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Fortnite Shotgun Comparison: How does the Combat Shotgun buff affect the game?

(Image Credit: Epic Games)
(Image Credit: Epic Games)
Modified 13 Oct 2020, 21:22 IST

The recent Fortnite patch claims to have made the Combat Shotgun more effective at all ranges. However, when looking at the numbers and the in-game results, it appears that the Combat Shotgun’s changes might not be all that effective. Here, we’ll take a look at the raw numbers to see if this buff will lead to any new developments in the game.

Fortnite combat shotgun changes

Fortnite patch 14.30 buffed the Combat Shotguns at all rarities in the following way.

Combat Shotgun (1.5x headshot multiplier)

  • Rare: 50 -> 57 damage
  • Epic: 53 -> 60 damage
  • Legendary: 55 -> 63 damage

From this we can see that each version received a seven damage buff, while no other changes were made. For any Fortnite players who had been using the old Combat Shotguns, now even the rare version is stronger than the old legendary, making the weapon as a whole much more worthwhile.

The problem is that the Combat Shotgun still struggles to keep up with the high burst damage output of its competitors, the Pump and Charge Shotguns. While the Combat Shotgun technically has the highest DPS of all the shotguns currently in Fortnite, in reality that damage output is meaningless when you consider how quickly fights are decided and how a single good hit usually prompts a switch to a different weapon.

How do Charge and Pump Shotguns compare?

The damage spreads for the other types of shotguns in Fortnite are as follows:


Charge Shotgun (1.5x headshot multiplier)

  • Common: 80/102
  • Uncommon: 85/127
  • Rare: 89/134
  • Epic: 94/141
  • Legendary: 98/148

Pump Shotgun (2x headshot multiplier)

  • Common: 70
  • Uncommon: 80
  • Rare: 90
  • Epic: 100
  • Legendary: 110

Just from looking at the numbers, it’s clear that both other shotgun options excel at singular high damage hits, while the combat shotgun fails to achieve the same results.

Important breakpoints for shotgun damage output in Fortnite are 200, 100, and 67, each representing a kill against a full health+shields opponent in one, two, and three hits respectively. Of the currently available shotguns in Fortnite, the Epic and Legendary Pump Shotguns and the Rare, Epic, and Legendary Charge Shotguns (when charged) can reach 200 damage with a headshot.

The next breakpoint, representing elimination in two hits, is reached by every Charge Shotgun (when charged to varying degrees), as well as the Epic and Legendary Pump Shotguns.

The final breakpoint, elimination in three hits, is reached by all Pump and Charge Shotguns, and only on headshots for the Combat Shotguns.

That means that the Combat Shotguns still fail to eliminate a full health+shields opponent in three body shots, requiring some number of headshots to achieve the same results. While this is counteracted in theory by the Combat Shotgun’s faster fire rate in Fortnite, this is negated by the fact that players frequently build walls or boxes to block shots and buy time between shots.

This means that a single, high impact hit will be more effective than consecutive mediocre hits in a majority of your fights.



While the damage buff for the Combat Shotgun was needed, it wasn’t enough to put the gun past any of the significant breakpoints needed to make a shotgun viable in Fortnite. While that seems like a pure negative, it’s probably not as bad as it seems. Right now, the Combat Shotgun serves as a weapon of desperation, something you use when you haven’t found anything better, and the 7 damage increase means that early fights will be a little bit easier.

However, there still isn’t any reason to keep the Combat Shotgun over a Charge or Pump Shotgun, and the Epic and Legendary Pump Shotguns, along with most of the Charge Shotguns still end up having the highest potential in the game.

If you were hoping for this patch to give you an alternative viable shotgun, however, you’ll just have to wait until the next Fortnite patch to see.

Published 13 Oct 2020, 21:22 IST
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