Top 5 Best Airsoft Shotguns

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In airsoft games, players have the freedom to choose from a wide variety of weapon types for playing airsoft. From snipers to shotguns and rifles, the choices are vast.

And your weapon of choice is often based on your level of experience in the airsoft world, the type of battles you’ll be playing, and whether you’re playing indoors or outdoors. For example, shotguns are exceptional in CQB (Close Quarters Battle) because of their power. And many airsoft players also use them as backup weapons.

But that isn’t where the decision process ends; if you decide to opt for a shotgun, you’ll need to pick the best make and model to suit your needs. After all, not all shotguns are created equal.

Some are more durable than others, while particular models can be more powerful and accurate than the rest. And other variables like upgradeability, cost, and ease of use also come into play when comparing the available models on the market.

So, to make things easier for you, we’ll explore 5 of the best airsoft shotguns you can get for the money.

Our Top Choices

1.

CYMA Standard M3 3-Round Burst Shotgun

Easy racking; Full metal receiver increases durability and realism

2.

JAG Arms Gas Scattergun Shotgun

6 BBs per shot; Rear mounted gas tank makes refilling easy

3.

DE M58A M500 Tactical Pump Shotgun

Offers a real look and feel of an authentic shotgun; Quite durable

4.

Tokyo Marui "Sledge Hammer" Electric Shotgun

“Sledgehammer” by name and a sledgehammer by nature

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Features

Price

5

AGM M-500 SWAT Training Shotgun

  • Easy pump action boasts an incredible accuracy level

Setting the hard numbers aside, let’s dive deeper into each of these airsoft shotguns and uncover what they’re capable of. We’ll also explore their advantages and disadvantages so you can make an informed decision when buying.

The 5 Best Airsoft Shotguns for 2022

Our Top Pick

best airsoft shotguns for realistic airsoft shotguns

The CYMA Standard M3 3-Round Burst Shotgun is the best shotgun out there; flaunting a polymer stock and pistol grip, this shotgun is built to last.

The reliable spring pump-action design delivers three rounds in each pump chamber, meaning that this multi shot spring shotgun fire 3 BBs with every trigger pull. The tri-shot design also makes it easier to hit your target, even if you’re a beginner.

Moreover, the CYMA M3 is equipped with a full metal receiver, providing it with top-notch durability and realism.

The M3’s FPS range is 280 - 306 FPS, which is considered average for an airsoft shotgun. In addition, the M3 is a fixed hop-up unit for extra accuracy. However, we’d have preferred if the hop-up was adjustable.

On top of that, this shotgun comes in multiple configurations: Full Stock, Full Stock CQB, Pistol Grip (without stock), Retractable Stock, and Retractable Stock CQB. So you’re bound to find an M3 configuration that meets your needs.

And at 2500 grams, the M3 isn’t exactly the lightest airsoft gun out there, but it’s definitely less heavy than some other models on the market.

Pros

  • Easy racking
  • Full metal receiver increases durability and realism
  • Comes in various configurations
  • Tri-shot spring action & pistol grip

Cons

  • Somewhat heavy
  • The hop-up unit isn’t adjustable

Our Take

With a realistic pump-action shotgun design and polymer components, the CYMA Standard M3 3-Round Burst Shotgun sets the bar high when it comes to durability, power, and reliability; it’s arguably one of the best models on the market and our top favorite.

Runner-Up

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The JAG Arms Gas Scattergun Shotgun is yet another capable best airsoft shotgun that has many tricks up its sleeve. This shotgun is pretty easy to load up with gas when required since it features a removable gas tank in the buttstock.

The Scattergun sports a full metal construction with a polymer handguard and grip. And while many shotguns only have a 3-burst firing mode, this gas shotgun has three firing modes: 3-burst, 6-burst, and safety.

This means that you can shoot six rounds every pull trigger. It also integrates a fixed hop-up system to boost accuracy, but you can’t adjust it in different circumstances. The muzzle velocity is 300-350 FPS, which is powerful enough for a airsoft gun that’s intended for CQB.

And since this is a gas-powered shotgun, manipulating and firing it is much easier than spring-powered models. Cocking it, in particular, is quite convenient, giving you a competitive advantage on the battlefield.

It’s also worth noting that the JAG Arms Scattergun is equipped with a top Picatinny rail segment for optics, allowing you to upgrade it when required.

The cherry on top is that this airsoft shotgun is pretty compact and lightweight, allowing you to carry it as a backup weapon without adding too much weight to hinder your mobility.

The only downside here is that the buttstock plate isn’t textured, which is a big disadvantage to the gun’s ergonomics and overall comfort.

Pros

  • 6 BBs per shot (in 6-burst firing mode)
  • Rear mounted gas tank makes refilling easy
  • Upgradable with top Picatinny rail
  • Easy to manipulate and fire
  • Metal construction

Cons

  • Untextured buttstock plate
  • The hop-up unit isn’t adjustable

Our Take

The JAG Arms Gas Scattergun Shotgun definitely gives the CYMA M3 a run for its money. It’s an excellent backup weapon with full-metal construction, easy action, and a top rail for optics. You can definitely rely on this airsoft gun for clearing out rooms and tight spaces, thanks to its 6-burst firing mode.

Best Budget Choice

best airsoft gun for multi shot

Despite its affordability, the DE M58A M500 Tactical Pump Shotgun boasts a realistic 1:1 scale design that makes it an excellent choice for training and simulation. You can even use it as a film prop or plinking, which just gives you a small idea of how authentic it is.

The DE M500 is also equipped with an adjustable hop-up that lets you account for wind speed and other variables when shooting at a distance, providing a great level of accuracy. In addition, the DE M500 comes with a 20-round per shell magazine and a speed loader for quick reloads.

At 1814 grams, this shotgun is very lightweight, making it easier for you to carry around on the battlefield, even when used as a backup weapon. It’s also not too long, measuring 914 mm.

There are two firing modes: single shot and safety, which is considered the basic configuration for airsoft guns. However, because of its single-shot design, it won’t feel as good as multi shot shotguns in many scenarios.

As for the FPS range, the DE M58A M500 can shoot at 340 - 350 FPS, a higher range than many other airsoft guns in the same category. This gives you enough power to hit distant targets.

Our only complaints with this shotgun are the limited magazine capacity and the awkward front and rear sling swivels. The sling, in particular, is uncomfortable and doesn’t do its job as it should. So although you’re probably picking this airsoft gun for its affordability, we’d highly recommend saving a few extra bucks to replace the sling.

Pros

  • Offers the look and feel of an authentic shotgun
  • Quite durable
  • Very affordable
  • Adjustable hop-up for high accuracy
  • Lightweight design

Cons

  • Limited magazine capacity
  • Sling isn’t that good
  • Single-shot firing mode

Our Take

If you’re into realistic-looking, affordable airsoft guns, the DE M58A M500 Tactical Pump Shotgun won’t disappoint you; it’s pretty durable and accurate. Not to mention, it’s very lightweight and compact, making it the perfect backup shotgun.

Best Premium Pick

multi shot spring shotgun

The Tokyo Marui "Sledge Hammer" Electric Shotgun is the world’s first airsoft electric shotgun in the form of the AA12; it’s truly a one-of-a-kind model. It integrates a proprietary tri-shot AES gearbox that provides a smooth action while also requiring little maintenance.

In semi-auto mode, the Sledge Hammer is capable of firing three rounds per trigger pull. We’re also big fans of the full-auto firing mode that puts withering firepower right in your hands. It’s particularly helpful when shooting multiple targets at once.

Also, thanks to the injection-molded polymer body and the integrated metal alloy inner frame, the Sledge Hammer is sturdy, reliable, and durable.

And the magazine capacity is pretty high for a shotgun, taking up to 90 rounds for every full reload. It’s also of the “drop free” type, so it’s pretty easy to reload quickly during battle. What’s more, the Sledge Hammer is equipped with an adjustable hop-up for improved accuracy and range.

However, since the Sledge Hammer is battery-powered, you’ll need to buy a charger and some batteries to get it up and running. Adding these expenses to the shotgun’s already hefty price tag means that opting for it would be quite the splurge.

Also, keep in mind that it's somewhat heavy compared to other airsoft guns. The extra weight makes it feel more realistic, but it’ll definitely impact your mobility on the field.

Pros

  • A “Sledge Hammer” by name and a sledgehammer on the battlefield
  • High-quality gearbox
  • Semi-auto and full-auto firing modes
  • Durable injection-molded polymer body
  • High-cap, drop-free magazine
  • Adjustable hop-up to increase accuracy

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a battery or charger
  • Somewhat heavy

Our Take

The Tokyo Marui "Sledge Hammer" Electric Shotgun is a premium airsoft shotgun that ticks many of our boxes. It features a sturdy polymer body, a high-capacity magazine, a sophisticated AES gearbox, and semi-auto/full-auto firing modes. So it’s definitely worth the splurge.

Best for Training

most realistic airsoft shotguns

The AGM M-500 SWAT Training Shotgun, specifically the full-stock model, is one of the most affordable training airsoft rifles on the market.

For under a tenth of the Sledge Hammer price, the M-500 kicks things up a notch with a metal heat sink and reinforced internal parts. These sturdy components provide it with unmatched power and accuracy.

And with an effective range of 120 feet, the M-500’s shooting range is exceptional for a pump action shotgun. Add to that the muzzle velocity of 330 - 380 FPS, and the M-500 will surely deliver power-and-accuracy-wise.

In addition, the easy pump-action design delivers unprecedented accuracy without requiring batteries or gas to run.

And the magazine is detachable, making it easy for you to reload it as quickly as possible. On top of that, the AGM M-500 comes with an on-frame precise adjustable switch, allowing you to account for wind conditions when shooting distant targets.

We also like that the AGM M-500 is lightweight and easy to carry around, measuring just 1700 grams. The only real disadvantage of this shotgun is the magazine that can only take 14 rounds, but it shouldn’t be much of a problem in training environments.

Pros

  • Easy pump action boasts an incredible accuracy level
  • Detachable magazine
  • Budget-friendly price tag
  • Lightweight design
  • Adjustable hop-up unit for better accuracy
  • Doesn’t require gas or batteries

Cons

  • Limited magazine capacity

Our Take

The AGM M-500 SWAT Training Shotgun is one of the most powerful and accurate training airsoft guns in its price range. It works great in mil-sim skirmishes, training environments, and CQB encounters. So it’ll serve you pretty well if you’re still a beginner.

best airsoft shotgun for spring pump action

Should You Get an Airsoft Shotgun?

Deciding whether an airsoft shotgun would be a suitable weapon for you or not is all about your playing style. In CQB (Close Quarters Battle), an airsoft shotgun can be quite handy regardless of your style.

Still, keep in mind that relying on a basic shotgun as your only weapon may not be a very good idea. That’s why most airsoft players use shotguns as backup weapons, specifically snipers; these guns are great for clearing rooms and shooting targets that are too close to be shot with a sniper rifle.

Airsoft guns are also often used in training sessions. You can get a cheap model for training and reserve your primary gun for the real battles. A training shotgun would also be a nice backup gun, so you won’t be throwing it away or anything. (1)

How to Choose the Right Airsoft Shotgun

Build Quality and Materials

Shotguns should be able to withstand abuse in harsh airsoft fields. Ideally, your shotgun’s exterior should be made of metal or polymer. Aluminum shotguns combine durability and lightweight design in a single package, so try to opt for those.

Assembly is also a crucial factor. If the components aren’t held together well, expect undesirable surprises on the field.

Design

Airsoft guns come in 2 design varieties: spring-powered action shotgun and pump action shotgun.

Spring guns don’t require gas or batteries, providing smooth action at a minimal cost. However, they’re not as easy to rack as gas-powered pump-action shotguns. Plus, gas shotguns feel very realistic when shooting compared to spring shotguns.

The problem with pump-action shotguns is that you’ll have to spend money on batteries and gas refills. Also, if your electric shotgun doesn’t come with a charger, you’ll have to buy one, too. Not to mention, gas shotguns or battery-powered shotguns are much more expensive than pump-action shotguns. So that’s something to take into consideration.

Therefore, while pump-action shotguns exhibit better performance, it may not always be a good idea to spend big on one, especially if you’ll be using it as a backup weapon. In fact, a spring action shotgun would be the smarter choice in that case, especially if you’re on a tight budget.

Transportability

Most airsoft guns weigh less than 3000 grams, but if you want to be able to move around with it as a backup weapon, aim for shotguns that weigh 1700-2500 grams. These are super convenient to carry.

You should also consider the shotgun’s length. Most airsoft guns don’t exceed 1000 mm in length, but the lower this number is, the easier it’ll be for you to carry the weapon.

Firing Modes

Airsoft shotguns either have two or three firing modes, and the basic configuration is 3-burst and safety.

However, some shotguns also have a third 6-burst firing mode that shoots six rounds with every trigger pull. These are often called scatterguns. Of course, there are also single-shot shotguns.

Range

Most airsoft shotguns can shoot at an effective range of 100 - 150 feet. Of course, if you upgrade your shotgun, you might be able to shoot at longer distances. But overall, this range is the sweet spot for shotguns.

Accuracy

One of the biggest factors that influence the accuracy of your shotgun is the hop-up. A hop-up is a component that allows the BBs to fly straighter, especially when shooting distant targets.

Since bullets lose energy the longer they fly, you’d need to aim a little above your target at long distances to compensate for that energy loss. With a hop-up, you might still need to aim above your target, but you’ll guarantee that your bullet doesn’t drop too much.

Shotguns can either have fixed or adjustable hop-ups. As its name implies, a fixed hop-up can’t be manipulated. Depending on the weather conditions, your shots’ accuracy will be better than without a hop-up, but you’ll probably miss a few shots until you get accustomed to the aiming technique.

On the other hand, an adjustable hop-up lets you account for the shot distance and wind conditions more effectively by adjusting the unit’s impact after the first shot. For example, if you try to shoot your target and think you need your shot to be slightly straighter, simply adjust the switch and try again.

Upgradeability and Accessories

Upgrading your shotgun down the line becomes more of a necessity than a luxury, especially if you come up against experienced players or teams. Many airsoft guns are equipped with a rail that enables you to add new optics for improved accuracy.

For example, attaching a flashlight to your shotgun enables you to scan the perimeter more effectively and even blind your targets before shooting at them. It can also be quite useful at ensuring your shots have hit your target.

With a flashlight, your multiple BBs will literally glow as they travel through their path, giving you a visual confirmation of your shot’s accuracy.

Another useful accessory is the reflex optic. A reflex optic simply generates red dot sights that help you aim at your target more effectively and faster. With these sights, you’ll get a close estimate of where your BBs will land when you shoot.

This gives you a competitive advantage since getting the first shot increases your chances of winning. After all, missing the first shot makes it less likely that you’ll beat your opponent.

Magazine Capacity

Shotguns don’t often have a high magazine capacity because of how they operate. However, a high magazine capacity can still be useful in long airsoft games that last a whole day. After all, you don’t want your opponent to get you while you’re reloading your shotgun.

Try to get an airsoft shotgun with a minimum magazine capacity of 30 rounds. Of course, the more rounds your shotgun can take, the better.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do Airsoft Shotguns Shoot Multiple BBs?

Yes, airsoft shotguns shoot multiple BBs. With each gun, an airsoft shotgun loads more than one BB into three separate barrels. An airsoft shotgun that shoots 3 BBs is called a tri-shot shotgun.

What Does an Airsoft Shotgun Shoot?

Similar to other airsoft guns, an airsoft shotgun shoots plastic pellets. However, instead of using magazines, most shotguns utilize shells that can be loaded with a speed loader.

Plastic pellets are safe and shouldn’t hurt your opponent when you shoot at a proper distance. However, skin bruises may still appear due to plastic pellet shots, especially when there’s direct contact with the skin.

Aren’t Single BB Shotguns Good?

Single BB shotguns are OK, but they don’t feel as realistic as a tri-shot shotgun, for example. Not to mention, they won’t be so effective when you come up against a player carrying a semi-automatic or fully automatic shotgun.

However, if you’re just aiming at stationary targets, there won’t be much difference between single and multi BB shotguns. This means that a single BB shotgun would be a good choice for training purposes.

Can You Reuse Airsoft Shotgun Shells?

Yes. Similar to conventional airsoft magazines, airsoft shotgun shells can be reused as long as they’re in good condition. However, you’ll need a speed loader to load them up.

What Equipment or Gear Are Recommended for Airsoft Shotguns?

Various pieces of equipment can be quite handy when using an airsoft shotgun. Vest and plate carriers are particularly useful as they conveniently allow you to carry many shotgun shells.

A side caddy or bandolier would also perform the same function effectively. For long missions, consider combining multiple pieces of equipment to stack up on ammunition.

Can the Orange Tip in Shotguns Be Removed?

While you can remove the orange tip in your shotgun, we strongly recommend that you don’t. The orange tip is there to distinguish your airsoft shotguns from real ones so that law enforcement personnel know you’re not carrying a real gun.

Which Is Better for CQB (Close Quarters Battle): Airsoft Rifles or Shotguns?

It depends on the usage scenario. For example, airsoft shotguns are slow, but they are more powerful than handguns. In other words, a shotgun would be an excellent replacement for your handgun as a backup weapon.

On the flip side, airsoft rifles fire many more BBs in the same time interval as a shotgun, allowing you to hit more targets quicker. They also have a higher magazine capacity than shotguns.

You might want to consider using a rifle as your primary weapon and a shotgun as your secondary weapon. This setup is very popular in airsoft sports, along with the sniper/shotgun combo.

What Are the Best BBs for Airsoft Shotguns?

As a general rule, start with 0.25g BBs for your airsoft shotgun; they offer a good level of grouping and consistency on most battlefields. However, you might want to consider experimenting with heavier BBs down the line as your experience level increases.

airsoft shotguns reviewed

Final Thoughts

To sum up, there are many factors you need to keep in mind when picking the best airsoft shotgun. Some shotguns excel when it comes to power, while others deliver better accuracy. You’ll also need to get a durable shotgun.

As such, our top pick is the CYMA Standard M3 3-Round Burst Shotgun; it’s durable, easy to rack, and provides a smooth action. And the good news is that it won’t cost you much.

Alternatively, you can opt for the JAG Arms Gas Scattergun Shotgun if you prefer gas-powered shotguns. It’s easy to refill and can fire in 6-burst mode.

Finally, consider going for the AGM M-500 SWAT Training Shotgun if you need a budget shotgun for training. Its pump action system is one of the best around, especially when you consider the price.

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