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A Shotgun is a weapon designed chiefly to fire rounds loaded with multiple small metal projectiles at once. This makes them devastating and ruinous at close range but gives them a very short effective distance. Shotguns generally fall into numerous classes, including pump-action; lever-action; break-open; bolt-action; semi-auto and even fully automatic models. Other types of ammunition have been adapted and manufactured for them, including solid slugs, sub-caliber saboted projectiles, flechettes, and a slew of 'less-lethal' rounds loaded with rubber projectiles or chemical projectiles.
A break-action shotgun is a breech-loaded weapon that carries only the shells ready to fire in its barrel(s), and must be manually reloaded after use. To reload, the weapon is "broken" open at its hinge, spent shells removed or ejected, and fresh shells inserted before closing the weapon.
To date, all break-action shotguns in the Battlefield series are double-barreled, and offer both single- or double-barrel firemodes (treated as "semi-automatic" and "burst fire" in the game engine).
A Pump-action shotgun mainly features spent shells being extracted and fresh ones being chambered via mechanical cycling, as opposed to a break action. New shells are chambered by pulling a pump handle (often called the fore-end) attached to the tube magazine toward the user, then pushing it back into place to chamber the cartridge.
Most pump-action shotguns have a tube magazine below their barrel into which shells are inserted. However, there are magazine-fed pump shotguns such as the NOR982 which chamber new shells from a box magazine.
A semi-automatic shotgun is one that is able to fire a cartridge after every trigger squeeze, without any manual chambering of another round being required. The weapon uses the force of the gas (created by the accelerated burning of the propellant) not just to propel the wadding which pushes the shot down the barrel, but also to cycle the action, eject the empty shell and load another round.
Shotguns can only utilize their iron sights in a few installments in the Battlefield Series. Some shotguns do not allow the user to aim down sight.
In Battlefield: Bad Company 2, the amount of shots fired in the weapon stats are counted by the pellets shot, not the actual shots. This can drastically lower accuracy statistics. In later titles, statistics are counted by each shell shot, raising accuracy statistics if multiple targets are hit, sometimes over 100% for particularly efficient use.