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Guns are heavily linked to films, they are the modern-day Excalibur to our favorite heroes. That being the case, Hollywood has provided us with many timeless heroes with an equal depth of iconic firearms, especially shotguns. This is a list of our favorite iconic shotguns found in films. Tactically-speaking, shotguns are not ideal for the majority of gunfights, but they look pretty sweet in the movies and have become a go-to for filmmakers to bring some extra firepower to their characters and have their weapons stick out. Shotguns are not a standard issue weapon in the military so they help to bring some extra flair in a lot of action movies.
Please keep in mind that this is by no means a comprehensive list. If you feel like we missed a big one, please let us know in the comment section. We love to hear from our readers and discuss all things guns.
So iconic is this firearm that it is on almost every movie poster of Terminator 2: Judgement Day. The Terminator franchise has had some weak films since its inception and following sequel, but the iconic scene of the T-800 pulling the Winchester 1887 out of the box of roses in the hallway of the mall will always remain one of my favorite scenes in cinema history.
Watching the T-800 blast away with one hand while driving a motorcycle with the other is one of the scenes that solidified Arnold Schwarzenegger into action movie royalty. A few other films have also used the Winchester 1887, usually modified or sawed-off, but none have used it in such as memorable or eye-catching way as Terminator 2.
- Gauge: 12/10
- Action: Lever Action
- Capacity: 5+1
- Barrel Length: 20in. (508mm) (full barrel)
- Overall Length:39 ½ in. (997mm)
- Weight: 8lb (3.6 kg)
12 Gauge Double Barreled Shotgun
Mad Max and the sawn-off 12 gauge double-barreled shotgun are synonymous. Mad Max wielding a sawn-off 12 gauge like a pistol while driving a muscle car around a desert wasteland is an iconic image in cinematic history.
It has spawned an entire genre of post-apocalyptic desert movies taking place in similar environments with similar loner heroes who come out of the wasteland and save the day. This is typically followed by the end of the film with hero slowly fading back to their life of solitude in the desert wasteland. Rarely has a firearm followed a character so closely across four films and even an actor change (with the exception of the Walter PPK and James Bond). In the dirty, dusty future of the Mad Max apocalypse, the sawn-off double-barrel shotgun is almost an ideal weapon.
The 12 gauge platform is incredibly useful in an apocalypse because of the versatile rounds it can shoot. The 12 gauge can take down an elephant or small game depending on the type of round you load in it. The cut-down barrel and stock make it concealable and also comfortable for everyday carry. Likewise, because of its simple design, the double-barrel shotgun is very reliable and every trigger pull will give you a bang, unless you load bad ammo into it, as seen in two of the Mad Max films. Overall, the 12 Gauge Double Barreled Shotgun is a great tactical and entertaining choice for a drifter in a futuristic apocalypse.
- Gauge: 12 gauge
- Action: Break Action Breech Loading
- Capacity: 2
- Barrel Length: Unknown
- Overall Length: Unknown
- Weight: Unknown
With a futuristic look and original design, it is only logical that the spas-12 comes up in some classic actions movies and iconic scenes. Visible in almost every armory in movie history and a go-to pick anytime a character needs a cool looking shotgun, the Franchi Spas-12 is as iconic as they come. Its most classic role has to be in Jurassic Park where it was wielded in a hunters duel against a velociraptor. *Spoiler alert*, it may not have been the best firearm to try and kill a velociraptor with since the hunter was eaten alive and didn’t manage to kill the dinosaurs.
The Spas-12 original design of being a semi-auto shotgun with the capability to be pump action. This function is used for low-pressure ammunition such as tear gas and less than lethal rounds such as rubber bullets and sandbags. The Spas-12 was banned under Clinton’s assault weapons ban in 1994. Purchasing one requires finding a “grandfathered” one that was imported prior to the ban.
- Gauge: 12 Gauge
- Action: Pump-Action/gas-actuated
- Barrel Length: 18 in
- Overall Length:41 in (stock extended)
- Weight: 9.98 lb
This semi-automatic beauty was made iconic by its suppressed version in No Country for Old Men. The psychopathic hitman on a killing spree wields this eye-catching and memorable suppressed shotgun. Completely inaccurate for the film’s setting because the Remington 11-87 was invented in 1987 and the film takes place in 1980, I will cut the filmmaker some slack because this weapon is so iconic.
The first time I had ever seen a suppressed shotgun and was blown away by the creative use of it by the character in the film. The originality of the firearm meshed perfectly with the originality of the character, quietly unassuming while simultaneously being very intense and intimidating the character and the firearm mirror each other. The sight of this shotgun immediately brings thoughts to this movie and this film bring immediate images of this iconic suppressed shotgun. It was a tactically logical choice for the character to have this weapon in his arsenal.
- Gauge: 12
- Action: Semi-Automatic
- Barrel Length: 14 in
- Overall Length: 34 in
- Weight: 8.25 lbs
The Holy Shotgun
The Holy Shotgun (fictional) from the film Constantine starring Keanu Reeves always comes to mind when discussing movie shotguns. In my opinion, a very underrated film, John Constantine (Keanu Reeves) battles demons with a semi-automatic gold plated shotgun covered in religious relics with an under-barrel flamethrower. One of the most savage looking weapons ever used in film history, even the gold shells look intimidating.
Usually, I am not a fan of gold weapons as they are unnecessarily flashy and serve no real tactical purpose, I make a huge exception to the Holy Shotgun. This weapon could be no other color than gold, and it fits the film perfectly in functionality and tactical utility. If I were battling demons this would be my go-to firearm. Not to mention the dragon’s breath under-barrel attachment, which shoots a stream of fire. The fictional weapon seems to be based on the Armsel Striker 12/SWD Street Sweeper, this conclusion is based on the similar drum magazines and general shapes.
- Gauge: 12
- Action: Rotating Cylinder
- Capacity: 12
- Barrel Length:7.5 in
- Overall Length:20 in
- Weight: 4.2 kg
Scatterguns have solidified their iconic role in movies due to their bad-ass look and all-around visual appeal. It is also great when they fit a realistic role in the film and also demonstrates the tactical versatility and limitations to the platform.