In what (fictional) tactical scenerios would a doubled-barreled shotgun be superior?

A guy at work and I were chatting and the subject of the old Doom II FPS came up. The discussion worked it’s way around to comparing the double-barreled shotgun in the game to the single-barreled pump action shotgun. Obviously the Doom game took some shortcuts as to how the shotguns worked, most notably how your entire inventory of shotgun shells was always instantly available. The Half-Life FPS was a little more realistic especially about reloading time, although it depicts your shotgun as having a double-round mode that AFAIK doesn’t exist in the real life weapon.

Now in many a fictional scenerio you’re facing enemies that for one reason or another don’t die (or fall down in pain and shock) simply because you poke a hole in them with a handgun, rifle, or even a full-automatic firearm. For sheer obliterating damage at close quarters, it’s hard to beat the shotgun. The question is, when would a double-barreled shotgun (for a given gauge) be better than a single-barreled shotgun? For discussion’s sake let’s presume we’re talking 12 or 10 gauge, since anything larger is federally controlled in the US and therefore rare (not to mention the sheer practicality of firing anything heavier than those). Since AFAIK there is no such thing as a double-barreled pump action or semi-automatic, I presume that a double-barreled would be a breech loading single shot (per barrel) weapon.

The double-barreled shotgun has one advantage: the ability to hit a target with a perfectly stupendous amount of firepower in one shot. If you were facing an enemy that this made the difference between taking it down immediately versus having to shoot multiple rounds, this could make a huge difference. (In Doom II I used to love how one good double-barreled blast would drop the pink bull-things in their tracks). On the other hand having to deal quickly with multiple attackers (or the consequences of missing) could make the reload time fatal. (Unless, like the Doom Space Marine, you’re really, really good at speed loading a break breech! :smiley: ) Of course even a magazine-fed shotgun has to be reloaded by hand (any such thing as a shotgun shell removable magazine?), so in the long run of rounds per quarter-hour a breech loader might not be that much slower.

A lot therefore depends on the toughness of your targets, and how hard-pressed you are in the heat of battle. Your opinions?

Maybe two, and only two enemies coming from different directions at the same time? Or one right behind the other.

Or you are fighting a mixed gang of, say, vampires and werewolves and you need two separate types of exotic ammo to fight them. Silver slugs in the right barrel, wooden ones in the left!

You do understand that a double barreled shot gun has 2 triggers and usually one side is shot and then the other?

So it’s just a 2 round shotgun. Then you are out of ammo and have to hope you have killed or scared the competiion long enough to allow you to reload. Accuracy is limited to about the range inside your average living room. Not a good choice for outside at any distance you can’t spit.

The first, and only, real rule of gun fighting is to get the first shot off fast…and make the second shot count.

A double barrel shotgun may let you get away with that, but what if you need 3 or more shots? A guy with a 6 gun is going to make short work of you.

While the scatter-shot of a shot gun can be devistating if you manage to hit the target, it is also not very controlable beyond a few yards.

BOOM, BOOM, you missed and are really in trouble now if you can’t switch weapons quickly.

Disclaimer: I am not your gun fighter. If you need a gun fighter please seek out experts.

I have fired a friend’s pump-action 12ga shotty with a detachable magazine (fun). That was a few years back and I don’t recall the make and model. A wikipedia and google search turned up a couple of nifty items for you:

1). A semiautomatic shotgun with the usual integral tube magazine

2). A semiautomatic shotgun with detachable box magazine

3). A pump-action shotgun with a detachable box magazine


I don’t think a double barreled shotgun would ever be superior for any tactical situation any more than a double rifle would be. The double barreled shotgun was designed for bird hunting, and the double rifle for taking large game. These are sporting weapons and are not suited to use in combat in any way. As others have said, you have only two shots.

He’s asking for fictional scenarios in video games.

I’m not sure what they’re called but Half Life 2 has these acid spitting spider looking guys that take more than one shot to kill. The two shot from the shotgun will kill them if hit dead on. But if you miss, you’ve lost two ammo instead of one.

When I’m playing guns in my head, shotguns are rarely preferable as they take much longer to reload than anything else. What you gain in firepower you lose in massive vulnerability while stuffing shells down a tube for half a minute.

That is, unless you get one of the (mentioned above) models with magazines/boxes, but you then also have to deal with how much larger and bulkier those are compared to handgun or rifle ammo.

In a zombie situation where it’s headshots or nothing, accuracy, range and power are more important than being able to wildly spray bullets, so an assault rifle like an M16 would be a preferable primary weapon. One or two pistols (.40 or stronger, to make sure you can pierce a cranium or sever a spine) should be quickly available for backup if your primary goes dry or jams. If you can stand the weight, maybe a shotgun would be ok to sling around your back for last ditch situations, like being cornered.

Like posted above, most real double-barrel shotguns have two triggers. To fire both simultaneously, you’d have to reach your finger across both triggers, which can be tricky. Also, like mentioned above, the only situation I can imagine where that would be most preferable is if you’re in some crazy scenario where you’ve got 2 types of enemies that each require their own type of round (say, you’ve got vampires and werewolves on your tail, so one tube can be filled with garlic-flavored holy water-laced cartridges, and the other full of silver shot.

Or, more realistically, one tube could be loaded with less-lethal cartridges like beanbags, hatton rounds, or those crazy taser shells, and the other tube could have real kill-your-face shells. That way, if you might not want to kill absolutely everyone you run into, you could make the tactical decision in the field without needing to switch weapons (just don’t get your triggers mixed up!).

It’s worth bearing in mind that, in the hands of a trained operator, a double-barrelled shotgun with automatic ejectors has a comparable rate of fire to a pump-action shotgun.

Nonsense, I hear you say. A pump action shotgun holds 5-8 shells, and double-barrelled shotgun has two.

Exactly. A shooter of average competence can fire their double-barrelled shotgun, break it open, the shells automatically eject, they load two new shells in at the same time with one hand, close the gun, and they’re ready to go again. Doesn’t take long at all.

A pump-action shotgun can empty its entire magazine in about 5 seconds (assuming a shooter of average competence), and then there’s a delay of at least 10-15 seconds while the shooter has to feed 5-8 shells into the tube, one at a time. (I’m aware there are tube-mag speedloaders but they’re not common and are thus excluded for the purposes of this hypothetical).

Also- and this is important in the event of a Zombie apocalypse or Alien invasion- it is possible to fire both barrels of a double-barrelled shotgun at the same time, which is twice as much firepower being delivered into the Undead or Alien Threat.

Computer games take many liberties with realism for gameplay purposes, though, so it’s all moot anyway. :stuck_out_tongue:

From what I’ve learned playing Fallout, shotguns are best against swarms of slow-moving enemies. You need to be able to walk backwards and load as they come at you. So mainly it’s best use is classic zombies. You take one’s head with a shot and also cause collateral damage to nearby zombies.

The trouble is that there is never a good Zombie Apocalypse around when you need one, to test these ‘what if’ situations.

If I had only a shotgun I would prefer the classic slow moving zombies rather than the new and improved Rage Virus zombies ala 28 Days Later.

Under what circumstances and with what armament would you prefer the new and improved Rage Virus zombies?

When you absolutely have got to kill every Motherfucker in the room, accept no substitute. Uhh, wait wrong gun.

Put a slug in one barrel and scattershot in the other? That way you have both a ranged attack and a close in attack?

Right. But you have to be practiced at it.

The old Dbl bbl is also SCARY.

I can’t remember, do they have to be shot in the brain?

My “advice” applies to a lumbering when idle/fast-moving when provoked zombie scenario, a la Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead and Left 4 Dead. If zombies are prone to run at you full speed, you need to be ready to shoot any any given second, which is why shotguns aren’t ideal (slow reloading with both hands occupied). Since “true” zombies require bullets to the brain to re-die, I advised the use of an assault rifle for any-range, accurate headshots rather than just haphazardly spraying bullets around.

As I remember the Rage Virus guys, they’re just running all the time, so the no-shotgun rule would doubly apply. If they don’t require headshots, though, a submachine gun that can be wielded with one hand might be better than an assault rifle as it would leave a hand free for preparing reloads, drawing sidearms in a snap, or eating beef jerky. Though larger than an uzi or mac-10, an H&K MP5 would be my preference, as it’s got enough long-range accuracy that with two hands and buttstock can act as a somewhat weak assault rifle. If you can get really picky, an SD variant with built-in suppressor might be best, so you don’t have to worry about alerting every zombie within 5 miles every time you fire.

If we’re in absolute fantasy land, I might like something that can shoot some kind of fast-expanding, fast-hardening sticky foam at the runners to bungle them up. Get some in their face and they’re no longer a biting hazard. Or you could try to adhere them to the ground, or just stick their legs together. That rage stuff is super-contagious, so if you’re running around with shotguns and chainsaws you’re going to be spraying blood all over the place and probably just getting yourself infected.

Whenever I see a zombie… anything where the good guys are pummeling zombies with bats or crowbars and getting zombie blood all over their faces, I’m always thinking, isn’t the whole idea of zombies is that their bites spread zombieism, so it’s probably a blood-borne pathogen, so getting it all up in your face might not be advised maybe?

Such weapons actually exist by the way. I’m not sure how effective they actually are though.

Personally I find the M4 a better weapon for battling zombies since it lends itself nicely to head shots plus it has a longer range. Having said that, when dealing with zombie hordes in a confined space such as a corridor or apartment building, I find the automatic shotgun to be the better option for the spray pattern. A double shotty wouldn’t help unless dealing with a Witch at point blank range, and while it might be handy to put some damage into a Tank, the reload time would be too long between shots.

I wonder how much environment alone might play a role in an “ideal” double-barreled scenario. Like places where a pump-action or semiauto (or even full auto, god help us) would be too heavy, cumbersome, or mechanically complex. The latter might include hard vacuum, or an exotic atmosphere, depending on the weapon; the former might just include any situation where a sawed-off or an “entry shotgun” would be handy, normally, not even considering undead or similarly inhuman adversaries.

After that, the only thing I can think of that might effect the choice of weapon would be using exotic ammunition (silver, some gadgety warhead, ground-up forest sprites, etc)—like if there was a problem using it in a more complex shotgun; or if it had to be used sparingly (i.e. you were fighting a great deal of mundane minions, and had to save the special rounds for the superhuman targets, and had to be able to switch between fairly fast. Kind of like what wierdaaron says, above); or if the special ammo was finicky or untested, and one had to be able ditch it in a hurry if it turns out to be ineffective, rather than be stuck with a magazine full of it (which could be alleviated by using a box magazine shotgun, though, assuming one was available).

You are grossly exaggerating the spread of shot, except maybe for “cyclinder,” or “no choke” shotguns. Your post is ambiguous enough to cover cylinder choke at extermes.


cite (.pdf file, but small)

Even an improved cyclinder is much better than you allow.

As a shotgun sport enthusiast, I can tell you the following things.

First, of course, the effective range of even birdshot is a hundred yards. Double ought will give you a quarter mile, but you have to control for drop.

Secondly, a double barrel shotgun is useful because it is more accurate than a pump, and faster to get the second shot off than even a semi-automatic. In the cases you wish to use one, you are looking for either skeet, in which case you want an over-under for more accuracy, or a cloud of birds arising from the ground, in which case you want a side by side to create greater sweep, as you only have one chance to get as much as possible as densely as possible.

There is a double barrel pump shotgun. The Remington ‘1740’

You take a left handed Remington 870, and a right handed Remington 870. Give one of them a pistol grip, and modify the slide to attach the two together.

Pointless. But entertaining!
For any combat situation, you would want a pump or semi-automatic or automatic over a double barreled shotgun. Pump versus semi/automatic generally has to do with the fact that pump is a simpler, and thus sturdier action, more capable of taking abuse, down to being buried in the mud and sand.

For Hunting, you don’t need to kill everything, just enough to eat.

I’d pick the shotgun for up-close work, maybe to give me run-away time. Of course, throwing it at your enemy with your Gravity Gun would work too. :stuck_out_tongue: