In the early 17th century Europe, the blunderbuss, the weapon from which modern shotguns stem their design and usage from, were specially used for multiple military and combat situations, where its ability to fire multiple projectiles in a large area were desirable for close combat. Loaded with gunpowder down the muzzle, the blunderbuss was best loaded with small, multiple lead balls and shots; however, the blunderbuss was a flexible weapon, and could load anything from scrap metal, stones, pieces of wood, and mostly anything that was hard and effective enough to fire. With its easy-to-hit mechanics and ability to fire pretty much anything, blunderbusses were common to use in hunting game or for crowd control. However, as the blunderbuss was rendered obsolete in long range combat, these weapons were not widely issued to military personnel, while muskets and rifles continued to be standard.
While blunderbusses would appear to be much more common in the early United States due to large land for hunting, these weapons were never very widespread in the early nation's history. Besides usage in Europe and America, blunderbusses were very common to have and use on sea voyages, were attacks at sea required sailors to fight in close quarters.
Later in the 18th century, shotguns, originally called fowling pieces, separated itself from the unpopular blunderbuss in the West and became a very common firearm in the U.S. for hunting, with some variants, such as the punt gun, have been made exclusively for that purpose, while other variants, such as the double-barreled variant, find more usefulness for providing both a means of hunting and protection. Still, due to its usefulness in close areas, shotguns have been the preferred weapon for guards and other minor military personnel, and have been common with civilians searching for protection. While sometimes found in major military branches, shotguns, like their predecessor, have not been too commonly distributed.
Shotguns began to see more usage in military operations at the beginning of World War I, where the weapons were very effective in protecting the long, narrow from enemy soldiers and advancements. This rapid increase of the shotgun's importance also lead to an increase in quality, such as upgrades in ammunition types, firing mechanics and other design features. After WWI, shotguns once again faded from major usage, though they continued to be improved upon and were more common than before. It was after WWII that shotguns began to fill in a more specialized role in military operations, often used in infiltrating or close quarters operations.
Shotguns in-game are close-quarters-combat (CQC) orientated weapons, being able to deal a large amount of damage up close. Shotguns sport exclusive ammunition types which change the performance and characteristics of the weapon in multiple ways. Located in the other attachments section, there are four ammunition types, including buckshot rounds, which shotguns are automatically chambered to fire in-game. The remaining three types are flechette birdshot, and slug rounds. However, their unlock requirements are quite high, at 500, 1000, and 2000 kills respectively. See the Shotgun Ammunition Types page for more information regarding each particular ammunition type.
Shotguns are mostly rendered obsolete at long range due to their low minimum damage and low muzzle velocity, and depending on the ammunition type, the pellet spread. In contrast, shotguns have the ability to instantly kill any enemy in a single shot, so long as enough pellets contact at an appropriate range. Shotguns also vary in terms of firing mechanics and ammunition feeding. Most shotguns in-game are pump-action, requiring the user to pump the weapon after each shot to chamber the next round. Some, however, are semi-automatic, meaning a user can fire the weapon as fast as it will allow, although this means the recoil may not have enough time to settle between shots - affecting accuracy. The Stevens DB (and Sawed Off, the secondary variant) is unique in that it also sports a burst-fire mode which fires both rounds instantaneously.
Ammunition feeding also various. One is magazine-fed shotguns, which utilize a box-magazine and function like other magazine-fed weapons. Most shotguns, however, have tube magazines, meaning a user reloads rounds individually. This has its own pros and cons, being that one can reload a partially empty magazine fairly quickly when compared to magazine-fed weapons, but a full or empty reload remains incredibly long; much longer than magazine-fed weapons.
Usage & Tactics
Shotguns should be used exclusively in CQC situations, where the high damage potential and weakness at longer ranges are covered. Unlike other CQC orientated weapons, such as the PDW or Carbine, whereas you could defend yourself if absolutely needed, Shotguns are completely useless at long range. If encountered at long range, it is recommended to either run and find cover, or, if preferred, to use an appropriate secondary weapon to fight back. Weapons such as a Revolver or the SFG 50 are recommended for these situations.
When using the Slugs attachment with a Shotgun, the originally close ranged weapon is more viable at longer ranges, unlike other ammunition variations. With Slugs attached, the Shotgun begins to behave more like the Henry .45-70 or 1858 Carbine, firing a single, strong projectile over a distance. Many times, scoring headshots will instantly kill an enemy. Unfortunately, most lose their one-shot-kill (1SK) potential at close range (barring the KSG-12, KS-23M, and Stevens DB), making these Slug-firing weapons more useful in medium to long range engagements.
Shotguns, in most cases, are exclusive CQC weapons. Possessing some of the quickest time-to-kill (TTK) in-game, these weapons will outperform almost every other weapon in CQC, and many different Shotgun variations, models and ammunition variations allow for many different strategies and game plans. While extremely ineffective at long ranges, Shotguns still perform well enough in close range as a counter-balance. However, if desired, the Slugs attachment allows for a more mid to long range combat orientated weapon that performs equally well.
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