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X20 Vortex Tactical Shotgun
Shotgun side 350.png
Hotkey 1
TRes Icon team resource neutral.gif 20 to drop
PRes Icon personal resource neutral.png 20 to buy
Damage 17 pellets x 10/(11/12/13)
Type Normal
Delay 0.72 seconds
Clip Size 6
Ammo 24
Requires Armory, Shotgun Research


"The Shotgun is the bane of skulks everywhere. While limited in clip size, it has been tuned to be more effective at closer ranges. Sneak up on something slimy and see if it has time to react. Answer: it won't. Enjoy jarhead."

The Vortex Tactical Shotgun is a short-range Marine weapon. Marines can purchase it at the Armory once the Marine Commander researches it. Once weapons level upgrades are researched from the Arms Lab by the Marine Commander, the Shotgun will increase in damage potency. At close ranges, the Shotgun produces lethal burst damage for skulks and moderate burst damage against other lifeforms.

The Shotgun can be replaced by the Grenade Launcher, or the Flamethrower. You can enter any Exosuit by pressing 'e'. You may also drop the Shotgun by pressing 'g'.

Click below to watch a video by It'sSuperEffective! about the Shotgun.

The Video

Check out a video from Natural Selection University on positioning and awareness.

The Video


Shotgun Diagram.png

A: your crosshair

B: number of shells loaded

C: number of spare shells you have


  • Against skulks, try to land one good shot; it is always a 1 shot kill if you can land all the pellets
  • Against gorges, try to get close and land a few shots; doing so will spell demise for them as they are slow and have moderate HP.
  • Against lerks, don't use the shotgun if they are spiking from a distance;switch to your Pistol. If they get close, 2-3 good shots will take them down.
  • Against fades, try to land 2-3 good shots when they stop blinking and swipe at you. Then, as they retreat, body block the exit routes and finish them off.
  • Against Oni, fire as quickly as possible to force a retreat. Then, try to trap it or chase it down. It will take around 10-15 shots to kill.
  • Against structures, kill the cysts around the structure before destroying the structure. It is better to use the Switch-Axe if you're in a group or it's safe so you conserve ammo.



Speed with the Shotgun
with the Shotgun out with the Switch-Axe out
Movement Walking Sprinting Walking Sprinting
forward 5.16 6.19 5.36 6.43
strafing 5.16 5.36
backward 2.07 2.15

The Shotgun weighs slightly more than the Assault Rifle but less than the grenade launcher.

  • 12% speed penalty walking with it out
  • 14% speed penalty running with it out


Shotgun spread.png

As you can see, one shell produces 17 pellets in a tight cone. As you move farther from your target, the cone becomes larger but the shot will keep the shape. The pellet in the middle will always be exactly in the middle.

Reload Speed

Reloading with a shotgun is complicated. Every shell is reloaded separately but some shells take a different time to be loaded. You can cancel reloading at anytime and instantly fire a shot if you have one loaded. The closing animation is only aesthetic and does not affect when the shell is loaded. If you are completely out of ammo, try to reload 2 shells; it is more time effective than reloading one and shooting and reloading again.

Breakdown of a Reload
first shell second shell 3rd-6th shell closing animation
time (in seconds) .95 .55 .65 1.4

Time to reload (in seconds)

  • 1 shell= 0.95 + closing animation= 2.35
  • 2 shells= 1.5 + closing animation= 2.9
  • 3 shells= 2.15 + closing animation= 3.55
  • 4 shells= 2.8 + closing animation= 4.2
  • 5 shells= 3.45 + closing animation= 4.85
  • 6 shells= 4.1 + closing animation= 5.5

Tips and Strategies

  • The shotgun (SG) is best used at close range (very close range).
  • The trickiest thing is to hold your shot until you are sure you will hit with the most pellets, as the delay between shots could be the difference between life and death.
  • you can not shoot through teammates or any hard surface; try to get a clear line of sight to your opponent.
  • try to stay in a group; its always easier to shoot an Alien biting on a friend instead of you.
  • once you are engaged in a battle, don't try to reload, switch to your pistol.
  • if it's safe, use your Switch-Axe to take out alien structures so you don't waste ammo.


Video: The Shotgun