Shotguns are holdable items that are widely considered to be the single best weapon in the game. They are sold in weapon shops. All Shopkeepers carry a Shotgun and will use it on you if you provoke them. A guaranteed Shotgun can be found by bombing graves in World 2 reading "Ash" (a direct reference to the Evil Dead movies), found exclusively during the Restless Dead event. A shotgun purchased in a shop costs 13500 plus an additional 1500 per level beyond the first, though few players would actually bother to buy one.
Shotguns fire a blast of SIX bullets (that deal 4 damage each), with a moderate reloading time between shots . A single Shotgun blast will kill most enemies, including giant spiders and other large enemies at close range (but may require several blasts at long range). The only enemies that can survive a full shotgun blast are Jaws and the Yeti King, which require 10 or 8 bullets to kill, respectively. Shotgun blasts will also break open pots and kill damsels. The Shopkeeper's Shotgun blast will likely kill you as well, unless you have many extra lives and are only grazed by a single pellet. There is also a small amount of recoil (usually less than one tile) when firing (On ice this effect is amplified due to lack of friction, unless you have Spike Shoes equipped). Note that when attacking a Shopkeeper with a shotgun, at least five of your six pellets must hit in order for him to die.