This article is about the original Doom games weapon. For the weapon in Doom 3, see Shotgun (Doom 3).

The shotgun is one of the most versatile and useful weapons in the Doom player's arsenal, equipped in all classic Doom games. It's a single-barreled, pump-action shotgun with a wooden stock. It has an old-fashioned look and is first found in a secret area of E1M1: Hangar (or possibly taken from a former human sergeant on the upper two skill levels), then in a non-secret area on E1M2: Nuclear Plant.

A shotgun contains 8 shells when picked up (16 shells on the "I'm too young to die" and "Nightmare!" skill levels). Shotguns looted from the corpses of shotgun wielding zombies contain 4 shells (8 on ITYTD and NM) and, unlike pre-existing shotguns, disappear when crushed beneath doors or moving ceilings.

Combat Characteristics

The player's shotgun fires seven pellets, each of which inflicts 5-15 points of damage (for a total of 35-105 points of damage per shot, provided that all pellets connect against the target). Each pellet has the same random directional offset as a pistol shot, which gives an aggregate horizontal spread between 2.2° and 9.8° (the average is 5.9°, and the standard deviation 1.5°). Unlike the super shotgun of Doom II, which spreads pellets in a rough cone, there is no vertical dispersal; presumably this was a consequence of the game engine's predominantly planar design.

Tactical Analysis

MAP11 shotgun

The shotgun being used on Level 11: 'O' of Destruction!

The shotgun packs a deadly punch at close range, and the grouping of the pellets is tight enough to make the weapon useful for medium-range attacks. In a pinch, the shotgun can be used for sniping, though the spread of the pellets makes it hard to do much damage at long range.

Packs of weaker enemies are particularly vulnerable to shotgun fire, and it is often possible to kill two or more Zombiemen or Shotgun Guys with a single shot. It should usually kill an Imp with a well-aimed blast or a Demon in two, but this is often not the case. Against tougher enemies, such as cacodemons, it is usually best to lunge forward and fire at short range, then dodge the enemy's attacks during the cocking sequence. This tactic works well when combined with circle strafing.

The shotgun is considered a light-medium weapon, stronger than the fists or pistols, so it is generally good for dealing with small groups of humanoids, and the occasional tough monster scattered in mazes. For riot control, say large crowds of former humans, imps, demons, or several hell knights and cacodemons, it is better to use available weapons with greater firepower such as the Plasma Gun and Rocket Launcher; for Doom II the super shotgun is perhaps the best alternative since there is no splash damage and because it draws from the plentiful shell ammo pool.

The shotgun's main disadvantages are the slow rate of fire (which can leave the player vulnerable to counterattacks, especially in tight corridors), the pellet spread which weakens it at long range and the fact that the gun is difficult to use against tougher enemies such as a Baron of Hell for inexperienced players, especially in large numbers. However, these problems are less extreme than for the super shotgun. If shells are the only plentiful ammo, the shotgun is less wasteful and fires faster if one needs to snipe or deal with lone humanoids scattered in mazes.


Sshot shotgn pckup

The Doom 64 shotgun pickup sprite, as seen in MAP01: Staging Area

Sshot shotgn64 armd

Doom 64's shotgun from first person view.

  • The images for the shotgun in Doom are of those of a toy shotgun called the "TootsieToy Dakota", manufactured by the Strombecker Corporation of America.
  • The shotgun was the earliest weapon to appear in Doom, dating from the February 1993 pre-release alpha of the game (Doom 0.2). The shotgun model and animation were present, although the gun graphic had a muzzle brake. The alpha version of the player's in-vision display screens attributed it with 'DAM 30, RPS 20, MAX 99, RNG 50'.
  • Most renditions of the shotgun show it with the standard-length stock, such as in-game, the original Doom intro screen, the Doom II cover art, and the Doom Legacy intro screen. The end cutscene in Thy Flesh Consumed however shows the marine carrying a shotgun with a shortened/curved stock.
  • A similar pump-action shotgun appears in the popular Doom-inspiring 1986 film Aliens, where it is wielded by Corporal Dwayne Hicks of the Colonial Marines. The film used a shortened version of a real-life shotgun, the Ithaca 37.
  • In the Super NES version, due to limitations, the shotgun was changed into a rifle-type weapon that was very accurate with about the same strength as the original shotgun (which could be fictionally explained by the usage of slugs rather than buckshot).
  • In the Saturn port, the shotgun fires much faster than in other ports.
  • Doom 64‍'‍s shotgun has a slightly different appearance and a more simplistic cocking sequence (the shotgun only tilts backwards slightly after firing, instead of it being turned vertically and pumped). Observing the weapon's pickup sprite, a barrel band appears to be visible over the forearm, along with a loop beneath the trigger guard. It is possible that it is a lever-action shotgun instead; which would explain the simplified animation, as the action is outside the player's view. This is further supported by its in-game sound effect, which is composed of the exact same two stock SFX as those used for the sawed-off shotgun which Arnold Schwarzenegger makes a famously extensive use of in Terminator 2: Judgement Day. (Do note that their use in Doom predates Doom 64 itself, originating in the PlayStation port.) It's also possible that the reload animation was not included simply due to memory or cartridge space limitations (which is also perhaps the reason why the super shotgun has no reload animation, despite being a single-shot weapon). It's also worth noting however, that Quake has no shotgun reload animation either, thus it becomes very possible that this was merely a stylistic choice by the developers during the Quake era.
  • In the Game Boy Advance port of Doom II, the shotgun has a cone-shaped spread.
  • As with most other firearms in the game, the shotgun is never reloaded, theoretically making its ammo tube's capacity a whopping 50 shells (100 with backpack).
  • Its third-person view makes it look like a Remington 870 Pump-Action Shotgun.

Data Statistics

#ID Sound Sprite Radius Class
2001 (decimal)
7D1 (hex)
DSSHOTGN (firing/reloading) SHOT (before pickup)
SHTG (wielded)
SHTF (firing)
PUFF (impact, miss)
BLUD (impact, hit)
20 Weapon


Damage done by a shotgun attack

Shots needed to kill1 Mean Standard
Min Max
Barrel 1.00 0.00 1 1
Zombieman 1.00 0.00 1 1
Shotgun guy 1.00 0.00 1 1
Wolfenstein SS 1.01 0.09 1 2
Imp 1.06 0.24 1 2
Heavy weapon dude 1.32 0.47 1 2
Lost soul 1.98 0.12 1 2
Commander Keen 1.98 0.12 1 2
Demon 2.62 0.49 2 3
Spectre 2.62 0.49 2 3
Romero's head3 3.97 0.17 3 4
Revenant 4.71 0.45 4 5
Cacodemon 6.02 0.34 5 7
Pain elemental 6.02 0.34 5 7
Hell knight 7.31 0.48 6 8
Arachnotron 7.31 0.48 6 8
Mancubus 8.82 0.38 8 9
Arch-vile 10.09 0.58 9 11
Baron of hell 14.23 0.68 13 16
Spiderdemon 41.90 1.81 38 45
Cyberdemon 55.75 2.51 51 60
  1. This table assumes that all calls to P_Random for damage, pain chance, blood splats, and pellet dispersal are consecutive. In real play, this is never the case: counterattacks and AI pathfinding must be handled, and of course the map may contain additional moving monsters and other randomized phenomena (such as flickering lights). Any resulting errors are probably toward the single-shot average, as they introduce noise into the correlation between the indices of "consecutive" calls.
  2. Assumes that the target is close enough to be hit by every pellet.
  3. Assumes that direct hits are possible, which does not occur in any stock map.

The IWADs contain the following numbers of shotguns (excluding those of dead shotgun guys):

The Ultimate Doom342827
Doom II191818
TNT: Evilution414141

See also

External links

Weapons from classic Doom games

Fist | ChainsawPistolShotgun | Super ShotgunChaingunRocket LauncherPlasma GunBFG9000

Italics = Introduced in Doom II