A shotgun, also called a "scattergun", is a firearm designed to shoot a multitude of projectiles with a single pull of the trigger. This makes it very effective at hunting game, greatly increasing the weapon's hit potential. However, the accuracy and power found at close range diminish rapidly as you get farther away from the target. Shotguns designed for military use are often called "combat shotguns".
Someone took the time to chop the last few inches off the barrel and stock of this shotgun. Now, the wide spread of this hand-cannon's short-barreled shots make it perfect for short-range crowd control.
The sawed-off shotgun is a one-handed weapon and reaps the benefits of the Gunslingerperk.
This weapon has one of the largest spread of all weapons in Fallout 3, second only to the experimental MIRV. In order to get high damage, you essentially have to treat the gun like a melee weapon and fire it at point blank range so that all the shot impacts the target.
A fully-repaired sawed-off shotgun can fire 167 shots, or 83 and a half loads, before breaking.
The Kneecapper, a far more powerful sawed-off shotgun that's more powerful than even a combat shotgun. It's also lighter and more accurate than the regular sawed-off, but fires slightly slower.
Mel wields a sawed-off shotgun in a random encounter in which he attempts to mug the Lone Wanderer, but the gun is not loaded. This is an homage to Mel Gibson, the actor who played Mad Max. In Mad Max 2, Gibson threatened the Gyro Captain using an unloaded sawed-off shotgun.
PCPlayStation 3Xbox 360 The shells are never "ejected" from the sawed-off. The barrel is pointed down while reloading, giving the illusion that the spent shells have fallen on the ground, but the third-person view shows that the shells are simply cleared from the barrel, without being ejected.