The pump-action single-barrel shotgun is one of the most versatile and useful weapons in the Doom player's arsenal. It 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. In Doom II, it is found in a secret area of MAP01: Entryway, then from a former human sergeant in MAP02: Underhalls regardless of skill level.
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.
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.
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 while reloading. 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 reloading (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.
- As with many other weapons of Doom, the shotgun's early FPS view weapon sprites (SHTG, v1.0) are not shown on the screen nearly in their entirety. The whole sprites can only be viewed in a level or resource editor. The extra pieces of the shotgun sprites were finally cut off for v1.6.
- 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'.
- The appearance of the shotgun's stock is inconsistent depending on where it is shown. The Doom II title screen and in-game third person sprite show it with a semi-grip stock. On the other hand, the title screen of The Ultimate Doom and the ending screen of Thy Flesh Consumed show it with a birdshead grip.
- A similar pump-action shotgun appears in the popular Doom-inspiring 1986 film Aliens, where it is wielded by the male protagonist, 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.
- In the Sega Saturn port, the shotgun fires much faster than in other ports.
- Doom 64's shotgun has a slightly different appearance and a more simplistic reloading 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, meaning the weapon likely cannot be pumped. It is possible it is a lever-action shotgun instead, which would explain the simplified cocking animation, as the cocking action is out of the player's view.
- In Doom II for Game Boy Advance, the shotgun has a cone-shaped spread.
Data not listed is the same
|Shots needed to kill1,2||Mean|| Standard
|Heavy weapon dude||1.32||0.47||1||2|
|Baron of Hell||14.23||0.68||13||16|
- 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.
- Assumes that the target is close enough to be hit by every pellet.
- Assumes that direct hits are possible, which does not occur in any stock map.
The IWADs contain the following numbers of shotguns per skill level (excluding those of dead shotgun guys):
- The TootsieToy Dakota (archived 🏛)