The shotgun is most likely the oldest type of all shoulder-fire firearms. Many were smoothbore and loaded with many projectiles simultaneously. Shotguns were and still are used for bird hunting, since many projectiles increase the chance of hitting the target (such as a bird) with one shot. Shotguns were also used in combat in almost all wars. The massive short-range firepower and flexibility in loading are the key advantages of shotguns as a fighting weapons.
Shotguns were also used for aerial gunnery training during World War II. The Vietnam War also saw many shotguns being used by US troops in the jungles. Currently, shotguns form a valuable tool for both police and military forces around the world. There were several programs intended to increase shotguns effectiveness and combat range, but these proved mostly less than successful. Most combat shotguns are still the adaptations of commercial, hunting firearms.
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