Made famous amongst the community back in the earliest days of Fortnite when the double pump shotgun meta was alive, the Fortnite community either loves them or loves to hate them. Shotguns in Fortnite tend to end up as some of the best weapons to use at close range (and even medium range in some cases), or they end up closer to the bottom of the tier list. One thing is certain about all shotguns though, it feels amazing to sneak up on or outbuild your opponent in order to get that perfect shotgun blast on them that makes them jump out of their seat and spill their sippy cup.

But first let's discuss strategy. A shotgun might seem like a very straight forward weapon to use in any game but Fortnite build mechanic and destructible terrain adds a little extra strategy to take into account. The basic mechanics of a shotgun is that they fire multiple projectiles out in front of you simultaneously in an expanding cone. The closer you are to what you're shooting at the more of those projectiles are going to hit the target and the more damage you're going to do to them. The further away you are the less damage you’re going to deal, with some exceptions depending on the shotgun variant you are currently using. The best use of this weapon type is to get in as close as possible before landing a shot on the center mass of our opponent. Optimally from a higher elevation, causing some or all of those projectiles to land as headshots more easily.

In Fortnite this usually lands the shotgun weapon type as the best weapon used for up close build battles where both players are frantically trying to build above or drop down on their opponent for the kill. One thing to be aware of while using a shotgun in a build battle is the cone of projectiles you are firing. Remember that just because some of the projectiles hit your opponent there aren’t more that could miss and hit the structure you were planning on landing on. Nothing feels worse than landing a glancing blow on an opponent and taking out the low health platform you were planning on landing on only to fall to your death. Not something that will come up often in your games hopefully, but always good to keep in mind.

We wanted to take a look at all the various Shotgun archetypes that have made their way into Fortnite over the various chapters and seasons to better understand how we can always make the most of this gun no matter what season we’re playing in.



These shotgun variants can be categorized as semi-automatic shotguns that can only be fired as fast as their reload animation allows. The pump shotgun and lever action shotguns generally deal significant damage when your shot lands fully on your target. A popular strategy for these weapons when they are available in a Fortnite season is to fire a single shot off and then immediately switching to another weapon to finish off an opponent quickly. In the past that has sometimes meant swapping from one pump shotgun to another (known as the infamous “double pump”) but is most commonly an SMG or Assault Rifle for their solid accuracy and punishing rate of fire.


These shotguns are categorized by their fully automatic or unrestricted semi-automatic fire rate. These shotguns trade off the raw damage per shot of the Pump Shotgun variety for a higher rate of fire and often a larger magazine capacity. Automatic shotguns are great for taking on teams in close quarters and often serve the opposite role to non-automatic shotguns - acting as finishers rather than openers to gunfights. When available, we recommend opening gunfights at medium-close range with an Assault Rifle or accurate SMG and then swapping to an automatic shotgun like the Tactical or Drum Shotgun once you push in close for the kill.


The Heavy Shotgun used to act as a higher damage dealing Tactical Shotgun but in its last appearance in game before being vaulted again it became the only shotgun to fire a slug. This changed the Heavy Shotgun to something that was most effective when used at medium-far to medium-close range for high damage shots with a relatively solid fire rate considering the damage it would put out on a hit. The Heavy Shotgun may have ended up being a more niche gun in Fortnite but it was absolutely a fun time while it was around.


Essentially a semi-automatic shotgun with a two shot magazine. This shotgun packed a hell of a punch but at a shortened range compared to other semi-auto shotguns. If you enjoyed playing with shotguns in Fortnite or were just an old school fan of Mad Max you were without a doubt a big fan of the Double Barrel Shotgun when it was available.


The Combat Shotgun and the Ranger Shotgun are the true semi-automatic variants for the shotgun archetype in Fortnite. If you had solid aim and a quick trigger finger these shotguns could destroy players at a close to medium-close range. Some seasons of Fortnite patched these guns to have a limit on their fire rate so they played more similarly to a faster Pump Shotgun. Regardless of the season or patch the Combat Shotgun and Ranger Shotgun found themselves in they would tend to be solidly average guns. Most players would prefer the damage of a Pump up close and an Assault Rifle for medium range so these shotguns would often only find use in niche circumstances.


We’re still scratching our heads as to when the Charge Shotgun would be preferred over any other weapon or shotgun variant. These shotguns charge up to release a more powerful blast than a standard shotgun but were often too slow to charge to be useful in a heated fight. The Charged Shotgun was fun to get the occasional surprise kill on a player that was too caught up in looting to realize you were right behind them. Otherwise they just fell flat compared to other shotgun variants that were available in the seasons the Charge Shotgun could be found in game. Maybe we’ll see the Charge Shotgun come out of the vault with some changes in the future that make it more fun to use in a more common gunfight scenario and we’ll be eating our words.


The Dragon’s Breath Shotgun was the shotgun’s answer to players that could build a fort around you in the blink of an eye. Why risk using explosives at close range when you can light your opponent and their surrounding building on fire? The Dragon’s Breath shotgun was essentially a Tactical Shotgun with flame rounds that ignite any terrain, building, or player they hit. Great for tagging a slippery player that tried to build their way out of a gunfight and exceptional for putting your opponents best built plans to the flame.


Shotguns in particular are a weapon that require high mobility, both to get in your opponents’ faces to get the most damage out of your shotgun, and running away to kite while reloading. Unfortunately without a SCUF controller, it’s impossible to aim and use your mobility options at the same time. SCUF controllers allow you to bind your face buttons to your back paddlers, allowing you to aim while you jump, crouch, or even reload. To learn how to set up your SCUF controller and execute big plays, check out our guide for getting started in Fortnite.

One of the things that keeps us coming back to Fortnite again and again is the changes that are made to the game over time. Sometimes we get something completely new and other times we get a fresh new take on one of the classic weapons from past seasons. Regardless of what we get we know we’ll always be fans of getting up close and personal in our Fortnite games with a shotgun in hand. If you enjoyed this article and want to read more Fortnite content be sure to check out the Fortnite game hub as your one-stop source for SCUF Fortnite content.