I have been playing ME3 for a while now, and I have been trying out different classes and different builds. So far I have to say I can't really find any use for the shotguns, even as vanguard an SMG or a light AR is much better. Irony of it is that I keep on getting shotguns, even though I never use them.

So I figure I'll ask the fellow gamers out there... Just a couple of notes, I do no currently have the Geth Plasma Shotgun, so I cannot say I have tried that. But in practice I really can't think of any situation where having a shotgun is better, I mean they are heavy, slow to shoot and usually not very accurate. Anything I am missing here?

Oh and I usually play on Silver; assuming that I get some better weapons/equipment and find a bunch of reliable players, I will eventually get to Gold I think.

Edit: I should perhaps clarify what I mean:

  • what class/build plays well with shotguns?
  • seeing that most shotguns are optimal in close range situations, is there any other way of closing up to enemy than biotic charge?
  • while equipped with a shotgun, and assuming that you managed to get in the thick of things (a room, small corridor, or just a bunch of spread around in a small area) how do you manage to stay alive?

I do not have all the weapons in the game, the RNG gods have not been very kind so far. Yesterday I tried out the newest shotgun I got, the Wraith, and sure it dealt a lot of damage, but I was practically never accurate or fast enough to contribute significantly to the team. Especially considering annoying top-tier enemies like atlas/banshee/praetorian, where you want to keep your distance, the shotgun becomes pretty useless. Any tips on that?

  • Can you clarify exactly what you're asking?
    – KatieK
    Oct 31, 2012 at 19:03
  • @KatieK Tried to specify more information
    – posdef
    Nov 1, 2012 at 12:47

4 Answers 4


Shotguns can be tricky to use in this game, but in the right situations they can be highly rewarding. Most of them deal high damage, and have a tendency to staggerlock your target. That said, enemies are almost always more lethal in cqc range where the AI has a better chance to hit you. Other than vanguards who can spam biotic charge to keep their shields up, the classes that fare best with shotguns are the ones that have high health, high damage resistance, or ones that can get away without taking too much damage. If you put some points into fitness, infiltrators can sneak into a group with tac cloak and shred small groups of enemies with a shotgun I ran an infiltrator on silver spec'd for health, sticky grenades, and cloak duration. I gave her a Claymore and just had fun one-shotting unsuspecting enemies. It actually worked quite well. The N7 shadow could use shadow strike in much the same way as biotic charge to get close to a group and take them out with a shotgun (disclaimer: don't actually have the shadow, so this is conjecture.) Other than that, any Krogan makes a decent shotgun class, since they generally have high health and shields. Also vorcha, because they can close distances very quickly and bloodlust can make them nearly invincible (as long as you're mindful of you're surroundings, you can survive long enough to find cover if overwhelmed.)

Map choice makes a difference too. It is beneficial to face an enemy around corners so you can retreat if you run low on health. The corridors on firebase glacier, firebase white, or firebase goddess. as well as the enclosed area on firebase jade and the buildings on firebase ghost are good examples. Basically anywhere with cover at your disposal and which forces the enemy into close quarters. If you can't fight them head on, try to get behind them or flank them, so they can't shoot you as you come up. Other than that, dodge, weave, strafe, and roll. AI targeting isn't good against moving targets (except for the bosses. watch out).

Some other tips: some classes have a charging heavy melee which will put you in a very favorable position to blow your target away (assuming your melee doesn't kill him/her/it outright.) Krogan and Vorcha can close distance like this (assuming you are already close enough to lock onto a target). The N7 fury, in particular, has a teleporting heavy melee which has an absurd reach, and her annihilation field can steal an enemy's shields if you spec it right, giving her more survivability.

If it's a long range shotgun duel you're after, Geth Plasma Shotgun is the way to go, as stated. However, there are other shotguns that will do the job too. The Graal Spike Thrower functions similarly, especially with a smart choke. It has a bit of a lead time, but if you can learn to time your shots, it does superior damage to the GPS, (in my experience anyway, I don't actually know the numbers.) and leaves your enemy's with spikes sticking out of them (which you can actually use to see cloaked phantoms and hunters.) It also weighs more, however. The other shotgun is the N7 Crusader. The weight of this one is comparable to the Claymore, however it has a four round clip, reloads very quickly, and fires a single slug straight down the range with pin-point accuracy. Not even kidding, this thing is like a sniper with out the scope. Recoil is kind of severe though, so hope you didn't actually want to use it in close range :3. The Crusader can only be attained through weekend challenges. If you want it (and don't have it already) make sure to check back every weekend to complete the challenge (commendation packs come instantly now. nice.)

Avoid shotguns on any class you want to use powers with (no-brainer, right?) as they will kill your cool down time. If you want a cqb sidearm (not a bad idea depending on the map and enemies), I recommend the tempest, or better yet, the hurricane. If you play vanguard, stick to the lighter shotguns to keep your biotic charge cooldown low.

Above all, know when you're outmatched. Have an exit strategy. Know where you can take cover or retreat to when your shields fail. Don't charge groups if you don't know if you can take them. Be wary of shielded enemies and avoid bosses at all costs if there's no one to back you up. Pick off enemies with a secondary or let them come to you if you can't go to them. When you try and flank enemies, keep an eye out for them trying to flank you.

This may seem like quite a lot, but with practice, things like this can become second nature. The stopping power shotguns have can quickly remove enemies from the field, and allow you to survive if enemy forces engage YOU at close-quarters.(I have died more from being pushed into a corner than anything else. Those AI sure do love close-quarters). With the right set-up, shotguns can melt enemies like nobody's business, save your (and your team's) hide, and clear a room in ten seconds flat. They can also be tremendous fun (this is a game after all.)

Hope this helps


I personally love the shotgun for when you turn that corner and someone is right there. But the shotgun I use is the Geth Shogtun VI, it hits like a truck, you can charge it up for a more powerful shot, and extremely accurate for medium range distances. I would reccommend giving some of the shotguns a whirl, but stay with the SMG or Light AR until you can get the Geth Shotgun. I have found that the Geth Shotgun is the best for range and damage you can do with.

Also this comes from the Mass Effect 3 wiki on the Geth Plasma Shotgun:

This weapon fires 3 plasma balls instead of the standard 8 pellets. The second and third plasma balls will do only 30% base damage if they hit the same target as the first. This means that all 3 plasma balls, with full-charge, on a single target, will do only 556.4 base damage instead of the expected 1043. To maximize overall damage, one should aim to hit a different target with each pellet. If fired while aiming down the sights, the plasma will seek enemies slightly.

The Geth Plasma Shotgun does more damage than any other multiple shot shotgun, which makes it brutally effective in close-quarters as well as at range. But since it is projectile based, it does not inflict damage instantly. Compared to the M-300 Claymore, the Geth Plasma Shotgun is superior in shot capacity and, subsequently, damage per second; however, it fails to beat the Claymore against nimble foes since it needs time to hit, unlike the Claymore.

  • Sure it's great to have a heavy hitter when you turn around the corner and there's someone there, but at maps where you do not run galore, or simply the distances are larger, it's tricky to use a shotgun. The same applies partially to the sniper rifle, but in reverse, in open maps it's great to use the sniper (lots of fun) but when you need to run around in small distances with limited visibility it becomes a serious pain.
    – posdef
    Nov 1, 2012 at 12:49
  • Geth Plasma Shotgun is really one of the better weapons in the game, even at ranges not normally associated with a shotgun you will find this weapon is particularly accurate and is more than able of hitting an enemy from a decent distance.
    – kalina
    Nov 2, 2012 at 10:22

If the RNG gods are good, you will get the N7 Piranha. Even though it has been slightly nerfed (it used to have 8 shots per clip and now has 6), it is still an excellent shotgun, provided you are fairly close to your foe (and even then, Smart Choke is a smart thing to equip). Slap that bad boy onto a Kroguard or a Slayer and what you don't kill with your Biotic Charge you'll certainly pulp with the Piranha. Seriously, it chews through just about everything; we used to run Golds and Platinums with four geth infiltrators and it was ridiculous how quickly things went down. Its RoF is pretty good, too. If you're used to shotguns from other games, like the L4D series, this is the shotgun for you.

Another good close-range shottie is the Reegar. It's not one of my favorites, but that does not mean it's not an excellent gun in the right hands. It's a similar "I Win" gun to the Krysae, in that if you do it right, things just melt away before they've had a chance to really even look at you cross-eyed. Again, high risk, high reward.

That, of course, assumes you're going to be right up in some dude's face (or have sneaky-sneaked up behind them). For longer-range shotguns, you will indeed want to go with something different. I don't remember offhand which shotgun is in some ways superior to sniper rifles, but there is indeed one (possibly two)(at least, according to some people). Depending upon your class choice, there may be a weight bonus for shotguns, which would make carrying such a heavy hitter less of a burden in terms of cooldowns.

On the other hand, for some classes, cooldowns really don't matter so very much. Take, for example, the Demolisher. The only power she has on cooldown at any given time is her pylon. If you aren't sitting in one spot, you don't mind hitting ammo boxes like everyone else, and/or you're conservative with your grenades, you can carry whatever heavy guns you want. If you skip Carnage on your krogan soldier, then cooldown doesn't matter to you either.

Really, it comes down to how you want to play and what you want to play. If you're fine with light, lower DPS ARs, then that's totally cool. Guns like the Locust have been buffed recently, so they're not as useless as they were a couple months ago (NB: the Hurricane has never been useless). But if you get a class buff for shotguns, or you want to be in something's face and stagger it, then a shotgun is the way to go. I'm not an expert on them, but that's how it seems to me.


Unless you're using the Geth Plasma Shotgun, Claymore, Graal Spike Thrower, or N7 Piranha, don't bother with shotguns. On Silver you could get away with using the Disciple, Eviscerator, or Wraith, but in the long run, you will have to use the top tier ones I listed.

Any weapon-based class could use a shotgun, really, but certain combinations like the N7 Destroyer + Piranha or Infiltrator + Claymore makes for good synergy. Soldiers, Infiltrators, and Vanguards, could easily use shotguns without too much problems. I'd avoid anything but the Disciple for power-based classes like the Sentinel, Engineer, and Adept.

For mods, usually Smart Choke + Shredder (only if it's IV or V) or Damage (I - III). The Graal could use Damage + Shredder/Melee/Thermals because it's already accurate, and the GPS just use Damage and Spare Thermals/Melee

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