Zombie Hunter University, Fairview

Dr. Raglan's Scientific-Minimalist School of Dead Frontier Weapons, Builds & Boss-Hunting



The Scientific-Minimalist Guide to Dead Frontier Weapons: Shotguns


Shotguns are grinding weapons with no Critical Hit requirement. Their Damage per Second lags behind Machine Guns, but their ammo requirements are lower. Like Machine Guns and Grenade Launchers, Shotguns provoke aggro.

Shotguns come in three varieties:

  1. Pump Action Shotguns fire 1.5 times per second (Slow Firing Speed) except for the Mancini M1, which fires only once per second (Very Slow Firing Speed)
  2. Semi-Automatic Shotguns fire twice per second (Average Firing Speed).
  3. Automatic Shotguns fire three times per second (Fast Firing Speed).

The strength of Shotguns lies in self-defense rather than grinding. Only very high-end Shotguns have DPS on par with top-level grinding weapons. 

Each shotgun blast fires from 8 to 12 pellets, sending a cloud of lead to knock back advancing zombies, making these weapons excellent for crowd control. 

All Shotguns worth owning require at least some Strength. High-end Shotguns, with one or two exceptions, require maximum Strength.

Reloading for Shotguns is less important than for Machine Guns. Their lower firing speed can provide longer continuous bursts, depending on magazine capacity. Three of the Shotguns we recommend - the Painshot, the Ace Barrel, and the AA-12 - can fire for more than ten seconds in between reloading, and the Mannberg comes close (9 seconds). 

Shotguns have Average Accuracy, the same as Pistols. However, the effect is somewhat different, since shotguns spread multiple pellets into crowds. In contrast to the situation with Machine Guns, increasing Accuracy will not narrow the spread of the pellets; it will merely center the spread on the target. Therefore, Shotguns are less useful for targeting individual zombies, such as bosses, unless the weapons are used up close.

UPDATE DECEMBER 2019The Damage Per Second rates listed below are "theoretical" - perhaps achievable in laboratory situations; on the streets of Fairview, actual DPS is lower, because weapons do not achieve their advertised firing rate in real-world situations. For example, a shotgun that fires "once per second" will actually fire 0.968 times per second.

Below is a list of recommended shotguns.



  • Proficiency: 45
  • Strength: 30
  • Speed: 2/second
  • Clip Size: 8
  • DPH: 2.15 x 10 = 21.5
  • DPS: 43
  • DPC: 172

Low-level shotguns are relatively useless, not to mention superfluous in the early Blue and Green Zones. When students reach the Yellow Zones around Dogg's Stockade, they will find the Sega-20 an effective crowd control weapon.

Though its DPS is low, the semi-automatic Sega fires 20 pellets per second (10 pellets per shot, 2 shots per second), providing enough knockback to keep students safe even if they venture into deeper,more dangerous zones.

The only problem is the small clip size, which leads to low Damage Per Clip and frequent reloading (every four seconds). A high stat investment is recommended to ameliorate this weakness.


  • Proficiency: 60
  • Strength: 50
  • Speed: 1.5/second
  • Clip Size: 12
  • DPH: 4.445 x 9 = 40.05
  • DPS: 60
  • DPC: 480

The Mannberg is slightly slower than the Sega-20, but it delivers more Damage Per Hit, Damage Per Second, and Damage Per Clip. A pump-action Shotgun that fires fewer pellets per second, it will do a less effective job of knocking zombies back, but it will kill them faster.

The Mannberg can fire continuously for 9 seconds before reloading - very useful for students midway through their builds, who have yet to invest stat points in Reloading.

Both of these shotguns are effective around Dogg's Stockade and Precinct 13. Moving deeper into Fairview, students will want something more powerful.



  • Proficiency: 80
  • Strength: 80
  • Speed: 2/second
  • Clip Size: 12
  • DPH: 4.445 x 9 = 40.05
  • DPS: 80
  • DPC: 480

The Sweeper is essentially a Mannberg with a faster firing rate. Its knockback is only slightly short of the Sega-20; its DPS exceeds the Mannberg.

Unfortunately, its semi-automatic action (2 shots per second) will empty the gun's magazine in only six seconds. Reloading is helpful.


  • Proficiency: 100
  • Strength: 100
  • Speed: 3/second
  • Clip Size: 20
  • DPH: 4.445 x 8 = 35.6
  • DPS: 106
  • DPC: 712

Dead Frontier's first fully automatic shotgun fires three blasts per second but offers only a slight improvement in knockback over the Sega-20 (24 pellets per second instead of 20 pellets per second).

The Damage Per Second exceeds that of the Sweeper, but the USAN-12 still lacks grinding power, and it can fire for just over six seconds before reloading. Nevertheless, it is a good crowd control weapon for areas around Fort Pastor.



  • Proficiency: 110
  • Strength: 100
  • Speed: 3/second
  • Clip Size: 32
  • DPH: 4.23 x 10 = 42.32
  • DPS: 126
  • DPC: 1354

Blasting 30 pellets per second, the fully automatic AA-12 delivers knockback comparable to that of Mini-Guns (though of course the DPS falls well short). For students who prefer not to spend a fortune on ammunition for Machine Guns, this high-end shotgun is a cost-saving alternative, providing ample protection.

With a magazine holding 32 rounds, the AA-12 will fire for over ten seconds before reloading - which should provide a comfortable margin of safety for students who want to cut back on stat points in Reloading.

The AA-12 works best in a build with a Grenade Launcher, to provide the DPS that Shotguns lack. 

Painshot 10

  • Proficiency: 120
  • Strength: 100
  • Speed: 1.5/second
  • Clip Size: 18
  • DPH: 6.75 x 12 = 81
  • DPS: 121
  • DPC: 1458

The Painshot sacrifices knockback in favor of higher Damage Per Hit. This is advantageous for looters who want to keep the inventory slots free, because the Painshot fires one-half as much ammo as the AA-12 in order to inflict equivalent damage.

Noteworthy is the fact that, by inflicting 81 damage points per hit, the Paintshot can be used almost like a single-shot weapon. By getting close to the target, students can inflict the full blast upon a single zombie - enough to kill anything up to a Burned or Irradiated Male. Though Shotguns provoke aggro, a single shot most likely will not.

Unfortunately, firing only 18 pellets per second, the Painshot is weaker at crowd control than other high-end shotguns. This is not a problem in open street with plenty of room to maneuver, but it will become problematic in enclosed spaces, particularly indoors.

With its pump-action firing rate (1.5/second), the Painshot will empty its 18-round magazine in in 12 seconds - which should be enough to make a heavy investment in Reloading unnecessary. 

Ace Barrel GZ3

  • Proficiency: 120
  • Strength: 50
  • Speed: 1.5/second
  • Clip Size: 18
  • DPH: 9.05 x 12  = 108.6
  • DPS: 162
  • DPC: 1954

The Ace Barrel offers the most DPS of any non-limited edition shotgun. A pump-action shotgun, its knockback is the same as that of the Painshot and less than that of the AA-12, but it will kill zombies faster than either of those weapons. 

Also like the Painshot, the Ace Barrel provides 12 seconds of continuous fire.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of the Ace Barrel is that it is the only commonly available epic-level shotgun that requires only 50 points in Strength. This creates an opportunity to incorporate shotguns into non-Strength builds (such as the Survivor Build). The other high-end shotguns that require only 50 points in Strength are two limited edition items no longer on sale in the Credit Shopt:

  1. The Corpse Blaster : a 100-proficiency weapon with 30-round capacity, slow firing speed, and 100.8 DPS.
  2. The Buckblast 99A, : a 120-proficiency weapon with 36-round capacity, fast firing speed, 243 DPS. This makes the Buckblast the only Shotgun  on par with the DPS of Heavy Machine Guns, but the price tag is almost literally off the charts.

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