A shotgun, also called a "scattergun", is a firearm designed to shoot a multitude of lead or steel balls of varying sizes. This makes it very effective at hunting game, greatly increasing the weapon's hit potential. However, the accuracy and power found at close range diminish rapidly as the target gets farther away. Shotguns designed for military use are often called "combat shotguns".
Along with the varmint rifle, the 9mm pistol and laser pistol, the single shotgun is available to the player at the lowest levels of the game and has the highest single shot damage of the four. Though it only carries a single round of ammunition, it has a fast reload speed that allows multiple shots in a single V.A.T.S. round and is accurate for a shotgun, with the second lowest weapons spread after the Dinner Bell.