Team Fortress 2 has a weird power dynamic with its shotguns, being that some classes have little to no shotguns while others (like Engineer) have a mountain of available shotguns. So, I decided to make this weird tier list/review/analysis type thing. I also need to preface that even though scatterguns are shotguns, they will not be included on this list. Starting off with the default plain-old shotgun which is a pump action sawn off will kind of be our baseline. The shotgun is the most generic weapon in the game, doing 80-90 damage point blank to 20-30 damage long-range and only being able to be used as Engineer, Soldier, Heavy and pyro. The gun is short and stubby being able to carry 32 rounds including the tube that carries six. I do not recommend trying to use this weapon at range because of its poor accuracy and high damage fall off. Overall, the default shotgun is decent and if used well can demolish most enemies even in groups.
The next shotgun is a very situational one. The reserve shooter is a shotgun that relies on the enemies being in the air either directly or indirectly — only the Pyro and Soldier can use the reserve shooter because they are the only classes that can easily launch enemies in the air (except for the Demoman.) The reserve shooter has nearly identical stats to the default shotgun except it has two rounds less in its clip, but it can also be switched to 20% faster. The reserve shooter relies on people being in the air because the bulk of its purpose is that it deals mini crit damage to enemies in the air, even if you didn’t directly launch them. All in all, the reserve shooter can demolish single enemies but because of its low clip size can sometimes struggle with larger groups. Overall, it’s an alright shotgun that takes a little e bit of a learning curve to get used to.
Some weapons in TF2 can act as direct upgrades to the stock (default) variant. An example of one that has a lot of different opinions is the panic attack, a pump action shotgun with a drum magazine attached to the front. The panic attack is a unique shotgun because it fires in a fixed five by three grid patterns. It also deploys a whole 50% faster and fires 50% more rounds a shot, also dealing 20% less damage. At point blank, the panic attack can deal more than the default shotgun, being able to do up to 108 damage and usually dealing around the 90-100 damage range. One of the big downsides of the weapon is that if you spam it without letting go of LMB or not waiting for the animation to finish the grid pattern slowly expands making it harder to hit with all your pellets. The weapon is not great long-range because of its wide grip pattern usually dealing from 9-20 damage. Fun fact, the panic attack was a community-made weapon that made its way into the game. Overall, the weapon is pretty much a direct upgrade of the default shotgun with some people disagreeing.
Most of the shotguns are for classes that make sense, but the next one makes a little less. The family business is a shotgun only usable for the Heavy which is why the subclass that uses it is called “fat scout”. The family business does 15% less damage than other shotguns but makes up for it by having 33% more ammo in its tube (8 rounds to be exact), and fires 15% quicker. The family business is another pump action but has a retractable stock with a hammer on its right side. The family business does 60-76 damage point blank and 10-26 long range and has a shooting interval of half a second. The gun does fully change how it feels to play Heavy, making him more versatile instead of the usual slow minigunner we’re all used to. It makes him feel like a buff scout considering you have double the health, but you’re also so much slower. The family business is another community-created gun that is also a part of the “black market business” item set, alongside the Tomislav, eviction notice and capo’s capper. The family business is perfect for mowing down hordes of enemies because of its large tube size and high fire rate alongside the heaps of health the heavy comes with.
But now I must address the elephant in the room, the mountain of shotguns that the Engineer has found himself sitting on over the past couple of years. I’ll start with the rescue ranger, the least shotgun-acting weapon on this list. The rescue ranger looks like the default shotgun with a couple of gizmos added along the way such as a monitor where the scope would be or a different magazine/barrel. The rescue ranger can be either used as a weapon or to heal a building. The rescue ranger fires out these small bolts that without practice are hard to hit, but after a little learning can be a good long ranged weapon. The bolts can also heal your building for 60 health a bolt but also takes a little bit of metal, though the bolts do not remove sappers or replenish any ammo. The rescue ranger also allows you to pick up your buildings from further away which can be helpful if your building gets low or can be used to save your sentry from a sentry buster in MvM. It does a 60-damage point blank or 21 damage far away which isn’t that bad with how far it can reach. It also has a lot less ammo than the stock shotgun having -34% tube size and -50% max ammo. Overall, the rescue ranger is a perfect mix between an offensive weapon and a defensive weapon allowing you to kill enemies while healing your building and keeping it alive from afar.
Speaking of offensive weapons, the widowmaker is a weapon that can completely change the Engineer class. The widowmaker is a weapon that shoots with metal but regains it if you hit your shots — meaning that you can basically have infinite ammo and an infinite clip if you just keep hitting shots and killing players. The widowmaker is based on a weapon from Dues Ex Human Revolution, the weapon it’s based on is the widowmaker TX and was given to players that preordered Dues Ex.. The widowmaker does 80-90 damage close range and 10-30 long range. It also deals an extra 10% damage if your sentry is targeting the enemy even if it’s empty for some reason. The widowmaker is not the best as a defensive weapon because if you miss your shots your metal will disappear, and you end up not only being able to shoot but you can’t heal your building/replenish ammo. Although as an offensive weapon, you can run around and absolutely destroy any players near you.
The last TF2 shotgun is the frontier justice. The frontier justice has a big perk which is that depending on how many kills and assists (one kill equals two crits and one for every assist) you have will give you an insane number of crits being able to store 35 revenge crits in total. Though your crits disappear when you die and you are not able to get random crits, it also has a 50% smaller clip size. You can also destroy your sentry on purpose if you want to get your crits quickly. The frontier justice is a vintage style of shotgun with engravings on the side and a satellite on the top. It also has a unique weapon taunt where you slam a guitar which can one-shot any class. It is also given to you automatically when you get five achievements. The frontier justice can hold a maximum of three rounds in its clip and a full total of 32 including its clip. The frontier justice does a max of 80-90 damage point blank and 10-30 long range like most others. The frontier justice is best to use with a good sentry spot so you can destroy it at the choice and get your crits at once. The frontier justice is good to use offensively because you can shred through whole teams if you store up your crits.
Even though that was all the shotguns in TF2, I just want to quickly talk about the shotguns not in TF2 because of various reasons. The first shotgun is the double barrel shotgun which is available in Team Fortress Classic. The double barrel deals 56 damage if all pellets hit, and it can kill a scout in two shots if that happens. There is also a single-barrel shotgun that does less damage but can fire super-fast and has a lower spread. The last shotgun in the game is the pocket shotgun which was teased in the beta for TF2 but then removed. It did the exact same damage as the normal shotgun, but if you are being healed by a medic, it deals 30% more damage but when you’re not, you have a 30% higher weapon switch speed.
Overall, most of the shotguns in TF2 are good and fill out a niche, with some being better than others. I don’t think that TF2 is desperate for new shotguns, but I wouldn’t complain if it does get some new additions.