Fortnite: Does the charge shotgun need a nerf?

(Image Credit:
(Image Credit:

Shotguns have gone through some interesting phases in Fortnite. Although always changing in terms of power levels from patch to patch, shotguns themselves have always remained at the top of the weapon tier list to the point where they often only get compared to other shotguns. But is the charge shotgun too strong for Fortnite?

Fortnite and the state of the game

Players talking about the charge and tactical shotguns(Image Credit:
Players talking about the charge and tactical shotguns(Image Credit:

As the game is at a moment where only one of the two currently available shotguns feels worth using. I’ll return to the charge shotgun later on, but first a quick breakdown of the tactical shotgun.

The tactical is considered by many to be underpowered in Fortnite due to its high spread, inability to one shot opponents, and low headshot multiplier. A gray tactical hits for 68 damage if all bullets hit with a fire rate of 1.5, going up to 83 damage for a legendary tactical.

Because it is highly unlikely that all bullets will headshot an opponent at its usual engagement range, the headshot multiplier means that it is very unlikely for a headshot to deal over 100 damage with anything other than the highest rarity tactical shotguns.

This makes tacticals in Fortnite almost better when used to hit repeated body shots, however a fully shielded opponent would three consecutive full damage hit, which would take multiple seconds to kill under optimal conditions. If any bullet misses though, this could extend the time to eliminate an opponent by many more seconds.

Tactical shotgun compared to the charge shotgun in Fortnite

Before looking into the numbers, it is worth mentioning that the charge shotgun is usually charged to some degree before firing, increasing its base damage but an amount depending on how long it was charged for. While Fortnite players rarely fully charge the shotgun, they also rarely fire with a totally uncharged shotgun as well.

When totally uncharged, however, the charge hits for 80 damage at gray (120 on headshot), and ramps up to 98 at orange (147 headshot) and 102 when using Kit’s Charge Shotgun (153 headshot).

And already it should be apparent that the charge shotgun has more capability to take out an unshielded opponent with a well placed headshot, something the tactical has difficulty doing with its wide shot spread. However, the charge shotgun has the alternative mode of increasing its damage in periods of downtime during a fight.

A gray charge shotgun, when fully charged (1.7 seconds) increases its damage to 120 (180 headshot), enough to kill an unshielded opponent at full life. The blue charge shotgun hits for 134, and 201 on headshot, now enough to kill an opponent with full life and full shields.

(Image Credit:
(Image Credit:

And the higher rarity charge shotguns provide Fortnite players with even more leeway to secure these one shot kills, both by charging to the critical damage levels sooner and by requiring fewer shots to hit which effectively increases its range with each rarity.

How these numbers affect strategy in Fortnite

With all of this in mind, it’s easy to see that the charge shotgun has an advantage. Eliminations that take the tactical shotgun multiple hits and multiple seconds to achieve take the charge potentially a single shot regardless of your opponent’s defensive situation.

But these weapons don’t exist in a vacuum, and strategy can even remove the charge shotgun’s biggest disadvantage, and the tactical’s biggest advantage. When players land a good shot with the charge shotgun, few will bother trying to land a second to finish someone off. General strategy is to score one big hit, then switch to a weapon like an SMG to finish players off.

When using this method, it doesn’t matter that the tactical can fire another shot sooner than the charge shotgun, the charge shotgun player has already changed weapons and is only looking for maybe 20-30 more damage to secure the kill.

This has led many players to abandon the tactical and to call it so underpowered as to not be worth using.

Does the charge shotgun need a nerf in Fortnite?

Nerfing the charge shotgun would certainly be one way to address the issue, however that won’t fix the tactical shotgun feeling anemic. The charge shotgun’s raw power may be a negative experience in Fortnite as it prevents fights from being paced well. Even if that were changed, however, the tactical might also deserve a slight buff, at least to give it some sense of an identity.

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Edited by Izaak
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