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Shotguns Are Just Better

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Over the centuries, mankind has tried many ways of combating the forces of evil... prayer, fasting, good works and so on. Up until Doom, no one seemed to have thought about the double-barrel shotgun. Eat leaden death, demon...

In Video Games, and indeed in fiction as well, no matter how many super-powerful weapons the player or protagonist has at their disposal, many will always tend to use their shotgun.

There are several different reasons for this, though not all of them are always the case:

  • The shotgun is Boring, but Practical and/or Simple, yet Awesome — it is almost always Hitscan, kills enemies quickly without the hassle of avoiding splash damage from rockets or other weapons, and depending on the game it can send enemies flying or just liquify them outright. And since it does all its damage in a single blast, that means anything that can't survive a hit from a shotgun is out of the fight immediately, while an automatic weapon might take a second or two of fire to bring them down.
  • Everything better is Too Awesome to Use — shotgun ammo is nigh ubiquitous since it's usually one of the first weapons found in the game, and everything afterwards tends to be reserved for bosses. While other weapons, like the rocket launcher or BFG, may pack a greater punch overall, the shotgun will usually boast the best balance of raw power vs. ammo supply, making it the logical choice for most encounters. Furthermore, unlike automatic weapons, ammo lasts a lot longer in a gunfight, so burning through your entire supply happens a lot less often.
  • The shotgun is just plain better than everything else — at close range, it can indeed be the best weapon in the game, and in games without Bottomless Magazines it tends to have a decent magazine size as well.
  • The traditional stated weakness of buckshot is its spread — depending on its choke — but most videogame firefights take place in relatively confined spaces, meaning this weakness doesn't matter much. Many games jack up the spread to ludicrous degrees to avert this, and even then, players can still often find all the pellets hitting on a regular basis. If a mission calls for both close-quarters gunplay and accuracy, then you can rely on shotguns to get both jobs done.
  • In fiction, shotguns tend to be handy for anyone who makes a living hunting monsters due to the smoothbore design of many shotguns allowing for the use of a wide variety of exotic loads that other guns would need very extensive (and expensive) gunsmithing work to be able to fire, or that would be rather ineffective with regular guns (such as Silver Bullets).
  • There is nothing like the sound of a pump-action shotgun racking a shell for letting the other guy know that you mean business (and that he should have brought his brown pants), which is why many cops and crooks like to use them.
  • One element uncommonly shown in fiction (though more or less prevalent in zombie fiction) is the fact that a shotgun's spread makes it easier to score at least one hit on a target, at least when using shot. If a work acknowledges this, then being a Short-Range Shotgun becomes a double-edged sword instead of a pure disadvantage.

However, perhaps the simplest explanation of this trope is that shotguns are just badass, especially when shortened.

Real Life shotguns, despite having a short effective range note , can be tremendously destructive if loaded with large buckshot and modern slugs developed for hunting large and dangerous game. In the case of slugs, some can be fired with considerable accuracy up to almost one hundred yards. However, they are nowhere near as powerful as they are often depicted in fiction; higher momentum and mass usually results in larger wounds and a twelve gauge slug has similar kinetic energy to a 7.62x51mm NATO round (and about twice as much as a 5.56x45mm NATO round), but also a lower rate of fire and considerable recoil depending on various factors in comparison to most rifles. Furthermore, it’s notable that shotshells are notoriously ineffective for penetrating body armornote . Because of these factors, shotguns see little use in a military role outside of breaching doors.

A shotgun is often the signature weapon for farmers, mountain men, hillbillies in general, other rural folks and your average day civilians, due to traditionally being affordable; ammo being cheap as well as plentiful; and typically having less restrictions for owning one. Hardened criminals and dutiful police alike favour the shotgun's killing power in close quarters and sheer intimidation value. For criminals, shotguns and ammo are relatively easy to obtain, as shotguns are widely used in hunting; criminals may saw off the barrel to make the weapon more concealable.

The Zombie Apocalypse Hero also usually finds the shotgun particularly useful for re-deading the undead. In an action movie, the shotgun tends to find itself in the hands of the Anti-Hero or The Dragon, practically never The Hero — though some exceptions do exist.

How much of a Short-Range Shotgun it is within a video game may affect the gun's overall usefulness, thus it may disqualify it. This Is My Boomstick will apply if the wielder of the shotgun happens upon a group of natives who have never even seen a shotgun before and attempts to impress them by describing it in detail. See also One-Handed Shotgun Pump, where Rule of Cool for shotguns takes one step further. If the barrel is intentionally shortened it may be a Sawed-Off Shotgun. Calling Shotgun does not necessarily mean the person actually has a shotgun, although it can help...


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    Anime & Manga 
  • While he's primarily a brawler, Ladd Russo from Baccano! also likes to kick ass with his sawed-off shotgun.
  • Highschool of the Dead:
    • Komura Takashi favors an Ithaca 37 shotgun in as his primary armament once they come upon a stash of contraband weapons.
    • Gruesomely subverted by a civilian who tries to take down multiple zombies with a double-barrel shotgun. He fumbles a reload and gets eaten.
  • The MS-18 Kämpfer's main weapon in Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket is a Humongous Mecha-scaled pump action shotgun. It is most definitely not a Short-Range Shotgun as one of the OVA's most iconic battle scenes features the Kämpfer blasting air-dropping Federation mobile suits out of the sky as if it were a monstrously oversized duck gun.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack's Sazabi (also designed by Yutaka Izubuchi) is armed with the "Beam Shotrifle", designed in the style of a semi-automatic military shotgun that fires bursts of charged particles rather than lead shot. Designed for closer engagements than the typical beam rifle, as the Sazabi relies on its Attack Drone "funnels" for ranged combat, mainly as a "crowd control" weapon to blast away at anything that manages to outmaneuver them and close the distance.
  • Izabuchi strikes again in Patlabor. The Ingrams can use "Riot Cannons", scaled-up Franchi PA8 shotguns, for when their typical Colt Python-inspired revolvers just won't cut it.

    Comic Books 
  • Two-Face, in the 1980s Batman comics, often carried a double-barreled shotgun as his weapon of choice. These days, he's more likely to favor twin Colt 45s.
  • Subverted in Button Man: Harry notes that in the right situation, a shotgun is a very useful and effective weapon... but neither trying to hit a target close enough to punch you nor a target 600 yards away and running are the right situation for a full-length shotty.
  • The Doom comic (pictured above) has Doomguy give a loving soliloquy about his shotgun.
    Doomguy: At this particular moment in time, I don't think I have a healthier or more deeply-felt respect for any other object in the universe than this here shotgun.
  • The Final Plague: A lieutenant in the quarantined facility holds tightly onto his shotgun, even after being told to put it down.
  • Ghost Rider: When separated from Zarathos, Johnny Blaze used the Hellfire Shotgun, imbued with a portion of the Rider’s power (first thought to be from Danny Ketch, later revealed to be from Zarathos).
  • Frank Castle frequently sticks to a pump-action shotgun for close-quarters fighting, although he prefers his 1911 pistol for "last resort", and his preferred weapon overall is any Armalite-pattern assault rifle. He's lethal with any firearm, of course, but appreciates a weapon so devastating that you only have to spend one trigger pull for each target.
  • Savage. Bill's initial weapon is a double barrelled shotgun, which he uses to take out an armoured vehicle in his first appearance. He upgrades to a Remington 870 when he joins La Résistance. When the series was revived in 2004 and Bill fakes his own death and takes on his brother's appearance, Chantry manages to identify him by his use of a shotgun in combat. After that, he switches weapons constantly (mostly using pistols and submachineguns), but sometimes he'll use a shotgun for special occasions such as killing Vashkov.
  • Sullivan's Sluggers: While searching a farm for things Casey and his team can use to defend themselves from the monstrous townsfolk, Casey finds a shotgun mounted above a fireplace. It becomes his main weapon.
  • The survivors in Wild's End are forced to use their two double-barrelled shotguns very often and to great effect.

    Fan Works 
  • In this series of Judge Dredd fanfics, the characters make extensive and frequent use of the "widowmaker" shotgun, despite having the lawgiver as a standard sidearm.
  • In Xendra, the only firearm the Scoobies use is a shotgun because it's more convenient than a handgun. First, someone with a shotgun in their car can claim they're going hunting but a handgun raises more eyebrows. Second, making Depleted Phlebotinum Shells for a handgun is extremely difficult but making them for a shotgun is fairly easy though time consuming. That and Xander notes that a specialty round for a handgun would only work for a few types of enemies, whereas he can make shells with quebracho (the hardest wood in the world), lead, cold iron, silver, and little steel crosses, plus shards of magnesium that ignite when fired. Altogether, said "Slayer Shells" will kill just about anything they hit.
  • Subverted in My Huntsman Academia. Izuku decided to use Emerald Gust, a set of gauntlets and boots with built-in shotguns, in hopes of emulating Toshinori's famous smashes. His choice to use standard-issue Gravity Dust buckshot makes them less effective against the Grimm when compared to weapons like the Crescent Rose, as the Grimm's homogeneous bodies prevent the buckshot from dealing serious bodily harm unless used at point-blank range. Played far straighter after he upgrades to armor-piercing slugs, which can vaporize the armored skull of an Alpha Beowolf when used in conjunction with One For All: Full Cowl.
  • The Night Unfurls: Compared with the Hunter's Pistol, the Hunter's Blunderbuss has the advantage of wider spread, meaning a higher chance to hit the targets in the front. Vera from the remastered version internally notes that it "looked more like a cannon than anything else".
  • Ars Goetia: Dimitri's gun type of choice, more specifically the double-barrel type.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Aliens, Hicks carries an Ithaca Model 37 pump-action shotgun that is considered a "family heirloom" and is capable of blowing a softball sized hole through a Xenomorph's head at point blank range. Unfortunately, this covers the weapon in the creature's acid blood, effectively destroying it.
    Hicks: I like to keep this handy... (racks in a load) for close encounters.
  • Army of Darkness: Boomsticks are just better.
  • The Batman (2022): Batman's costume is completely bulletproof, allowing him to casually walk through normal gunfire. However, in the climax, one of Riddler's henchmen shoots him with a double barrel shotgun. It doesn't penetrate the suit, but it does knock him down and leave him in so much pain that he briefly passes out. When he wakes up, he needs to inject himself with adrenaline to get up.
  • Boulevard Nights: Chuco takes a revolver with him when he goes for his revenge, but when an 11th Street gangbanger drops a shotgun, Chuco picks it up, and that's what he uses to kill the bad guy.
  • In Day of the Wolves, Chief Pete Anderson stages a "Die Hard" on an X against the gang that is Taking Over the Town armed only with a double-barreled shotgun. By the end of it, Pete is still standing, several Wolves are dead or in custody, and the rest have been run off.
  • Hale Caesar's fully automatic, drum fed AA-12 shotgun in The Expendables. At one point, it gets loaded with FRAG-12 explosive rounds, introducing all sorts of proverbial shit to the fan.
  • In The Fast and the Furious franchise, Dominic is seen brandishing a shotgun in every movie he appears in with the exception of Tokyo Drift.
  • Gigi's weapon of choice in Fresh Meat. She's also the most competent member of the gang.
  • Helldriver is probably the best example, as the zombies are controlled by a horn on their heads, which makes a worse target for other weapons, is a drug and highly volatile. The disembodied body parts of the zombies continue to function until the horn is detonated, so a shotgun, even with birdshot, would be ideal, as is demonstrated when a lawman living in the contaminated zone is introduced to the party, setting off a chain reaction amongst the cut-off-and-catapulted incoming zombie heads. However, the government's plan is to continue making cyborgs with chain-katanas, which should only make things worse, assuming any internal consistency in the movie, though that is hard to find.
  • John Wick is obviously a fan of this trope.
    • In the first movie, he's made devastating use of a Kel-Tech KSG to stop Viggo Tarasov from leaving.
    • In the sequel, he borrows a Benelli M4 that was customized by Taran Tactical Innovations from the Sommelier for his battle in the catacombs. John's military training shows in that gun battle, as he always took the time to top off his shotgun whenever he had the opportunity, and kept a handgun (a Glock 26 that was also customized by TTI) ready for whenever he was caught in the middle of reloading.
    • In the third film, after dealing with some heavily-armored thugs immune to small-arms fire John and Charon decide to get Benelli M4s with armor-piercing slugs, which prove to be much more effective.
    • In the fourth film, some assassins load their shotguns with Dragon's breath shells, which cause anything they shoot to burst into flames and rendering bulletproofing useless. John naturally gets his hands on one.
  • In Kill Bill, Budd proves to the Bride that while Katanas Are Just Better, shotguns loaded with rock salt are even moreso and he didn't even have to get out of his chair to prove it. If he wasn't a regretful Death Seeker and used real buckshot instead, her Roaring Rampage of Revenge would have ended right then and there. A flashback reveals that shortly after The Bride learned about her pregnancy she was attacked by another hitwoman called Karen Kim. Kim's choice is a sawn-off shotgun which she wields with extreme precision.
    The Bride: You pretty good with that shotgun?
    Karen: Not that I have to be at this range, but I'm a fuckin' surgeon with this shotgun.
  • Mad Max. Max wields sawed-off shotguns throughout the films, though they misfire not once, but twice in the series.
  • Masters of the Universe: When Detective Lubic gets dragged into the final battle, he takes out several of Skeletor's minions with his shotgun. Everybody else uses ray guns with dodgeable beams, but nobody can dodge his shotgun blasts.
  • Mongolian Death Worm: Officer Timur has a shotgun that he takes with him on his job. He uses it effectively against the worms that attack the village of Sepegal.
  • Outland: Police and criminals alike favour semi-automatic shotguns in this Used Future science-fiction film.
  • In the Resident Evil Film Series, the survivors make liberal use of shotguns and any other weapons to combat the Zombie Apocalypse.
  • The Terminator franchise make extensive use of shotguns, presumably because of the dearth of plasma rifles in the 40-watt range. The Terminators can easily shrug off anything smaller, so shotguns are the most common way to defend oneself against them. Each of the T-800 models is shown using some sort of shotgun in each movie.
    • In The Terminator, Kyle Reese's primary weapon in the first half of the film is a shotgun with a sawn-off stock tied to his shoulder, allowing him to conceal it under a trenchcoat. It is able to temporarily disable the titular killing machine, while other firearms have little effect. The Terminator itself also makes use of a SPAS-12 stolen from a gun store.
    • In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the slugs fired from the T-800's Winchester knock the T-1000 off balance and even split its head in half temporarily, whereas pistol rounds are a minor inconvenience. Sarah Connor also, if not for running out of ammo, would have killed the T-1000 on her own by almost pushing it back into molten metal with repeated shotgun blasts. It did set up the assist for the T-800 to finish it off.
    • In Terminator Genisys, the "Pops" T-850 uses several shotguns at different points, as does Sarah Connor.
    • In Terminator: Dark Fate, Grace rapid fires a shotgun into the Rev-9's face, which pins it down until she runs out of ammo.
  • The weapon of choice for The Untouchables (1987) and with justification too — one of the gangsters is arrested when his tommy gun jams and the ostensible Non-Action Guy is able to club him with his (empty) shotgun.
  • In Violent Saturday, Shelley Martin is able to use the double-barrelled shotgun he takes off Slick to lethal effect against the rest of the gang.
  • In The Wraith, the titular character has a modified SPAS-12 that shoots lasers, which he uses to trash Packard Walsh's garage. Packard himself has a regular double barreled one that Skank tried to shoot The Wraith with, only for it to backfire.

  • Asi Hart:
    • Detective Burroughs from Cat Girls Have Four Ears decides to carry his antique double barrel around, finding it very effective against radio-controlled attack-drones and cat-girl assassins. Even when he gets a military rifle, he still carries it along with him.
    • Eddie from Under a Freezing Moon steals a fancy Italian auto-loader to use on the zombies he's chasing, because they are the most effective weapons available.
  • In Caitlin R. Kiernan's Daughter of Hounds, the main protagonist is a half-human, half-ghoul hybrid who uses a Roadblocker shotgun. It's a great choice for her as it gives her a lot of firepower compared to her comrades and bounties.
  • In 2040, weapons for dealing with zombies have come a long way since the "Rising" of 2014 for Mira Grant/Seanan Mcguire's News Flesh trilogy. In Feed's excerpt for Deadline, a training mission goes south for the team and they're having some trouble dealing with a horde of undead with just pistols, a rifle and an electric baton. Rescue happens when the team leader drives in with a shotgun that's loaded with shotgun grenades and thins out many zombies with the exploding frag shells before he wades in with an electric baton. Then one member finds a belt-fed, fully automatic shotgun and just clears a path through them. An addenum: the actual Deadline novel alters things a bit from the excerpt. Both characters had their weapons downgraded to something more mundane, the shotgun grenades became hand grenades and the belt-fed auto shotgun became an assault rifle.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Beverly Hillbillies: Granny prefers a double-barrelled shotgun. Granny's even able to shoot skeet with it. She starts off using shells, but after the first season, her usual ammo is rock salt and bacon rinds.
  • The Blacklist: Raymond Reddington seems to be a fan of this trope, as he is most often seen with a shotgun whenever he's not using a handgun.
  • In Season 2 of Marvel's Daredevil, Punisher escapes his captors by picking up a convenient shotgun and blowing away several thugs without even looking at them. He proceeds to kill the last mobster with a point blank shot to the head.
  • The MythBusters have tested firearms of various kinds, and in some cases their 12-gauge shotgun turns out to be the best option for a myth. For example, it's the best option for shooting a grenade out of the air (after all, shotguns are used for skeet shooting), and it's also your best option when shooting into water from land (at a 23-degree angle, the slug travels 8 feet through the water; higher-powered rifle rounds shatter upon impact, while pistol and black-powder rifle rounds tend to stop more quickly).
  • Shotguns — especially drum-fed variants — are SG1's go-to weapon when going up against replicators. The robo-bugs can adapt to high-tech energy weapons, but not to massive kinetic damage.
  • The Winchester brothers in Supernatural often use shotguns loaded with rock salt to fight ghosts.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech and its spinoff MechWarrior:
    • The LBX series of autocannons. The tabletop version is a straight upgrade in terms of stats—it is lighter, has longer range, produces less heat, and can fire both standard autocannon shells as well as cluster rounds that have accuracy bonuses (ideal for shooting down aircraft or dealing Critical Hits to the interior of a 'Mech). The video game versions are lighter than their standard peers, and depending on the game are either straight upgrades (3 and its Expansion Pack) or a Humongous Mecha Short-Range Shotgun can reliably knocks down enemy 'Mechs and leaves them defenseless (the 4 trilogy onwards). The Annihilator capitalizes on this with four LB-10X ACs and four Medium Pulse Lasers to back it up.
    • The RPG also explicitly calls out the Blaser rifle as the laser equivelent, packing a larger punch at a longer range but sacrificing efficiency to do so. It also has two barrels. Another version is the Blazer pistol, which packs the same power into a dramatically shortened version, thereby making it illegal in much of the Inner Sphere.
  • In Call of Cthulhu shotguns are one of the most powerful and easily accessible guns on the entire planet. The most practical model listed in the core rule book, the 12 gauge Benelli, has a 7 shot capacity, fires twice per round, and does 4D6/2D6/1D6 (10/20/50 yards). That's an average of 14 damage and a standard deviation of 3.4 (it's surprisingly rare to fight a battle beyond 20 yards). In a normal distribution, it will be within one standard deviation of the mean 68% of the time. You get two shots per round of combat, and with eight shotgun wielders you'd deal 2*14*8 = 224 damage average and have a standard deviation of 13.7. Since die rolls are discrete, it won't be perfect, but that should give you an idea of how much the damage will vary. Now, to put this into perspective: most games will have three to eight players, each potentially equipped with a boom stick of their own plus side arms and other weapons, concentrating long range fire power into melee-exclusive monsters with health barely able to sustain a single two-person shotgun volley. Incredibly massive army of deep ones? More like incredibly massive pile of Chunky Salsa!
  • In Cyberpunk 2020, with the basic rules at least, shotguns have poor range. However, at point-blank as well at a very short ranges and confined spaces are deadly. For dakka, simply get an automatic shotgun, even if they lack precision.
    The alleyway becomes Hamburger Heaven.
  • d20Modern (a modern day setting RPG using Dungeons & Dragons' d20 ruleset), the trope is inverted. While you can use special loads in shotguns, the shotguns suffer from short range, range penalties applying to damage, and their damage not even being any higher than rifles (which have more range and capacity). It's even claimed that the lead designer had a special dislike for shotguns.
  • In Feng Shui, shotguns are as powerful as rifles, and can be dramatically cocked for an extra point of damage.
  • Games Workshop games:
    • Warhammer 40,000:
      • Some Astartes Scouts are equipped with Astartes shotguns, sometimes known as Astartes assault or combat shotguns, that are more powerful than the shotguns used by other Imperial forcesnote . The high rate of fire and the ability to fire on the move make these short-ranged weapons highly useful to Scout squads operating in dense terrain.
      • The famous missionary Uriah Jacobus is armed with the relic shotgun Redeemer. This weapon is most powerful shotgun in the game with the range equivalent to that of a bolternote , greater penetrating power and, in the 8th Edition rules, has a chance of doing double damage.
    • In Necromunda shotguns have been one of the most useful and versatile basic weapons in every edition of the game due to their low cost, the variety of different ammo types they can be equipped with and their ability to knock enemy fighters from high scenery. The style of shotgun used tends to vary from House to House with the Goliath preferring rugged designs, while Esher shotguns are more elegant.
  • In GURPS shotguns have a lot of ammunition choices making them a viable, but not quite ideal, for pretty much any job. Shot-shells make them the most accurate close range weapon while, AP slugs can go through through armored walls, explosive shells can put a grenade through a window, they can even take tiny anti-tank rounds.
  • Subverted by the Heavy Gear video game adaptations. The fragmentation cannon is rather obviously a shotgun in function and appearance, but it is easily one of the worst ranged weapons available in either video game bearing the Heavy Gear name. Its flaws include slow fire rate, low ammo capacity, short range, and pitiful damage. Most embarrassingly, it is outright surpassed in each of the aforementioned traits by the basic light autocannon given to new players. It's not really any better on the tabletop, as for the price of a fragmentation cannon you might as well put a medium autocannon into play instead — the frag cannon's only bonus is a small accuracy buff, taking a rather hefty range penalty in the bargain. For all it's worth, the Fragmentation Cannon is the shotgun equivalent of Goldeneye's Klobb.
  • Shotguns do slightly more damage than rifles and can hit multiple targets in Rocket Age, but have far shorter range.
  • Zig-Zagged Trope in Sentinels of the Multiverse. Expatriette carries a shotgun, a pair of Guns Akimbo, an assault rifle, and a submachinegun. The assault rifle deals more total damage, but spread over several targets. And the Guns Akimbo deal as much damage to a single target as the shotgun if both are used on the same target, with two exceptions:
    • If Expatriette has bonus damage from a Status Buff, she deals more single target DPS with the Guns Akimbo than the shotgun, since bonus damage applies to each attack.
    • If Expatriette suffers from a damage debuff, or the enemies have Damage Reduction, the shotgun is better as it is a singke high damage attack.
  • In third edition Shadowrun shotguns have high power and are exceeded in base damage only by assault cannons and the best sniper rifles. A burst from an automatic shotgun is one of the few attacks that can kill with even a minimal hit.
  • Some sci-fi settings (Eg. Savage Worlds Sci-fi Companion) mention that shotguns are better for combat inside ships or space stations, as the shot has less chance of punching a big hole in the hull.
  • Old World of Darkness: A sawed-off shotgun has a difficulty to hit of 4, the lowest of any weapon in the official rulebooks. Low difficulty means more successes on your hit role, and firearms get an extra damage die for every success on the hit roll. Shotguns already start with a very high 8 damage, so they potentially do more damage than any other firearm in the game, more than most other conventional weapons barring high explosives.

    Video Games 
  • There are two different shotguns in Alan Wake, a double-barreled one and a pump-action one. Both are better than Alan's handgun, a revolver, but not quite as good as the hunting rifle. Interestingly, they both have their strengths and weaknesses: the double-barreled shotgun can only hold two rounds but can fire them off in quicker succession and reload faster than the pump-action, while the pump-action has a longer time period in between each shot but holds eight shells.
  • Alien Trilogy: The Shotgun quickly becomes the player's best friend early game, being much better than the starting handgun, and while it's severely outclassed late game by the Pulse Rifle and the Smart Gun, ammo for it is much more common than for the other two weapons, making the Shotgun a reasonable weapon to use in casual moments, in order to conserve ammo of your better weapons for tight situations.
  • Aliens Armageddon brings back the shotgun (which is absent in the previous two arcade shooters of the series, Alien 3: The Gun and Aliens Extermination). They can blow away limbs and entire chunks of body parts from alien enemies with ease.
  • ANNO: Mutationem: The protagonist's father, Holtz Flores, prefers to use pump-action shotguns for home defense and presumably, defending the Good-Guy Bar he used to run before handing over the duties to his adoptive daughter, Nakamura.
  • Antarctica 88: A shotgun is the first weapons you get in the game. You can put down small enemies with a single shot with it.
  • Inverted in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura. Shotguns may be cheap, light and compact, but they are still some of the worst firearms in the game, with terrible range, poor damage, next to no armour penetration, and slow firing rates. Do note that in this game, guns may not be entirely worthless, but they are generally considered to be underpowered.
  • In Arknights, lawyers and tax-collectors of the Laterano Notarial Hall seem to be fans of this trope, as Executor's fantasy-style Winchester M1887 (which he can perform Guns Akimbo with) and Enforcer's break-action shotgun can attest.
  • Ashes 2063: Shotguns are a common sight in the wastelands, being found in the hands of many gangster punks, scavs and bounty hunters. In Afterglow, even mutants use them extensively.
  • The protagonist of Assassin's Creed: Freedom Cry has a shotgun-esque blunderbuss. Though it only carries a single shot per reload, and can spare some lives after a certain range, quite a few men will be slain with a single blast if they get within its cone of death. In fact one of the achievements is killing 5 people with one shot.
  • Battlefield 3: A main battle tank upgrade allows players to unlock a shotgun-like cannon that annihilates close-range enemies.
  • Binky Show: You can find a shotgun tied to a balloon to wield against Binky. It take quite a few shots to bring him down, but it's way more effective against gnomes.
  • In the Bionic Commando reboot from 2009, the Hiker shotgun is one of the first special weapons available, an anti-armor shotgun that ends up being predominantly used on squishy human opponents. The range is fairly decent, and given the fact that it fires eight armor-penetrating slugs followed by a high explosive round in each shell, it's quite effective on human enemies. It does have the usual Short-Range Shotgun problems, but this is due to its wide spread, which is actually helpful. Swinging at high speed makes it a bit tough to aim accurately at times, but the Hiker simplifies matters somewhat. It was also highly popular in the multiplayer mode for the same reasons noted above.
  • BioShock:
    • In BioShock, the shotgun has special ammunition that allows the player to shoot sprays of bullets that either explode after hitting their target, or electrifies them, stunning them and making them easy targets for emptying the entire magazine into them. It does wonders to finish off the mini bosses, the Big Daddies. The only thing keeping you from coasting through the entire game on it is the shotgun's relatively low ammunition reserve pool.
    • BioShock Infinite gives us two: The China Broom and the Vox Heater. The latter offers a bigger boom but is hampered by its single-shot capability (which can be increased up to 3 with specific gear), while the former packs a slightly-less massive punch but has a 4-round magazine that can potentially be increased to 7 with the right gear, making it far more useful overall. So long as you have a decent backup weapon to handle ranged enemies, the China Broom is a fine companion from the time you first get it at Battleship Bay all the way to the final battle.
  • The Sawn-Off Shotgun in Blood is one of the classic examples of a powerful shotgun in an early FPS — while not much good at very long range, it's quite effective at mid-range and will one-shot many enemies at close range (or even, in some cases, take out small squads). Ammo is very common, it has a double-barreled Secondary Fire to make it effective against big game, and even the classical weakness of a small magazine is barely a problem, since Caleb reloads both barrels in the time it takes to wave his hand. There's also a Guns Akimbo powerup, which can make short work of practically anything.
  • Borderlands has shotguns that can hold 12+ shells at once and tend to be pretty powerful within their effective range. Especially when they have an accuracy and crit boost specifically designed to avert the short range part. The game also merges this interestingly with Revolvers Are Just Better with the Masher revolvers, some of the most dangerous revolvers in the game. But the icing of the cake is the Skullmasher, a scattershot-firing Sniper Rifle. Its firepower is miles above any sniper of the same level and even up to five levels above, and its range is even greater since the crosshair doesn't indicate a margin of error so much as what area will be carpeted by pellets.
  • Borderlands 2 ups the ante even further:
    • Only two of five possible barrels common shotguns can get (Hyperion and Tediore) will be single-shot. The others have two (Jakobs), three (Bandit), or even four barrels (Torgue). In fact, it is relatively easy to find an acid-shooting triple barreled shotgun that gets more accurate the more you shoot it. On top of that, any elemental shotgun receives no base damage penalty at all.
    • Carnage, the rocket shotgun (the one that shoots a single rocket) made a return in the UVHM 2 DLC (the rest of the barrels shoot at least a few pellets), and can even triple its output per shot with the "Casual" prefix, much like the SWORDSPLOSION.
    • There' also E-tech shotguns, which use weird alien technology to turn bullets into "stuff which ain't bullets." In this case, E-tech shotguns turn shotgun shells into enormous blobs of arcing elemental goo that do tremendous damage on impact and splash to hit nearby foes as well. An E-Tech variant of a Torgue shotgun also shoots swords. Swords that explode, into other, smaller swords. Which also explode.
    • The Torgue E-Tech shotgun SWORDSPLOSION!!! gets better with the Casual vertical grip. It fires not one sword that explodes into three, but instead three that explode into three more each. For no extra ammo cost.
    • There's also the Flakker, the legendary Torgue shotgun, which can fire up to one hundred explosions, and is one of the most powerful weapons in the entire series. However, the nature of its spread makes it insanely difficult to use, and a lot of players tend to dismiss it as Awesome, but Impractical.
    • The Hyperion Pearlescent shotgun Butcher is a shoutout to its incarnation from the first Borderlands, and mixes a shotgun with a machine gun that randomly refills your clip, and that's saying nothing about the manufacturer's Legendary and Seraph tier shotguns. Oh baby...
    • The Skullmasher returns largely unchanged, save for one less pellet and each critical hit counting individually, making it a Game-Breaker for Zer0 with the Critical Ascensi0n skill. Have fun shotty sniping!
    • And if all this is not enough, there's one relic, the "Deputy's Badge", that increases damage and drastically decreases reload time (up to by half!) on any equipped shotgun. The best part is that, unlike the Sheriff's Badge, it's not a Random Drop –- it's a mission reward, so you're guaranteed to get it.
  • Shotguns are taken up another notch in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! with the introduction of the Cryo element, meaning it becomes relatively easy to find a supercooled ice-throwing triple-barreled shotgun that will freeze the unlucky S.O.B on the receiving end solid.
  • Shotguns have become more powerful in Borderlands 3, especially Jakobs shotguns that rebound on crtical hit and damage nearby enemies and certain Torgue shotguns come with sticky gyrojet alt-fire so no enemy can escape. Downplayed with the Hyperion shotguns as they got nerfed in damage, though they did get a nifty frontal shield to compensate.
  • In The Breach, the Spread upgrade turns your machine gun into a fully automatic shotgun. Completely averts the short-range part, it fires three machine gun rounds in a 90 degree angle (one down the middle, one up, one down), which continue until they hit a wall, the edge of the screen, or a monster. Due to the RPG Elements, it gets more damage and more ROF with each level up.
  • BUCK: Saturday Morning Cartoon Apocalypse: One of Buck's first weapons is a sawn-off shotgun that can hold two bullets.
  • The Boneduster from Bulletstorm is a four-barreled shotgun that sends enemies flying when fired from medium distance and vaporizes half of their bodies when fired up close. The charged mode fires a blast of superheated air that melts the flesh from the bones of anyone unfortunate enough to be caught in it.
  • In Call of Juarez Gunslinger, there are double barreled shotguns of the long and sawed off variety. The former is introduced (literally—it gets its own comic-book style cutscene boasting about its stats and everything) in the second story level as "Deputy Bob Ollinger's Mean-Ass Shotgun." The latter can be dual-wielded if you unlock the required skill. These weapons are, as might be expected, absurdly effective in close combat. In fact, Deputy Bob's Mean-Ass Shotgun is declared to be "loud as thunder" and "can cut a man clean in half," which isn't too far off the mark at point-blank range.
    • With the right perks the shotguns become the deadliest weapons in the whole game, capable of firing non-stop in Concentration Mode, auto-locking onto perfect one hit kill headshots, combined with the Concentration Double Combo and x6 Combo Concentration refiller you can effectively twitch the stick in the direction of your next enemy, lock onto their head, pull the trigger for an instant kill, refilling your Concentration every three kills, rinse and repeat until your shotgun ammo reserves are empty.
  • Zig-Zagged in Cataclysm. While shotguns are some of the strongest weapons you can find, they are also extremely noisy, and thus will attract even more zombies if used recklessly. They are better saved for large, extremely powerful enemies such as Jabberwocks, which mostly spawn in isolated areas (not to mention that a new character has a better chance of escaping a zombie horde than a single Jabberwock).
  • Peacekeepers in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 are the Allies' basic infantry unit and are equipped with shotguns. They are the most expensive of the three sides' basic infantry units but can kill regular enemy infantry in two shots.
  • While the basic SG-A1 Conformer shotgun in Crusader games has low fire rate (and you have to reload it manually with the fire button), the automatic AC-88 Reaper is even more devastating than a grenade launcher or the lesser energy weapons (and allows you to loot bodies, too).
  • In close-range combat in The Conduit, the shotgun is either a one-hit kill or part of a two-hit combo (shotgun + melee).
  • In the Contra games, most enemies and your own heroes are a One-Hit-Point Wonder. So it's important to be able to hit as many as enemies as you can at once. Enter the Spread Gun, it fires a large cone of small shot to wipe out hordes of normal foes and keep Bill and Lance safe. It's not very quick but the rapid-fire powerup takes care of that. It's only drawback is that even at close-range, it's weak against Damage-Sponge Boss types so if there are two players — one person often gets the Laser or whatever is the most damaging weapon while the other covers them with the Spread Gun.
  • In Cover Fire from Viva Game Studio, for your assault characters — more efficient than such futuristic weapons like a rail gun or Lightning Gun is the M-870 Tactical. This shotgun has a good rate of fire while also being one of the best choices for missions that grade on accuracy (it's semi-automatic so it doesn't do an 3-round burst where the final bullets go past an already downed target) and carries a decent amount of ammo per magazine. But what makes it a top-tier weapon is that its slugs do a lot of damage and is only weaker per shot than the railgun and the guns exclusive to your snipers. The gun also has a bonus to reload speed and uniquely a bonus to health (great for staying alive and for missions which rate you for your remaining health).
  • Cyberpunk 2077: Shotguns, and particularly double-barreled shotguns, have the highest DPS in the game. In addition, they easily cause knockdown, so if your first hit didn't kill the enemy outright, you get a free shot to follow up.
  • In the Darkest of Days weapons trailer, while the others talk about the weapons and where it's from (with funny footnotes), what do they say about the shotgun? "It's a Shotgun!"
  • In Darkwood, shotguns are amongst the strongest weapons in the game, the Single Shot Shotgun being the game’s Infinity -1 Sword due to how early it can be built. It also helps that most enemies are the kind that get in the Protagonist’s face as much as they can, making it easier to hit them, and players can begin stockpiling shotgun shells as early as the second day from the morning traders before they craft their first reloadable shotgun.
  • Dead County: A shotgun is the second weapon type you pick up. It can put down zombies with one shot.
  • Dead Target from VNG Game Studio has one of the most powerful in video gamedom with its Bee Launcher. This is a hybrid weapon, with the first element being an ultra-tech pump-action shotgun. Each shotgun blast is so powerful that with no upgrading it'll tear off 1/5th of a boss enemy's health per hit. The shots also go long distances, penetrates enemies to hit foes behind and has a fairly significant spread (with no reduction to damage!). In addition to that shotgun, the Bee Launcher is simultaneously a drone port for a bee-appearing kamikaze drone. The gun launches the bee drone each time you fire the shotgun. The drone has significantly better tracking ability compared to a homing rocket and hits just as hard. The bee drones can also be fired out ahead of time, to let the drone detect incoming enemies as it has a few seconds of hovering sentry time.
  • Deus Ex has two versions, the sawn-off and the Assault Shotgun. The former is slightly more powerful, but extremely slow and has little ammo. The latter trades a small amount of power for being essentially a buckshot machine gun, being heavily based on the game's assault rifle (they have the same 2x2 allocation in the inventory screen, and a generally similar look and feel). Both are worth having, though the latter more-so by the end of the game. Adding on the laser sight somehow makes it 100% accurate; wherever the dot is, the pellets will hit, even if it is across the map. Both can fire either standard buckshot, which rains hell on organic targets, and sabot rounds, which are armour-piercing.
    • Deus Ex: Human Revolution has two shotguns: a regular one and a double-barrel one exclusive to the DLC. Neither is very good later in the game however, as they're not very good against armored opponents, which is most of what you face later on, and unlike the first Deus Ex each gun only has one ammo type.
    • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided brings back Human Revolution's regular shotgun and introduces the Devastator, a fully-automatic drum-fed killing machine. It doesn't have many upgrades, however, and only accepts relatively rare armor-piercing shells.
  • Doom: From the very beginning, the humble shotgun has been just as emblematic of the series as the Trope Namer BFG:
    • The first game has a simple shotgun as the second weapon you'll likely get. It does a good amount of damage, especially at short range, and the ammo is extremely plentiful, making it perhaps the most frequently used weapon in the game.
    • Doom II: Hell on Earth adds the super shotgun, which does nearly triple damage for the cost of two shells per shot. It easily tends to be the most used weapon in the game, with plentiful ammunition, devastating damage at point-blank range, and practically guaranteed chance of making whatever you're shooting at flinch in pain for a split second (even the otherwise nigh unflappable Arch-Vile). Discounting the BFG, it's only rivaled for single-shot damage by the Rocket Launcher, whose splash damage makes it a bad weapon to use in close quarters. In fact, the super shotgun's damage range (assuming all pellets hit) is 150-225 damage, while a direct hit from a rocket (including splash damage) is 148-288, meaning that the two weapons are almost equal in terms of damage potential. The super shotgun's only downside, aside from reloading being slower than the regular shotgun, is that it doesn't retain its stopping power at longer ranges.
    • Doom³, however, nerfs the shotgun badly, giving it an extremely wide spread over an unrealistically short distance, though in return for damage about equivalent to a rocket if you can get all the pellets to hit. This means that it's still effective at close range, but significantly less useful over longer distances. However, because most engagements in the game are at close range, it still gets a lot of use. The Resurrection of Evil Super Shotgun is still a monster, though; it hits hard enough to one-headshot-kill a Revenant, and is more accurate than the pump-action one to boot.
    • DOOM (2016) brings the shotgun back to its Bottomless Magazines glory. Despite being the first (non-pistol) weapon you get, its decent rate of fire and the mods that let you shoot either an explosive round (great for medium range engagements) or a three-round burst keep the shotgun a solid weapon even until the end of the game. Not enough buckshot for you? The Super Shotgun makes a comeback as well. It may not be able to equip mods, but it doesn't need them, as it's capable of stunlocking and quickly gibbing even the largest demons. And that's without upgrading it to be able to fire two blasts before needing to reload. Groovy, indeed.
    • DOOM Eternal adds some new upgrades for both the regular shotgun and the Super Shotgun from 2016. The former's three-round burst has been replaced with a full-auto mode while the latter gains a grappling hook attachment dubbed the "Meathook" that lets you reel yourself towards enemies. The latter is also revealed to have been known as "Lucifer's Bane" among demonkind. There is also an enemy called the Marauder who all wield a Super Shotgun of their own that's capable of inflicting serious damage to the player.
  • The Duke Nukem series has a history with this:
    • In Duke Nukem Forever, the shotgun is basically the most useful weapon in the game, being one of maybe two that the player can consistently keep fed.
    • It also remained quite useful for long stretches in Duke Nukem 3D, thanks to its surprisingly-realistic shot spread offering it a lot of punch at longer distances than most game shotguns offer.
    • The DukePlus Game Mod for it has a plethora of shotgun-related options. The regular shotgun can be altered to a similar version that fires slightly faster but holds only eight shells and has to be reloaded, as the mod averts Bottomless Magazines. The same option makes Pig Cops sometimes equipped with a double-barreled Sawed-Off Shotgun that is the spitting image of the Doom Super Shotgun, which can be found laying around in custom maps made with DukePlus in mind. Finally, the Devastator gains a Secondary Fire that switches its two-volley of mini-rockets to semi-automatic shotgun fire, which is surprisingly useful and economical of its ammo.
  • Eternal Darkness brings shotguns into play in chapters taking place within the 20th century, and they're the most useful firearms by far. Crossbows and handguns are borderline useless on anything except Trappers, and Edward has to spend a long time bracing himself to fire the elephant gun he can find to keep it from knocking him on his ass.
  • The Scatter Gun in EVERSPACE is essentially a spaceship-sized shogun. High damage on close-quarters, low damage on mid and long-range. It also has a slow reload between shots.
  • Evolve is a fan of this, with three of its hunters wielding shotguns. Parnell has one with a rapid rate of fire and high spread that deals more damage than his rocket launcher, Abe has a long ranged one whose spread increases the faster you pull the trigger, and Torvald has one that fires its whole clip with one pull of the trigger.
  • In Fallout 3, a world with energy weapons, Dakkatastic machine guns, personal rocket launchers, etc., the Combat Shotgun will quickly dispose of any enemy at short range, even heavily armored troops or big bad beasties like Deathclaws.
    • Due to the critical damage calculation, shotgun-type weapons are very much this trope. With stealth attack and a unique shotgun, one can kill the non-respawning boss-type Super Mutant Behemoth with a Sneak Attack Critical hit to the head in one shot. Granted, it's hard to pull off, but very much possible.
      • This is likely a bug; basically, when a pellet in the shot scores a critical hit, it applies the full crit damage value of the weapon, instead of dividing it by the number of pellets. So essentially, when you get a sneak attack crit, you are getting crit bonus multiplied by how many pellets hit.
    • And let's not get to the fact that aside from shotguns, you can also have laser shotguns, laser shot pistols, and spreading .44 Magnums. Much asskicking will ensue.
    • A similar thing happens in the first two games as well. Shotgun shells are readily available and the Combat Shotgun (or maybe the Pancor Jackhammer) remains a very viable alternative in the endgame.
    • This is also because Fallout 3 scaled the health and damage resistance of enemies to your level. Fallout: New Vegas avoids this by 1) removing the scaling and making levels actually mean something and 2) making semi-auto shotguns really, really rare.
      • And in New Vegas though, since there are a large variety of shotguns, and making them behave rather realistically (rather than the Short-Range Shotgun they usually are). With proper perks and crafted ammo, the humble Hunting Shotgun can easily drop human enemies in 1-2 shots at medium range, and, with slug shells, lets you down deathclaws. For the Riot Shotgun, it is very rare and expensive because it is nearly a gamebreaker (think of the Fallout 3 Combat Shotgun, with vastly superior range, more damage, and shoots almost as fast as you can click).
      • The Lever-Action Shotgun of New Vegas is lever-action, meaning it is affected by the damage-boosting Cowboy perk as well as all shotgun perks, making Cowboy a very popular perk to take just for this weapon alone.
      • Assuming you don't mind murdering an old woman in cold blood (or shooting her in just the right place) you can be rewarded not even halfway through the game with the Big Boomer. The Big Boomer is essentially the souped-up version of the already powerful Sawn-Off Shotgun, boasting the highest non-explosive damage IN THE GAME. This is slightly offset by the ludicrous spread (requiring you to practically be within kissing distance to hit the target with any meaningful number of pellets), the requirement to reload after every shot, and the fact that early on it is very much Awesome, but Impractical because of the severe lack of 12-Guage Shotgun Shells early in the game. Once 12-guage shells are available for purchase, however, the Big Boomer becomes just as viable as any of the late-game weapons, provided you're comfortable getting that close. It's only downside is that it is not considered an Improved Holdout Weapon, meaning you can't smuggle it into any of the casinos on the Strip no matter how high your Sneak skill is. Expect plenty of Ludicrous Gibs when using this weapon, especially when it's loaded with the craftable 12-Guage Magnum Buckshot rounds, who's only tradeoff is that your gun takes more condition damage per shot.
      • While not strictly classed as a shotgun, the Ballistic Fist combines this trope with Good Old Fisticuffs with a healthy dose of Power Fist, being a fist with a gun on it, specifically a double-barreled shotgun that fires both barrels with each impact. It never has to reload, and is basically the ballistic version of the Displacer Fist trading raw damage for the latter's knockback effect. The unique version even causes enemies killed with a crit to explode!
    • Still very much true for the Combat Shotgun in Fallout 4, especially ones with the Explosive or Wounding legendary mods.
  • In First Encounter Assault Recon, the Vollmer VK-12 shotgun is one of the most potent weapons in the game and has a very tight spread cone, capable of downing nearly any enemy in one shot at close range and doing good damage against mechanical/heavy armor enemies at short-to medium range as well (though damage falloff severely hampers it at any distance farther than some 20 meters even if all pellets hit, which due to the small spread isn't unlikely). In addition to that, ammo is very plentiful (since it's one of the only weapons in the game to gain at least one full mag per pickup, and is much more common than any of the others to do so), and for an added bonus to the fun, the shotgun will typically decapitate, bisect, or simply blow opponents into a cloud of bloody vapor and chunks of flesh. And if that wasn't enough, the shotty holds a monstrous twelve shells and reloads in a snap of the fingers, no matter how many you've spent. This makes it one of the mainstay weapons in the game.
    • In the sequel, there are actually two shotguns. The first is the SHO Series-3 Combat Shotgun, your pedestrian pump action shotgun with piss poor range, fed from a tubular magazine. The second is the Vollmer Ultra92 Automatic Shotgun introduced later on; this one is semiautomatic and fed by detachable magazines, and has a much tighter spread. It has fantastic advantages in rate of fire, range, magazine size, and reloads, however it is less damaging than the Series-3 at close range, and its ammunition is initially much less common. Later on in the game, the Series-3 becomes less and less common outside of ammo caches, making the Ultra92 more viable.
  • Zigzagged in Fistful of Frags. The basic sawn-off shotgun is nothing special; it's extremely powerful at short range but suffers from high damage fall-off and only holds two shells. The next tier after that is a double-barrelled coach gun which is basically The Same, but More; it's an okay medium-range weapon and the Secondary Fire of both barrels at once can net you a One Hit Poly Kill with good timing and a bit of luck, but it's a bit situational thanks to the long reload time. But the top-tier shotgun, the mildly anachronistic Winchester Model 1897 "trench gun"? That's moving into Game-Breaker territory.
  • Gears of War is fairly notorious for the Gnasher Shotgun, which ended up defining the franchise's multiplayer to Gameplay Derailment levels. The intention was that players Take Cover! and bring down their opponents through teamwork and cautious play, leaning towards use of the rifles, but the Gnasher could pulp pretty much anything if it was inside a small radius — and furthermore, it was possible to jump from one piece of cover to another, which was faster than running, and maps were mostly cover. This led to players merrily pingponging their way across the battlefield faster than you could keep a bead on them to close the distance, before blowing the opponent's head off in a split second. This style of play became so common that the question of how to handle the Gnasher is easily the biggest flame topic in the fanbase, with various games struggling to balance it with the other weapons while not pissing off the large segment of fans who love the Gnasher's playstyle to the point of refusing to use anything else.
  • Zig-zagged in Girls' Frontline. Between their low fire rate, inaccuracy, and limited magazine size, Shotguns really aren't that good at killing things, especially when compared to the Machine Guns they're often paired with. Their most valuable use is to absorb incoming damage, which they do exceptionally well due to having truckloads of HP and being the only class to have an innate armor stat. Shotguns also hit multiple enemies at once (unless you equip them with slug shells) and knock them back with each shot, preventing enemies from shooting back until they get into firing range again. The combination of these characteristics, Machine Guns' incredible burst damage potential, and buff tiles for MGs and SGs synergizing well (MGs boost SGs and vice versa) makes MGSG echelons very effective against common enemy formations. On the other hand, certain enemies (most commonly bosses) deal so much damage with each shot that it punches through their armor regardless, making evasion tanks such as Submachine Guns or Handguns preferable in this kind of situation.
  • Double Subverted in The Godfather: The Game. At first, the shotgun, while powerful and averting Short-Range Shotgun, has an awful ammo count of 2 per magazine and 12 in reserve and does not reload or fire fast. This makes the Magnum, with its comparable power but superior ammo load of 6-36 and speed, preferable. The same goes at the second level, where the shotgun has 2-24 compared to 6-60 of the Magnum. At the third level, though, the shotgun's ammo load rises drastically to 10-100, compared to the Magnum's 8-80, as well as gaining a considerable fire-rate boost. Furthermore, the level three shotgun has an automatic action, compared to the semi-automatic level three Magnum. As a result, the shotgun does become Better after all. The sequel nerfed it by severely cutting its ammo capacity, though, giving the crown back to the Magnum once again.
  • Gunfire Reborn has a variety of shotguns, almost all of them worthwhile:
    • The Illusion is an autoshotgun that gains fire rate and pellets with each successive shot in its magazine when the trigger is held down. This makes it great against beefy enemies like minibosses because that guarantees they will eat a painful 10-pellet salvo every fraction of a second, driving your DPM through the roof.
    • The Hell is a traditional semi-automatic shotgun powered by fish. Its raw power is absurd and its inherent enemy penetration allows it to handily wipe out hordes with a few shots.
    • The Wild Hunt is a double-barreled Sawed-Off Shotgun that destroys enemies with sheer firepower. A plain, tier-0 Wild Hunt does 960 damage with a single shell and 1920 with the double-tap feature.
    • The Pupil is a surprisingly lethal sniper shotgun, possessing the ability to 'charge' its shots and trade a low rate-of-fire for the ability to pump 10 pellets into a target's weak point from mid to long range.
    • The Porcupine is a curious gun that behaves somewhat more like a grenade launcher, firing a round that explodes into a rain of painful poisoned darts when it hits an enemy. This means you can quickly cover a confined space in unavoidable poison damage if your shots connect.
    • The Argus is unique in that its shots fire in a straight line every time and deal considerable knockback to enemies, making it a solid weapon against bosses and minibosses, which rely on the player's ability to place expert shots to defeat in a timely fashion.
  • The SPAS-12 in the Half-Life series counts. Its power is overall on par with the .357 Magnum, but with much more plentiful ammunition in return for needing to get closer to make it count. Even the automatic weapons in the series struggle to keep up, due to mediocre accuracy and damage-per-shot of the SMGs and the scarcity of heavier ammo types (especially in Half-Life 2, where you usually can't carry a lot of ammo for anything bigger than the SMG). In HL2 it competes with the Gravity Gun, but unlike the Gravity Gun, it isn't dependent on whatever barrels and crates are strewn around the battlefield. Finally, it has a Secondary Fire where it shoots two shells at once (even though the SPAS-12 only has one barrel).
  • Halo:
    • The M90 shotgun from Halo: Combat Evolved is highly infamous among fans for being freakishly overpowered: it could hold up to 72 shells (12 in the internal magazine, 60 in reserve) and had a scary (and yet rather realistic when compared to other games) medium range accuracy. It could even be used to successfully take on light ground vehicles, and when paired with the long-range capabilities of the M6D pistol, turned the wielder into an almost unstoppable force. Justified in that the shotgun is an 8-gauge Magnum, which is freakishly powerful by early-21st-century shotgun standardsnote .
    • Halo 4 reveals that the Forerunners thought Shotguns Are Just Better too, with the Z-180 Close-Combat Rifle, or Scattershot, whose shots can be ricocheted off hard surfaces to turn corridors and corners into death zones. And, being a dedicated anti-Flood weapon, when it kills someone the shot makes their body dissolve/disintegrate into red-orange particles. It's quite useful, and is even better in Halo 5: Guardians, where its ricochet shots will actually track targets.
    • Halo 5: Guardians introduces special REQ variant shotguns which can be insanely powerful; notable are the Didact's Signet, a Scattershot whose shots have noticeably increased range/speed and insane tracking capabilities; Oathsworn, a majorly buffed shotgun which also makes the wielder run faster; and Blaze of Glory, a hard-light-firing shotgun with good range that only requires one shell to reload its entire magazine.
  • Hellbound grants you a triple-barreled shotgun as one of the best weapons for demon-slaying, turning even higher-level enemies into a pile of guts with few shots. It's even more impressive when fired from point-blank. Quoth the hero, "In the name of the triple shotgun, amen."
  • Shotguns are very useful in Hotline Miami; a single blast is capable of killing an enemy on the opposite end of the screen, and they are the only weapons in the game which can kill the Thugs with a single blast.
  • Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast has the Golan Arms FC-1 Flechette Weapon which is essentially the Star Wars equivalent of Unreal's Flak Cannon. Its primary mode consists of multiple metal shards in a spread fired from the weapon and its secondary mode launches what appear to be explosive grenades to deal massive damage to an opponent, effectively doubling as a grenade launcher. The weapon isn't encountered until midway into the game and by then, you already have your lightsaber which you can use against most opponents and can deflect projectiles from almost any weapon (only the Disruptor Rifle and the Merr-Sonn missile launcher cannot be deflected, and even then the latter can be Force Pushed back), though against anyone not using a lightsaber it can still be highly effective.
  • Kâbus 22: One of the weapons your characters can use against the Maduns is a shotgun. At least one of them tends to pump the gun quickly after each shot.
  • Killing Floor. While there are plenty of other good weapons, shotgun can kill several Specimens with one shot due to high damage per pellet, freakishly exacerbated by Support Specialists, whose buckshot can go straight through several targets. Then there's the double-barreled Hunting Shotgun that inexplicably shoots out more pellets if the player fires both barrels at once (the reload time is murder, though), again with increased damage and overpenetration in the hands of Support, largely considered to be the first Game-Breaker before a patch enabled enemies to attack on the run. There's also the M1014 and the drum-fed AA-12. Finally is the Trench Gun loaded with incendiary rounds. On the whole, a good day for shotgun fans.
    • Killing Floor 2 is just as good, with the game as of 2021 having many of several varieties: manual-action (the starting SG 500 and the returning Dragon's Breath Trench Gun, with DLC also adding a lever-action "Frost Fang" that doubles as an axe), multi-barreled (the double-barreled Boomstick, the explosive-firing "Kaboomstick", and quad-barreled "Doomstick"), semi-auto (the M1014 and AA-12, the latter also being mag-fed), and even a somewhat-fictionalized version of the DP-12 that's a combination of all of the above (fed by detachable magazines and has two barrels which fire in sequence before pumping to rechamber both).
  • The Last of Us: The pump action shotgun that Joel receives from Bill is one of the most useful guns against the Infected as it can kill them in one shot at close range (except for Bloaters) and is the only gun that can do so for most of the game (The Shorty, El Diablo and Flamethrower aren't available until much later in the game and the hunting rifle can't be fully upgraded until finding the last set of tools in one the last levels). It's effective against humans too, but Short-Range Shotgun is in play, and unlike the Infected, humans are smart enough to keep their distance most of the time.
  • The shotguns in Left 4 Dead are generally the most useful weapons in the series, boasting reasonable rangenote , heavy firepower and decent fire rate. In the first game, the most common Complacent Gaming Syndrome was to get the Tier 2 Auto Shotgun and forget about everything else. Though they were nerfed somewhat in the sequel, they're still extremely solid choices when used in conjunction with automatic, longer-ranged weaponsnote .
  • Left to Survive from really favours shotguns. While the spread does render them a lot less accurate over great distances, shotguns actually have good range. Players will always carry a shotgun into "event" missions as they and burst-fire assault rifles are the only firearms with enough power per shot to knock down a Hard-level jumper in one shot, plus shotguns can hit multiple enemies and double-barrelled shotguns have rapid reload. Perhaps the mightiest weapon in the game is the Three-headed King a golden triple-barrelled shotgun with a purple-trim stock. Requiring real money and a limited-time event to get, the Three-headed King gets 3 shots instead of the regular 2 for double-barrelled shotguns. It also gets a 50% damage bonus on its final shot. Most importantly the Three-headed King is overlevelled and is 3 or 4 ranks above every other weapon (normally guns won in an event are 2 levels above the standard).
  • In the online flash game Madness: Project Nexus, based on the Madness Combat series of animations, shotguns are Simple, yet Awesome and one of the best weapons in game (the other being the assault rifles and some submachine guns). They seem to be Boring, but Practical at first, like the assault rifles-plentiful, good rate of fire and common, with the exception of having a slightly smaller magazine capacity-until you discover that they can make heads explode. They also have a fast reload time, and you can sail through whole levels with one, as long as you pick up another shotgun when you run out of ammo. They are also very useful in Episode 1.5, capable to defeating the Abominations and Sleepwalkers with ease. The most practical model is actually the most plentiful one: the magazine-fed Norinco 97k. It's got a faster reload time than the SPAS-12, easier to control than the USAS-12, is the cheapest of the bunch and the fact that it's a Sawed-Off Shotgun makes it easy to handle in CQB, which is surprisingly good as you'll be fighting in close-quarters for most, if not all the time. Even better, Short-Range Shotgun is averted, so they can still inflict decent damage at medium range and even long range!
  • Marathon's insane short-barreled, double-barreled, dual-wieldable shotguns are more accurate than the player's assault rifle, and do almost as much damage as the anti-material missile launcher. If fired continuously, they make the player functionally invincible by virtue of one being reloaded while the other shoots. And then there's That One Level where the player fights a Zerg Rush but gets infinite shotgun ammo...
    • If aimed accurately and all the bullets find their mark, shotguns actually deal the highest damage per second to a single target out of the player's entire arsenal — even against enemies that take double damage from the fusion pistol (though in some circumstances, the assault rifle/grenade launcher combo can deal more damage per second to a group of enemies). Dual shotguns also stun-lock most enemies in the game. The only way they are a slight Zig-Zagging of this trope is that the player goes through ammo quickly, meaning that the shotgun can almost become Too Awesome to Use.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In the first game, every character can use shotguns, although only Ashley, Wrex, and Tali have training in them (the others miss at point-blank range). In Mass Effect 2, however, only Tali, Jacob, Jack, and Grunt can use shotguns at all. In both games, the Soldier and Vanguard classes are the only ones with built-in shotgun training, although both games allow you to choose shotgun training as a bonus skill (through an achievement in the first game and part of the plot in the second). The third game further restricts them to Tali and James Vega.
    • Special mention must be made of the M-300 Claymore, one of the Infinity Plus One Guns that Soldier or Vanguard Shepard can pick up halfway through the second game (and that Grunt can use with an upgrade). It's an insanely high-powered shotgun designed for use by krogan, and it's by far the best short-range weapon in the game.
    • And the Geth Plasma Shotgun, part of the Firepower Pack DLC, which has a longer range than the other shotguns and whose shots can be charged up for optimal damage.
    • With the Smart Choke upgrade in Mass Effect 3, every shotgun becomes a solid mid-ranged weapon.
      • 3 also adds, among others, the Graal Spike Thrower (a krogan weapon designed to kill Thresher Mawsfrom the inside) and the Disciple (an extremely pretty Asari shotgun designed for longer-ranged engagements than normal shotguns).
    • The N7 Crusader (present in the Deluxe version of the game or multiplayer Commendation Packs) is different from every other shotgun in that it fires a single slug with perfect accuracy, making it tantamount to a powerful, semi-auto sniper rifle. It may lack a zoom and be pretty heavy but can be used at any range, and its perfect accuracy frees up a mod slot for extra punch.
    • The reason why many players favour Shotgun Infiltrators in the multiplayer, being capable of cloaking so they can flank enemies, allowing them to open fire at point blank range. Combined with the damage from stealth bonus, most enemies get blown away in one hit.
    • The krogan are nearly always seen wielding shotguns. It's commonly theorised by the fans that this is because they have problems seeing long-distance, since their wide-set eyes would have a very narrow field of binocular vision. Understandable since they are not apex predators on the Death World of Tuchanka, unlike most other sentient species on their homeworlds.
    • Vanguards make heavy use of shotguns for two reasons. One, they can unlock passive bonuses to it. Two, the Vanguard's strategy is based heavily around a strategy of "point self at enemy, scream, charge" — longer-ranged weapons are a decent backup for solving the problem of enemies you can't charge, but when you are charging, you're within the range a shotgun excels at.
    • From Mass Effect: Andromeda, Nakmor Drack's weapon of choice is a shotgun he's named "Ruzhad" — krogan for "judgement".
    • Kett Anointed (and their palette-swapped Boss in Mook's Clothing, The Archon's Sword) carry shotguns, and have a fondness for sneaking up behind enemies and blasting them in the back.
  • The shotgun is one of your main weapons through Max Payne. It packs a wallop up close and can kill many of the bad guys you fight early on with one hit (though you'll need a headshot on the higher levels), making it a mainstay for close-up combat until you get your hands on the Commando in the second act. Unfortunately, the shotgun begins to lose its effectiveness in the third act, which has you fighting heavily armed mercenaries with body armor (which shotguns are notoriously ineffective against). But near the end of the game, you pick up the extremely deadly Jackhammer, a fully-automatic shotgun that will rip through anyone foolish enough to be in your way, especially in Bullet Time.
    • In the third game, the M4 Super 90 is the most frequently encountered two-handed weapon, being used by every enemy faction you fight. It has a good rate of fire and a tight enough spread that getting headshots is trivially easy. There's also the M500, which has a slower rate of fire but even more stopping power, the SPAS-15, which is semi-automatic and has a detachable magazine for a faster reload, and the sawed-off shotgun that can be dual-wielded.
  • In MechWarrior Living Legends, the buckshot LB-X series of autocannons is a favored weapon by many due to its versatility. It comes in many flavors; LB-X/2 and /5 for long-range plinking, /10 for medium range, and /20 for point blank devastation. LB-X cannons have a massive damage multiplier against aircraft, can handily turn enemy battlearmor into a thin red mist, and the /10 and /20 deal monstrous alpha damage to battlemechs and tanks, whereas their standard Autocannon and Ultra Autocannon cousins (loaded with slugs) require sustained fire. In the rest of the series, the LB-X is generally not as powerful but usually has some other benefit such as an enhanced Critical Hit chance when loaded with canister rounds.
  • The Men In Black game lets you start off with any of the shiny, cool weapons from the film, but the shotgun that you can find and use (only) in the first mission is, hands down, the best weapon in the game.
  • The Sawed-Off Shotgun from Metal Gear Solid 3 was a borderline Game-Breaker. A single shot could send multiple Mooks flying. Even The Boss was not immune. Indeed, a viable tactic is to go barehanded against her, wait for her to CQC you, counter it, whip out the shotgun and blast her with it.
  • The shotgun upgrade in the Metal Slug series has an extremely close range, but its radius is rather wide because of its bomb-like effect upon firing. Anything within range of a shotgun attack is easily blown away because of the bullets' explosive impact.
  • Mutant Football League has the aptly named "Shotgun" dirty trick, which lets the ball carrier kill any would-be tacklers after a snap. The shotgun has 8 shots, which is usually enough to clear out most of the entire defensive line on the play if you're feeling particularly aggressive about using it.
  • A notable example is in the Nazi Zombies map, Mob of the Dead, where one of the weapons is a Civil War era blunderbuss-gatling gun hybrid, aptly named, the Blundergat. It's is one of the most powerful weapons in the box, and of course, it's a wonder weapon. The only problem, it was a single shot weapon. Said shotgun can be upgraded to fire acid shells instead. It is as awesome as you read it.
  • Double-barreled shotguns were so absurdly powerful in Nexus Clash that they had to be removed from the game.
  • In Noblemen: 1896 by Foursaken Media, it's played straight. Though rifles are king in the game, some of the more elite squads use shotguns as their main weapon. The heavily armored Shocktroopers carry the Deadener Heavy Shotgun which is a high-powered shotgun with a shield on it, this increases the Shocktrooper already strong armour to even higher levels. Meanwhile the Armor Busters carry the Brosnan AP Gun which is a shotgun built to consistently pierce infantry and even medium vehicle armour. Finally for a Nobleman, the D.R.U.M Autocannon is the most advanced of a Nobleman's standard gun choice — the D.R.U.M is essentially an 19th century equivalent of the contemporary full-auto shotgun with medium armor-piercing capability.
  • While most characters' method of Recoil Boost in No Time to Explain use a beam gun as a makeshift jetpack, The Most Popular Guy In The World instead has a shotgun for a single high power launch.
  • Overwatch:
    • The masked villain Reaper dual wields a set of "Hellfire shotguns" that he simply throws away when he ran out of ammo because he doesn't even bother to reload. To compensate for his short range, he has some of the highest damage output in the game and specializes in shredding through Tank-class characters.
    • Roadhog's scrap gun is a shotgun-type weapon that can fire tight groupings for medium range combat or lethal shrapnel bursts at close range. His hook, which drags characters up close to him, combines with his scrapgun to perform a one-hit kill on any non-Tank character.
  • In Painkiller, the shotgun is one of, if not the, go-to weapons throughout the game along with the Painkiller melee weapon. With reasonable spread, good fire rate, good damage, plentiful ammo, and a Secondary Fire that freezes enemies in place (after which a single pellet will shatter them), it's no wonder why the shotgun is Daniel's favorite weapon during the cutscenes.
  • Shotguns are widely favored by PAYDAY 2 players. No other weapon class has quite as much versatility. They subvert Short-Range Shotgun extensively, with some shotguns being capable of sniping with the right combination of mods and rounds. They have multiple ammunition types that can make them good for all manners of situations. They're powerful without needing heavy skill point investment, but investing those points turns them into the most powerful non-BFG weapon class in the game. Mechanically they have the widest versatility, with manual and clip loaded shotguns in primary and secondary variations that come in break-open, pump, and automatic. Additionally, their spread means you can often kill more than one enemy on any difficulty below the highest with a single pull of the trigger without having to spend time aiming exactly right. During stealth operations, shotguns get a much stranger utility in the form of knockback. With a suppressor the Loco shotgun is usually the preferred choice as a bit of strategy can be used to eliminate a guard and hide the body without using up a body bag.
  • Perfect Dark had a shotgun, but it had a few built-in flaws: One, the gun isn't actually significantly more powerful than the other weapons that can be obtained in the three levels in which it is present; Two, it takes Short-Range Shotgun to a new extreme (you have to essentially run right into the face of enemies to kill them); And three, the reload time is atrocious, and that is exacerbated if you use its secondary mode, which causes the gun to fire twice. It can be deadly in multiplayer, but otherwise it's not very useful.
  • Persona: Both Masao Inaba and Yukino Mayuzumi from the original Persona and Ryuji Sakamoto from Persona 5 carry shotguns as their ranged weapon.
  • Pigsaw: The final weapon you can get in the game is a shotgun. One well-placed shot can take down an enemy.
  • The New Conglomerate in PlanetSide takes this approach to everything. Triple barreled shotgun! Arm mounted shotguns! Humongous Mecha shotguns! Shotgun pistol!
    • They continue the tradition in the sequel, including shotgun canons mounted on fighter aircraft, as well as Guns Akimbo Power Armor arm mounted full auto shotguns, used to carve through entire rooms' worth of enemies at a time.
    • Also from the sequel, pump action shotguns available to the three factions. Powerful enough to kill enemies in one shot from close up, accurate enough and with enough shells/(cells) in the magazine to be useful at medium range. Load it with slugs, put on a good scope, and you have a perfectly functional ghetto sniper rifle.
  • Postal 2 features a number of powerful shotguns, but nothing comes close to its take on the Sawn-Off Shotgun, which ups the number of pellets per shot to a ludicrous degree. At close range, it's one of the most damaging weapons in the game (surpassing even the rocket launchers), and at mid-to-long range, its terrible spread scarcely matters because it just puts out so much lead per shot that a good number of pellets are still going to hit. It only carries two shots and is one of the few weapons that needs to reload at all, but it scarcely matters when the list of enemies that can survive even one close-range shot from this thing is pretty short.
  • In Project Reality shotguns have the spread and range of what would be sniper rifles in other modern military shooters. While not very useful against enemies with body armor, they take out insurgents easily, also counting as capturing them alive, simulating less lethal rounds, while also being able to destroy locks, padlocks or supply crates with breaching round.
  • All of the Quake games. The first two have both shotgun and super shotgun like Doom (the first game even has the regular shotgun as your starting weapon). The double-barreled version is actually quite powerful, although only at close ranges.
  • In Rainbow Six Vegas 2, where they made a "shotgun firing buckshot, for example, ha[ve] significantly more penetration in RSV2 than it should", because "people associate shotguns with powerful, close-range weapons".
  • Raptor Valley: You can use a double-barrel shotgun to shoot the raptors. It has enough stopping power to make them stop mid-leap.
  • In Ratchet & Clank, like most of the manic weapons in the series, shotguns are just one of the most useful tools. Though it can be somewhat subverted as if you buy them late into the game at LV 1, they are ineffective. But, they kick ass because:
    • They usually gain a additional bonus to their widespread damage, such as electricity or freezing, to stop enemies in their tracks and deal more damage with less risk. Notable examples include:
      • Shock blaster, and Defragmenter from UYA/SM, which uses electricity.
      • Magma Cannon from Ratchet: Deadlocked can be upgraded by Omega mods like shock mod above, acid mod, or mod that turn your enemies into livestock. Moreover, upon hitting V10 it turns into homing shotgun (basically a mid-range splitting homing ray) while getting a rare alpha jackpot mod, which makes enemies drop more money.
      • Cryoshot, Shard Reaper, Shard Gun all use cryogenics, and are probably one of the best shotguns in the series.
      • And to top it off, the Constructo Shotgun allows for different customisation, such as a ranged shot, type of barrels and also, causing the enemy to spasm, or rain detonator bombs down.
  • Red Dead Redemption offers 4 shotguns for the gun-toting cowboys. The Double-barrel and sawed-off shotguns are nearly identical, trading range for power, and are great for a quick double burst of buckshot. The pump-action shotgun holds 6 rounds and has the best range of the 4, as well as great power. The semi-auto shotgun holds 1 less shell, but is semi-automatic, allowing you to throw a rapid 5-shot burst of pellets at anything coming your way. From cowboys to grizzly bears, anything coming at you will be stopped once you empty a semi-auto shotgun towards it.
    • The zombie-themed expansion of the game zig-zags this trope. While buckshot is preferred at close to medium range for popping the heads of the undead, an odd auto-targeting mechanism will sometimes shaft you. When manually aiming from afar, with the dot-crosshair aimed at a zed's head, sometimes a shot will center all pellets into its chest for no explicable reason, perhaps, at best, only knocking it over, but otherwise keeping it alive.
  • The shotgun is one of the Resident Evil series' iconic weapons, as the ammo is generally prevalent, the pellets spread to hit several enemies at once, and they pack a hell of a punch, so that anything the first shot doesn't kill outright is going to be at least knocked clear on its ass. In most of the games, there comes a point after which the shotgun becomes your primary weapon.
    • In Resident Evil, the turn-over point was about a third of the way through the game, if you were lucky. Pistol ammo was sparse, and zombies took in the upwards of seven shots to put down. Contrast with the shotgun, which could down up to a pack of five zombies with two to three shells and always blew off the heads of zombies if you aimed upwards (provided you were close enough to a zombie without getting grabbed). The 2002 remake unfortunately nerfed the shotgun to where it no longer grants headshots everytime, which was especially frustrating considering the remake introduced the Crimson Heads.
    • In Resident Evil 2, the turn-over point was about halfway through Leon's scenario. The pistol was a little more powerful now, and ammo was almost disgustingly common due to the game taking place in an urban areanote . The shotgun was just as powerful as the one in the first game, and could be upgraded to be even stronger to boot. In the 2019 remake, the shotgun is a more downplayed version of this, due to the zombies being more resilient and stronger. If anything, the turn-over point would be when you fully upgrade the shotgun. Unfortunately, by then, you'll be almost done with the scenario, but the fully upgraded shotgun will always blow off a zombie's head.
    • In Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, the turn-over point was practically the instant you first found a shotgun due to the game's use of gunpowder mixing and the reloading tool. If you didn't pay attention to the mixing manual the game gives you at the start, however, the turn-over point is about the same as Resident Evil 2.
    • In Resident Evil 4, you can find a standard pump-action shotgun in the first few minutes of the game, which you can upgrade its fire power, reload speed, and capacity. Later on, you can purchase the Riot gun, a slightly more powerful shotgun with higher capacity, and then the Striker, which uses a drum round and when fully upgraded can hold up to 100 shells.
    • The Hydra in Resident Evil 5 deserves special mention as a sawed off, three-barreled shotgun that Chris holds in one hand. It has weaker individual shots and a wider spread compared to a fully upgraded Benelli M3, but this is more than compensated for by its very fast firing speed.
  • Resistance:
    • In Resistance: Fall of Man, the shotgun is a beast weapon when used to counter fast-moving enemies that charged the player. In fact, the player can find an intel indicating a character only survived a Howler attack because of an old-school 12-gauge.
    • Resistance 2 also applies this, since the player can sometimes be ambushed by the Chameleon, which is invisible up until just before it attacks with razor-sharp claws at close quarters. A single shotgun blast can demolish these enemies.
    • Resistance 3 takes the shotgun and makes it even better by replacing its double-blast Secondary Fire with a Grenade Launcher, giving it similar damage potential at even further ranges if you can work with the trajectory.
  • In Risk of Rain, The Commando's "Full Metal Jacket" ability deals heavy damage to all enemies in front of you as well as causing severe knockback.
    • The Enforcer's riot shotgun has kind of a crappy range, but every single thing inside it is hit. We remind you that shotguns aren't known for their penetration unless you're using slugs, or a seriously big shotgun.
  • Savage: Bill Savage uses a variety of shotguns as his weapon (though, he is not above a pistol or assault rifle). In fact, in his first story, he takes out an armoured vehicle with only a simple doubled barreled shotgun.
  • Downplayed in Serious Sam. The shotguns have decent power against low-tier enemies like Beheaded mooks, able to wipe out small clusters of them in just a few shots, and a Coach Gun shot with all pellets connecting hurts just as much as a rocket, but their firepower is too anemic to take on larger enemies (and especially the huge hordes of Giant Mooks from the mid-point and on), and despite their pellet pattern being fixed and predictable so a few pellets can be aimed even at distant enemies, Short-Range Shotgun is in full effect for both. In Serious Sam 3: BFE, this is compounded by the regular shotgun having a limited magazine that has to be reloaded, and that if you're close enough to a single target to use a shotgun effectively, most of the time it's better to sprint in and Drop the Hammer on their skulls or even just press the use button to rip them apart with your bare hands.
  • Shadow Complex replaces your gun whenever the plot allows you to find a better one. For most of the game, you follow the rule of More Dakka, upgrading from a pistol to a submachine gun to an assault rifle to a high-tech assault rifle with a bigger magazine. Then you get the final weapon upgrade: an advanced super-shotgun weapon that has a slow rate of fire and it's magazine is somewhat larger than the pistol, yet it can kill almost everything in one shot, even at long range, and it tear apart heavily armored enemies with relative ease. It's also the only item in the game that is permanently missable.
  • Shadow Warrior (1997) has the Riot Gun, a weapon that looks like a cross between a rotary chaingun and a shotgun, but behaves just like your average shotty in primary mode, with the four barrels rotating every shot but not actually granting a much higher rate of fire than a normal semi-automatic shotgun. And then there's the alternate firing mode, which allows all four barrels to be fired in succession for a big burst of dakka. And despite the barrels being rather short, the gun is very accurate.
  • In Shotgun King: The Final Checkmate, the only chess piece you control is a lone Black King... with a shotgun. While the White pieces have to capture your piece as per Chess rules, you kill the White pieces by shooting them. Since your gun has spread deviation, it adds a bit of randomness to an otherwise purely strategic game.
  • A shotgun is the one of the best weapons available in Spelunky. The downside being that every shopkeeper in the game comes equipped with one they keep on a hair-trigger.
  • The underslung shotgun attachment in Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is a one-hit-kill up to a decent range. However, more to the point in a Stealth-Based Game, it made a noise like a tactical nuke going off.
  • In S.T.A.L.K.E.R. the shotgun is the second weapon the player gets. It is quite useful against anything that doesn't shoot back (that is, a major part of the enemies) because of its good damage, and useful against armed enemies when the fight is in close quarters (that also happens a lot). And there is no shortage of ammo, since the shotgun is ammo-efficient. The shotgun gets a lot of use due to the game's Inventory Management Puzzle not allowing the player to carry a gun for every occasion, and shotgun being useful in most of them.
    • That's not the full story, though. The starting shotgun (and the hunting "rifle", which is basically a long-barrel shotgun), can be very useful in the early game. One of the best weapons in the starting areas of Clear Sky expansion is a hunting rifle converted to using dart slugs, and has been accuracy modded. It's basically a cheap sniper rifle that can take down the unarmored bandits in one headshot from long range. However, once you move into the middle areas of the game, armored enemies make all but the better automatic shotguns useless, and even those generally take a backseat to the various assault rifles.
    • The sawn-off TOZ-66 you can get early on in all games is decent enough, but once you come across the second shotgun type in the game and pair it with an assault rifle, you're equipped for virtually any situation the game can throw at you. The "Chaser 13" Maverick 88 is lightweight, and when loaded with slug or dart ammo is absolutely merciless at close to medium range. Load it with buck and you're set for the many mutants you'll be encountering.
    • Shotguns became buffed in Call of Pripyat, where by upgrades from the respective map's mechanic, they can easily kill all but the toughest mutants in the game. One shotgun, for example, looks like a street sweeper weapon and when upgraded to full auto, becomes an Infinity -1 Sword when used properly. It can even be obtained from the bandit leader in the second map, if you choose the violent option with him.
    • Additionally, Call of Pripyat makes shotguns more practical by removing the loadout restriction the first two games used. Before your main equipment slots were restricted to one pistol and one long gun, whereas the third game let you freely use any desired combination of primary and secondary weapons. While shotguns are versatile in the series, assault rifles are more useful at long range, while remaining passable up close. Being able to quickly switch to and from a shotgun and assault rifle made it a lot more useful.
  • Star Wars: Republic Commando: The Trandoshan "shotgun" (actually a charged particle weapon) has an 8 shot ammo tube, a pretty fast rate of fire, and kills most enemies encountered with one mid-ranged shot. Ammo is plentiful since almost all Trandoshans carry it. However, it's near-useless against big droids and anything mechanical.
    • It's actually more useful against the player than against the enemies, since it's an anti-shield weapon, and enemies don't have Deflector Shields... or rather, this would be the case if you weren't a One-Man Army... times four.
  • Two of the four playable bounty hunters in Sunset Riders, Cormano and Bob, use shotguns. Since all normal enemies are One Hit Point Wonders, the wide shots they do make those characters significantly more useful than the sixgun-toting Billy and Steve (until boss encounters, where their individual bullets do more damage).
  • Super Metroid: The Spazer Beam is basically a shotgun upgrade to every other beam in the game (except the Plasma Beam, for some reason).
  • Syndicate (2012) has two shotguns. The first, the CQC-11, has a buckshot primary fire and a Secondary Fire that uses explosive shells instead. This secondary fire is always available in single player but has to be unlocked in co-op. The second is the Mjolnir HOG, which is an automatic shotgun only available in co-op.
  • Syphon Filter:
    • In Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain, a mission set in Japan has players face Yakuza thugs who wield semi-auto shotguns, and even full-auto variants. The USAS-12's description even references a point in Syphon Filter 2 where Jason Chance was driven into helicopter blades thanks to Gabe Logan's fully automatic shotgun, a feature that no other weapon possessed.
    • Syphon Filter 3: Gabe again faces off with an armoured enemy using the USAS-12.
  • System Shock 2 actually makes a shotgun with slugs the most common firearm in the game. While you're likely to find a 10mm handgun first, every gun-wielding Hybrid carries a shotgun that often has 1 shell remaining to take from it after killing them. The use of slugs as the default ammo type (with high explosive buckshot as the less common secondary ammo) makes it quite accurate even in the large rooms and long hallways of the Von Braun.
  • In TAGAP, the shotgun is a Short-Range Shotgun... but its secondary fire is a grenade (made out of shotgun shells) that can bounce and roll quite a bit before exploding. A grenade only costs 3 units of ammo, of which there's plentiful throughout the game. So it's a decent weapon for all occasions. The second game replaces the grenades with floating mines, which serve a similar purpose.
    • The third game has the Scrap Gun. Compared to the first game's shotgun, it has worse grenades that explode as soon as they hit anything, which limits their range. It also can hold only 250 units of ammo, as opposed to the 999 units of any other weapons. On the plus side, it uses metallic scrap as ammo, and you'll get plenty every time you destroy an inanimate object or a robot; compared to the first game, running out of ammo is almost impossible.
  • Team Fortress 2 zig-zags it, with the shotgun being a secondary weapon for the Pyro, Soldier and Heavy. It has good range with reasonable spread, but only decent damage and sharp damage falloff, and is best used in conjunction with your primary weapon. The Engineer uses it as his primary weapon, where it is best used to support his Sentry Gun turret. That said, it's still a good Boring, but Practical choice, given that it can kill most classes in three shots, is hitscan, and doesn't have any particular gimmicks or drawbacks. Then the trope turns right around with the Scout's primary weapons, the Scatter Gun, the Force-a-Nature, and the Soda Popper, which are all exceptionally powerful (at point blank, at leastnote ).
    • Though many a player has fallen to a sentryless Engineer's shotgun, mistaking him for an easy target. Likewise, they're not out of the woods yet if a soldier vented all his rockets at them and didn't quite finish the job.
    • With the release of the Engineer update, the Engineer has acquired the Frontier Justice, a high-tech shotgun that holds "Revenge Crits": when his sentry gun is destroyed, the Engineer gains a number of guaranteed critical hits equal to double his sentry's kill count. With 18 damage per crit pellet, the FJ can deal 180 per shot, assuming all pellets hit. Even scarier, crits have no damage falloff due to distance, meaning the shot pattern is the only factor for damage dealt. The three shell magazine makes it less than useful without them however, so it only qualifies for this trope because of its extremely high guaranteed burst damage (exceeded only by various kinds of headshots).
    • The Engineer received the Widowmaker from the Manno-Technology update, a shotgun that uses metal instead of shotgun shells and regenerates the damage you do as metal. It is also a nice shoutout to the TX Widowmaker of Deus Ex: Human Revolution fame.
    • A shotgun released in the Smissmas 2014 update, the Panic Attack, allows its user (Engineer, Soldier, Pyro, or Heavy) to front-load four shotgun shells, then fire them in a stream of pellets that gets faster and wider the less health the user has. At low health, this means that the Panic Attack will offload a momentary hail of gunfire in a fraction of the time that the normal shotgun would take. Great for panicky emergency moments, as well as doing enough damage to kill all but the two beefiest classes in the game.
    • The Reserve Shooter, which sacrifices shells in the magazine for faster switch speed and buffed damage against enemies forced airborne by knockback, was notoriously dangerous for a while, to the point that it got a nerf to explicitly only consider explosive knockback to count. It's still a pretty common pick for Soldiers looking to play clay pigeon with enemies sent flying by their rockets, or even for killing another Soldier or Demoman in the process of doing a Rocket Jump.
    • This is inverted by the Heavy, who has a shotgun, but pretty much anyone to play Heavy for more than five minutes usually realizes quickly that the minigun leaves the shotgun with no real purposenote . Consequently, it's very rare to see experienced Heavies using the shotgun, favoring "lunchbox" healing items like Sandviches, which provide much more utility. Heavy players who do stick with the shotgun (or its generally preferred alternate, the Family Business) are nicknamed "Fat Scouts" in the playerbase, and while it's generally seen as a joke playstyle, the combination of a shotgun's consistent damage and the Heavy's high health mean that they can actually hold their own.
  • This was definitely the case in the original Team Fortress Classic, and its remake, Fortress Forever. The pump action Super Shotgun had good range, decent ammo capacity, high damage, and plentiful ammunition. It made an excellent sidearm for the Soldier, and an equally excellent primary weapon for the Engineer, Spy, and Medic. The Heavy got less use out of it, since he already came equipped with a Bottomless Magazines minigun that was also a shotgun.
    • The humble 'normal' shotgun was also quite useful. While its damage was pitiful compared to the Super Shotgun, it still had good capacity, a semi-automatic firing rate (the pump animation is basically for show), and near perfect accuracy, making it ideal for long range shooting and harassment, where the medium range Super Shotgun would be ineffective.
  • Scottish game company 10tons really likes this trope, as seen in their Tesla vs. Lovecraft and Jydge games. For Jydge the best firing modes for the Gavel Mk1 is an ion spread and a repeating shotgun mode, and while not quite so effective — the Gavel has a basic shotgun mode and a plasma spread mode which are still very powerful. For Tesla vs. Lovecraft crowd suppression is a huge factor and the game acknowledges this by providing a shotgun, Telsa shotgun and Gauss shotgun plus any gun becomes shotgun-like with the "Extra Barrel" perk. In both games, conflict mostly happens in confined space so having a weapon that can fill a tight alley is a huge asset.
  • Transformers: War for Cybertron and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron both feature the Scatter Blaster, a fully automatic magazine-fed Arm Cannon shotgun. The latter game features upgrades that give it the ability to carry more ammo, reload faster, remove all recoil, and set people on fire. The first game featured a double-barreled Sawn-Off Shotgun in the EMP Shotgun, but even its slightly higher damage was no match for the Scatter Blaster's ability to carry four times as many shells and offload a wall of lead in seconds. In the close confines of tunnel fights or clearing rooms, the Scatter Blaster can bring down most opponents faster than almost any other weapon, short of the superlative Riot Cannon. Due to the game allowing the player to carry two weapons and its relative ubiquity, the Scatter Blaster is one of the most commonly appearing backup weapons.
  • Triggore: A shotgun is among the weapons you can wield in the game. One shot does multiple hits to an enemy, and the gun holds four bullets.
  • In the first two games of the UFO Afterblank series, this trope was zigzagged but played straight for the third game UFO Aftershock. Shotguns had fantastic hitting power, hard to miss with and were fairly quick to activate — but they had awful range and a low ammo capacity, so they were great up-close and a failure at long range. In UFO Aftershock, once you research the shotgun — your enemies are in heap big trouble. Not only does the shotgun have tremendous hitting power, it has an adjustable choke so you can set your shotgun for a close-ranged wide-arc spray or a longer ranged blast. Since all rifle-type weapons (including the sniper rifle) had their ranges nerfed to make other weapons viable, the shotgun set at tight choke has a range that rivals that of the standard guns but packs far more power.
  • ULTRAKILL has a shotgun, as expected for a retro-inspired shooter. What makes the shotgun stand out is that V1 heals themself by showering in the blood of their enemies, making the shotgun a particularly good fallback tool when low on health. In addition, performing a parry on your own shot makes the buckshot come out faster and deal explosive damage.note 
  • In Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, a single shotgun blast can generally send players back to the last checkpoint, and were even more potent when seen held by armoured enemies.
  • Played with in the Android/IOS/Facebook game Under Fire: Invasion, the Guards of the Machine Cult guard shotguns that are worse than anything that the standard Space Infantry have. Sure those shotguns have equal range, but their damage is low, the rate of fire is really poor and the shots aren't area-effect. On the other hand the mid-level unit, the Knights have shotguns with firepower that is just below the Space Infantry's mightiest unit, the Peacemaker.
  • In Unit 13, equipping Slug Ammo on ANY shotgun turns it into a close-quarters destroyer, but also a long-distance sniper rifle.
  • Almost every other Unreal game has a particularly mean variant in the Flak Cannon. The primary firing mode shoots a shotgun-like spread of superheated shrapnel, which is insanely powerful at closer ranges. Just be mindful of the fact that the shrapnel will bounce off nearby walls. For added fun, the secondary fire lobs a grenade that throws shrapnel in all directions — in the original Unreal, a direct hit with this will kill nearly anything in the game instantly.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines: Shotguns have a higher Lethality rating than any ranged weapon except the Flamethrower, which only becomes available near the endgame. Although vampires are more resistant to bullets than the living, the fledgling PC's mentor warns them that a pointblank shotgun blast can still seriously crimp their style.
  • Subverted in Vietcong, gameplay-wise. They are powerful (even more so in short range), but their low rate of fire, not to mention slow reloading speed can be problematic at times.
  • Warframe features a few shotguns; most are decent at closer ranges, but there are a few that really stand out:
    • The Hek has good damage, a large number of pellets per shot, and a very tight spread, making it viable at longer ranges than most of the other shotguns. Whilst it's subject to some degree of damage falloff, it is still one of the most powerful weapons. The Steel Meridian variant, the Vaykor Hek is a crit-focused version that takes slightly longer to reload, but has double the magazine size, a slightly faster fire rate, and a far higher crit chance as well as a unique trait where upon acquiring enough affinity, it causes an explosive burst to happen around you that also heals you for 25% of your health. The Kuva Hek can inherit elemental damage from its progenitor lich—it also comes with a terrifying Alpha Strike secondary-fire that allows you to empty all four barrels in a single blast, filling a 10-meter space in front of you with buckshot and producing around 1 million damage per second when properly modded.
    • The Kohm (and its handheld variant, the Kohmak) is an automatic plasma shotgun that increases its pellet count with each shot for a devastating crowd-clearer. The one major downside is that it guzzles ammo like crazy, since each pellet consumes ammo.
    • The Brakk features high damage and fire rate, and its status as a sidearm allows it to take advantage of a better selection of mods to improve its stats, plus an ammo pool with more common drops. It can be a little tricky to get though.
    • The Detron sidearm deals pure Radiation damage, and has an upgrade in its "Mara" variant. While the Brakk and the Detron were both initially event rewards, they can be acquired in-game via defeating unique foes and collecting the parts.
    • The Tigris is a classic double-barrel with a Tenno twist; an unusual "Duplex" trigger. Instead of firing one shot at a time or both at once, the Tigris fires one shot when the trigger is depressed and looses the second shot when the trigger is released. New Loka has its Sancti variant, featuring the unique trait of spreading a Corrosive burst around you whilst healing you for 25% of your health and providing a temporary health boost upon gaining enough affinity. The Prime variation is easily the single most powerful shotgun in the game. All Tigris variants are quite accurate, too.
    • The Corinth is a Tenno-made pump-action shotgun that can fires a massive high-crit buckshot blast as well as an explosive grenade that can clear crowds very effectively if implemented right.
    • The Drakgoon Flak Cannon can charge its shots to tighten their spread and give them penetrative power, and the pellets bounce off enemies and walls for even more devastation. Its unique weapon mod, Fomorian Accelerant, can make the pellets bounce more and travel faster, reducing their damage fall-off at range.
    • The Euphona Prime is a shotgun pistol that functions similarly to the LeMat Grapeshot Revolver, able to switch between firing a single slug that has a high critical hit chance, and a pellet spread that has a high chance to inflict status debuffs on enemies.
    • The Arca Plasmor is a plasma shotgun that deals radiation damage by default and can leave enemies momentarily floating in the air, vulnerable to a follow-up attack if they survived the first blast.
    • The Sobek shotgun and the Pyrana shotgun pistol can easily seem overshadowed by the above and lack variants but feature rather large magazines, comparatively fast reload speeds, and fast base fire rates, making them Simple, yet Awesome full automatics with a proper application of weapon mods.
    • The Pyrana recently received a Prime variant that can summon an ethereal copy of itself for Guns Akimbo action if its wielder racks up 3 kills in a 5-second window, and it is wonderfully made for critical hits.
    • The Corpus, the same faction behind the above-mentioned Arca Plasmor, also created the Exergis, a single-round shotgun that focuses on both Slash and Radiation damage via fracturing a high-yield crystal as the projectile.
    • The Boar is a Tenno crafted auto-firing shotgun with an Impact-based damage range, and mostly has a wide firing cone which is fairly good at crowd control. It also has a Prime variant that is even stronger.
  • In Will Rock, the Shotgun is the first serious weapon to be found, excellent range, good damage and many shots. With some good luck, you could complete the game using nothing but the Shotgun and, sometimes, the explosive weaponry. Also, it's one of the few weapons that works underwater.
  • The shotgun in Worms has two shots where almost every other weapon has just one. This means you can shoot, move, and shoot again. It deals 25 damage per shot, which means two hits can deal as much as a bazooka hit. Additionally, Short-Range Shotgun is utterly averted; you can snipe someone from across the map with one. Add the fact that in the standard settings you have an infinite number of uses and you get one of the cornerstones of the Worms arsenal.
  • In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, shotguns are indeed better... In the hands of the Assault Class. Their perk tree allows them to inflict massive damage close and personal, sprint and shoot after ending their sprint, shoot at close quarter combat ranges, dodge reaction fire (basically someone waiting for movement and shooting on reflex), dodge better the more enemies in sight there are, and an immunity to Critical Hit, making Assaults the go to Close-Range Combatant, and shotguns are better than assault rifles for them. Assault rifles are versatile enough to be the Support Class's weapon and performing decently in their hands despite lacking a shotgun's stopping power, Sniper Rifle are the opposite of shotguns (excellent at range, bad at close combat, making Sniper Class the Long-Range Fighter), and the machine gun wielded by the Heavy Class has limited ammo, but can lay down heavy fire at about any range, and use a rocket launcher. Sniper rifles, shotguns and machineguns have the same damage rating, but perform better in specific situations.
    • Inarguably the case however with the Alloy Cannon. It sends a deadly flechette of alien alloy micro-shards down a barrel lined with a magnetic field, so the shards don't render the weapon useless by shredding the barrel after one shot. Curiously this wonder weapon seems to be an entirely human production, with no other equivalent in the alien arsenal. During testing, shots from this weapon punched completely clean through a two metres block of modified ballistics gel; its effects on aliens in the field are similarly lethal.
  • Zombie Wonderland and Zombie Wonderland 2: Out of Time from Chillingo, has your janitor Chuck protecting the town of Niceville from different breeds of zombies. His weapon of choice is his double-barrelled shotgun Bessie. Bessie doesn't pack much firepower, but it shoots surprisingly fast plus it has Bottomless Magazines. Most importantly, Chuck can purchase Abnormal Ammo for Bessie including Medusa bullets which will petrify zombies.

    Web Animation 
  • Shrapnel: When Reznya is picking out guns at Pavel’s for her upcoming raid on the minions hideout, a sawed-off pump-action shotgun catches her eye. Pavel throws in a 50 round capacity drum mag for free to go with it.


    Web Original 
  • These show up so often in horror films its a running gag for Phelous to use a clip from Resident Evil declaring "I got a shotgun!". In Linkara's Previously On segment for Secret Defenders 10 he turns around holding one dramatically and was probably about to say it. He is interupted by Linkara, who says he can't go through with the sequence due to this episode being too important due to the integration of Gunslinger Theme. Also that Phelous was the only one he could afford.
  • Yang Xiao Long's signature weapons in RWBY, the Ember Celica, are a cross between this trope and a Power Fist: twin gauntlets with built-in shotgun barrels that can also fire explosive rounds, or provide a Recoil Boost.
    Web Videos 
    Western Animation 
  • Subverted in The Intruder. TOM 1 attempts to use a laser shotgun against the title villain, which proves useless.
  • The Liberator is about an American army unit fighting the Germans in World War II Italy. In the first episode an Italian boy gives Captain Sparks a shotgun that belonged to his grandfather. It saves Sparks's life in the second episode, when his rifle jams, which allows a German soldier to leap into his foxhole.

    Real Life 
  • Discussed when then-Vice President Biden in 2013 suggested that proper home-defense demanded a good shotgun. Though many people criticised the likely politics motivating the statement, no one of note took issue with the prescription.
  • Vietnam veteran and Thunder Ranch firearms instructor Clint Smith sums it up pretty well:
    Clint Smith: "Pistols put holes in people, rifles put holes through people, shotguns at the right range with the right load will physically remove a chunk of shit off your opponent and throw that shit on the floor, and you will have to get someone to come in and clean this shit up with a shovel. But it's gotta be the right load at the right range. 75 yards with a skeet load, it didn't do very much to him. You're right. 00 buck at 3 yards. Big-ass hole."


Video Example(s):


Using the horse

Juliette and TC get horses in order to chase an intruding drone and shoot it down with shotguns.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / UnconventionalVehicleChase

Media sources: