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History

While it is unclear where or when the first true "shotgun" was invented, it is generally agreed that the idea was created when a 16th Century European noble accidentally shot a bird while he was riding his horse. After realizing how exciting it could be to hunt birds with a rifle, he quickly spread the word to the other nobles of Europe and soon, almost all Dukes and Kings went out hunting with their muskets or rifles. Soon however, they found that it was very difficult to hit a flying bird with the legendarily inaccurate smoothbore musket. It was for this reason that "shot" was invented.  Essentially a large collection of small, round balls, the shot could easily kill or incapacitate any animal that the shooter fancied. It was only natural that weapons that fired shot were named "shotguns". After the Industrial Revolution and even before, hunters and trappers around the world used shotguns to great effect in their trades.

It was during the American Civil War however, that the shotgun would become a soldier's weapon. While shotguns were almost non-existent in the North's Union Army, the much poorer equipped South made heavy use of hunting shotguns. While they had even less accuracy then the musket, the shotgun was devestating when fired in volleys at close range. While the South would lose the war, the shotguns true potential was discovered. This knowledge was put to great effect in the quagmire of the Great War and even during the Blitzkrieg of World War II.

Even today, armies and police forces across the world use the venerable shotgun for both lethal and non-lethal combat scenarios.  

Video Games

Shotguns are known, in most cases, to be one of the more dependable weapons because they usually have more sustainability and stopping power than pistols, machine guns, etc, and because ammo for the shotgun is generally far more plentiful than that of more powerful weapons. 
 
The shotgun, in most cases, is exposed sometime after the user has a pistol, and/or a sub-machine gun. Shotguns are very rarely known as the most powerful weapon in a game, instead, used as a stepping stone to even more powerful types of weapons later on in a game. Despite this, because of the sheer amount of shells lying around, shotguns are generally seen as a dependable, all-purpose workhorse that the player should use unless a situation calls for a specific weapon.

The downside and complaints are usually the same in every game. One of the most popular cons of the shotgun is the long reload times after you run out of shells in the gun; some games, such as the Halo series, depict the character reloading spent shells one at a time, requiring several seconds of helplessness if the gun is totally emptied. Another known complaint is the lack of accuracy at medium to longer ranges, but this mostly affects users of the shotgun at medium range. With the player being forced to cock the shotgun after every shot, it must be taken into account that "every shot must count" to ensure the gun is used to its full potential and allow enough time during battle to reload the gun.

However, some other shotguns, such as automatic shotguns, (Jackhammer, Street Sweeper), bring on all new pros and cons of the art of using a shotgun. One huge leap over other shotguns is the ability to fire continuously in a row, without having to cock after every shot. This allows almost a barrage-esque attack that lets the user sweep and clear out a small area with great and brutal force in a short period of time. However, the downside of this is an even greater perpetuity of long times to reload. Some automatic shotguns use a clip attachment (a drum clip, or standard magazine clip), allowing for slightly faster reload times and limit down time for reloading, however, the guns that use the clip as a means of shell storage and loading usually experience even longer and more frequent reloading time of the shotgun. 

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