Mass Effect 3. Weapons Guide: Shotguns.
Mass Effect 3 weapon system is an expended variant of the weapon system coming from Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. Of course, it has a great number of unique guns but lots of them can also be found in the previous titles. Major changes have been made in the Heavy Weapons category: now you are not allowed to equip your character with them and they can only be found as pickups during missions. Luckily, in Mass Effect 3 any class can carry whichever and however many weapon types they want. The only limitation is the weight limit. For example, the Soldier can carry all five weapon types at once without exceeding carry weight, but only if properly upgraded to do so. On the top of that you can upgrade your weapon up to Level 5 making it more accurate, more powerful and less “capricious.”
Weapons in Mass Effect 3 are divided in the following categories:
1. Heavy Pistols;
2. Submachine Guns;
4. Assault Rifles;
5. Sniper Rifles;
6. Heavy Weapons;
All guns from the following categories (except Heavy Weapon Category) can be upgraded with different modes.
By all means shotguns are very effective when dealing with enemies at a close range. However, they also might be very useful at stripping away shields and barriers. In general, all shotguns are pretty much the same and due to the weapon class peculiarities but will differ in number of rounds and damage they can cause at the close and middle ranges. Luckily, Mass Effect 3 offers an amazing list of shotguns and every gamer will be able to pick one to his liking.
Location: Bonus item Namakli: Leviathan
AT-12 Raider is one of the simplest and yet – most effective shotguns in the Mass Effect 3. It is a semi-automatic weapon that has only two rounds and reloads really slow. However, those two rounds cause the insane damage even without upgrades. The only condition – you need to be as close to the target as possible because it seems to me that AT-12 Raider’s accuracy is somewhere below zero. The best strategy on using this shotgun is to shoot and hide because reloading the gun takes twice as much as firing two rounds. It is great for taking down single, tough units, like Brutes but only if you are close and only if your shooting is precise. It might be a good choice for Infiltrators who can use their Tactical Cloak ability and get closer undetected. With a few updates on the weapon you can make it more effective at the longer distances and add a few more rounds but still – AT-12 Raider is strictly a close range weapon.
Clip Size: 2.
Location: Kallini, Ardat-Yakshi Monastery
Disciple is a decent shotgun and thanks to its pretty great (as for a shotgun) accuracy, fire range and weight (Disciple is one of the lightest shotguns in the game), it might be a perfect weapon of choice. It is very accurate at the close range battles and fairly accurate at a bit higher distances. Thanks to its light weight you do not have to worry about going into the negatives in power cool down. Also, due to the fact that Disciple uses shells packed with microscale submunitions, it can be very effective against shielded enemies. Disciple’s reload time is ok, but still – not the fastest in the universe.
Clip Size: 4.
Geth Plasma Shotgun
Location: Priority, Rannoch
Geth Plasma Shotgun is a unique 3-barreled shotgun and thanks to the innovative technology it can fire at a lot longer distances carrying the same deadly damage. It uses miniature but potent cluster rounds of superconducting projectiles. As the rounds hit the target, they fragment and electricity arcs between the pieces, flash-converting the air to conductive plasma. The result is pretty bad for the one being shot at: electrical charge overloads shields and barriers and causes massive trauma to unarmored targets. Geth Plasma Shotgun also happens to have a 2-stage trigger system which allows to either shoot with quick but not that deadly projectiles or charge and send a massive electrified projectile into your opponent causing severe damage. When being used, the shotgun consumes 2 rounds per shot. It also has a basic tracking capability that sends both shots directly into the target but do not expect it to work with cloaked enemies. Geth Plasma Shotgun is powerful enough to get through the shield gate and ignores armor damage reduction (which means – there is no need for the Shredder mod). You can turn this shotgun even into a more severe weapon with Tactical Cloak and additional ammo power-ups.
Clip Size: 5.
Graal Spike Thrower
Location: Priority: Tuchanka
Graal Spike Thrower is one of the most accurate and powerful shotguns in the game. Sometimes it is even hard to believe that it can be that accurate. There are assault rifles that cause far less damage and are not even closely as accurate as this shotgun. However, it is pretty heavy which means – you will have to deal with its heavy recoil. But, there are only three rounds in the clip which won’t make that big of deal. After all, this is a shotgun and not a sniper rifle (but with that accuracy it could have been one). Its ammunition consists of oversized flechettes meant to pierce thresher hide and create deep wound channels leading to massive blood loss. Also, its shots can be charged to cause more damage (double damage, to be exact). This little trick can really help you out because Graal Spike Thrower ignores armor damage reduction and with the double power there is no way someone will be able to survive the battle. The good thing about charging the shotgun is that you can do other things at the moment and they won’t break the charging process (sprint, roll, dodge, melee or use your abilities). If you are playing as a Vanguard, you should consider this shotgun to be your weapon of choice. The only bad thing about this gun is that it shoots really slow and there is a great delay between you pressing the fire button and the projectile hitting the target. But, you can deal with it after some practice.
Clip Size: 3.
Location: Spectre Requisitions
M-11 Wraith might not be the most accurate but it definitely is one of the most devastating shotguns in the game. It is a very popular “quick-draw” shotgun among mercenaries, pirates and slavers thanks to its high-impact damage and sturdy construction. There is also an advanced version of this gun known as M-22 Eviscerator but while it has an extra round in the clip, it sacrifices its damage. M-11 Wraith can become a perfect weapon of close and even middle range distances. With a few modes like Smart Choke and a High Caliber Barrel, you can take down Cannibals and Assault Troopers with one shot even on normal difficulty. Shotgun’s fire rate is not that high but it is compensated with the quick reload.
Clip Size: 2.
Location: Grissom Academy, Emergency Evacuation
M-22 Eviscerator (aka The Lieberschaft 2180) has lots of things in common with the M-11 Wraith shotgun. Moreover – they even have the very same design. But, there are some things that make those two totally different. One of the main peculiarities of this fellow is its unique ammunition generator. M-22 Eviscerator shaves off serrated metal edges designed to fly aerodynamically. This is extremely useful in combats with armored enemies. On the top of all, its tight grouping ensures lethality at longer ranges than standard shotguns. Another great thing about this gun is that it happens to be one of the lightest shotguns in the game and even power dependent classes can use it without sacrificing anything. While it has pretty slow fire rate, it reloads fast and at the close range is very dangerous.
Clip Size: 3
Location: Priority, Mars
M-23 Katana is very popular on colonies with Varren infestations and as most of the shotguns brings severe damage at the close range but happens to be pretty ineffective from the distance. M-23 Katana has 5 shots in the clip and being a perfect close combat weapon, it is almost impossible to survive after a rendezvous with this weapon. On the top of that it has a very good reload speed and won’t give a chance for your enemy to remain alive. However, this severe damage rate is spoiled a bit with really small shooting range and slow rate of fire. Also, it is not recommended for power dependent classes.
Clip Size: 5.
Location: Priority, Palaven
M-27 Scimitar can be called one of the fastest shotguns in the Mass Effect 3. But despite its being fully automatic, you can actually increase the fire rate by shooting with it in semi-auto mode. Strange but very true. The reason for this incredible fire rate is hidden in two mass effect generators. Together with the 8 round clip size M-27 Scimitar turns into a perfect weapon of close combat. There is no way someone can survive eight heavy rounds sent from the close distance with the speed like that. This also makes the M-27 Scimitar pretty effective at the middle range distances. However, this gun has one major minus: it is not powerful enough to take down targets with one shot. But, if you are a good shooter, 2 or 3 shots will solve the problem.
Clip Size: 8.
Location: Attican Traverse, Krogan Team
M-300 Claymore is a real devastator. It is bad in everything except causing serious damage. Its accuracy is poor, it has to be reloaded after every shot and it is heavy as hell. This is a 100% No-No to any class that depends on powers. On the top of all it has some serious kickback problems and it is nearly impossible to hold it in your arms after every shot. For pretty long time only krogans have been able to shoot from this shotgun but with a few modifications and a couple of tough guys from other planets, M-300 Claymore turned into a bit more popular weapon but still is good enough to be handled only by the chosen ones. Claymore is very effective regardless of what kind of protection the enemy has and is a perfect choice for a Soldier. However, firing it requires some serious practice. Also, it comes with very small ammo package and it takes like forever for it to reload. But on the other side, if you are looking for something that kills enemies without any questions – this is the weapon of choice.
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Location: N7 Collector's Edition Pack
N7 Crusader is another extraordinary shotgun in the arsenal of Mass Effect 3. Due to its peculiarities it can hardly be referred to as a shotgun. Yes, it is extremely heavy but at the same time it has just amazing accuracy and more than decent damage. The most ironic thing about this gun is that it acts a lot better at middle range and long range distances than in close combats. Instead of a spray of pellets, the Crusader fires a single, high-precision slug which is capable of piercing through thin materials. If you are a good shooter you definitely need to know that headshots made from this gun are extremely lethal. In order to increase the already amazing accuracy you can use Shotgun Smart Choke. N7 Crusader has a very high rate of fire but a large amount of vertical recoil is produced after each shot which means you are going to have some troubles controlling the gun after each next shot. By the way: N7 Crusader is exclusively available only for those players who order the Collector's or Digital Deluxe Edition of Mass Effect 3.
Clip Size: 4.
Location: Multiplayer Store with Mass Effect 3: Earth DLC Pack
N7 Piranha is a low-recoil assault shotgun with a wide pellet spread designed for the Reaper war. It can be obtained only with the Mass Effect 3: Earth DLC pack and is randomly rewarded through purchases of item packs. It might not be very accurate but it shoots fast and brings high damage to anyone at the close range distance. It is a perfect weapon of choice for those dealing with classes like krogan, vorcha or Project Phoenix humans. N7 Piranha is fully automatic and if you are not careful, you can appear standing without ammo in no time. A Vanguard armed with this shotgun is one of the most deadly forces on the front lines and only with 2-3 clips it can kill a Banshee at full stats and 2 clips will be enough to kill a Brute. Geth Infiltrator can benefit from this weapon as well, especially with Tactical Cloak.
Clip Size: 6.
Location: Multiplayer Store with Mass Effect 3: Rebellion Pack
Reegar Carbine is a close combat weapon that fires a constant stream of electricity. It can be obtained only with the Mass Effect 3: Rebellion Pack and is randomly rewarded through purchases of item packs. Frankly speaking, I am not sure why this gun is referred to as a shotgun because unlike any other weapon from the shotgun category, this one is almost identical to M-451 Firestorm which happens to be a flamethrower. The only difference between those two is that M-451 Firestorm throws fire and Reegar Carbine – plasma charged with electricity. Despite the fact that it can be used only at the close range, Reegar Carbine is very effective and holding the fire button just for a few seconds kills the target instantly. This “shotgun” is perfect when dealing with shields and barriers because it does 200% damage; however, it has only 50% damage against armor. But, you can use different modifications and upgrades to compensate gun’s needs. Batarians and Krogan are exempted from the movement penalty and this is just perfect for this weapon as far as it requires you to be very close to the target. Also, with pretty fast reload you can fire almost nonstop. Adding the Shredder Mod to the Reegar makes it very effective against Guardian shields and more effective against armored enemies. The biggest problem of this shotgun is its small clip size and if you have a possibility to expand it, do not hesitate another minute.
Clip Size: 22.
Location: Groundside Resistance Pack
Venom Shotgun uses 3-barrel firing technique and while the first two fire ammunition that detonates on impact, the third one can be used to fire a round of microgrenades. However, this shotgun is available only after downloading the Mass Effect 3: Groundside Resistance Pack. Venom Shotgun has two fire modes: Charged – fires one round that lately separates into five bomblets that detonate on impact; Uncharged - fires one explosive round on a shallow trajectory to target that detonates on impact. Charged shots will help you to flush enemies out of cover. All you have to do is to fire it to the side of the corner where the bad guys are hiding. With direct impact they can blow enemy bodies into scraps. Due to this powerful specification Venom Shotgun can be referred to as a grenade launcher. A single charged shot from the Venom that hits its mark can instantly kill tough enemies like Brutes and Phantoms and three to four charged shots can easily take down Atlases, Geth Primes, Adjutants, and Banshees. The only problem of the Venom Shotgun is its weight and players with tech and biotic powers should keep that in mind.
Clip Size: 4.
Shotgun Weapon Modifications
Shotgun Spare Thermal Clip I - V
Adds sockets to raise thermal clip capacity, increasing number of spare shots.
Shotgun Shredder Mod I - V
Capacitor boosts kinetic coil generators, increasing shot penetration.
Shotgun Blade Attachment I - V
Tungsten-carbide bayonet with recessed edge for increased melee damage.
Shotgun High Caliber Barrel I - V
Allows wider projectiles, causing more trauma on impact. Ballistically optimized to retain penetrative power.
Shotgun Smart Choke I - V
Servo motors hooked up to adjustable system tighten or loosen pellet spread for maximum accuracy.
Shotgun Omni-Blade I - V (Requires Retaliation for multiplayer.)
Attach an omni-blade to the weapon for increased melee damage.
Shotgun High-Velocity Barrel I - V (Requires Retaliation for multiplayer.)
Superior kinetic coils increase shot penetration.
Here are some of the most common Shotguns compared to each other showing their basic pros and cons.