|“||Someone took the time to chop the last few inches off the barrel and stock of this shotgun. Now, the wide spread of this hand-cannon's short-barreled shots make it perfect for short-range crowd control.||”|
A note should be made that it´s the only shotgun that only uses one hand, making it quite useful early on for users of the One Hander Trait. While this weapon is powerful, it can only fire two shots before having to be reloaded. If you want to make the best of this, make the enemy come to you. For example, alerting an enemy to your presence and hiding around a corner will make the target come to you. If you wait close enough to the corner, you can wait as your enemy spends his turn in rounding the wall or object and squeeze off two unanswerable rounds to the head. Cassidy, when you recruit him in Vault City, comes with this weapon. Frog Morton's minions also carry them.
This weapon is inferior to the Combat Shotgun, which holds 12 shotgun shells, compared to the 2 the Sawed-Off version holds. The Combat Shotgun also deals more damage. One advantage of the Sawed-Off Shotgun is that it is a one-handed weapon and reaps the benefits of the Gunslinger perk, making it more accurate in V.A.T.S..
The accuracy and effectiveness of the Sawed-Off Shotgun diminishes rapidly the further you are from your target. As such, it is best used in close-quarters. Its reload time is also very slow and the gun holds only two shells at a time, so it is best used on weakened targets that can be killed in one or two shots.
It can be found on random NPCs around Capital Wasteland, mainly Raiders. Another that is in almost pristine condition can be found in a locked cabinet inside the Megaton Armory. A word of caution: if you are caught breaking into the armory you will be attacked by everyone in Megaton.
It is overall a poor choice as a weapon, due to its ammo capacity of 2 rounds, and its constant need to reload, which can be a hazard during firefights. The best thing to do is to sell it, as one in good condition can give you quite a pretty penny. However, it is a good choice for killing ghouls in random encounter situations, or when only 2 or 3 ghouls are in an area. It can also easily take out mole rats or dogs.
During the mission, The Nuka Cola Challenge, A character named Ronald Laren carries a superior form of the sawed-off shotgun, The Kneecapper, which, at full Small Guns and Repair, deals an incredible 72 points of damage in one shot. The reload speed of this sawed-off variant is also hastened, by which it takes half a second less to load than a standard sawed-off.
- The Kneecapper - Handled by Ronald Laren, The Kneecapper is far more powerful than a Sawed-Off Shotgun or even a Drum-Magazine Combat Shotgun. However, it cannot score a critical hit, and its 0 critical damage makes even sneak attack criticals rather pathetic.
- Clover's variant has a Base ID of 000AE8AE. It has unique (unlimited for joinable NPCs) ammo (ID 0004C5F9) and infinite durability.
- This weapon has one of the largest spread of all weapons in Fallout 3, second only to the Experimental MIRV.
- In order to get the high damage in the guns description you essentially have to treat the gun like a melee weapon and fire it at point blank range so that all the shot impacts the target. Even at slightly more than arm's distance you'll lose two thirds of the maximum damage.
- While the Sawed-Off Shotgun is difficult to use effectively against human and ghoul opponents, larger enemies such as Super Mutants make great targets.
- Sawed-Off Shotguns are most often found on desks or shelves, and sometimes on low-level Raiders.
- Mel wields a Sawed-Off Shotgun in a random encounter in which he attempts to mug the Lone Wanderer, but the gun is not loaded.