Shotguns are one of my favorite weapons in GTA Online. They are powerful and incredibly deadly at close-range. Their stopping power makes them must-use weapons in certain circumstances. And with the Mark II variants, there are plenty of powerful upgrades that can make these weapons even more deadly then they already are. But since these weapons are so strong, how can you decide which of the best shotguns in GTA Online to use?
Out of the many shotguns in the game, which are the strongest and which are the best for what style of play? We’ll be covering this information and much more in this article for every shotgun in GTA Online ranked!
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Shotguns in GTA Online
Before we dive into our ranking, we should first give a basic overview of shotguns in GTA Online and see how they compare to other weapons in the game. Shotguns are close-range weapons that specialize in dealing a lot of damage in a short period of time to one target standing close to them. Shotguns can either fire a spread of pellets or a single slug, making them unique from assault rifles.
These guns are not known for their versatility, so it’s a good idea to keep a shotgun as a secondary weapon and switch over to it when the need arises. Shotguns in GTA Online can be incredibly deadly if you know which one to use. They have a very solid spot in the PVP meta and have held that spot for a long while. But even if you’re not interested in PVP, shotguns can make a valuable tool in PVE.
Most shotguns can be acquired from any Ammu-Nation store around the map. There are some weapons in the game that features an upgraded Mk II variant. Getting these upgraded versions requires a weapon’s workbench. This can be found in a Mobile Operations Center, an Avenger, and a Kosatka submarine, among many other places throughout the game.
Upgrading to a Mk II variant requires a decent amount of cash, and in order to unlock some of the upgrades for it, you’re going to need to do research. Research can be done through the bunker property. It allows you to put special ammo types onto your weapons, such as explosive rounds.
Best Shotguns in GTA Online, Ranked
And with that lengthy introduction out of the way, let’s dive into our ranking of every shotgun, to find the best shotguns in GTA Online overall.
Double Barrel Shotgun
Starting off our list for every shotgun in GTA Online ranked, we have the Double Barrel Shotgun! This is a classic and iconic weapon that has been in many, many different shooters throughout the years. It’s hard to find a modern shooter without this gun! GTA V’s iteration of the iconic weapon was first added alongside the Lowriders Custom Classics DLC. But is this gun worth using in Grand Theft Auto Online in 2022?
This weapon has a very high rate of damage in extremely close combat. This is mostly due to the fact that the gun will fire off both shotgun shells at once, instead of just one at a time. As you can imagine, this makes it deadly at close range, but only when you’re going against a single target. Due to the fact you need to reload after every single pull of the trigger, it’s terrible for crowd control.
I do really like using this gun, but it’s just not that practical in most circumstances. Sure, it’s satisfying to turn a single enemy into a red mist, but with how many enemies you tend to find in a firefight, it makes more sense to carry one of the other shotguns in the game. Most enemies can be taken down in only 1–2 shots with the other guns on this ranking, so its ability to do very high damage is nullified.
For our next pick on this list, we have the Bullpup Shotgun. This weapon was a bit of a disappointment, but it is still satisfying to use at least. The gun is pretty cheap to obtain at least, costing players a low sum of $8,000 at any Ammu-Nation. This is great for players on a budget. The firearm was not included in the original, standard edition of the game, but was instead packaged as a part of the Special and Collector’s editions of GTA V.
This weapon’s stats are, as previously mentioned, disappointing. The accuracy of this firearm is pretty okay, which gives it some utility. But it still uses pellet-based projectiles, so it’s still only good at close-range. The damage for each shot is low, and its fire rate is even lower. This is one of the worst guns in the shotgun category in terms of its DPS. The only real upside for this gun is its max magazine size of fourteen.
But even then, there are much better shotguns in the game that you should be picking up instead. The Bullpup Shotgun cannot be upgraded into a Mk II variant. This means that it cannot be given explosive rounds or any other special ammo types. Overall, it is a fairly weak shotgun with no added versatility or unique features to make it stand out from the crowd, let alone have a spot in the shotgun meta for GTA Online.
Up next, let’s take a second to discuss the Sawed-Off Shotgun! This is a firearm that has been in Grand Theft Auto Online since day one. You can pick it up at an Ammu-Nation for free if you have a Rockstar Games Social Club account. Despite being in the game for so long, not many people use this weapon in public lobbies. Given its stats compared to other shotguns, it’s not hard to see why.
The first and most obvious benefit of using this gun is that it has very high damage. Its damage is one of the highest in the entire game, making it absolutely devastating when facing a single target. The weapon can fire off eight shots before it needs to be reloaded, which is better than some on this list. The main thing that keeps this gun from being great is its poor fire rate, which lowers its overall DPS.
The Sawed-Off Shotgun can also be used while riding on motorcycles, which gives it an edge over the Double Barrel Shotgun. Overall, I would consider this gun to be the best low-tier option out of all the other low-tier guns in the game. It’s held back by a few key stats, but its viability for motorcycle users and its good damage is enough to secure it a higher spot on this list than some of the other guns.
For our next pick, we have the classic Pump Shotgun! This is the most iconic shotgun in all of GTA V, as it was shown in gameplay quite a bit in trailers for the game before its release. It is also one of the first shotguns you get ahold of in the single-player campaign. This weapon has been in the game since GTA V’s launch, and it’s since been commonly used by players in both single-player and online.
The stats for this gun make it feel very well-rounded. It’s definitely not the most powerful shotgun in the game, but it’s also not the weakest. Its accuracy and range are just okay, but there are better options if you want something for medium-range fights. Overall, the only real reason why you would want to buy this shotgun if you are a high-level player is so you can get the Pump Shotgun Mk II variant.
I do really enjoy using this gun in single-player — it’s very satisfying. However, I don’t find myself using it very often in multiplayer. I recommend this gun to low-level players who need a decent firearm for close-range engagements. Its ability to stay versatile in nearly any fight gives it a lot of utility. And it’s useful to hold onto so you can upgrade it to a Mk II later on.
For our next spot on the list, we have the Combat Shotgun! This is a shotgun that I feel gets slept on quite a bit by the GTA Online community. This is a shame, because it’s a really fun weapon to use. The Combat Shotgun first appeared in the game as a part of the Cayo Perico Heist DLC back in December 2020.
This is a strong shotgun with a good amount of damage for each and every shot, making it a solid weapon for taking down enemies in as few hits as possible. It also features a good rate of fire that allows you to shoot targets more frequently, which can be handy if you’re taking on multiple NPCs at the same time. One thing that I really dislike about this gun though is the low magazine size of only six shots.
But the thing that holds this gun back the most is the fact that it’s semi-automatic, so it lacks the DPS that other weapons in the game have. This gun cannot be upgraded with special ammo types, which is another setback. Despite these negatives, it’s still an enjoyable weapon to use that I recommend you buy if you already own most of the weapons in the game and want something to shake things up for a bit.
Up next on this ranking, we have the Sweeper Shotgun! This is a pretty unique shotgun from most of the others on the list, which I’ll explain more about in a moment. This firearm made its way to the game as a part of the Bikers DLC, which came out all the way back in 2016! Ever since then, it’s been relatively forgotten compared to most of the other weapons in the game. This gun is definitely not meta-defining, but it is still a gun worthy of your time and money.
The Sweeper Shotgun’s most notable feature is that it can be used while you are riding on a motorcycle! This makes it a good choice if you enjoy doing hit-and-runs on players and/or NPCs. As for the weapon’s actual performance, it’s on the weaker side when it comes to damage. It does, however, make up for this with a pretty decent fire rate that boosts its DPS up. Again, it’s not the best, but still solid enough.
The magazine size for this weapon can be increased to a maximum size of 32. This is really pretty good for an automatic shotgun. I would recommend this gun if you need a drive-by weapon that excels in close-quarters combat. Its decent fire rate makes it not that punishing if you miss your shots. So it’s a good weapon for this type of situation.
Honorable Mention: Musket
Before we get into the top three picks for our ranking, let’s first go over an honorable mention for the best shotguns in GTA Online, ranked. Here we have…the musket? Yes, that’s right, on an article ranking shotguns, we are going to be talking about an actual musket from the 19th century. What a world we live in. This weapon was added to GTA Online as a part of the Independence Day Special update.
This weapon is technically classed as a shotgun, believe it or not. The weapon has pretty solid damage for each shot, being able to compete with some of the best sniper rifles in the game. Additionally, when you shoot through an NPC, it has the ability to penetrate through the body and deal damage to anything waiting on the other side. This makes it good for firing into a crowd of NPCs to kill multiple at once.
The main drawback of this gun is that it can only fire one shot at a time before it needs to be reloaded. This means that if you miss one of your shots, it can be incredibly punishing. I only recommend you use this gun if you are very good at aiming it. The musket also has the drawback of having a lengthy reload animation, which can be a death sentence in a PVP situation.
As for the next weapon on our list, let’s stop to take a look at the Heavy Shotgun! Unlike most of the other weapons on this list which fires a spray of multiple pellets at a target, the Heavy Shotgun is a slug-based weapon that fires one single projectile. This weapon found its way into GTA Online as a part of the Last Team Standing update. This update was released on the PS3/Xbox 360 era of consoles way back in 2014, very early in the game’s lifecycle.
The first and most obvious benefit of using the Heavy Shotgun over the other weapons on this list is the fact that it has better range. This is thanks in no small part to its slug projectiles. Additionally, the damage on this gun is pretty solid and very consistent, making it a reliable damage dealer. Its fire rate is pretty decent, but it is only a semi-automatic shotgun. This has the benefit of making it more accurate, but less of a DPS powerhouse.
If you find yourself in a lot of engagements with NPCs or players at medium range instead of close range, then you should pick up this firearm. It’s a very solid and underutilized weapon that more players should try. I really like to use this gun on certain contact missions because it’s a satisfying and enjoyable weapon to use against NPCs. It can also be very deadly in PVP if you’re good at aiming.
Taking home the silver medal on our list for every shotgun in GTA Online ranked, we have the assault shotgun! This is an incredibly powerful, fast-firing automatic shotgun that can SHRED opponents at close range. It has been in the game since day one, and is beloved by all types of players. The firearm is available for only $10,000, which is incredibly cheap and easy to grab.
The damage per shot is pretty decent for an automatic shotgun. When combined with its high rate of fire, you have an incredibly deadly gun with a very high DPS. You can absolutely shred through NPCs with this weapon at close range. Due to it being automatic, it’s less punishing for players if they happen to miss some of their shots. This also allows you to spray and pray.
The weapon features a default clip size of eight, but this can be upgraded to a huge thirty-two shots per clip! This lets you go on long rampages with it without the need to stop and reload for a second. I know I put this weapon in second place, but it is actually the best shotgun if you’re only going to be using it for PVE. It can be used effectively for PVP, of course, but its specialty is shredding through crowds of NPCs.
Pump Shotgun Mk II
And finally, at spot number one on our ranking, we have the Pump Shotgun Mk II! This is a slow-firing yet powerful weapon that can be incredibly deadly and versatile with the right mods in place. The standard Mk I variant has been in the game since GTA V’s release day, but the upgraded Mk II variant was added with the Doomsday Heist update back in December 2017.
Many of you may be wondering why this weapon hit the top spot and not the Assault Shotgun. While the AS is incredibly powerful and by far the best close-range shotgun for PVE, the Pump Shotgun Mk II has one key thing that makes it better. Two words: explosive rounds. You can equip this special ammo type after researching it at a bunker and buying the upgrade at a weapons workbench.
What this mod does is it makes every slug from your Pump Shotgun Mk II explode, dealing massive damage to everything in sight! This mod makes it incredibly strong in PVP encounters. It allows you to easily kill any other players getting in your way. Additionally, this mod makes it so destroying vehicles is incredibly effective and satisfying. This anti-vehicle property gives it an added effect of more versatility.
Overall, the Pump Shotgun Mk II is not as good as the Assault Shotgun in some circumstances. But its utility as a PVP weapon and the added versatility it brings to your loadout make it the right pick for first place.
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