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Shotguns are smoothbore weapons that typically fire buckshot but can usually fire slugs and even dart shells.

All the shotguns in the game have a 12-Gauge [18.5-mm (0.729-inch)] bore. The Bore measurement is the diameter of the weapon's barrel. The Gauge measurement is how many balls of the bore's diameter can be made from one pound of lead. A gauge of 12 means that twelve 18.5-mm (0.729") lead balls can be made per pound of lead.

To prevent potential confusion, the shell's Shot Size measurement is different: it is based on a number or letter code (varying per system) assigned to a packet of shot of a diameter that is smaller than the bore. For instance, American #00 ("Double Aught") Buckshot is 8.38-mm (0.33") in diameter and there are eight #00 Buckshot per 12 Gauge shell. Dust Shot (also called Varmint or Corbie shot) is made of particles of lead shot and is used to kill rats, mice and crows or hunt game rodents like Prairie Dogs at close range. Birdshot is small-diameter lead or steel shot for hunting small game like quail or rabbits. Waterfowl shot is medium-diameter steel shot used for hunting large game birds like geese and ducks. Buckshot (named for a "buck" - a term for an adult male deer) is large diameter lead shot used for hunting large game animals like deer, boar or bears.

The shotguns in the game are rated to take both Standard [70-mm (2.75-inch)] and Magnum [76-mm (3-inch)] length shells. Magnum shells either have a larger powder charge or contain a heavier amount of shot than a Standard shell. The buckshot shells are Standard length and the Slug and Dart shells are Magnum length.

Shotguns loaded with buckshot shells are the ultimate close quarter combat weapons. They are able to kill a moderately armored human opponent with a single shot at close range and send them flying backwards. Virtually every opponent in the game (human or mutant) can be defeated at close range with a barrage of buckshot. Due to the fact that buckshot expands rapidly after exiting the barrel of the shotgun it is virtually useless against distant enemies.

Slug shells are shaped like a long blunt-nosed bullet, rather than a ball like shot is, making it more accurate and giving it better range and penetration. They are heavier than shotshells because they are made of solid lead rather than a packet of loose shot. They are good for mid-range shots against single targets. In S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, they get better penetration and range, replacing the Dart shell.

Dart shells contain a flechette [French > "Little Arrow"], an arrow-like lead projectile with a sharp armor-piercing metal penetrator and finned tail. It is contained in a sabot [French > "Shoe"] - a protective casing that falls away in pre-sectioned pieces after the round leaves the barrel. The sabot not only protects the flechette from damage, it also increases its muzzle velocity. It is more stable and accurate in fight and can go farther than a slug. They are good for long-range shots against unarmored or lightly-armored targets or mid-range shots against moderately-armored targets. They were originally rare, found only in caches or obtained as rewards from completing missions, in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl but were common and available for purchase in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky. They were removed in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat.

Disadvantages of the shotgun include: slow rate of fire, short effective range without appropriate upgrades, small magazine capacities, and long reload times. They also cannot be equipped with a scope, so medium and long-range slug or dart shots must be made with the unaided eye. On the plus side it should be noted that all shotguns are cheap to buy, inexpensive to upgrade, and use a good complement of ammunition types.

List of Shotguns Edit

  • TOZ-66 Sawn-off Shotgun - Side-by-Side Double-Barreled Hammer-lock shotgun with a crude pistol-grip stock and cut-down barrel.
  • TOZ-34 Hunting Shotgun - Over/Under Double-Barreled Box-lock shotgun with a full-length barrel and shoulder stock.
    • If the player upgrades the TOZ-34 with the Tier 3: Threaded Barrel upgrade, it can fire slug and dart shells with greater accuracy. However, the rifled barrel means it can no longer fire shot shells anymore.
  • Eliminator - Double-Action shotgun with an integral high-capacity revolving drum magazine.

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