Starfield: Best Shotguns – Weapons Tier List

Master the unforgiving universe of Starfield with the Best Shotguns Weapons Tier List and become a true shotgunner.

The Best Shotguns in Starfield

Introducing the definitive guide to the deadliest shotguns in the vast expanse of Starfield. This comprehensive guide reveals the top-tier shotguns that will amplify your combat prowess and guarantee your survival in the untamed cosmos. Our guide will illuminate the pathway to unlocking weapon potential through mods and mastering its use on the battlefield.

The Best Shotguns in Starfield – Tier List

The Big Bang is the best Shotgun in Starfield because of its unique classification of particle beam shotgun, damage output, mods, and ammunition like Annihilator Rounds. The Big Bang Shotgun is the ultimate choice for those seeking a versatile and devastating close-range weapon in the unforgiving universe of Starfield.

Here is the best shotguns tier list in Starfield:

Old Earth Shotgun

Starfield Old Earth Shotgun Weapon
  • Damage: 73
  • Ammo: 12g Shell
  • Fire Rate: 6
  • Accuracy: 56.3%
  • Range: 16 meters
  • Mods: 5

The Hard Old Earth Shotgun is a beginner’s shotgun in Starfield. It is a classic Earth shotgun design modified with older technology. The Old Earth Shotgun has a high damage output, a widespread, and a lower fire rate. It can also be customized with up to 5 weapon mods, which the game allows for 8 in total.

The strength of this weapon is high burst damage at very close range.  You can obtain the Old Earth Shotgun very early and it’s a useable weapon at the start of the game.  The Old Earth Shotgun is outclassed quickly due to its two-round shoots then reload, and its widespread, and limited mods.  This is a good choice if you started the game early with Ballistics and Shotgun Certification and want to take advantage of those skills.


  • Damage: 52
  • Ammo: Caseless Shell
  • Fire Rate: 47
  • Accuracy: 38.4%
  • Range: 20 meters
  • Mods: 7

The Coachman is a lightweight Shotgun and an upgrade from the Old Earth Shotgun.  The Coachman uses Caseless Shell ammunition which is plentily available with lower accuracy but more weapon modifications at 7. 

The strength of the Coachman Shotgun is the weapon modification options. You can modify the Coachman to have Hornet Nest rounds, which act as explosive rounds that explode downwards into a cluster of mini explosions.  This unique weapon modification gives the Coachman an advantage, especially with area-based damage in close range.  The downside of the weapon is it’s plagued by two rounds per reload and has lower damage overall than others in the Shotgun category.


  • Damage: 59
  • Ammo: 15×25 CLL Shell
  • Fire Rate: 20
  • Accuracy: 45%
  • Range: 20 meters
  • Mods: 6

The Pacifier shotgun in Starfield is a unique shotgun that can be modified to fire non-lethal ammunition.  The EM-Charged Shot modification in the magazine and battery component changes the damage type to EM, a non-lethal damage type.  This is perfect for a Diplomat or Speech-build playing as a pacifist.

However, if you want to go the standard run and gun this weapon is an upgrade because of the 11-round capacity magazines.  It has 6 mod slots available, good damage, and a rate of fire.   The weapon is held back because of its damage and weaker mod selection that gravitates towards pacific gameplay.


  • Damage: 109
  • Ammo: 15×25 CLL Shell
  • Fire Rate: 10      
  • Accuracy: 55.3%              
  • Range: 20 meters
  • Mods: 8

The Breach shotgun is a unique shotgun in Starfield that is designed to an area effect damage component useful for “breaching” objects or enemies.  The Breach shotgun has high damage, 8 available mods, the maximum, and the standard range of 20 meters.  You can change the magazine and battery components to explosive rounds or the unique Tesla Pylons.  The Tesla Pylons act like mine, fired into a surface that arcs electricity between another pylon.

The Breach’s strength is area damage and the sheer amount of mods.  The downside of the weapon is the terribly slow fire rate.  While you will have 8 rounds before reloading, it’s dreadfully slow to burst down a target.  Overall, the Breach is a great shotgun that becomes unique and effective in area-based situations with heavy modifications.


  • Damage: 50
  • Ammo: Caseless Shell
  • Fire Rate: 60
  • Accuracy: 35.2%
  • Range: 20 meters
  • Mods: 8

The Shotty is designed for very close-quarters fighting with lower accuracy but a very fast fire rate.  The damage on the tooltip seems weak, but it’s 60 fire rate means you can push those rounds out much faster than the Breach adding up to big damage.  The Shotty also uses Caseless Shells which are readily available and make a great choice for big bursts in a short time.

The weakness of the weapon is the lack of high-end mods like the Breach or Big Bang.  Typically, the game-changing mod comes from your magazine and battery changing the type of ammunition. The Shotty uses Flechette Rounds which provide damage over time or Slugs which increase damage.  Both are okay, but not enough to push it into the best shotgun category. 

Big Bang

  • Damage: 32 + 94
  • Ammo: Heavy Fuse
  • Fire Rate: 14
  • Accuracy: 54.7%
  • Range: 20 meters
  • Mods: 7

The Big Bang Shotgun is a unique shotgun classified as a Particle Beam Shotgun. It uses both physical and Laser damage which allows it to “double” dip in skills that boost these damage types.  The weapon has good accuracy, standard range, 7 mods, and a lower fire rate. The standard damage is very high out of the game but can increase dramatically with mods.

The best part of the Big Bang Shotgun comes from two mods, Annihilator Rounds and Double Barrel.  Double Barrel allows you to fire two rounds rather than one while Annihilator Rounds produces a disease-like effect that spreads to any target it gets close to.  With the amplifier weapon modification, the Big Bang can stagger enemies with its pure force and damage.

The two downsides to the weapon are the ammunition is Heavy Fuse which can be difficult to find or expensive to buy.  The fire rate is also lower than the Shotty but serviceable considering you can stagger enemies and repeatedly blast them.  Consider the Big Bang the best shotgun in Starfield and your priority weapon to obtain and modify for close-range builds like the Bounty Hunter.

How to Obtain Shotguns in Starfield

In Starfield, you can obtain shotguns in a variety of ways such as purchasing from vendors, looting from enemies, finding contains, and completing quests.

Here is a detailed list of each way to get shotguns in Starfield:

  • Vendors: Shotguns can be purchased from vendors in most major planets and outposts.
  • Enemies: Shotguns can be looted from enemies that are killed.
  • Containers: Shotguns can be found in containers, such as chests, crates, and abandoned buildings.
  • Quest: Some quests reward players with shotguns.

The easiest way to obtain shotguns in Starfield is via traders located at the three major planets, and cities.

  • Centaurian Arsenal in New Atlantis, Residential District, Alpha Centauri system.
  • Rowland Arms in Akila City, town square, Cheyenne System.
  • Neon Tactical in Neon, Neon Core, Volii System.

Boom Boom Shotgun

Starfield Boom Boom Rare Shotgun
Boom Boom Rare Shotgun

The Boom Boom Shotgun is a rare variant of the Shotty which can be purchased from the Neon Tactical trader Frank Renick for 21,336 credits.  You can find the trader in Neon Core, Volii System in the trading district.

Here is a summary of the Boom Boom Shotgun’s stats:

  • Damage: 119
  • Ammo: Caseless Shell
  • Fire Rate: 60
  • Accuracy: 43.3%
  • Range: 19 meters
  • Mods: 3 of 8
  • Weapon effect: Explosive randomly switches to explosive rounds.
  • Laser Sight
  • Large Magazine
  • High Velocity

Brute Force Shotgun

Starfield Brute Force Shotgun
Brute Force Rare Shotgun

The Brute Force Shotgun is a rare variant of the Pacifier shotgun received as a reward for running the Red Mile.  The Red Mile location is in the Porrima III system and is a part of the Freestyle Ranger story quest.  Once you’ve completed the quest, you can repeat in and earn the Brute Force Shotgun a modified version of the Pacifier.

Here is a summary of the Brute Force Shotgun’s stats:

  • Damage: 232
  • Ammo: 15×25 CLL Shell
  • Fire Rate: 20
  • Accuracy: 57.1%
  • Range: 16 meters
  • Mods: 5 of 6
  • Weapon Effect: Bashing deals double damage when gun bashing.
  • Laser Sight
  • Muzzle Brake
  • Tactical Stock
  • Tactical Magazine
  • High Powered

Experiment A-7

Starfield Experiment A-7 Rare Shotgun
Experiment A-7 Rare Shotgun

The Experiment A-7 is a rare variant of the Breach Shotgun and is earned as a quest reward.  The Mission is Entangled, and you need to speak to Ethan and persuade him to give you this experimental shotgun. This quest is later in the main story arc for Starfield.

Here is a summary of the A-7 Shotgun’s stats:

  • Damage: 119
  • Ammo: 15×25 CLL Shell
  • Fire Rate: 10
  • Accuracy: 50.3%
  • Range: 20 meters
  • Mods: 3 of 8
  • Weapon Effect: Exterminator 30% damage against aliens.
  • Reflex Sight
  • Tactical Stock
  • Flechette Rounds

Why Use a Shotgun

Shotguns are versatile and powerful weapons that can be used to effectively deal with a variety of enemies and challenges in Starfield. Shotguns have high burst potential at close range, which can eliminate enemies quickly. Shotguns are easy to find, and the ammunition is readily available. Shotguns in Starfield also have many weapon modifications that change the ammunition to use explosive rounds, flechette, annihilator, or even Tesla Pylon. Consider the Shotgun a must-have close-range weapon.

Here are the Pros and Cons of using the Shotgun in Starfield:

Shotgun ProsShotgun Cons
Burst DamageClose Range Only
Easy to AimSlow Reload
Custom SpreadLow Versatility

Skills That Influence Shotguns

There are many skills that influence your Shotgun damage in Starfield. Most of which you can find in the Combat skill tree with two in the Physical. To optimize your Shotgun damage, you will need weapon engineering. This will allow customization of the weapon to include powerful barrels, ammunition, suppressors, and scopes.

The following list presents all the skills that increase Shotgun damage in Starfield:

  • Stealth (Physical Skill Tree): Adds a Stealth Meter. You are 25% more difficult to detect when sneaking. Suppressed weapons do an additional 5% sneak attack damage.  NOTE: This seems odd but you can modify some shotguns like the Breach to add a suppressor.
  • Isolation (Social Skill Tree): Do +10% weapon damage and gain 15 Damage Resistance for each Spacesuit and Helmet equipped when you don’t have a companion or any crew. 
  • Armor Penetration (Combat Skill Tree): Attacks ignore 15% of a target’s armor.
  • Ballistics (Combat Skill Tree): Ballistic weapons do 10% more damage.
  • Shotgun certification (Combat Skill Tree): Shotguns do 10% more damage.
  • Heavy Weapons Certification (Combat Skill Tree): Heavy weapons do 10% more damage.
  • Incapacitation (Combat Skill Tree): EM weapons do 5% more damage.
  • Lasers (Combat Skill Tree): Laser weapons do 10% more damage.
  • Particle Beams (Combat Skill Tree): Particle beam weapons do 10% more damage.
  • Chemistry (Science Skill Tree): You can create improved chems, and research additional chems at a Research Lab.  While not directly related, these chems can improve damage.
  • Weapon Engineering (Science Skill Tree): You can craft improved weapon mods at a Weapon Workbench, and research additional weapon mods at a Research Lab.
  • Special Projects (Science Skill Tree): You can research experimental projects at a Research Lab.  This mod is required to reach the highest level of crafting and expect to spend a lot of skill points to get here.

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