The Shotgun is an ancient Imperial weapon, much the same as the Heavy Stubber, which fires solid slugs that burst into submunitions to spread out over a wider area. Most Guardsmen that use the shotgun prefer the double-barreled version, and its reliability makes it the mainstay of the Elysian Drop Troopers, who prefer it over the Lasgun when entering hostile drop zones. The Adeptus Arbites also use the shotgun for crowd control and urban conditions and have developed special 'Executioner' shells for them. Space Marine Scouts are also known to use shotguns during their missions.
Shotguns are commonly used by criminal lowlifes in the lawless regions of most hive cities, where a large variety of specialist ammunition is used, including man-stopper rounds, modified bolt rounds and incendiary shells.
Imperial Navy starships carry shotguns for the crew to use during the rare boarding actions or, more frequently, against uprisings by the often mistreated crewmen aboard the ship. These particular shotguns fire shells made specifically for combat aboard a spacecraft - the shells are packed with twists of metal wire and shards of broken glass, ensuring that a shot will shred soft flesh at close range, but will not puncture the ship's hull.
- Astartes Assault Shotgun - While not as iconic or widespread amongst Space Marines as the Astartes Bolter, the Astartes Assault Shotgun is a powerful and versatile weapon used by their Scouts. These bulky, clipped shotguns can fire in single shots and in both semi- and fully automatic modes, and can use an array of specialty ammunition ranging from armour-piercing penetrator rounds to the powerful manstopper rounds. Assault shotguns are best used in urban and close-quarters combat, as well as in boarding actions aboard voidships.
- Cypra Mundi "Ironclaw" Shotgun - These standard shipboard weapons are designed to resist the rigors of the void and have a reinforced, weighted stock, which can double as a club if needed. Storage lockers filled with Ironclaw Shotguns are commonplace on Imperial military vessels and unlock automatically to arm the crew when the signal is given to repel boarders.
- Hack Shotgun - Known by a wide variety of nicknames on different worlds, this is a conventional double-barrelled Shotgun, cut down to the smallest possible size and rigged to fire both of its barrels at once from a single trigger pull. Although very short-ranged and hardly a precision weapon, the twin blast is still devastating against "soft targets" (such as unarmoured civilians), and the sight of one can have a very salutary effect on bystanders. A Hack is no substitute for a true combat weapon though, as many a ganger faced with Carapace Armoured Enforcers has found to their cost.
- Raven Pattern Shotgun - Raven Guard Scout Marines are among the best reconnaissance units the Adeptus Astartes has to offer, forging ahead of the rest of their Chapter's warriors, identifying targets for quick strikes and disrupting enemy logistics. For this reason, Raven Guard serving in the Jericho Reach Deathwatch are commonly deployed to strike missions in the Canis Salient, using their stealth to operate behind enemy lines and strike high-value Tau targets. During a recent strike mission, Shotgun fire gave away a Scout Marine’s position and compromised the entire mission. In response, Deathwatch Forge Master Harl Greyweaver used an ancient technique incorporating flash and sound suppressors into the Scout’s muzzle (a long black cylinder attached to the weapon’s barrel) making it completely silent when fired, without reducing damage or the ability to make use of variant forms of ammunition. This modification was met with such great success that Greyweaver is willing to provide his time and skill to any Raven Guard Astartes who has proven himself worthy of the upgrade.
- Scathros Blackhammer Defence Shotgun - Notorious for its sheer destructive power, the Blackhammer is comprised of a carefully-crafted barrel fitted to an equally well-crafted stock and firing mechanism, all constructed to safely fire a single massive shell, more than twice the size of a standard shotgun cartridge with many times the power. Each shell is custom-made and filled with dozens of heavy pellets the size of Stubber rounds, backed by a huge charge; the quality of the barrel breach and stock are vital to keep the weapon from tearing itself apart with every firing. The Blackhammer itself is a rarity whose fame often precedes it. The weapon's short range and single-shot capacity are often overlooked in favour of its immense stopping power, although, like many such weapons, it can prove dramatically less effective against targets with substantial "hard" armour.
- Shotcannon - A Shotcannon is essentially a cross between a Shotgun and an Autopistol: it is a short-barelled Shotgun with a very rugged and slightly more complex firing mechanism allowing it to fire on fully automatic mode with a high rate of fire. The Shotcannon is fed from a large drumbox clip containing over fifty shells, allowing for prolonged bursts, and a short burst of a half-dozen shells at point-blank range can easily shred anything not protected by some form of Power Armour. The weapon is favoured by Imperial Navy Naval Armsmen and boarding parties despite the weapon's powerful recoil and the very limited effective range because its impressive firepower at close range is perfectly suited to combat inside cramped corridors that are a staple of voidship boarding actions.
- Shotgun Pistol - A Shotgun Pistol is a compact single shot hand cannon, designed to fire shotgun cartridges. These weapons are often the preferred sidearm of Imperial Navy petty officers and bosuns who carry them to discourage any thoughts of mutiny, earning the weapon the nickname of "persuaders" in Naval slang.
- Skitarii Vanaheim Pattern Assault Shotgun - A robust and tested design, this compact auto-loader Shotgun is the standard armament of the Skitarii-Provosts of Mechanicus Forge Worlds who take the role of the Enforcers found on other worlds. Provost-enforced law and order is as coldly and absolutely maintained as their machine-minded masters could wish, and any sign of disorder, be it the discovery of a petty crime ring in the worker-habs or a full blown labour-helot uprising, is brutally put down with uncompromising and lethal weapons such as this. The Vanaheim Shotgun features an in-built red-dot laser sight and a melee attachment in the shape of a retractable saw-bladed bayonet as standard.
- Volg "Meat Hammer" Scattergun - While Shotguns can make for brutally effective weapons, the gangers of the world of Volg have created an even more savage variation to stamp their authority on those that dare to cross them. The "Meat Hammer" (so-named for its tendency to turn flesh into unrecognisable chunks), is a specially constructed, triple-barrelled, open choke Shotgun that can all but destroy a living body with a single blast. Usually fired from point-blank range, a Meat Hammer hit is intended to kill, obliterate and to discourage others, and is a particularly loud and messy way to die.
- Vox Legi-Pattern Arbites Combat Shotgun - The primary weapon of the Adeptus Arbites is the Combat Shotgun. It is valued for its stopping power, simplicity, reliability, and for its ability to intimidate. Even the most dusty, ancient Judge haunting the Halls of Judgement on Terra will have cut his teeth on the brutally effective shotgun drills which form the foundation of all Arbites combat training. A large variety of different Shotgun patterns are used in different Arbites Precinct Fortresses across the galaxy, depending upon the proximity of the local Forge Worlds. The Vox Legi-Pattern is particularly widespread amongst the Arbitrators of the Periphery Sub-sector, and is broadly typical of the weapons favoured by the Arbitrators of the Calixis Sector. Effectively a large-bore, locally-manufactured version of the Shotgun designs used by many planetary Enforcers, the Vox Legi is a devastating and adaptable weapon that fires shotgun shells nearly the size of those employed by the Adeptus Astartes. The increased size of the weapon reduces its ammunition capacity compared to that of other Shotguns, but it still remains more powerful and adaptable than a standard Shotgun. Most patrolling Arbitrators take advantage of this flexibility by carrying a variety of Shotgun shell types so that they can employ different tactical options. Over-engineered by a considerable margin, the weapon is also perfectly capable of being used as a large club -- indeed, it is expressly designed with this secondary purpose in mind. It is also designed for maximum psychological impact, with a very audible pump action (standard Arbites riot training makes use of this). The sound of a hundred Arbitrators simultaneously chambering their weapons has ended countless riots in a single instant over the millennia.
- Westingkrup "Slayer" Pump Shotgun - The Slayer is a classically functional design from the Westingkrup Fane intended to be a back-up weapon for vehicle crews and Planetary Defence Force troopers, but is now common across the Calixis Sector. Endlessly copied with minor variants on the design and fittings to its compact, stockless frame, it is said that almost as many of these weapons make their way into the hands of deep-hive scum as are supplied to the Departmento Munitorum. One unusual variant of the Slayer, known in the local cant as the "Bonefinger," is crafted from heat-resistant ceramics and scrimshaw. These are used in the hunting of dangerous Scoldbats in the burning heat of the upper reaches of Hive Tarsus on Scintilla, where a standard weapon might warp and fail in the extreme conditions.
- Cryptus Shotgun Shells - On the world of Cryptus, the Templum of The Sacred Lights of the God-Emperor was renowned for being constructed entirely of glass. Its foundations were laid on the day the planet was reclaimed by the Imperium during the Angevin crusade. In 702.M39, the cathedral was unexpectedly attacked by a hitherto unknown renegade cult calling themselves the Light-burners. During the fighting, as the cathedral's Frateris Militia rallied and drove back the assault, several cultists broke through the militia's lines, reached the towering gates of the cathedral, and sacrificed themselves to summon forth five towering daemons wreathed in black flames. At the moment the daemons set foot within the cathedral, a sonorous bell was heard and moments later the glass shattered and the cathedral exploded into a stream of white fire. The fires that swept out of the cathedral extended for almost a mile and burned for over a month. When the fires finally died out, nothing was left of the great edifice but thousands of white glass shards covering the ground. Experiments by members of the Holy Ordos revealed that the glass was naturally resistant to the Warp and caused great pain and harm to the foul denizens of the Immaterium. Over time, the Ordos Malleus ended up with nominal control over the ruined site, grudgingly accepted by the Ministorum save for the hundreds of pilgrims who regularly process to the blasted wasteland on the anniversary of its destruction. The glass, when used in a shotgun shell, causes the weapon's attack to be treated as Sanctified which has certain effects on Daemons and some Warp creatures.
- Executioner Shotgun Shells - These rare and specialised shells (whose use is often limited to the upper echelons such as Judges and important Castigators and Mortiurges of the Adeptus Arbites) contain miniaturised propulsion and stabilisation systems allowing the shell to lock on and track its target. The mechanisms that achieve this are little understood and extremely hard to replicate, and so remain within the purview of those Magos-Munitorium that provide the Arbites with their sanctioned and ordained arms.
- Ignitius Shotgun Shells - These shells are packed with pyrotechnic materials, so when fired a huge gout of flame is produced for several seconds. While not as lethal as regular rounds, a volley excels at frightening off most enemies. As they can also be used in standard shotguns, they offer excellent tactical flexibility without the need for specialised flamer weapons. The duration of the discharge means it can only be used in single-shot mode.
- Dark Heresy: Ascension (RPG), pg. 147
- Dark Heresy: Book of Judgement (RPG), pg. 64
- Dark Heresy: Daemon Hunter' (RPG), pg. 73
- Dark Heresy: The Inquisitor's Handbook (RPG), pp. 114-116, 118, 134, 161, 164
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pg. 98
- Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), pg. 136
- Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (4th Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (2nd Edition)
- Last Chancers: 13th Legion (novel) by Gavin Thorpe
- Execution Hour (novel) by Gordon Rennie