Left 4 Dead Wiki

"Come to daddy, my sweet shotgun."
"This shotgun'll put the hurt on 'em zombies!"

The Combat Shotgun is an Auto Shotgun variant in Left 4 Dead 2. It holds up to ten shells with 90 in reserve. It is a Tier 2 weapon and tends to spawn in the same places as its counterpart, the Tactical Shotgun. In early footage, the Combat Shotgun used the former's animations as placeholders, but eventually got its own animations.

The Combat Shotgun is used by Francis and Coach (as well as Louis in the Xbox 360 version of Left 4 Dead 2).


  • The Combat Shotgun is very effective at close range against major threats, such as Tanks, Witches, etc. Ideally, Incendiary/Explosive ammo should be used with this weapon when up against a Tank.
  • While the Combat Shotgun has a tighter spread and is thus slightly more accurate than the Tactical Shotgun, it is not a ranged weapon; nevertheless, it is marginally better at handling mid-range threats than the other auto shotgun.
  • There will always have 1 pellet landing in the middle of the crosshair when shooting while crouched, this can be used to snipe a distant infected's head due to the fact they die instantly from headshots. However, this tactic is relatively ineffective against other threats due to low damage of individual pellets and high damage drop off over distance of the shotgun.
  • Great care is needed on Expert mode because two direct shots will incapacitate a teammate even if they have full health. Even a glancing blow can be severely damaging. Switching to a melee weapon or Pistol is therefore almost essential if a Horde is attacking a team member.
  • Acquire the habit of reloading often, as the weapon becomes significantly less effective if the magazine is depleted. Apart from high-pressure emergencies requiring full auto, a good idea is thus to reload after every couple of shots.
  • If caught in a fight while the shotgun is empty during a Horde attack, shove zombies back while reloading: you'll be able to fire off a shot or two every second or so, allowing you to keep the Infected at bay.
  • Narrow hallways and choke points are ideal conditions for this weapon. A Horde trapped in such killing zones can be obliterated by a few quick shots.
  • This weapon fires heavy buckshot that can easily penetrate thin walls and barriers at close range, although its stopping power is degraded by doing so.
  • Using a Laser Sight on the Combat Shotgun does nothing to enhance its technical accuracy aside from reducing the increased pellet spread while moving. Its practical benefits are limited to showing teammates where a player is aiming and to confer a psychological advantage in the sense of being able to pick out a target with more confidence. At least, teammates can avoid standing between a user and a target in Expert mode.
    • This applies to the other shotguns as well. Save your upgrade for the assault rifles, where there is a significant increase in accuracy (especially the AK-47).
  • This weapon makes dispatching Witches incredibly easy (except on Realism Mode). All a player has to do is to get up close (preferably behind) and shoot her a few times, almost certainly killing the Witch and possibly cr0wning her.
    • This brutal capability can be handy on Versus as it obviates the need for the fine technique required for cr0wning her.
    • A Witch that has been startled can also be dispatched quickly if a Combat Shotgunner simply backs up to maintain distance and goes full auto into her central body mass. The ease of cr0wning Witches with the Combat Shotgun can lead to multiple cr0wnings in a single game. A good tactic would be to have a "designated Cr0wner" who would carry a Combat Shotgun and kill/Cr0wn any Witch that is in the way of the Survivors.
  • Clicking repeatedly will make the weapon fire faster than holding down the trigger, but be aware that it will drain ammo faster. This also applies to the Tactical Shotgun.
  • Stay close to teammates if you are using the Combat Shotgun. If you are attacked by a Smoker from any formidable distance, you will not be able to free yourself before you are pinned unless you land a lucky headshot with a stray pellet, making you dependent on your teammates to protect you from such an attack.
    • You will also not be able to save other teammates for quite some time unless you are very close to them, which would result in significant, unnecessary damage.
    • If you are close by, your shotgun will free your teammate from any Special Infected notably faster than any other weapon could, minimizing any damage incurred in the attack.
    • This problem can be reduced by prioritising the Magnum whenever you find one as your pistol of choice with increased accuracy and damage over the standard "pistol" or double pistol, do not pair a shotgun with melee weapons.
  • Be careful not to aim anywhere near gas cans or other carriable explosives that you don't want to ignite, especially in Left 4 Dead 2's "The Atrium", "The Port", and Scavenge mode. The Combat Shotgun's spread can easily cause pellets to spray towards unintended targets so long as they are still in front of the shooter.

Pros and Cons[]


  • The second tightest spread (3.5 x 8.0) among all shotguns, second to Chrome shotgun.
  • It has high damage, making it incredibly effective at killing the Infected at close range.
  • Is better than the Tactical Shotgun at handling mid-range threats due to a tighter spread.
  • Can easily crown a Witch.
  • Despite the damage penalty, at close range it can be a very effective weapon against a Tank, especially with Incendiary Ammo or when two or more people use automatic shotguns.
    • One full magazine at point-blank range (which can be fired in as low as 3 seconds) is enough to kill a Tank on Easy difficulty, even taking the 15% damage penalty into account. Normal requires two, Versus requires three, and Advanced and Expert require four. Theoretically, if all four Survivors use automatic shotguns and fire at point blank range, it is possible to kill a Tank on any difficulty in 3 seconds or less.
  • Has a fair amount of close-range penetration and is very effective at taking down Hordes.
  • Great for choke points.
  • Works well with a Magnum or dual Pistols for far away targets.
  • Is reloaded with individual shells, so reloading often and early results in a very quick and safe reloads.
  • The gun can be partially reloaded; if a reload is started and subsequently interrupted, the gun is not left with zero ammo, unlike guns that use magazines.
  • Reloads can be interrupted manually to maintain safety while still refilling the magazine.


  • Effectiveness is drastically reduced the further away the shooter is from their target. Switch to pistols to handle ranged threats.
  • It has a very small magazine, only being able to hold 10 shells at once. Wastefulness can quickly result in helplessness.
  • Due to its high rate of fire and low ammunition reserve, it is very easy to run entirely out of ammo.
  • Its spread of shot is tighter than that of the Tactical Shotgun so it is slightly less effective at taking down Hordes that are up close or spread out.
  • Although it can hit farther than its counterpart shotguns, hitting a distant target is difficult and requires multiple shots.
  • Reloading time is extremely long if the magazine is low on ammo or has been emptied.
  • Its effectiveness is reduced in open spaces where Hordes can spread out and attack from multiple directions.
  • Friendly fire becomes an issue on higher difficulties.
  • Laser Sights only improve accuracy while moving, and are mostly useless.
  • Suffers a 15% damage penalty against the Tank.


The Combat Shotgun is built for longer distances than the Auto Shotgun, with a tighter spread, fewer pellets per shot, and more damage per pellet. This makes it more effective against individuals or small groups at medium range, but it is still largely ineffective at long distances. Regardless, the Combat Shotgun also makes it slightly easier to cr0wn a Witch than with its counterpart. At extreme ranges, the Combat Shotgun's lower pellet count results in it having less hit chance than the Automatic Shotgun, despite the tighter spread. However, both shotguns are practically useless at these ranges.

Behind the Scenes[]

  • Early beta footage showed that the Combat Shotgun used the Left 4 Dead Auto Shotgun animations, including pulling a non-existent stock when the gun was pulled out. It also seemed to have the same damage, fire rate, and so forth as the original Auto Shotgun early on.


Main article: Achievements


Achievement Get Skeeted On.png
Kill a pouncing Hunter with a shotgun.

Achievement Shotgun Wedding.png
Kill the Witch bride with a single shotgun blast on Expert difficulty.


The Franchi SPAS-12

  • The Combat Shotgun is modeled after the Franchi SPAS-12. Although it features a folding stock, this feature is always folded up in-game. This is a deliberate visual cue common in other video games so as to make the weapon more recognizable and impactive.
  • The in-game version features a 10-shell capacity while in the reality, the Franchi SPAS-12 can only carry 8 shells.
  • In reality, the SPAS is actually a dual-action shotgun, capable of being fired either as a pump-action or as a semiautomatic. The pump-action setting is not used in gameplay in Left 4 Dead 2, although Ellis is seen using it in pump-action mode in the introduction.
  • The Combat Shotgun was rated 2nd in the Left 4 Dead 2 Top 10 FTW Weapons on Machinima.com.
  • According to a sign in Whitaker's gun shop, the Combat Shotgun is banned in 25 states. In reality, the SPAS-12 is only banned from importation (it is manufactured in Italy) and models owned privately before the passage of this USA import ban can still be transferred between buyers and sellers. Only a small number of states have in fact banned the SPAS outright: most notably California which banned it by name in the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989. SWAT teams are exempted and some units feature the SPAS-12 in their armories.
    • It is reported that production of the SPAS-12 shotguns ceased in the year 2000. However its appearance in Left 4 Dead 2 can be explained by its popular general appeal as a collectible and self-defense weapon in private ownership and wide use by SWAT Teams.
  • If you hold the fire key until the magazine is empty, you will not automatically reload unless you stop holding the fire button.
  • When reloading an empty Combat Shotgun, the gun can still be fired even before a round has been loaded into the firing chamber (also applies to the Left 4 Dead 2 Tactical Shotgun).
  • Within 100 game units, all shotguns deal 5x damage to Common Infected (making a difference on Expert Realism). These variables can be configured in the console.
  • The Combat and Auto Shotgun both suffer from reduced damage against the Tank. While this was done for gameplay reasons, it also mirrors real-world performance of buckshot since its low ballistic coefficient (low velocity and weight) make it a poor choice when hunting big or thick-skinned animals ― a befitting description of the Tank.
    • However, this should also apply to the Pump Shotgun and the Chrome Shotgun, as they more or less share the same ammunition and are practically just two more shotguns.
  • In "The Sacrifice" poster, Francis can be seen wielding a Combat Shotgun.
  • Its accuracy is only exceeded by that of the Chrome Shotgun. The Combat Shotgun may be the best shotgun to use with explosive fragmentation rounds since this class of ammunition is effectively an explosive slug rather than an equivalent weight of loose buckshot pellets. An added benefit is that the slug is significantly more accurate than a conventional buckshot cartridge.
  • In the intro video of Left 4 Dead 2, when Ellis pumps the Combat Shotgun, the pumping sounds are re-used from the Pump Shotgun. This was probably done because the Combat Shotgun does not have a unique pumping sound in-game.
  • This, and other shotguns, are hard-coded; its attack interval and reload/shell-insertion interval is impossible to be changed through the modification of the weapon scripts. It is technically possible to modify the proper script(s) but it won't do anything as the entity will still shoot at its default attack interval and reload at its default shell-insertion interval. Upon reloading with an increased capacity through modification, it suffers an animation glitch upon the 17th shell and beyond.
  • Unlike many other games, the unique hook brace of the SPAS-12 is seen. However, the Survivors never use it.
  • The PC-exclusive September 2020 update added physics to the folding stock while using the weapon alongside details in the flashlight and the left side of the shotgun, based off the E3 footage.
  • In "The Sacrifice" trailer, Francis can be seen to hold a Combat Shotgun as a baseball bat animation.
  • This, along with the Auto Shotgun have an incorrect reload animation when tactically reloaded. No matter how many shells the Survivor loads, they will always pull the charging handle. In reality this would eject and waste the next available shell. It would only need to be pulled when the magazine is emptied or if the weapon jams.


External Links[]

Primary Weapons
Tier 1 Chrome invert.png Chrome Shotgun / Pump invert.png Pump Shotgun / MP5 Invert.png MP5 / Mac10 invert.png Silenced Submachine Gun / Uzi invert.png Submachine Gun
Tier 2 Ak invert.png AK-47 / Scar invert.png Combat Rifle / M16 invert.png M-16 Assault Rifle / SIG Invert.png SG 552 / Auto invert.png Auto Shotgun / Spas12 invert.png Combat Shotgun / AWSM Invert.png AWP / Hunting invert.png Hunting Rifle / Steyr Invert.png Scout / G3 invert.png Sniper Rifle
Special Tier Grenade launcher inverted.png Grenade Launcher / M60Icon.png M60 Machine Gun
Secondary Weapons
Sidearms Pistol inverted.png M1911 Pistol / Deagle invert.png Magnum Pistol / Pistol inverted.png P220 Pistol
Melee Weapons Bat invert.png Baseball Bat / Cricket invert.png Cricket Bat / Crowbar invert.png Crowbar / Axe invert.png Fireaxe / Pan invert.png Frying Pan / GolfClubIcon.png Golf Club / Guitar invert.png Guitar / Katana invert.png Katana / Knife Invert.png Knife / Machete invert.png Machete / Baton invert.png Nightstick / Icon pitchfork inverted.png Pitchfork / Icon shovel inverted.png Shovel
Special Tier Chainsaw invert.png Chainsaw
Other Weapons
Grenades Bile invert.png Bile Bomb / Molotov inverted.png Molotov Cocktail / Pipebomb invert.png Pipe Bomb
Upgrades L4D2 ammo explosive.png Explosive Ammunition / L4D2 ammo incendiary.png Incendiary Ammunition / Laser sight HUD invert.PNG Laser Sight
Fixed Weapons MMG Icon.png Heavy Machine Gun / Minigun icon.png Minigun
Usable Items Explosive Barrel HUD invert.png Explosive barrel / Fireworks icon.png Fireworks / Gas canister HUD invert.png Gas can / Oxytank icon.png Oxygen tank / Propane tank icon.png Propane tank
Special Items Cola.png Cola / Gnome icon.png Gnome Chompski
Featured in both games / L4D1-exclusive / L4D2-exclusive (Counter-Strike weapons / PC-exclusive)