Payday 3: Best Shotgun Builds

Looking to master shotguns in Payday 3? These builds can elevate your strategies.

Screenshot by GameSkinny
Recommended Videos

Payday 3 has its fair share of assault rifles and SMGs, but the same can’t be said for shotguns. With only two meager options among the 17 basic weapons and only two more if you include the Preset weapons, the choices are noticeably lacking. That doesn’t mean they’re useless, though. The right skills can make them more than enough to take on waves of cops. Here are our five best shotgun builds for Payday 3.

Best Shotgun Builds in Payday 3

Screenshot by GameSkinny

The Tank and Enforcer skill trees are crucial for any shotgun build. All of our recommendations use the Ammo Specialist skills, as well. What makes them differ is how much they invest in those skill trees, as well as what others they use. Feel free to use our build suggestions below during your heists or as guides to finding what’s perfect for you.

Sharpshooting Shottys

This shotgun build aims to solve two problems: their effective distance and shields. The former is an inherent problem, while the latter is simply a bad match-up for the gun. Both are solved with the Sharpshooter skill tree.

Skill TreeSkills
Ammo SpecialistAmmo Specialist, Ammo Specialist Aced, Scorunger, Plate Up, High Grain
TankTank, Tank Aced, Hardy, Last Man Standing
SharpshooterSharpshooter, Sharpshooter Aced, Collateral Control, Long Shot, Precision Shot, Cutting Shot
EnforcerEnforcer, Enforcer Aced, Quick Reload, Face to Face, Combat Reload, Shock & Awe

The Wall

You might recognize this one from our list of the 10 best Payday 3 builds. This tanky setup works perfectly with any of the shotguns, allowing you to keep a focus on outputting damage. Keep on shooting, and you’ll find ammo and armor coming your way.

Skill TreeSkills
Ammo SpecialistAmmo Specialist, Ammo Specialist Aced, Scorunger, Plate Up
MowerMower, Mower Aced, Recoil Handling, Suppressive Fire, Ammo Funnel, Replenish
TankTank, Tank Aced, Hardy, Extra Plates, Armor Up, Last Man Standing, Disengage 
EnforcerEnforcer, Enforcer Aced, Face to Face, Solid

Cowboys & Shotguns

If you aren’t a fan of looking down your scope, then this is the shotgun build for you. We’ve exchanged the Sharpshooter tree in the first setup with the Gunslinger tree and a bit more mobility. What you end up with is a shotgun you can comfortably run around and shoot from your hip with.

Skill TreeSkills
Ammo SpecialistAmmo Specialist, Ammo Specialist Aced, Scorunger, Plate Up
MowerSprint Loaded
TankTank, Tank Aced, Hardy, Last Man Standing
EscapistSwift
EnforcerEnforcer, Enforcer Aced, Quick Reload, Face to Face, Combat Reload, Shock & Awe
GunslingerGunslinger, Gunslinger Aced, From The Hip, Heavy Hipfire, Finisher

Related: Payday 3 Best Weapon Tier List

Silent but Deadly

There’s a reason you can attach silencers to these guns, after all. This build balances out what you need to keep a heist in stealth with what you need to keep those helmets flying if things go south.

Skill TreeSkills
Ammo SpecialistAmmo Specialist, Ammo Specialist Aced, Plate Up
InfiltratorInfiltrator, Infiltrator Aced, Quick Fingers, Bagger
TankTank, Tank Aced, Hardy, Last Man Standing
EnforcerEnforcer, Enforcer Aced, Quick Reload, Face to Face, Combat Reload, Shock & Awe
GrifterGrifter, Walk The Walk, Social Engineering, Open Mic

Shotgun Support

For those who want to support their team but still carry a boom stick, we’ve got you covered. This build features the shotgun essentials along with the Medic tree and other skill points to best support others.

Skill TreeSkills
MedicMedic, Medic Aced, Steady Hands, Extra Charge, Combat Medic, Code Blue, Triage,
Ammo SpecialistAmmo Specialist, Ammo Specialist Aced, Plate Up, Mag Throw
TankTank, Tank Aced, Last Man Standing
EscapistEscapist
EnforcerEnforcer, Enforcer Aced, Quick Reload, Face to Face, Combat Reload, Shock & Awe

That does it for our list of the best shotgun builds in Payday 3. If you’re just now exploring what these weapons are capable of, we suggest checking out the best ways to grind infamy while you’re at it. All other tips are available at our PD3 guides hub.

About the author

Samuel Moreno

Samuel is a freelance writer who has had work published with Hard Drive, GameSkinny, Otaquest, and PhenixxGaming. He's a big fan of the Metal Gear Solid and Resident Evil series, but truth be told he'd sell his soul simply for a new Ape Escape game.