Equipping for disaster

The Pros and Cons of Shotguns in the Apocalypse

Shane Walksh, played by John Bernthal, was known for using a Mossberg 590 shotgun during the first two seasons of AMC’s zombie drama The Walking Dead. (AMC promotional Photo)

In The Walking Dead’s early seasons, Shane Walsh was known to use a Mossberg 590 shotgun. He’d used it as a police officer before the apocalypse and continued using it afterward. But is a shotgun the best choice in the apocalypse? Let’s look at the pros and cons.


  1. Stopping Power: Shotguns are known for their significant stopping power due to firing multiple projectiles (shot) with each shot. This can be particularly effective against zombies, as it can cause widespread damage and potentially disable or incapacitate multiple targets at close range.
  2. Close-Quarter Effectiveness: Shotguns excel in close-quarter combat scenarios, where the spread of the shot can compensate for aiming inaccuracies and increase the chances of hitting the target. This can be advantageous when dealing with zombies in confined spaces or during sudden encounters.
  3. Versatility: Shotguns offer versatility in ammunition choices. They can be loaded with different types of ammunition, including buckshot for multiple targets, slugs for long-range accuracy, or even specialty rounds such as incendiary or explosive shells. This adaptability allows for flexibility in dealing with various zombie threats.
  4. Intimidation Factor: The sound of a shotgun blast can be intimidating to both zombies and potentially hostile human survivors. This intimidation factor can potentially deter or discourage attackers, giving you an advantage in certain situations.


  1. Limited Range: Shotguns are primarily effective at close ranges. Beyond a certain distance, the spread of shot becomes wider, reducing accuracy and effectiveness. If you need to engage targets at longer distances, a shotgun may not be the ideal choice.
  2. Limited Ammunition Capacity: Shotguns typically have a lower ammunition capacity compared to other firearms, such as rifles or pistols. Reloading frequently can be time-consuming and potentially dangerous in high-pressure situations, especially when dealing with a horde of zombies.
  3. Recoil and Slow Rate of Fire: Shotguns tend to have significant recoil, which can affect accuracy, especially when firing rapidly. Additionally, shotguns generally have a slower rate of fire compared to semi-automatic or automatic firearms. In situations where you may need to engage multiple targets quickly, this can be a disadvantage.
  4. Noise and Attention: Shotguns are loud weapons, and the noise generated can attract unwanted attention, including more zombies or hostile survivors. It is essential to consider the potential risks of using a shotgun in terms of revealing your location or drawing in more threats.

Ultimately, the effectiveness of a shotgun in a zombie apocalypse scenario will depend on the specific situation, your skill level, and the environment in which you find yourself. It’s important to consider these pros and cons and make a well-informed decision based on the circumstances at hand.

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