Halo Nation

M90 Close Assault Weapon System

8,249pages on
this wiki

Redirected from M90 Assault Shotgun


M90 Shotgun (Torch Side)
M90 Close Assault Weapon System
Production information


Weapon System Technologies


M90 CAWS DTM Series


Close Assault Weapons System


cR. 2200

Technical specifications


Handheld, Two-Handed

  • M90:
    • Length: 115 cm (3 ft 10 in)[1] Height: 30 cm (1 ft)
  • M90A:
    • Length (o/a):123.9 cm (48.8 in.)
    • Length (barrel):61 cm (24 in.)
    • Weight (empty):5.4 kg (11.9 lbs)
    • Weight (loaded): 5.8 kg (12.8 lbs)

Damage Per Hit

  • Close Range: High
  • Medium Range: Low-medium
  • Long Range: None

Magazine Size

  • Mk. I and Mk. II: 12 Shells
  • M90A: 6 Shells

Maximum Ammunition

  • Mk. I: 72 shells
  • Mk. II: 48 shells
  • M90A: 36 shells

Fire Mode

Pump Action

Ammunition Type

Soellkraft 8 Gauge Shell


Manual Pump-Action

Rate of Fire

1.5 shell/second

Muzzle Velocity

300-400 m/s (980-1300 f/s)


Varies with distance


  • Mk. I: 100 meters
  • Mk.II and M90A: short to medium range, 40 metres.


Energy Sword



United Nations Space Command

[Source]   [Talk]
I believe that the sound of racking the pump of a shotgun is universally recognized as "kiss your ass goodbye".
—Anonymous E2-BAG/1/7 serviceman

The M90 Close Assault Weapon System[2][3][4] (abbreviated M90 CAWS), is the UNSC's primary shotgun and is one of the most effective close range infantry weapons used by front line forces.

Design DetailsEdit

M90 Mk I schematic.
Durandal-217Added by Durandal-217

The M90 Shotgun is a pump-action, magazine-fed, dual tubular non-detachable type weapon designed off of the M45E Tactical Shotgun.[5] The Weapon System Technologies DTM series shotgun is the most common shotgun employed by UNSC Special Forces, law enforcement agencies, and sportsmen. The M90 has been in service for over 27 years and its design has changed very little. The M90’s immense power, ease of use, and reduced capacity for puncturing the hulls of spacecraft over many other UNSC weapon systems with standard 0000 (.38 cal pellets) ammunition are greatly appreciated. The M90 is often employed in urban conditions where the tight spaces are conducive to the shotgun's wide spray for defensive purposes and CQC. The military issued DTM series comes standard with an adjustable stock and pistol grip, although there are different models like the WST DTM/LE model which has a solid stock and no pistol grip. The DTM series of shotguns are available in 20-Gauge and 10-Gauge for the civilian market; the 8-gauge is only sold to law enforcement and military agencies.


Main article: Soellkraft 8 Gauge Shell

The M90 Shotgun uses the Soellkraft 8 Gauge Magnum Shotgun Shell. This is an incredibly large round, not used by any modern military. Recoil has been said to be relatively low.[2] It is assumed that shotgun technology must be advanced enough to suppress the recoil. It can, although this has never been witnessed by players, hold incendiary rounds and a variety of other forms of ammunition. However these specialist shells are seldom used and do not appear in any of the games. They can also carry rifle slugs and what are known as 'flechettes', which are basically tiny darts.


The M90 Shotgun fires 15 spreading pellets per shot. The combined force of each relatively weak pellet does a significant amount of damage against almost any type of infantry, and the shell's wide spread in certain situations can inflict shrapnel damage to multiple infantry. A near miss can still inflict grevious damage; the M90 Shotgun's powerful 8 gauge shell can punch through armor and Energy Shields easily, making the M90 a great weapon for taking on heavily armored infantry and lightly armored vehicles. The M90's top loading system allows a user to reload the shotgun with speed and ease for quick firing.


While extremely devastating at close quarters combat, the M90 is rendered virtually useless at extreme ranges, and should therefore be used in conjunction with a medium or long range weapon. The shotgun's pattern is extremely loose, and fans out quickly, thus at farther ranges, only a few pellets out of the 15 might hit. The M90, being a pump action shotgun, must be reloaded after every shot before it can be fired again, so a user missing enemies may as well be a death sentence; the M90 must also be reloaded shell by shell and does not use any type of external magazine. This can make reloading time-consuming when in combat situations, but it is useful to be able to interrupt the reloading and shoot after you load a shell. In close-quarter situations, the wide spread of the shell can potentially harm friendly infantry if the shotgun is fired indiscriminately.


The mechanical design of the M90 shotgun is loosely based on the South African Neostead shotgun which features dual six-round top-loaded magazines. The weapon features two integral tube magazines with a total capacity of thirteen rounds (6+6+1) and ambidextrous bottom ejecting shells. It is chambered for standard 12-Gauge 2.75-inch cartridges. The aesthetic design is a composite of multiple pump-action designs, most notably, the Mossberg 500.



  • One of the most dominating weapons in the Halo Trilogy, the Shotgun shows its most effective side in The Library in Halo: Combat Evolved, in Sacred Icon in Halo 2 and Cortana in Halo 3.
  • This weapon is easily the best choice in the game for taking out powerful enemies such as groups of Flood Combat Forms, Elites, and Brutes. Even on Halo: Combat Evolved Heroic difficulty, it is possible to take out shielded Elites with as few as two shells, and only on Legendary do the Flood become capable of surviving a direct hit from the shotgun.
  • In Halo: Combat Evolved, you can perform what players call the "speed pump". In this method, the player must reload the shotgun almost instantly after firing each shot. After each time he/she repeats this procedure, the shotgun will be reloaded faster than the normal rate. As a result, the shotgun will inflict a seemingly unstoppable barrage of projectiles until there are no longer any shells left to spare. This method is extremely useful in the level, The Library, as well as the remainder of the levels after it.
  • In Halo 2, Brutes, Councilors and Ultra Elites are the only enemies that can survive a point blank shotgun blast on Normal difficulty. Hunters can be killed by shooting directly into the exposed orange Lekgolo. However, on Legendary difficulty, any rank higher than a Minor Elite's shielding and health can withstand a point blank shotgun blast. Beware, for the Flood can wield shotguns to devastating effect, since they have an extremely long jumping range.
  • In Halo 2 Brutes also wield shotguns. It is a common misconception that this would be considered "heresy" to use human weapons according to the Covenant religion, as it has been noted that some Sangheili would rather fight to their deaths with an empty Plasma Rifle rather than pick up fully loaded human weapons lying on the ground beside them. However, it is actually a preference based on the conservative beliefs of the individual. For example, Arbiter Thel 'Vadam and other Sangheili had no qualm with wielding human weaponry during and after the Battle of Installation 05, and a UNSC M6D pistol was used by a Sangheili warrior on Installation 04 to execute Ellen Dowski. This could simply be to balance out the game and give brutes their own close range weapon, as the Mauler would not be introduced until Halo 3, and that Jiralhanae are generally not as conservative as the Sangheili.
  • In Halo: Combat Evolved, on easy difficulty, a Banshee can be completely destroyed if shot at point blank range by an M90.


  • The shotgun's effectiveness in multiplayer games varies depending on the terrain; indoors and in tight spaces, the shotgun is unbeatable, and some consider it superior to the Energy Sword, possibly because there is a slight delay between pressing the trigger and the slash of the sword, while the Shotgun is instantaneous. Most players can utilize this fact to earn a Bulltrue medal relatively easily, though caution should be exercised, as the timing is very difficult to master.
  • You have about one shot to kill your opponent after you ambush them. If you shoot and don't succeed in killing them, your opponent has a chance of recovering and killing you, most likely taking your prized weapon away from you.
  • Many players carry the shotgun and a weapon that is very effective at medium and above ranges such as the Sniper Rifle, Beam Rifle, Covenant Carbine, M6D Pistol, or BR55 Battle Rifle, thus making for a more flexible arsenal.
  • Continuous firing by using the magazine and loading one shell then firing does not affect the rate of fire significantly, prompting a few players to employ a tactic dubbed "shotgun sniping" as suppressive fire across medium-sized maps.
  • The Shotgun can finish enemies off safely and quickly by shooting them at a decently close range, then striking them with a melee attack immediately afterward, guaranteeing an instant kill.
  • When you have a shotgun, it is advisable to watch your team's sniper. That way you can defeat anybody that attempts to flank the sniper. It is easy to do this on The Pit.
  • It is best to carry a Battle Rifle with you, or some other medium to long range weapon. If not, have a teammate with you who will have one. On the maps Snowbound and Epitaph, many people prefer to wait by shield doors, preparing to ambush and instantly kill those who come through. If you're charging at at enemy while firing your Assault rifle hoping to finish him off with a melee attack, and the enemy is charging at you but not firing, chances are he has a shotgun and plans to surprise you with it when you get within killing range.

Differences among gamesEdit

Halo: Combat EvolvedEdit

Holding the M90.
Joseph TanAdded by Joseph Tan

The M90's incarnation in Halo: Combat Evolved is arguably the strongest version. It can hold 12 shells, and the player can carry up to 60 more shells for a total of 72 shells. It has the longest and most realistic effective range of all the three models, and its fifteen tungsten pellets could kill, weaken or injure targets at short to medium ranges. Although it is more likely to kill a closer ranged enemy as the shotgun is weak on further distanced enemies, the shotgun could also kill nearly any infantry target at point blank range. It even has the capabilities to take on lightly armored vehicles, such as the Ghost effectively. Players could hold the trigger button down for continuous fire. To melee, the player swings the shotgun up and brings the butt of the weapon on someone's head/front. If the player fires the entire magazine or if the player picks up a Shotgun without a full magazine and fires it empty, the character model will rack the shotguns pump after reloading, although most players usually opted to reload after every shot. It reloads more quickly than in Halo 2.

Halo 2Edit

In Halo 2, the M90 changed significantly from it predecessor. The only aesthetic difference is that the iron sights are green instead of blue. The melee attack is much faster than in the original game, and the weapon in slung horizontally instead. Its performance is also drastically different as it can not kill targets at more than a few feet away, though a quick shoot-melee combo would usually kill an enemy very quickly. The player can only carry 36 spare shells for a total of 48 shells. Unlike the previous version, it has almost no stopping power when used against vehicles, and like before, with the range decrease, its effectiveness against the Flood was reduced slightly. It probably took this change as Bungie introduced the energy sword as a usable weapon, and wanted to "even the odds". The weapon's action does not cycle after reloading, unlike the previous iteration of the M90.

Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODSTEdit

The M90A is used in Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST. There are a variety of graphical and gameplay changes from the previous models. The blue iron-sights have been reintroduced, it has a longer barrel and the flashlight is now mounted on the side. Unlike the older models which had a 12 shell magazine, the M90A only has a 6-shell magazine. The player can carry 30 spare shells for a total of 36 shells. To make up for this, its effective range is far greater than that of the Halo 2 incarnation, as it can kill targets at two or even three times the range, depending on their health. The rack is always pumped after reloading, despite the fact that this would eject a shell if any were already loaded. Like in Halo: Combat Evolved, the M90A is once again a powerful weapon for use against the Flood because of its increase in range and power, though the M90A may still require a player to shoot and melee a Flood target, depending on the type.

UNSC RemarksEdit

  • “The kick is milder with the As—not that it was that bad to begin with—sometimes progress just seems like change, if you catch my meaning.”
  • “The adjustable stock on the M90 works just fine, but I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for the DTM/LE model—old habits die hard, I guess."
  • “Actually, I think the jury is still out on whether it means ‘STFU and STFD’ or ‘you ain’t gonna make it.”
  • “The action I saw against the Flood on Delta Halo was pretty limited—thankfully—and you would think that the M90 would be the ultimate anti-Flood weapon, right? Except that a shotgun is effective because it delivers a massive shock to a delicately balanced system of organs and the Flood don’t have that delicately balanced system of organs —it’s like shooting a mike foxtrot tree! All you can really hope to do is disassemble them as rapidly as possible in the correct order.”
  • “The shotgun is a specialist weapon—it has its uses, but they are limited. Maybe it is more accurate to call it a tool, as opposed to a weapon?”
  • "I remember using the M90 when I was in Sigma Octanus IV. I was in a hotel with a bunch of buddies, doing some mopping-up, and at one time I managed to blow an Elite's head off. I mean, I literally blew it off. I couldn't even imagine what that felt like, but all the same he got what he deserved."


  • The M90 has a wide variety of slang associated with it, this includes: waste 'em, deck clearer, The Hammer, Mop, Broom, Universal Translator, High Stick, Thunderer, Betsy, Equalizer, The Okay-47 (a reference to the AK-47), and many, many others" according to the Halo Encyclopedia.[6]
  • The Highlights on the shotgun in Combat Evolved and Halo 3 are blue, while Halo 2's being green.
  • It is odd that the UNSC would use a pump action shotgun in the year 2552 since semi-automatic and fully automatic shotguns have existed since the twentieth century. Tactically, a semi-automatic shotgun would be a much better alternative to a pump action shotgun due to increased fire rate and ease of operation. However, it is probable that Bungie made a pump action shotgun instead of semi-automatic for balancing reasons, or the weapon is civilian grade. Or, it could be a reliability issue. Typically, pump-action shotguns are more reliable and easier to maintain than semi-auto shotguns.
    • There is also the fact that a pump-action can feed a wider variety of shell types without modification, and the user can easily "drop in" specialized munitions such as rifled slugs, less-than-lethal baton/beanbags, or "lockbuster" breaching rounds directly into the open ejection port after the spent round is ejected without having to cycle through the loaded magazine, something a semi-auto cannot do.
    • Also, since semi-automatic operation requires the use of either pressurized gas (released by the cartridge on firing) or recoil to cycle the action each time, they typically don't function with lower-power cartridges, whereas a manual pump operation gives the user the ability to cycle rounds of widely varying power, including those that a gas or recoil-operated semi-automatic shotgun would fail to cycle such as "reduced-recoil" buckshot shells and many less-than-lethal cartridges.
    • Since a shotgun is considered a specialty weapon intended for use in close combat (30+ meters), door breaching, and (less-than-lethal) riot control, a semi-automatic shotgun is not necessary, since assault rifles (or barring that, a full-size submachine gun like the venerable MP5 series) will serve as a main offensive weapon with a (relatively) high rate of fire much more adequately than a semi-auto shotgun in just about every scenario. Thus, until recently, military combat shotguns were almost exclusively pump-action designs, and pump-actions are still preferred by many for the reasons stated above.
  • The shotgun is the preferred weapon of Sarge from Red vs. Blue. It is the only weapon he is ever seen using in combat, though he has been seen wielding a magnum as a side arm, (and he often needs to carry it when filming in Halo: Combat Evolved) a sniper rifle for reconnaissance and is seen briefly in Red Vs Blue -Season 5- carrying a battle rifle.
    • Sarge was somewhat confused with the quote Riding Shotgun; a common phrase for riding a vehicle with the M90. Falsely proclaiming that people with Shotguns, can ride vehicles.
  • In Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2, it is said to be a magazine fed weapon, which has caused much speculation as to whether there was a typo. This confusion is a common misconception, however, since Shotguns have an internal, non-detachable magazine which is different than box magazines used by typical assault rifles and pistols.
  • In reality, the racking of the pump would take little effort. If the racking was not exaggerated, the cycle time would be 50% faster.
  • In Halo 3 Matchmaking there is a gametype called Shotty Snipers, where participants starts with a Shotgun and a Sniper Rifle. This gametype is often verbally abused as many players use the Shotgun instead of the Sniper most of the time. There is also another gametype called "ShWATguns" in Matchmaking where one starts with only a Shotgun and has no shields.
  • In Halo: The Flood, it is stated that the M90 fires a twelve gauge shell, whereas in the Halo game manuals it states that the M90 fires an eight gauge shell.
  • Miranda Keyes is the only known human to dual-wield a shotgun with another weapon, the M6 pistol.
  • In the Halo Legends episode The Package, Kelly-087 is seen firing the M90 in semi-automatic. This suggests that the shotgun is a selective-fire weapon, or just overlooked, like many other details in The Package.
  • The Halo 2 and Halo 3, shotguns only fire at 1/4 of the distance that modern shotguns do, as the normal shotgun's range is about 75 yards; this is probably for gameplay reasons.
  • In Halo: Combat Evolved, if you look at a discarded shell with a Sniper Rifle it will have a grinning hippo with the words for hippos everywhere on it.
  • The shotgun in Halo: Anniversary looks almost exactly like the M45 save for a silver and blue color scheme, as opposed to the matte black and red color scheme it traditionally carried in Halo: Reach. It is a variant of the M45, called the M45E.




  1. Halo: CEA Kinect Voice Library
  2. 2.0 2.1
  3. The Art of Halo
  4. Halo Encyclopedia, page 310
  5. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Kinect Library, Shotgun, "Weapon System Technology recreated a more economical and practical version of the M45E in their M90 Close Assault Weapon System"
  6. Sybex Halo PC Strategy Guide, page 19

Related PagesEdit

Advertisement | Your ad here

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki