Grand Theft Auto V "Assault Shotgun" (courtesy imfdb.org)

“If you need to learn the rules of the Shooting Range, then go to that page,” gamewise.co advises readers. “You have the choice of three weapons to use in this challenge, either the Pump ShotgunSawed-Off Shotgun or Assault Shotgun. If you haven’t unlocked the Sawed-Off Shotgun or Assault Shotgun (either bought them or used them at least once), then you are forced to use the Pump Shotgun for now. You must shot multiple targets with one shot to achieve gold in challenges 1 and 3.” That’s not good. I mean the phrase “assault shotguns” (having to master a pump before a semi-auto is fair dinkum). In the wake of the Navy Yard shootings we saw the first use of the term in the mainstream media. GTA’s use of the moniker “assault shotgun”—as opposed to “tactical shotgun”—is a bad thing, not a good thing. This coming from a gunblogger who’s got a fair few black Benelli, uh, scatterguns.

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24 Responses to Grand Theft Auto V: “Assault Shotgun”

  1. The term ‘Assault Shotgun’ has been used by GTA since the ‘The Lost and Damned’ DLC for GTA IV. The Assault Shotgun is a full-auto shotgun, so the name actually makes some sense. It’s not select-fire so it’s not truly an ‘assault’ shotgun if you use the same terminology as an assault rifle, but GTA is not a military simulation game, and does not need to be absolutely correct in the naming of its weapons. This is not a big deal and a really stupid ‘story’

  2. IT….IS….A….GAME.

    NOT a political statement.

    Also, game development is such that…well, two things; 1) it take quite a while to develop a game. This phrase was likely included in the game long before you heard it on CNN in response to the Naval Yard shooting; 2) In a game that has so many different kinds of weapons, designers rarely being allowed the use of actual name brands, have to use matrices of generic terms to define and describe the myriad of choices and stats. That likely resulted in that choice of words occurring by shear chance, and probably sounded cooler than “tactical shotgun” – any weapon can be used tactically. Lets be honest the word “tactical” is as meaningless as the word “assault”, is it not?

    Full disclosure: I am a video game developer.

    • IIRC, V was in dev for about five years. They do the same with the cars. They look A LOT like real world cars, or an amalgamation of similar cars only with made up make/model. They just didn’t really bother to give the guns proper names.

      • I didn’t say that, now did I? I said the use of the term “assault shotgun” likely was not a political statement and predated the Naval shooting.

    • I remember playing an early mission in GTA 4, where you first go get a gun from the shop. Niko is talking about hearing of ammunation and shopping carts full of ak47s, then the other guy goes on to explain the mayor has a hard on for gun control so there are no legal gunshops in the city, and niko goes on saying that obviously guns are easy to come by, as he pulls up to the illegal gun shop and proceeds to buy guns, as a wanted felon, no bg check

  3. I’m pretty sure that despite Rockstar being an equal opportunity offender they did not pick that name because of the DC shooting. This game has been in development for a long time and they probably would have a hard time changing the name anyway since nobody likes to have their product officially licensed to be in a GTA game. Also, can someone tell me if this gun is full auto? I don’t have this yet, waiting for the PC release.

    Finally please don’t be one of those people who blames video games for gun violence. These games were a HUGE reason I got into guns and I respect those weapons immensely. If you want to hear an argument against this kind of logic, check this video from a popular game reviewer and intelligent britt.:

  4. Excuse me, I have not had direct contact with GTA since my stepson grew out of it many years ago. Luckily he preferred Call of Duty and Counter-Strike.

    Unless the GTA game has changed dramatically in style, format and content over those intervening years I cannot think of anything redeeming about the platform. Using the term “assault shotgun” for a foolish fully-automatic shotgun is the least of the transgressions of a game that glorifies wanton slaughter, amoral crime and moral, and extra points for extreme mayhem in the singular pursuit of self-enrichment.

    In childhood games of “cops & robbers” or “Cowboys & Indians” I never wanted to be the bad guy. The whole premise of GTA is to not only be the bad guy, but to revel in it. I don’t think video games necessarily promote bad behavior or negative life directions, but what is up with this game and it’s popularity? Is there any other role-playing game out there that so thoroughly glamorizes the dark side? Sheesh.

    • The whole point of GTA is exactly that, you get to play as the bad guy. This time, you’re the one robbing the bank, where as most other games you’re stopping it. It’s almost like watching a movie, especially with the story spread between three characters, each with their own personality. These games have really come a long way since 1997.

      You do have some control over how ‘bad’ your character is, as well. You may be forced into a heist, but you don’t have to run over civilians, and shoot everything in sight, it’s all up to the player. The experience is different for everyone.

      When I play, I keep civilian casualties to the very minimum. If I feel like a shootout, I play online with other people, who are actively trying to shoot each other. Harmless fun, I say.

    • Grand Theft Auto is only exemplary in how it explicitly it allows the player to engage in the fantasy. Most video games have the player doing things that they know they will never do and the game gives them an outlet for those fantasies. I will never ride a racing motorcycle around the Isle of Man, because I value my neck too much. But I can indulge in that fantasy through video games. Likewise, I’m never going to rob a bank, run over a sidewalk full of pedestrians, rob a hooker or other antisocial activities. Why bother? I can do all that and suffer no consequences in this virtual world. So that urge is sated without harming anyone but an electronic phantom.

  5. As a person who is currently playing GTA:V and a firearms enthusiast, I have to say that I think RF’s point is that much like the term “Assault Weapon” being equivocated with a centerfire rifle, the danger herein is that your average John Q Public will have such terminology embedded in their mind and begin to assume that modern looking shotguns are “Assault Weapons” just as many people already assume so about AR-15’s. While this is no doubt a negative for us, I feel that there are far more offensive caricatures painting inside this game. For instance, they have fake political candidates and ballot propositions advertised in the media (in game) that make a mockery of many issues, prominently the gun debate in America. One such proposition in the game is ostensibly propagated by the gun lobby and mandates the all residents of the state carry firearms. While I am not the type to spend too much time worrying about what such people say about my beliefs, I feel that with the millions of copies of this game that have shipped, many people are going to hear things like that advertisement in the game or the term “Assault Shotgun” and become further convinced that the people of the gun are out of touch.

  6. You know, I knew as soon as I saw the name of that shotgun in-game, I was going to hear about it on TTAG.

    RF, I personally guarantee you that naming this gun the Assault Shotgun will have no effect on society whatsoever.

    If anyone takes away something from this game, it will be how easy it is to carjack someone, and then run them over. And how hard it is to break into a military base. I mean, what damn military base has like 10 tanks patrolling at all times?? Jeez….

    • break thru the gate and immedeitly go into the fenced in side walk, once your outta sight your wanted level leaves, it will come back when they see you but it will get you to a jet and outta the base

  7. But it is an assault shotgun… it looks like a weird amalgamation of an AA 12 and a USAS 12 and it shoots full auto.. granted ROF is slow but it will keep shooting if a player holds down the trigger…

  8. What a dumb article. Not only because it’s just a game, but because it IS an assault shotgun, or if that term doesn’t exist, it is exactly what a gun enthusiast would have brought to mind upon hearing the phase.

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