huge and heavy shotguns designed to be used as clubs first and foremost, with any shooting done mostly so the ogryn has something to do while closing in. The orks, who have a very similar philosophy, like to loot them for their own use.
  • In the Western film Lightning Jack, when Ben Doyle proves to be a helpless shot with a revolver Jack gives him a Sawed-Off Shotgun. At close range in disintegrates a board in the side of a barn. However Jack then has him shoot again from only a few paces further away, and the board barely even rattles.
  • In Looper, the blunderbuss is this, apparently by design. It's meant to kill a single (tied-up) person at close range. Kid Blue even mocks Joe for using it, citing it as proof of how unskilled those who use it are, whereas he and other gat men use a precise revolver. Both sides of this are shown in the climax, where Joe kills Kid Blue with a blind shot once he gets close enough (but Kid Blue can't make a precise shot), but is unable to anything to Old!Joe who's out of range.
  • In Red vs. Blue (filmed inside Halo, listed above), Grif started a verbal takedown of Sarge - who has never hidden his disgust for Grif, usually in violent ways - with the pre-emptive safety of standing just far enough from his shotgun.
    Grif: Now I imagine it can be pretty hard to be an ineffective leader with no respect— [Sarge fires the shotgun repeatedly to no use] —who doesn't understand that his primary weapon has an effective range much shorter than most weapons, but I think since we’re gonna die anyway, you deserve to know that.


Video Example(s):


Doomsday Rounds

Womble discovers that the doomsday rounds are useless at ranges beyond 150 meters. Targets WITHIN 150 meters, on the other hand...

How well does it match the trope?

4.96 (27 votes)

Example of:

Main / GracefulInTheirElement

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