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For an overview of combat shotgun models throughout the Fallout series, see Combat shotgun.
The Terrible Shotgun
Combat shotgun icon.png
SkillSmall Guns
Attack statistics
80 (89)
8.9 (9.9)
120 (133.5)
DPS (reload)
84.7 (94.2)
Crit Dmg
Crit % Mult
Ammo & reloading
Ammo TypeShotgun shells
Ammo Cap.12
Reload Time
Item HP350
Combat shotguns
Editor ID?
Base ID0006b534
Perk Effects
Perks (dam.)

The Terrible Shotgun is a unique Small Gun in Fallout 3.


Main article: Combat shotgun

The combat shotgun was a weapon born out of necessity in a world ravaged by war and resource shortages. Instead of lightweight metal alloys used in eg. the Citykiller, it uses wood and stamped metal sheets that greatly reduce manufacturing costs, while its design maximizes durability without sacrificing the firepower provided by standard 12 gauge shotgun shells. Although it might have seemed antiquated, the combination of firepower, ruggedness, and low price tag resulted in widespread adoption by the United States military.[1] Though early models used a combination drum-and-tube magazine (when placed in the magazine well, the drum would fill the tube with shells), standardized, mass-produced versions used a more conventional magazine placement with a variety of magazine types available.[2]

Its widespread use led to the development of a large variety of modifications, allowing for in-depth customization. These include various optics, ranging from simple iron sight rings, through reflex sights, to night vision and recon scopes, bayonets and compensators, as well as adjustable, pistol-grip tactical stocks from lightweight alloys. To capitalize on this, the military introduced the combat rifle: A combat shotgun rechambered for rifle rounds and without the heat shroud protecting the barrel. Everything else was left in place, including the original magazine well with the drum mount. Despite that, the resulting rifle was as cheap, effective, and popular as the combat shotgun.[3]

Its popularity proved enduring, as working units were salvaged after the Great War and pressed into use by wastelanders of all stripes, including merchant guards, adventurers, raiders, slavers, Gunners, and Talon Company mercs.


Terrible shotgun expanded

The Terrible Shotgun is a unique variant of the combat shotgun and has the second highest damage of all weapons in the Small Guns category. The weapon has a far larger spread than normal shotguns, and full damage is only done if all pellets hit, making it most effective in close-quarters.

The weapon deteriorates at a rather rapid pace, giving you 146 discharged rounds before it breaks. Even so, the weapon will not jam until 120 rounds are fired. Given that you do not reload until the current magazine is expired you will have 10 reloads before the gun begins to jam, but the gun will only have two chances to jam before it breaks.

Critical hit damage with this weapon is actually applied individually on each pellet the weapon fires in a shot outside of V.A.T.S. If all nine pellets critical hit at the same time (such as in a point-blank sneak attack critical attack), the weapon's total critical damage is 9 x 40 =360. And with the Better Criticals perk, it can go up to 540. Add in the base 80 power of the weapon, and then double the damage because of the sneak attack bonus, and the weapon's total damage turns 1240, quite close to that of the Fat Man. In fact, if the damage is increased further with a head shot, this weapon's destructive power against a single target becomes even greater than the Fat Man, being able to kill even a super mutant behemoth with a single sneak attack critical head shot.



Name Type Dmg/shot DPS Att/sec Crit mult Crit dmg Spread AP cost Ammo Ammo cap Weight Item HP Value
Combat shotgun Shotgun 55 82.5 1.5 x1 27 3.0 27 Shotgun shell 12 7 200 240
The Terrible Shotgun Shotgun 80 120 1.5 x1 40 6.0 27 Shotgun shell 12 10 350 250


This gun is carried by Smiling Jack, the non-hostile raider merchant in Evergreen Mills. You can kill him for it, with no karma loss.

You can also get it the more complicated way, attacking him without killing him, making him use the shotgun, then shoot it out of his hands. You can attack him twice and holster your weapon to make him cease combat if you do not achieve a disarm at your first attempt.

  1. Use by soldiers in Operation: Anchorage
  2. Differences in design between Fallout 3 and Fallout 4.
  3. Design and modification options in Fallout 4.