What are the best Shotguns in The Division 2?

Ah, the Shotgun. So insanely powerful in some games yet so weak in others, it seems that this weapon type, above all others, is the most difficult to get right. The Division 2 is sadly no exception to this rule, with Shotguns quickly become the least popular weapon, especially in PvE. What I find most disappointing about the shotguns is the weapon type bonus. Unlike every other weapon in the game, shotguns don’t gain a shooting or damage benefit, instead being awarded with increased melee damage.

Despite the meta and that dodgy weapon bonus, Shotguns can actually be pretty powerful, especially in PvP with the right weapon talents. The shotgun-only talent ‘Premeditated’, for example, can be extremely strong in PvP, boosting damage by up to 50% in some situations. With the right build and talents, a powerful Shotgun can in fact one-hit-kill a player. So with that in mind, here are my favourite Shotguns in The Division 2, with the weapon talents I’d most like to see rolled on them.

Sweet Dreams/Lullaby

Sweet Dreams – Landing a melee attack on an enemy after swapping to this weapon grants 35% bonus armor and applies the Sandman debuff.

Killing an enemy with the Sandman debuff reapplies the bonus armor.

Sandman – This debuff prevents the enemy from using armor kits and from receiving healing from any source.

Evasive – While equipped, dodging reloads 1% of your current weapon’s magazine.

The exotic Shotgun in The Division 2 is a bit strange. Whilst it features pretty decent damage—some of the best burst and sustained damage from any shotgun in fact—it also has some of the most useless weapon talents in the game.

Let’s start with the positives. Like I said, the damage here is solid, especially the sustained damage where only the Double Barrel shotgun can compete. The equipped weapon talent is also fantastic, added a new way of playing the game by rolling more often to refill your ammo. For those confused, Evasive actually reloads 25% of your weapons magazine, so that’s two shells per combat roll in real terms. This isn’t even the best part of this talent, however, as the Evasive also works when your shotgun is holstered! So for example, if you pair this with a 100 mag LMG, you will get 25 rounds back per roll.

Sadly, having Sweet Dreams holstered is the most use I’ve got out of it, as the other two weapon talents are nowhere near as good as the talents you could have on a normal high end shotgun. The talent ‘Sweet Dreams’, for example, requires you to land a melee attack on an enemy for an armour increase that only last for a mere 10 seconds. Using melee attacks in a game like The Division is both risky and unrewarding, as the damage you put out has no way of scaling, Melee builds aren’t a thing, yet we have a weapon and a weapon class devoted to melee. The ‘Sandman’ talent is also pretty poor, as healing that has already taken place before the debuff was applied isn’t prevented. If you compare these two talents with some of the better weapon talents like ‘Premeditated’, you can see why this weapon falls a little short.

Double Barrel Shotgun/Double Barrel Shotgun Replica

The Double Barrel Shotgun is capable of huge amounts of burst damage. This thing hits like a truck, and with a 2 bullet capacity it benefits ridiculously well from the shotgun-only weapon talent ‘Premeditated’.

Premeditated – Weapon damage is increased for every shell loaded to a max of +35%.
If all shells are reloaded then weapon damage is increased by an additional +50%. Buff lasts for 10 seconds.

Basically, you should always be reloading your Double Barrel fully, meaning you receive 50% damage to an already powerful burst damage weapon. For PvP, you won’t find a better Shotgun, and for numbers in PvE, the Double Barrel is sure to entertain.

Best Talents – Premeditated and Distance/Jazz Hands

I’ve explained why I like ‘Premeditated’ already. As for ‘Distance’, I feel like having a little more range on a weapon like a Shotgun can be helpful in both PvP and PvE. ‘Jazz Hands’ obviously synergizes well with the Double Barrel and ‘Premeditated’, as you both want to and need to reload very often.

ACS-12

Being the only automatic Shotgun in the game meant that the ACS-12 was an ‘automatic’ inclusion to my list (see what I did there?). That only tells half the story however, as the ACS-12 is actually one of the best Shotguns in the game, helped by a 16% damage increase in an early patch and by having the largest Shotgun magazine at 20 rounds, yet also having the joint shortest reload time of any Shotgun in the game alongside the Double Barrel. That damage increase has made the ACS-12 second only to the Double Barrel for burst damage, and it easily competes with the other top Shotguns in sustained damage.

Best Talents – Premeditated and Distance/Jazz Hands/Allegro

Being that the reload time for the ACS-12 is so short for a Shotgun, it’s difficult to recommend anything other than ‘Premeditated’ on the first talent slot. As for the second talent slot, you have a few more options here than with the Double Barrel. ‘Distance’ would still be my first choice, as the range on Shotguns is obviously pretty short. ‘Jazz Hands’ is always nice with ‘Premeditated’, and ‘Allegro’ is the only DPS-boosting talent on offer in the second slot.

SPAS-12/SPAS-12 Replica

The SPAS-12 has the joint highest optimal range of any Shotgun in the game, which doesn’t sound important—and it probably isn’t the first thing you should be looking for—but it does help out, especially in PvP encounters. Where the SPAS-12 really impresses, however, is in its damage output. This thing is capable of dealing decent damage in both burst and sustained damage, so if you’re looking for a decent all round PvE Shotgun then definitely check out the SPAS-12

Best Talents – Premeditated/Close and Personal and Distance/Optimized/Accuracy

Being that you will most likely be using a SPAS-12 for PvE, I’m happy to add ‘Close and Personal’ to the recommended first slot talents. As for the second slot you can choose to increase the range further, or add some handing or accuracy. This choices are pretty flexible to be honest.

That’s about it for the Shotguns in The Division 2. As with my previous weapon guides, I will keep this list up to date after any relevant patches and updates to the weapons or talents mentioned. I’ll also be sure to add any new additions to the games weapons arsenal.

If you liked this break down of weapons then please check out the equivalent lists for Assault Rifles, SMG’s, MMR’s, LMG’s and Rifles. My Best Weapon Talents guide might also be worth checking out, especially if you’re unsure of some of the better weapons to look out for.

As always, feedback is also greatly appreciated. So please let me know your opinions of my picks below, or if I’ve under/overestimated a weapon or talent.

Glen, or Gunna as he likes to refer to himself, is a lifelong gamer and slightly above average card player. When not on Hearthstone, you can normally find him racing ahead of his friends in games that feature loot drops. He's just not very good without the best gear...

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