The Top Shotguns in Movies 

Hollywood has long used shotguns in movies to demonstrate high firepower and an intimidation factor that is not achieved with other types of firearms. The iconic “CHK CHK!” sound of a pump action shotgun being racked usually signifies the beginning of an incredible action sequence, as we will dive into below. Let’s explore the shotguns used in cinema and the best scenes involving shottys.  

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How Films Use Shotguns in Movies 

Shotguns usually represent the end-all-be-all weapon in movies, when a pistol or rifle just can't get the job done, the hero racks a shotgun and goes to work. Whether the protagonists are fighting hoards of the undead, specially trained assassins, or even velociraptors, a 12 gauge shotgun seems to always be the equalizer. The sound and appearance of a double-barrel or pump action are easily recognizable and represent the epitome of ballistic capability. 

Famous Shotguns in Movies 

Ash’s Boomstick – Army of Darkness

In the third film in the Evil Dead series the hero, Ash  (Bruce Campbell)  proudly boasts about his Boomstick” which he incorrectly identifies as a double-barrel Remington, the shotgun is actually a 12 Gauge Stoeger Coach Gun that has been sawed off. Even more misleading than using the wrong model, Ash states that the Boomstick retails for about $109.95 (Take us back to 1992 prices). The Stoeger Coach Gun is based on old-west designs, utilizing side-by-side barrels and dual triggers which independently operate each of the barrels.

Franchi SPAS-12 – Jurassic Park 

The Franchi SPAS-12 is the weapon of choice for the Jurassic Park Security Team, it is a folding 12 Gauge shotgun that can operate in semi-auto or pump action. The SPAS-12 was developed for use in the military and law enforcement, originally deemed the Special Purpose Automatic Shotgun (SPAS) and was designed to be compact and supremely reliable (at least until Dr. Alan Grant touched it). The Jurassic Park Game Warden, Robert Muldoon (Bob Peck), carries his SPAS-12 in the compact folded configuration and with a sling.  

Kel Tec KSG 12 – John Wick 

The Kel Tec KSG 12 is a pump-action bullpup-style shotgun used by John Wick (Keanu Reeves) in the first movie in the series. The KSG 12 was designed to be as short as legally possible (Thanks, NFA), 26.1” overall with an 18.5” barrel. Kel Tec uniquely built the KSG to feed from 2 magazine tubes, doubling the capacity of the shotgun to 15 12 gauge shells. The KSG 12 equipped with an Eotech holographic sight and a foregrip helped John Wick in his quest for vengeance, never mess with a person’s dog.

Suppressed Remington 11-87 - No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old Men’s Anton Chiguhr (Javier Bardem) uses a cut-down semi-automatic Remington 11-87 12 gauge with a homemade suppressor. Part of Remington’s Sportsman collection, the 11-87 was designed for bird hunting and shooting sporting clays, the semi-auto operation made it a favorite for avid wing-shooters. Do you think Chiguhr paid the tax stamps on his 2-stamp silenced short-barreled shotgun (SBS)? 


Winchester Model 1887 - Terminator 2: Judgement Day 

After acquiring it from a rough and tough biker bar, the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) wields a sawed-off Winchester Model 1887. The Model 1887 is a lever-action 12 gauge shotgun with a barrel length of 20” and an overall length of about 39”, though the one Arnold uses in T2 is clearly much shorter, sporting a barrel chop and a shortened stock.

Best Shotgun Scenes in Movies 

This is my Boomstick! – Army of Darkness 

Ash is the main protagonist of the Evil Dead series and in the third film, Army of Darkness, Ash is magically teleported back in time to the middle-ages. Surrounded by a mob, Ash raises his shotgun into the air and famously declares “This is my Boomstick!” a Stoeger Coach Gun, which Ash believes to be a Remington double-barrel. After using the Boomstick to defeat one of the undead, the town regards Ash as a hero and his Boomstick as a magic weapon. 

Clever Girl – Jurassic Park 

Jurassic Park Warden Robert Muldoon (Bob Peck) is tasked with hunting down 3 velociraptors after they escaped from containment, his weapon of choice was the SPAS-12. In this iconic scene, Muldoon sneaks up on one of the raptors and unpacks the SPAS-12, the scene really highlights the manual of arms for the SPAS and demonstrates its famous folding stock mechanism. Unfortunately for Muldoon, raptors are very intelligent and lured him into a trap, he whispers the famous line “Clever girl.” just before becoming raptor food.  

Shotguns and Harleys- Terminator 2: Judgement Day 

This scene sold more Winchester 1887s than Winchester could produce. Our hero, the Harley-Davidson riding, leather jacket-wearing, T-800 Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), swoops in to save John Connor (Edward Furlong). There is almost nothing cooler than spin-cocking a lever action, and we see the Terminator pull off this maneuver 5 times while involved in a motorcycle chase. A few well-aimed shots from the Winchester disables the T-1000 semi truck and, in a series of unfortunate events, causes the vehicle to explode. Arnold with a lever action shotty on a motorcycle is about as 90’s action movie as it gets.  


The Continental Hotel – John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum 

While the KSG from the first John Wick film made our list above, Wick's (Keanu Reeves) use of the Benelli M2 Super 90 during the Continental shootout takes the cake for one of the best scenes in any action movie. Wick uses the 12 gauge to fight heavily armored targets, utilizing the increased payload of shotgun shells compared to rifles or pistols. During the scene, we see Keanu Reeves training on display with multiple quad loads and very impressive weapon handling. Charon (Lance Riddick) uses a Benelli M4 in the same scene, the teamwork and gun-fu style action sequences make this scene one of the best shotgun scenes. 

Omya Kaboom – The Expendables 

This scene truly has it all; Terry Crews, a fully automatic AA12 shotgun, drum mags, and FRAG-12 explosive rounds, good thing The Expendables didn't have to deal with YouTube’s community guidelines. Hale Ceasar (Terry Crews) shows up to rescue the rest of the team when they’re pinned down by enemy fire, the AA12 takes care of the enemy squad with ease, Ross (Sylvester Stallone) then mentions how loud the shotgun is (Ceasar should have had a suppressor). Ceasar later takes out his AA12, affectionately named Omya Kaboom, loads a drum of explosive FRAG-12 shells then dismantles the enemy watch towers and blows up multiple vehicles. 


We had a lot of fun breaking down these scenes and characters and examining how they use shotguns in movies, when the shotguns come out an edge-of-your-seat scene is likely about to occur. There is often nothing more satisfying than the sound of a 12 gauge shell being racked into battery in Dolby Digital Surround, perhaps with a tub of popcorn on your lap.