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Fortnite’s Pump Shotgun replacement doesn’t quite fill the void

Is the era of the dominant gun over?

Fortnite’s Combat Shotgun
Fortnite’s Combat Shotgun
Epic Games via Polygon
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

Love it or hate it, the Pump Shotgun was Fortnite’s signature weapon. But as part of this week’s season 9 update, Epic Games removed it and replaced it with the Combat Shotgun. With such a massive change, many players are wondering how the Combat Shotgun compares to the Pump and where this leaves shotguns in Fortnite’s meta. Well, it’s complicated.

Fortnite’s Pump Shotgun
Image: Epic Games

The Combat Shotgun does less damage ...

First thing’s first: The Combat Shotgun does a lot less damage than the Pump. An Uncommon Pump Shotgun in season 8 would do 95 damage if all its pellets hit the target. These weapons also had a 2x multiplier for headshots, meaning at higher rarities they could eliminate a player who had full health and shields with one well-placed shot.

The new Combat Shotgun starts out at just 73 damage for the Rare version with the Legendary increasing to 81. The Combat Shotgun’s multiplayer is only 1.7x damage for headshots, so its max damage is right around 138, which is a major drop-off.

But the Combat Shotgun shoots a lot faster and has better range

What the Combat Shotgun lacks in damage it makes up for in fire rate. In the time it took to shoot the Pump Shotgun twice you can shoot the Combat Shotgun almost four times. While you won’t be able to one-shot shielded players like you could with the Pump, you’ll still be able to take them down quickly even if they’ve got full health and shields.

Another significant difference between the two weapons is their spread and effective range. The Pump Shotgun’s spread was pretty wide, which made it much easier to use at close range. You could be a little less accurate and still hit a few pellets. The Combat Shotgun has a much tighter spread, which makes accuracy a lot more important — though missing with the Combat Shotgun is less punishing since its fire rate is so high. The trade-off for the Combat Shotgun’s more difficult close-range use is that its tighter spread lets it do a lot more damage at long range.

Fortnite - Drift skin in season 5
A Fortnite player with a Suppressed SMG
Epic Games

SMGs vs Shotguns?

The idea of skipping a shotgun is now a viable option. At close range you might be better off spraying your SMG in an enemy’s general direction than you would be with the Combat or Tactical Shotgun at the moment. If your aim is good, and the shot you fire is on target, you shouldn’t have much trouble competing against SMGs, though.

Season 9’s changes, at least for now, mean that there’s no “necessary” gun that you need to carry every game. Nothing can fill the void left by the Pump Shotgun. But in its place stand options — SMGs, Drum Guns, Combat Shotguns, Tactical Shotguns — all competing for players’ attention. Each one is at least usable, but just like it’s always been, it’s about the player using the gun more than the gun itself.

But if you can’t stand the idea of Fortnite without the Pump Shotgun, remember that it’s in the vault. And nothing in the vault is ever really gone.