Shotguns are often thought to be smaller than they really are, with many almost a meter in length from tip of stock to end of barrel. The length of the barrel is also widely varied, depending on it's usage, with common lengths being anywhere from 20 inches to 30 inches, although shotguns with barrels of anywhere from 10 to 15 inches are not unheard of, although these are less common and mainly used in CQC (close-quarters-combat) or indoor operations.
Shotguns can also be found in an under-slung style, similar to that of a barrel-mounted grenade launcher, attached to assault rifles. Whilst the use of these for combat purposes is ineffective, it is highly useful in breaching operations, where one to three shots will be fired at key spots in a door, such as the hinges or locking mechanism, in order to allow the door to be broken down without the need for a battering ram or explosive.
- Shotguns can also use a slug as ammunition.
- During World War II, shotguns were often referred to as 'trench guns', because of thier common use by soldiers taking cover in trenches.