The four shotguns in CSGO are commonly the most overlooked guns in the game. Two of them are available on both the Terrorist and Counter-Terrorist sides, with one shotgun being unique to each side. Shotguns offer high damage but low range and versatility. They each have their own ups and downs and excel in different situations. All that being said, shotguns should only be used in certain economical or positional scenarios. In general, shotguns are more useful on the Counter-Terrorist side, as they’re best used to hold corners or close-range engagements (CQC). Some uses for a shotgun on the Terrorist side include holding tight angles to hinder a rotate (lurking), or rushing close quarter areas.
Shotguns work differently than other weapons in CSGO. Depending on the gun, they shoot 6, 8, or 9 pellets (bullets) that spread out over an area. Here are some things to note about the individual shotguns:
*For reference, 250 units is the distance you run in one second with your knife out. 500 units = 2 seconds*
Nova (Terrorists & Counter-Terrorists)
The Nova costs $1200 on both the Terrorist and Counter-Terrorist sides and is the cheapest shotgun when playing on the Counter-Terrorist side. The Nova has the lowest armor penetration (50%) of all shotguns and is the only shotgun with no surface penetration. However, the Nova has little damage falloff over distance, losing 30% damage for every 500 units. This makes the Nova decent at medium-range engagements but still great at close-range ones. The Nova is the only shotgun that shoots 9 pellets (bullets) that deal ~26 damage each, totalling 240 max damage per shot. The Nova also has unlimited range (no range cap).
The Nova is the most versatile shotgun in the game. You can get easy kills close and far on armorless and even armored opponents. Its low price and high damage makes it a great gun to get on the 2nd round after winning the pistol round. This will give you easy frags on those who don’t buy armor and also push your economy over the top.
XM1014 (Terrorists & Counter-Terrorists) (Nickname: Auto Shotty)
The XM1014 costs $2000 on both the Terrorist and Counter-Terrorist sides. The XM1014 has the highest armor penetration (80%) of all shotguns and also has a surface penetration value of 1. The XM1014 also has a fast rate of fire; the fastest in its class. Similarly to the Nova, the XM1014 has little damage falloff over distance, losing 30% damage for every 500 units travelled. However, this does not make it as effective as the Nova when shooting at a distance. The XM1014 is the only shotgun that shoots 6 pellets (bullets) that deal 20 damage each, totalling 120 max damage per shot. Just like the Nova, the XM1014 has unlimited range (no range cap).
Given the guns high rate of fire, the XM1014 should be used to stop a rush or if you don’t trust your aim enough to use the other shotguns.
Here is a demonstration of somebody stopping a rush with the XM1014:
Mag-7 (Counter-Terrorists) (Nickname: Swag-7)
The Mag-7 costs $1800 and is only available on the Counter-Terrorist side. The Mag-7 has 75% armor penetration and has a surface penetration value of 1. The Mag-7 has large damage falloff over distance, losing 65% damage for every 500 units travelled. This means that you’ll be better off switching to your pistol if your target is beyond mid-range The Mag-7 shoots 8 pellets (bullets) that deal 30 damage each, totalling 240 max damage per shot. Unlike the previous two shotguns, the Mag-7 has a range cap, though it is negligible one. Lastly, the Mag-7 is dead accurate when jumping, and the most accurate shotgun while running.
To me, the Mag-7 is the most reliable shotgun for the Counter-Terrorists. The tight spread and high damage allows you to easily one-shot enemies. Also, you’ll find that the ability to jump and shoot could make the difference between winning and losing a round.
Here is a video of a player plowing through deathmatch with the Mag-7:
The Sawed-Off costs $1200 and is only available on the Terrorist side. The Sawed-Off has 75% armor penetration and has a surface penetration value of 1. The Sawed-Off has the same damage falloff as the Mag-7, losing 65% damage for every 500 units travelled. Also, the Sawed-Off has the lowest range of the shotguns at a mere 750 units. This means you should not be crossing your fingers when trying to snipe somebody with it. The Sawed-Off shoots 8 pellets (bullets) that deal 32 damage each, totalling 256 max damage per shot. This gun also has the largest spread of all the shotguns. Lastly, it might come in handy to note that the Sawed-Off is very accurate when on ladders.
Having the highest damage and largest spread, the Sawed-Off makes it easy to get those close-range frags. In my opinion, this gun should only be used in the lurk role (to stop a rotate or push) or on an eco, to get an easy frag and pick up another gun.
And here is a clip of mine, from back when I used to be nova (rank), to demonstrate how strong the Sawed-Off can be. I was lurking, but unfortunately my team all died before I saw anybody:
In conclusion, shotguns are a great choice to get during an eco or anti-eco round. They can either bring your team back into a game, or push your team’s lead way ahead by providing lots of money per frag. Each shotgun in CSGO has its own purpose, depending on you or your team’s strategy, or your own playstyle. Practicing with shotguns a lot will help you consistently get one-shots, and learning how to position and peek (along with having good aim) is the key to success.
Thanks for reading!
For detailed information on the shotguns' stats, visit these links: