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An Imperial shotgun[3]

My trusty old shotgun. Primitive in some people's eyes, but reliable.
Colonel 'Iron Hand' Straken[14]

A shotgun is a projectile weapon, which uses the energy of a fixed shell to fire a number of small spherical pellets called shot, or a solid projectile called a slug.


The shotgun fires a large, solid slug or a dispersed fragment shot. Some shotguns are drum-fed, others are pump-action, while the most primitive are single shot weapons. They are strongly made, simple weapons that have only a short range but are quite effective against unarmoured targets. Their versatility and ease of construction compared to weapons such as lasguns, makes them widely used. Even the lowest-tech factories can produce these weapons, making them a common sight in the galaxy. Favoured for urban and shipboard combat, where their short-range stopping power comes into play, shotguns have found their way into the arsenal of many Imperial organisations.[3][6][7] One of the non-common shell type - the gas shells - release a deadly gas that can kill target and quickly disperse after that.[1c]

They are also popular with hive-world scum and local police. The weapon is sometimes used by the Imperial Guard, although the Lasgun is preferred. It is not highly accurate but it is easier to fire from the hip than the Lasgun. It is easy to produce however and is an ideal weapon for worlds without the technological base to produce laser weapons. Shotguns are extensively used by the Adeptus Arbites for both combat and crowd control, and various types of rounds have been developed for such tasks. Space Marine Scouts also sometimes employ shotguns. Though their shotguns seem to be more powerful than those of other Imperial organizations, they still lack some of the range, power and armour piercing qualities of bolters. However, they are, in some cases, more useful than bolters because they can be fired easily while advancing and charging into close combat.[3][6][7][9]


Pump-action shotgun[6]

Pump-action shotgun

Favoured by Enforcers, pump-action shotguns have all the strengths of their double-barrelled cousins with the added benefits of increased clip capacity. There are also few things as distinctive as the sound of pump-action shotgun chambering a shell.[6]

Combat shotgun

Combat shotgun[2]

These automatic shotguns are designed purely for warfare. Combat shotguns are usually fed from a drum magazine (and so rarely need to be reloaded) and are even deadlier than the normal shotgun. In addition to their short-range destructive power, they hammer out an intimidating racket when being fired.[6]

Astartes assault shotgun

Astartes assault shotgun[8]

The Astartes assault shotgun is a much more powerful and versatile version of shotgun used by Space Marine Scouts. They are bulky, clip-fed weapons that can fire in single shots and in both semi and fully automatic modes, and use an array of specialty ammunition ranging from armour-piercing penetrator rounds to the powerful man-stopping rounds. These variants are specially designed to be used by members of Adeptus Astartes and as such are of much better quality and much more deadly than normal shotguns. Assault shotguns are best used in urban and close-quarters combat, as well as in boarding actions aboard voidships.[8]

Preacher shotgun

Used by the Ecclesiarchy's Preachers that serve in the Astra Militarum.[27]

Sawn-off shotgun

Sawn-off shotgun[20]

Sawn-off shotguns are a type of shotgun with a shorter gun barrel and often a shorter or absent stock. These variants come very handy during fighting in confined space. It is mostly popular on agricultural and primitive worlds.[1b]

Naval shotcannon

These much larger variants of a regular shotgun fire a huge shell nearly twice the normal size. They can lay waste to large hordes of attackers - a close hit from one can literally explode a man into a burst of shredded clothing and flesh. However, they generate tremendous recoil and must be mounted down or fired from a braced position to be effective.[7]

Shotgun pistol

Shotgun Pistol

Also known as "'Foehammer'", this weapon takes a form of a squat, brutal pistol resembling a single-shot hand cannon. It can fire a standard shotgun shell, and is popular with many naval ship's officers as well as crew chiefs who need an intimidating weapon close at hand.[7]

Navis heavy shotgun

Navis Endurant with heavy shotgun[19]

The Navis heavy shotgun is a large double-barreled Shotgun used by Imperial Navy Breachers.[26]

Executioner Shotgun

Arbites with Executioner Shotgun[28]

The Executioner Shotgun is a type of scoped Shotgun used by the Adeptus Arbites.[28]


Arbites with Shotpistol[28]

The Shotpistol is a type of handheld Shotgun used by the Adeptus Arbites.[28]

Known Patterns

Accatran pattern Mk XI

Accatran pattern Mk XI[5c]

This model has an eight round internal magazine and uses a manual pump action to to fire a single shot then re-cock the weapon. It can fire a variety of ammunition. The stock is removable and at close quarters many users prefer to discard it, shortening the weapon for extra manoeuvrability. The pistol grip allows the weapon to be fired single handed, but this makes it wildly inaccurate and requires a very strong firer. This weapon is known to be used by Cadian Shock Troopers Regiments of the Imperial Guard.[5c]

  • Length: 92 cm
  • Barrel: 40 cm
  • Weight: 5.6 kg
  • Calibre: 12
  • Feed: 8 round tubular magazine
  • Cyclic rate of fire: n/a
  • Muzzle velocity: 500 m/sec - approx

Accatran pattern, model 34

Accatran pattern, model 34[4]

This patttern is a self-loading, semi-automatic weapon with a 8-round internal magazine. Produced of Accatran Forge World, it features an extending stock and pistol grip. The model is frequently used by Elysian Drop Troops Regiments of the Imperial Guard.[4]

Lucius pattern Mk 22c

Lucius pattern Mk 22c[5b]

Produced on Lucius Forge World, this model has an eight round revolving magazine and can be loaded with a variety of ammunition, including solid slugs, pellet loaded canisters and low velocity flares. The weapon uses a gas-operated self-loading action to fire. The revolver action is prone to mechanical failure, but the weapon's high gauge and the heavy cartridge fired fired make it a deadly weapon at close quarters at the cost of a strong recoil. This model is known to be used by Death Korps of Krieg engineers.[5a][5b]

Arbites Pattern III 'Lawbringer'

This pattern of combat shotgun is used by members of Adeptus Arbites.[2]

Arbites Pattern III 'Lawbringer'[2]

Arbites Vox Legi-pattern

Effectively a large-bore, locally manufactured version of the shotgun designs used by many planetary enforcers, the Vox Legi is a devastating and adaptable weapon that fires shotgun shells nearly the size of those of Astartes Assault shotgun. The increased size of the weapon reduces its ammunition capacity compared to that of its fellow shotguns, but it still remains more powerful and adaptable than a standard shotgun. Most patrolling Arbitrators take advantage of this flexibility by carrying a variety of shotgun shell types so as to offer them different tactical options in the event of encountering a situation that requires their intervention. Over-engineered by a considerable margin, the weapon is also perfectly capable of being used as a large club in close combat. It is also designed for maximum psychological impact, with a very audible pump action (standard Arbites riot training makes use of this). The sound of a hundred Arbitrators simultaneously chambering their weapons has ended countless riots over the millennia. This pattern of combat shotgun is particularly widespread amongst the Arbitrators of The Periphery, and is broadly typical of the weapons favoured by Calixian Arbitrators.[15]

Deathwatch shotgun

Deathwatch shotgun

The Deathwatch shotgun is a variant used by the Deathwatch Space Marines. It is optimized for close-quarters warfare on Space Hulks and xenos-infected asteroids. It can fire several distinct types of cartridges, ranging from explosive cylinders of shot known as cryptclearer rounds to flame-bursting wyrmsbreath shells.[17]

Deliverance pattern shotgun

Deliverance pattern shotgun

Compact shotgun design manufactured on the Raven Guard's homeworld of Deliverance. Optimal for security roles.[18]

Scatheros “Blackhammer” defence shotgun

Notorious for its sheer destructive power, the Blackhammer has a carefully crafted barrel fitted and an equally well-crafted stock and firing mechanism, all constructed to safely fire a single massive shell, more than twice the size of a standard shotgun cartridge with many times the power. Each shell is custom-made and filled with dozens of heavy pellets the size of stubber rounds, backed by a huge charge; the quality of the barrel breach and stock are vital to keep the weapon from tearing itself apart with every firing The weapon’s short range and single-shot capacity are often overlooked in favour of its immense stopping power, although, like many such weapons, it can prove dramatically less effective against targets with heavy armour. It has a ferocious recoil and its ammo is as hard to come by as the Blackhammer itself.[16a]

Hack shotgun

Known by a wide variety of nicknames on different worlds, this is a conventional double-barrel shotgun, cut down to the smallest possible size and rigged to fire both of its barrels at once from a single trigger pull. Although very short-ranged and hardly a precision weapon, the twin blast is still devastating against unarmoured targets, and the sight of one can have a very salutary effect on bystanders. A Hack is no substitute for a true combat weapon though, as many a ganger faced with carapace-armoured enforcers has found to their cost.[16b]

Raven pattern

The "Raven pattern" shotgun is a upgraded model of Astartes Assault Shotgun exclusive to Space Marines of the Raven Guard. It uses an ancient technique incorporating flash and sound suppressors into the scout’s muzzle (a long black cylinder attached to the weapon’s barrel) making it completely silent when fired, without reducing damage or the ability to make use of variant forms of ammo.[12]

Vanaheim pattern

These robust and tested shotguns are standard in the armies of the Skitarii Provosts that take the rule of enforcers on Mechanicum worlds. The weapons feature an inbuilt red-dot laser sight and attached saw-bladed bayonet.[16c]

Vostroyan-pattern mark III

A combat shotgun used by Vostroyan military provosts, the weapon is a heavy, crude and ugly firearm. It is however, supremely effective in cramped environments.[24]

Engager-pattern shotgun

A highly advanced pump-action shotgun, issued to the Helots of the Mentors Chapter. Keyed to the users biometrics, the weapon's were designed and crafted by the Chapter's Techmarines to kill their fellow Astartes. At standard range the shotgun can breach ceramite and at close range it can buckle adamantium. The Mentors will typically modify the weapon further after its construction with attachments such as a suspensor-studded three-shot auxiliary grenade launcher capable of launching vortex grenades.[25]

Shotgun ammo

Many shotguns can fire a variety of ammunition, including non lethal plastic baton rounds, solid slugs and pellet-filled cannister rounds as well as more exotic variants.[5c]

  • Scatter - A standard shotgun ammunition variant, scatter shells spray a wide area with small pieces of shot.[13]
  • Executioner - Executioner rounds are most commonly used by agents of Adeptus Arbites. They contain a tiny artificial guidance system that allows them to home in on their target. However, it takes a moment for them to acquire their target and so are more accurate at longer ranges.[13]
  • Ferromag - A type of ammunition used by the Imperial Fists Legion and originating in their homeworld Inwit. These heavy shotgun shells instead of firing a spread of shrapnel, unleash a single charged shell that attaches to ceramite and other exotic materials on impact before detonating, proving a deadly tool in short ranged firefights with enemy warriors of the Legiones Astartes.[29]
  • Hellfire - These bullets contain a small phial of acidic toxins that burn the flesh and affect the victim's nervous system if not stopped by target's armour.[13]
  • Inferno - These bullets contain a phosphorous gel that ignites on contact and may put ther target on fire with lethal results.[13]

Famous users

See also



Projectile Weapons
Slug-Throwers Stub gunHand CannonStub RifleHeavy stubberShotgunRipper Gun
Auto-Weapons AutopistolAutogunAutocannonAssault cannonMacro cannon
Ork Grot BlastaSluggaShootaBig ShootaSupa-GatlerGigashoota
Eldar Shuriken WeaponryShrieker CannonDeath SpinnerShadow Weaver
Dark Eldar Splinter PistolSplinter RifleSplinter Cannon
Tau Empire Kroot Bolt ThrowerKroot rifleKroot hunting rifleKroot gunRail RifleRailgun