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shotgun is a firearm that is usually designed to be fired from the shoulder, which uses the energy of a fixed shell to fire a number of small spherical pellets called shot, or a solid projectile called a slug. Shotguns come in a wide variety of sizes, ranging from 5.5 mm (.22 inch) bore up to 5 cm (2.0 in) bore, and in a range of firearm operating mechanisms, including breech-loading, single-barreled, double or combination gun, pump-action, bolt-, and lever-action, revolver, semi-automatic, and even fully automatic variants. Shotguns are a popular means of home defense for many of the same reasons they are preferred for close-quarters tasks in law enforcement and the military.

-Wikipedia Definition

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