What’s up guys, Rogue-9 here and yes, I know that this one has been a long time coming. You guys have been asking me to do a comprehensive shotgun review for months and months now and I admit that I’ve been putting it off. It’s such a challenging topic to tackle because by their very nature, the shotguns are pretty random in their effectiveness and very problematic to test but I have given it my best shot and I am happy to finally be sharing these findings with you! As always, if I drift off into rambling about minute details; feel free to consult the pinned comment below for timestamps to the individual chapters of this video! All the nitty-gritty data I have gathered on the shotguns will also be shared in my only stat-spreadsheet, so do feel free to swing by there if you want a deeper insight. And now, let’s get this show on the road! There are essentially four types of shotguns in Rainbow Six Siege: Pump-action, semi-auto, the BOSG slug gun and Buck’s Modular Accessory Shotgun System (which I will refer to as MASS from now on).
I have already covered the BOSG in a previous video and since it essentially functions more like a two shot DMR, I will be excluding it from this evaluation; Buck’s MASS will be evaluated alongside the semi-autos. My effectiveness analysis and ranking of the weapons will be based on the following criteria: Damage per pellet & damage drop-off, hip-fire & ADS spread, the fire rate, ADS times, reload times and recoil. So let’s kick things off with the damage per pellet and damage drop-off. As you may already know, there are a few rules that apply to all shotguns in the game. Each of them fires 8 pellets of buck shot at a time and one of those pellets will always land perfectly in the middle of your point of aim with the remaining 7 dispersed around this. Another general rule to keep in mind is that shotguns do not get a headshot damage multiplier. Headshot damage per pellet is exactly the same as for body shots, so my first piece of advice would be to always aim for the body, since you will have the greatest chance of landing as many pellets as possible and thereby doing the most damage.
Another important factor is that all weapons in Rainbow Six Siege have a limited range. Beyond that range, bullets will simply evaporate. For most of the guns: pistols, rifles, DMRs, LMGs and SMGs this range is so great that you will never really be able to notice the bullets disappearing but for shotguns the maximum range is not that far. As you can see in the test footage in the background, the shotgun pellets will disappear at ranges beyond 40m and sure that is still a very long way by Rainbow Six Siege standards but if you ever have the crazy idea of going for a spawn peek with a shotgun, you might just end up in a situation where your bullets won’t reach your target, so be aware! When comparing the damage done by the individual shotguns, we can see that, up until around 12m, the pump-action guns do more damage per pellet on average than the semi-autos.
Between 12-18m the two types are pretty similar but beyond that, the pump actions regain a bit of an advantage. Diving into the two groups, the general rule we can see applied to most guns is that the more powerful they are at close range, the weaker they tend to be at longer ranges. Great examples of this are the GEO ITA12S sidearm, the GSG 9’s M870, the MASS and the Russian SASG-12. Conversely, guns like the ITA12L and Caveira’s SPAS-15 are relatively weak up close but offer more power at longer range. And I say “relatively” weak because even the SPAS-15, with its 30 damage per pellet, can still deal a combined 240 points of damage with every single shot; more than enough to make any opponent regret taking you on at close range. This rule of short vs. long range capability doesn’t apply to every gun though.
Frost’s Super 90 for instance, is quite weak at short range and even weaker at longer range. Similarly, the SAS’ M590A1 is one of the weakest pump-actions up close as well as at distance. In terms of ranking the guns based on this first criterion alone, I would say that the more powerful guns up close have an advantage over those with a little more power at range, since the spread of the pellets will make shooting at ranges beyond 10m pretty ineffective anyway. Hey, and that’s the first aspect down already! But of course if we really want to judge the damage output of these weapons the next factor to take into account is the fire rate. My assumption going into these tests was that each type of shotgun would have a fixed fire rate. I.e. one fire rate for semi-autos and one for pump-actions. But of course, this is Rainbow Six we’re talking about and any kind of standardisation would just be too simple. As it turned out, there are a surprising range of calculated fire rates.
Amongst the pump-actions, I discovered three different fire rates. The Japanese operators’ SuperNova is the slowest firing shotgun of all, with a measly fire rate of around 75 RPM, although it’s only marginally slower than most of the other pump-actions, which manage around 85 RPM. At the top of this group is the GSG9’s M870, with a fire rate of around 100 RPM. So not only is the M870 pretty much the most powerful shotgun up to 5m distance in terms of damage per pellet, but it also shoots the fastest….
Interesting. Here’s a quick comparison of what the three types of pump actions look and sound like when shooting as fast as possible. The semi-autos of course shoot significantly faster and the slowest ones here clock in at around 200 RPM. Significantly above this group is Valkyries SPAS-15 at 290 RPM, the SASG-12 at around 330 RMP and Ela’s FO-12 at a massive 400 RPM. And with this info, we can now calculate a maximum theoretical damage per second for each gun, at each range. The low damage per pellet of the SPAS-15 means that even with its elevated fire rate, its damage per second output is not that huge.
The FO-12 and the SASG-12 on the other hand end up with an overall damage output that is much higher than all other shotguns. And, as long as you are within 3m of your target, Buck’s MASS is also pretty powerful. Keep in mind though, that the damage per second output is a theoretical value that assumes that you can fire the gun as fast as possible and still hit every pellet of every shot.
For shotguns specifically, this measure is even more problematic than for regular guns because no matter how good your aim, you will never be able to hit all of your pellets once you reach a certain distance from your target. But we’ll get to spread in a second, before that, I think it’s worth noticing that even the most powerful pump action shotgun (the M870) still delivers less damage per second than the weakest semi-auto shotguns (the M1014 and the Super 90). Does that mean that the semi-autos are better than the pump-actions? I would actually say overall, yes. With the pump-actions you really need to make sure that you hit your first shot and that you’re close enough to get an instant down or kill if you want to survive the engagement.
With the semi-autos, the ability to spam fire in panic situations or after missing the first shot, can allow you to survive where the pump-actions might not. While this DPS data allows us to compare the shotguns on a theoretical level, the info becomes very misleading once you’re only a few meters away from your target since in reality, many of the pellets of each shot will start to miss. So now let’s try to get a more realistic view of the damage output by taking into account the hip-fire and ADS spreads. Let me again start off with a few general rules. Unlike other gun classes in the game, the hip fire spread for shotguns (and I assume the same applies for the ADS spread) is not affected by your character’s stance. Crouching or lying down will not give you any spread advantage. Moving on the other hand will open up the spread. Furthermore, in the past, the amount of zoom provided by your optic could improve your ADS spread and the benefit of the laser would stack while aiming down sights but neither of those features are in the game anymore.
The laser will now only improve your hip-fire spread. With those general rules out of the way, let’s now look into the specific spread for each gun and more importantly, let’s try to use that data to adjust our DPS table. I have measured the diameter of the hip fire and ADS spread for each shotgun and here is an overview with the raw spread sizes in pixels. Of course, the actual pixel count for the spread size will vary depending on your resolution, so these numbers won’t be exactly the same for everyone. But there is an important lesson to be learned already. Some of the shotguns (like the MASS and M590) benefit more from aiming down sights and others benefit less (specifically the semi-auto defender shotguns) but the bottom line is that aiming down sights is always worth it. Here is an image with examples to show you just how much you can improve your gun’s spread. If you are going to breach with buck, hip-firing gives you a much larger spread and bigger hole but if you are going to use the MASS to fight, aiming down sights will MASSively improve your chances of landing multiple pellets.
The spread of the MASS in fact reduces by more than half when aiming! The next thing we can do with these spread diameters, is to overlay the one for each weapon (for hip fire, hip fire when moving and ADS states) onto a piece of test footage showing an operator at various distances and then estimating how many pellets are likely to land at each distance. And this is where we finally come to some the really juicy conclusions. Once we have an estimate for how many pellets will land when hip firing or aiming down sight, for each shotgun at each range, we can estimate the damage for a single shot as well as an adjusted damage per second that only takes into account how many pellets are likely to land.
Of course the estimated number pellets you can land at each distance, is not set in stone. Depending on the individual pattern you end up with for any given shot, you may land 7 instead of 6 pellets… or maybe only 5… Also, I purposefully picked a medium sized operator to compare the spread sizes to but that means that smaller operators will receive less damage while larger ones may take more. And a final caveat is that these damage tables will be only applicable to level 1 armour body shots. For level 2 or three armour, the figures need to be multiplied by and respectively. Despite these limitations, I think that the adjusted damage per second stats we can derive here will still give us a clearer picture of the true damage output of each shotgun. As you can see, the close range damage stats are of course not affected since you will still be landing every pellet but once you push past 5-6m range, the damage output starts dropping significantly across the board.
If you are hip firing or hip firing and moving at the same time that drop off will start between 3 and 4 meters distance and will be even steeper. Guns that are affected the worst by this are the GEO’s ITA12S, Buck’s MASS, Ela’s FO-12, and the Russian SASG-12. Having an adjusted DPS is a great start when trying to rank the shotguns but with the estimated pellet hit information, we can also calculate estimated damage per shot stats at various ranges. This is especially useful, since it allows us to gauge at which distance you are likely to get a one hit kill with each of the guns when you’re aiming down sight, hip firing or hip firing and moving. Let me mark the fields where you are likely to get a one hit kill in green. Yellow fields may get you a one hit down but could also result in your opponent surviving and orange fields will frequently not be enough to down your opponent but could still work out for you if you get a lucky pattern.
Unsurprisingly, the pump action shotguns, with their much slower fire rate, have an advantage of 1 or 2 meters critical hit range over the semi-autos. And as much as the damage, damage drop-off and spread stats will vary from gun to gun, these tables make it quite clear that they are still balanced quite well in terms of their effective range (with the exception of maybe the ITA12L… that guns just seems bad). The tables for level 2 and level 3 armour are not too dissimilar and I will let you peruse those at your own leisure; link to my online sheet in the description. And now, since aiming down sights is so important, it is also worth taking the ADS times into account. Most of the guns have the same, or at least very similar ADS times but there are a few that stand out. The difference between the first and second groups here is only one frame (at 60 FPS) and so I would say that they are practically identical. The next group is around 85ms slower than this and again, it is the semi-auto defender guns that are being put at a slight disadvantage.
The weakest of all, with a significant disadvantage in terms of ADS time is Ela’s FO-12. It’s time is almost half a second but since this shotgun is also capable of attaching the angled grip you can take that time down to around 268ms. The choice is yours, vertical grip for more stability, angled for a 40% better ADS time. Ok, we’re making good progress, there are only a couple of factors left to consider and one of those factors is the reload time.
I discussed the reload times for the detachable magazine fed shotguns in a previous video but as a reminder, those times are on screen now. The SASG-12 stands out with the slowest full and tactical reloads. The Six12s have the best reload times from empty but conversely they do not see an improvement when going for a tactical reload and will therefore be amongst the slowest there. The three remaining detachable mag shotguns will take just over three seconds for a full reload and just over two for a tactical reload. When it comes to the reload times of the fixed mag shotguns things become a little bit more complex but let me try to break it down for you. The first thing is that from the third shell onwards, the time it takes to load in a single shot is consistently around 600ms for most guns.
The only exceptions here are the two ITA12s available to Mira and Jackal, which have a slower time of 800ms per round and Frost’s Super90 which clocks in at a slightly faster time of around 580ms. But the real differentiation with these guns comes from the reload of the first two shots. When you go for a tactical reload, your operator first needs to tip the gun over onto the side to start reloading and when reloading from empty, this is even worse because the gun is tipped first to one side and then the other. The slowest initial reload times from empty go to the ITA12 variants.
The GSG9’s M870 reloads the quickest, followed by Valkyrie’s SPAS-12 which is also above average here. The M870 and SPAS-12 also have the best tactical reloads and again, the ITA12s are the slowest but only by a small margin. Ok, we’ve explored the damage, damage drop-off, fire rate, spread, ADS times and reload times and that leaves only one factor left to look at: the recoil. For the pump action shotguns recoil is a non-factor, since even the fastest firing example in this group (the M870) still shoots so slowly that it will reset to the point of aim before you can fire the next shot.
For the semi-auto shotguns on the other hand, recoil is very important and the overall trend here is that the more powerful shotguns are harder to control while the less powerful ones are much easier. If we compare the in-game recoil patterns we can see that the Super90 and M1014 are relatively easy to control, the two Six12 variants are a little harder, followed by the SPAS-12 ad SPAS-15 and right at the end of the pack are the SASG-12 and FO-12. You may notice the recoil on the FO-12 is actually a little weaker than on the SASG-12 but because of the outrageous fire rate of the FO-12, the felt recoil at max fire rate is still stronger and that’s why I am listing it at the end. And with that, our analysis is finally concluded. The important question now is what does all of this mean? Let’s start out with some general conclusion first. If you are hip firing and moving, the semi-autos will only be able to get you a one hit down or kill at up to around 5 meters (and that’s with perfect aim against level 1 armour!).
Taking advantage of their superior fire rate is a must and it makes sense to always fire more than just one shot, no matter how close you are to your opponent. If you are aiming down sights, you can push the effective range out to around 7m but beyond that, securing a quick victory can become a challenge. Pump-actions can provide an effective range up to 10m but only if you aim down sights and stand still; hip firing on the go will reduce this range down to 6-7m.
The key to winning gun fights with a shotgun in Rainbow Six Siege is picking your battles carefully. This is easier to do as a defender, since you can position yourself in areas that give you the advantage. On the attacker side, careful droning and planning your route to the objective to avoid long angles is key. But now, over to the all-important question: “Which shotguns are the best and which ones are underpowered?” Clearly at the bottom of the pile is the ITA12S but that’s neither surprising nor interesting to discuss, since it is the only shotgun sidearm in the game and of course it needs to be underpowered to balance out the fact that you can bring it with you alongside a more viable primary. Although having said that, as long as you get into virtually touching distance, even this gun can act as a decent backup. Slightly more useful but not by an awful amount is its big brother, the ITA12L. This guns relatively low baseline damage, aggressive damage drop-off and slower than normal reload times make it a surprisingly bad choice and there is pretty much no reason for anyone to use this gun ever.
Yes, it does have the best damage per pellet of all once you get past 13m but what’s the point when hardly any of them hit at this distance anyway? Hibana and Echo’s SuperNova has low baseline damage and a stupidly slow fire rate which make it the next in line and although the SAS’ M590A1 has a slightly better fire rate, its steeper damage drop-off make it all in all pretty much just as bad. And in terms of the pump actions that only leaves the French SG-CQB and the German forces’ M870 and I think their stats make it clear that they are definitely the best choices when it comes to pump-action shotguns in Rainbow Six: Siege. The highest baseline damage per pellet, relatively fast fire rates, the smallest possible spreads and the best ADS times and these factors all combine to make both of these guns quite usable. The M870 is clearly the overall winner for me, due to the better reload times and higher baseline damage, despite the fact that the SG has a slightly longer effective one shot kill range.
But as I mentioned earlier, I believe that the semi-auto shotguns on the whole are a more reliable choice over the pump- actions due to their superior fire rates. At the bottom of this group is the gun formerly known as the Sniper90. Nowadays Frost’s Super90 has one of the lowest baseline damage stats with the harshest drop-off of all and the mediocre spread, ADS times and reload times are just not enough to make up for this. Just above the Super90 is the FBI’s M1014 and the only reason I list it slightly higher are the better ADS time and damage drop-off. In all fairness though, the differences are probably minimal in practice. Above this, I would list the Valkyrie’s SPAS-12 since it has more power at the closer ranges and also a reload time that appears to be just a little faster than all of the other shotguns featuring fixed magazines.
Another step above that are the two Six12 variants which have similar power but better spread and great reload from empty. Among my top listings for the shotguns in Rainbow Six are Caveira’s SPAS-15 and surprisingly also Buck’s MASS and even though the stats of these guns are very different, I would say that their overall performance is quite comparable. The SPAS-15 is the weakest shotgun in terms of baseline damage but makes up for this with a superior fire rate and the best possible hip fire while moving spread.
The MASS is very powerful up close with harsh damage drop-off and while the hip fire spread is poor, the ADS spread is the best one possible, so it’s a good thing that the MASS gets the best possible ADS time as well. Both guns have great tactical reload times, so make sure that you take advantage of that whenever possible.
And that only leaves two contenders for the overall top spot: Ela’s FO-12 and the Russian SASG-12 and the winner is… drum roll please….. the SASG! Ela’s FO-12 is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Decent power at all ranges, combined with the fastest fire rate out of all shotguns, give this gun and insane DPS. The tactical reload time is very good and as long as you attach the angled grip, you will have the best ADS time out of all shotguns.
Yes, the super high fire rate and challenging recoil make the gun hard to control but as long as you are close enough, you can still absolutely shred your opponents. But after all of this, my clear number one out of all of the shotguns in Rainbow Six Siege is the Russian SASG-12. Yes, its high fire rate and challenging recoil make it harder to control than most other shotguns but it’s still easier to handle than its closest rival, the FO-12. There are a couple of other downsides like slow reload times, a relatively slow ADS time and relatively large spread when aiming or hip firing and moving but nothing can argue with its baseline damage combined with its great fire rate. Whether you’re playing as Kapkan, Tachanka or Finka, the “Sausage-12” can definitely help you get the job done! And that’s it.
FINALLY!!! My definitive shotgun review for Rainbow Six Siege is complete…. Until the dev team decide to rebalance these guns… But for now, these stats will stand and I really hope that all this effort was worth it and that you managed to take away some useful info. If so, likes are very much appreciated (hint hint!) Over to you, what are your favourite shotguns? And was there anything about the info I uncovered that was surprising you? Do let me know in the comments section below and as always, if you have any suggestions for topics I should cover in future, go ahead and post those as well. And with that… thank you all for watching, I hope you enjoyed the video and I will see you in the next episode!.
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