Shotguns are a versatile type of firearm that can be used for many purposes including self-defense, hunting, and target shooting. The shotgun’s claim to fame is its ability to shoot multiple projectiles, rather than a single bullet, increasing the probability of a hit. Also, unlike rifles and handguns, shotguns generally do not have a rifled barrel (meaning that the projectiles fired by shotguns are not spun as they leave the barrel).
The cartridge that a shotgun fires is called a shell. The shell contains the projectile(s), a wad, and a shot cup that helps cushion and hold the projectile(s) as they travel down the barrel, gunpowder, and primer (which ignites the gunpowder).