Mass Effect 3 Best Shotguns (All Shotguns In The Game Ranked)

Mass Effect 3: Best Shotguns
Get up close and personal

Mass Effect 3 has many valid ways to play. Whether it's a sneaky infiltrator, sniping from a distance, or a power-reliant adept, you are sure to find a weapon that’s right for you. If you like to take the fight up close and personal, you may find yourself using one of the 13 shotguns that can be found in the game.

But which ones are worth the time, credits, and upgrades? The Reegar Carbine sure looks cool while firing at a Geth Prime, but will it let you down when getting swarmed by Husks? Which is the shotgun that allows you to kick Reaper butt and look cool doing it?

Read on as we rank each of the shotguns found in the game. Whether it is DLC, a part of the story, or just available to buy in one of the many stores on the citadel,  

13. M-23 Katana 

M-23 Katana in action

The M-23 Katana is the starter shotgun for the game, which you will unlock automatically at the start of Priority: Mars if you are either a Vanguard, Soldier, or Sentinel class. If you are one of the other classes, you need to pick it up off of a Cerberus trooper. It's no big deal if you miss it though, as you will be able to pick up far better shotguns later. 

Overall, it’s ok for the starting shotgun, dealing a fair amount of damage. But it has a terrible range, even with mods, so past the first mission it isn’t worth it.

Pair with: 

  • The first few missions 

Don’t use for:   

  • The rest of the game 

M-23 Katana full details:  

12. M-27 Scimitar 

M-27 Scimitar use in multiplayer

The M-27 Scimitar was first seen in Mass Effect 2 and is a traditional, fully automatic shotgun. Be sure to pick it up for free during the Priority: Palaven mission or buy it from Kassa Fabrication in the Citadel post-mission. 

It is a decent enough upgrade from the Katana as it has an upgraded performance in the mid-range and the rapid-fire option can help you catch those agile foes. However, it does not have the stopping power of the shotguns found on this list, as it will often take several more shots to kill the target than those later on the list. 

Pair with: 

  • Shotgun Blade Attachment, for a melee boost. 
  • Shotgun Smart Choke mod 
  • Incendiary Ammo 

Don’t use for:   

  • The long run 

M-27 Scimitar full details:  

11. M-22 Eviscerator 

M-22 Eviscerator in practice

While outperformed by the Wraith, which can be found later on this list, the M-22 Eviscerator is an OK gun to use if you don’t have anything better. It's found behind a barricade during the Grissom Academy: Emergency Evacuation (I fully recommend doing this mission as soon as it pops up as it can have some dire side effects if left). If you miss it, you will later be able to buy it from Batarian State Arms in the Citadel. 

This is a great step up in damage compared to the previously mentioned shotguns. It is also one of the lighter options to choose from. However, this comes at the cost of a low clip size, three shots, and below-average accuracy. 

Pair with: 

  • Shotgun Smart Choke mod 

Don’t use for:   

  • Situations where you need to aim 

M-22 Eviscerator full details:  

10. Graal Spike Thrower 

Graal Spike Thrower in multiplayer

The Graal Spike Thrower is a little different from some of the other shotguns on this list. It is found during Priority: Tuchanka after the vehicles stop due to a break in the road or later in the Cipritine Armory on the Citadel.

It fires a single, long-ranged charged shot instead of the typical point-blank splash you get with most conventional shotguns, making it more of a "sniper" shotgun. This can be its downfall. To get the most out of the gun, you will need to charge it, which will expose you to fire.  

Pair with: 

  • Vanguard class 

Shotgun Smart Choke mod 

  • Don’t use for:   
  • Infiltrator, it will disable the cloak before charging up unlike some other guns 

Graal Spike Thrower full details:  

9. AT-12 Raider 

AT-12 Raider in practice

A DLC weapon, the AT-12 Raider was a PC pre-order bonus weapon. However, the release of the Leviathan DLC brought it to all players. Due to this, it can only be found during the Namakli: Leviathan near the first load of enemies. 

At point blank range, it fires two quick bullets that deal damage in a predictable circular pattern. Reloading takes a while, so it's advisable to skip it with the cancel reload exploit if you are able.  

Pair with: 

  • Shotgun Spare Thermal Clip mod 
  • Shotgun Smart Choke mod 
  • Vanguard or infiltrator class 

AT-12 Raider full details:  

8. Disciple 

The Disciple in practice

The Disciple is a nice and average shotgun. It can be found at around the midpoint during the Kallini: Ardat-Yakshi Monastery mission or after in Nos Astra Sporting Goods. Not particularly discussed and possibly not that powerful, its primary characteristics include being the lightest shotgun and having a stronger staggering force. 

These can be handy for power-based classes, but there are more suitable pistols available in terms of power, if that is the route that you want to go. 

Pair with: 

  • Lightweight materials mod 
  • Shotgun Omni-blade 
  • Enemies that can be staggered 

Don’t use for:   

  • Damage 

Disciple full details:  

7. Geth Plasma Shotgun 

Geth Plasma Shotgun gameplay

The Geth Plasma Shotgun is a classic brought over from ME2. It can be acquired either during Priority: Rannoch or later at Elkoss Combine Arsenal Supplies. This three-barrelled Geth weapon has a greater range than typical shotguns and fires tiny but effective cluster rounds. It can also fire a charged shot to deal extra damage. 

This shotgun also has a basic tracking capability, so if your shot isn’t completely out, you still have a chance to hit. However, due to the fact that it fires a special type of bullet, it will not have any bonus damage to a headshot. 

Pair with: 

  • Armor Piercing Ammo 
  • Shotgun Smart Choke mod 

Don’t use for:   

  • Squadmates 

Geth Plasma Shotgun full details:  

6. Venom Shotgun 

 Venom Shotgun gameplay

The Venom Shotgun is as close to a grenade launcher as you can get in this class of weapon, and when compared to similar guns found in the assault rifle class, it has the bonus that it can fire a charged shot, releasing five smaller bombs on impact. As another DLC weapon, it can be found in the Legendary edition at Aegohr Munitions for 7000 credits. 

The main issue with the Venom is the weight, which will really increase your cooldowns. It is also inaccurate at a range. Big enemies are easy to handle, but if you are facing anything small and nimble, you might find yourself wasting ammunition.  

Pair with: 

  • Shotgun Ultralight Materials mod 
  • Shotgun Shredder Mod 
  • Armor-Piercing Ammo 

Don’t use for:   

  • Quick foes 

Venom Shotgun full details:  

5. M-300 Claymore 

M-300 Claymore gameplay

The M-300 Claymore is a fan favorite due to its massive damage output. It can be found during the Attican Traverse: Krogan Team mission or at the Cipritine Armory. It is a beast of a weapon, with a higher damage output than even the Widow sniper rifle. 

This is not an easy gun to use if you are new to the game, as its weight will cripple your power usage. It also has a terrible clip size and a long reload time, which can affect its usefulness with your squadmates.  

Pair with: 

  • Vanguard class 
  • Shredder mod 
  • Armor-Piercing ammo 
  • Shotgun Smart Choke mod 

Don’t use for:   

  • Squadmates 

M-300 Claymore full details:  

4. N7 Crusader 

N7 Crusader gameplay

Like the other N7 weapons, the N7 Crusader can either be found in the N7 Collector's Edition Pack DLC or in the Spectre Requisitions terminal for 125000 credits in the Legendary Edition. It can fire a single high-powered shot rather than a scatter, which can plow through obstacles up to 0.5m thick.  

Unfortunately, it's not great against armored opponents compared to other shotguns, so it can feel a little weaker when fighting Brutes or Atlas. It also has a high level of recoil with each shot, making it feel a little clunky. 

Pair with: 

  • Shotgun Choke mod 
  • Disruptor  ammo 
  • Shotgun Spare Thermal Clip mod 

Don’t use for:   

  • Pray and spray 

N7 Crusader full details:  

3. Reegar Carbine 

Reegar Carbine in multiplayer

The Reegar Carbine is as close to a flamethrower as you are going to get in the range of the regular weapons. It's a part of the Firefight Pack DLC and Elkoss Combine Arsenal Supplies in the Legendary Edition. 

It deals a substantial amount of damage against shields and synthetics. But you need to watch the ammo count, as sustained fire can eat into it like there is no tomorrow. The weight penalty on cooldowns is also not ideal, but mods can reduce it to little more than an annoyance. 

Pair with: 

  • Incendiary Ammo 
  • Shotgun high caliber barrel mod 
  • Tactical Cloak 
  • Multiplayer 
  • Spare Thermal Clip mod 

Reegar Carbine full details:  

2. N7 Piranha 

N7 Piranha in multiplayer

The penultimate shotgun on this list is the N7 Piranha. It is yet another DLC weapon that can now be found as a part of the Legendary edition at the Spectre Requisitions terminal at the citadel for the lofty price of 125000 credits. 

The Piranha is a shockingly powerful shotgun, firing at an automatic rate, allowing you to shred opponents. To put into perspective how powerful this gun is, it outperforms a level 10 Katana while still at level 1. It is also not as heavy as it could be, so you don’t need to sacrifice the ability to use it.  

However, its range leaves much to be desired. If you want it to strike farther than point blank, you need a Smart Choke upgrade. Its automatic fire is also a bit of a double-edged sword, as the Piranha will quickly eat through ammo. 

Pair with: 

  • Smart Choke mod 
  • Lightweight materials  
  • Vanguard  
  • Spare Thermal Clip mod 

Don’t use for:   

  • Ranged shots 

N7 Piranha full details: 

1. M-11 Wraith 

M-11 Wraith in multiplayer

Topping the list is the M-11 Wraith, popular in both story and multiplayer modes alike. It's an easy find too, albeit a bit pricey, found in the Spectre Requestions terminal on the Citadel. As a variation of the M-22 Eviscerator, the Wraith is a very quick gun, whether it’s the reload or the firing ability. 

The best thing about this shotgun is that it is relatively light compared to others on this list. This allows you to get the most out of both powers and the gun. 

Due to this, it’s the most popular choice if you want to play as Vanguard. Your Biotic Charge will have a large cooldown boost, allowing you to charge in, shoot the enemy in the face, engage them in melee once, and then either fire another round, use a nova, or make another charge. 

Pair with: 

  • Shotgun Smart Choke mod 
  • Shotgun High Caliber Barrel mod 
  • Vanguard class 

M-11 Wraith full details: 

For more about Mass Effect 3 check out these:

[Top 5] Mass Effect 3 Best Armor From Early Till Late Game

Best Mass Effect Games To Play (Ranked From Fun To Most Fun)

Mass Effect 3 Best Assault Rifles (All Assault Rifles In The Game Ranked)

Mass Effect 3: Best Pistols (All Pistols In The Game Ranked)

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Gamer Since: 1995
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Top 3 Favorite Games:Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Bioshock Infinite

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