The tactical shotgun is a misunderstood tool. It’s often seen as old school and easily replaced by the modern carbine. The shotgun is a viable weapon that has the ability to be the most versatile weapon in an armory. The shotgun is a very powerful weapon, for this article we are looking at the 12 gauge specifically. The other calibers are viable, but the modern tactical shotgun is a 12 gauge.


The Weaknesses

To understand the shotgun you have to understand its weaknesses. There is a good phrase from Dirty Harry, “A man has to know his limitations.” A man (or woman) should also know their weapon’s limitations. Lets look at the biggest flaws.

Simple. Effective. Brutal.

First and foremost the range differential. The shotgun versus the rifle comparison is always ruled by range. The shotgun lacks range. Even with slugs you are limited to roughly a 100 yards. A hunter with a slug gun can go further, but a smoothbore shotgun is not a slug gun. Even a hundred yards is a long shot with a smoothbore slug, most practical uses will be at 50 to maybe 75 in a fight.


Our next issue is ammo capacity. Most shotguns do not hold more than 8 rounds. Some magazine fed models can hold more rounds, but the real, average shotgun is limited at 8 rounds. A standard rifle can easily carry 30 rounds, and you even reasonably carry 40 rounds of ammunition. Even a duty sized handgun can carry double a shotgun’s capacity.


Lastly, we have recoil. For a beginner, the recoil from a shotgun makes it a difficult platform to use and learn. Your basic buckshot is going to have substantially more recoil than the modern rifle or carbine.