Shotgun Rules

The following rules have been created through many years of exploring the ritual of Shotgun and are designed with the idea of fairness to all potential occupants of a vehicles as the main priority. These are also the most complete and comprehensive Shotgun rules available today. Think your friends call for Shotgun was Utterly BS and can’t find a rule to prove them wrong? Ask our experts.

From the Designers of Shotgun Rules:


Alpenlore Belt

1. Standard Rules

1.1 You Must Say The Word “Shotgun”

You must say the word “Shotgun” to stake your claim on Shotgun. This must be done clearly and loud enough so that at least one other to-be occupant of the vehicle can hear you. MORE…

1.2 The Deed Must Be Done Before Shotgun May Be Called

For these rules to work properly, it is essential that you understand and accept the concept of the “Deed.” Shotgun may only be called after the “Deed is Done.” MORE…

1.3 You Must Be Outside to Call Shotgun

If the Deed takes place indoors, the Deed is considered done after you have left the building in which the Deed took place. MORE…

1.4 The Shotgun Gaper

Gapers (gey-pers) are people who prioritize Shotgun much more than a normal human being. These people will alter their usual behavior and even undermine their own ethics in order to gain the rights to Shotgun. They do this through legal means, however – such as sprinting for an exit – and therefore they cannot be Voided. MORE…

1.5 Voiding

Whenever you break a Shotgun rule as stated in this guide, you may be “voided” from receiving Shotgun privileges for that ride. Although somewhat discretionary, voiding automatically applies if you call Shotgun while indoors, if you do not have your shoes on, or if you display any other blatant disregard for Shotgun protocol. MORE…

2. Ancillary Rules

2.1 Footwear

Your footwear for the ride in Shotgun must be on your feet, before you can call Shotgun. Since you must be outside to call Shotgun, some people will simply grab their shoes/sandals, jump outside the building, and call Shotgun before putting their shoes on. This has been deemed Gaping, and is not a legal procedure. You must have your shoes on (if you choose to wear any) before you may call Shotgun. MORE…

2.2 Re-entry

If you call Shotgun verbally and then go back inside, or back to where the deed took play for some reason, you must re-call Shotgun after leaving the building. MORE…

2.3 When The Deed Is Outdoors

If the Deed takes place outdoors, which it often does, the completion of the Deed must be agreed upon when Shotgun is called. MORE…

2.4 Line-Of-Sight

In the situation of the Deed being a hike or other outdoor activity, you may not call Shotgun until the automobile is within your sight. MORE…

2.5 Hand On Door

Shotgun can no longer be called once someone’s hand is holding the shotgun door handle. This officially stakes their claim to Shotgun and calling it at this time is simply redundant. MORE…

2.6 Sit Down

If you manage to sit in Shotgun before anyone has called it, you keep the position even if someone else calls Shotgun after you are seated. MORE…

2.7 The Balk

If you lift the vehicle handle while the doors are being unlocked and therefore cause the Shotgun door to remain locked, then you are Voided for that ride. MORE…

2.8 Garages

If you enter a garage that is connected to a house or building without having to go outside, then you may call Shotgun as soon as you enter the garage, if the vehicle is in the garage. MORE…

2.8 Garages

If you enter a garage that is connected to a house or building without having to go outside, then you may call Shotgun as soon as you enter the garage, if the vehicle is in the garage. MORE…

2.10 Convoys

In the situation where a group of people are traveling in multiple cars, you must specify which car you are calling Shotgun for. MORE…

2.11 Shotgun Abandonment

If the Shotgun rider exits the vehicle then Shotgun becomes available to the remaining passengers as soon as the existing Shotgun rider has opened the door to exit. Once Shotgun is available, you must call Shotgun before the other occupants. MORE…

2.12 No Seatback

A popular residential variation of the Shotgun ritual is to call “Seatback” when getting up from a prized seat on a couch to go grab an ice-cold beer or to drain a now-warm beer into the toilet. MORE…

2.13 No Reload

No one can call “Reload”, “Blitz” or “Laser” to reset Shotgun at any time.

History: Some people include an undemocratic rule in their Shotgun practice whereby “Reload”, “Blitz” or “Laser” can be called, at which point a free-for-all to obtain Shotgun is initiated. MORE…

2.14 Shotgun Dictatorship

The driver of the vehicle governed by Shotgun Rules may not negate a valid Shotgun call for any reason. MORE…

2.15 The Mule

If the current Shotgunner chooses to remain in the automobile while the other passengers accomplish their deed, they may retain full rights to Shotgun. Often times not everyone needs to go inside when completing menial Deeds. MORE…

2.16 Discrepancies

If a discrepancy occurs (and they commonly do) over who rightfully gets Shotgun, it shall be settled with a single game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock. A common application of this procedure takes place after two people call Shotgun at the exact same time. MORE…

3. Exceptions

Although the Shotgun rules have been created with ultimate fairness in mind, there are situations where exceptions to the standard rules need to be implemented.

3.1 I Love My Mommy

Moms automatically get shotgun, period. If you make your mom sit in the back seat, you are a evil person. MORE…

3.2 Hitchhikers

Hitchhikers cannot call Shotgun. They should be happy just to have a ride, and calling Shotgun in this situation is disrespectful. MORE…

3.3 The Giraffe

If one of the riders of an automobile is extremely tall, your group of friends should consider granting that rider special Shotgun privileges. God has given this person a genetic gift/curse and forcing him in the back of a Subaru Justy or Mini Cooper could upset our world’s karmic balance. MORE…

3.4 Significant Others

If a significant other (SO) is included in the group of automobile passengers they automatically get Shotgun privileges, unless Mom is a passenger in the same car. SO’s relationship must be public to all other passengers in the vehicle to automatically receive this privilege. MORE…

3.5 Multiple Calls

Multiple calls or Duplicate Calls must be settled by playing a quick game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, SpockMORE…

3.6 Owner-Driver Switch

If someone is driving an automobile other than its owner and the owner becomes a passenger, then the owner automatically gets Shotgun. When applied, this rule shows respect to the owner of the car. MORE…

3.7 The Long Haul

On long haul trips, great than 2 hours in length, Shotgun privileges should be divided equally amongst all passengers, as long as they are able to complete all Shotgun Responsibilities.  MORE…

4. Responsibilities of Shotgun

Calling Shotgun may seem like fun and games, but just like in the days of covered wagons, there are serious responsibilities that come with the sacred privilege of occupying this seat. Although Shotgun riders typically no longer carry real shotguns (except in Texas and On Base), it is still their responsibility to help protect the other passengers from harm. Learn the Responsibilities before taking on this sacred duty.

Because Shotgun is a living entity and is constantly evolving for the greater benefit of mankind, new rules need to be created regularly. Anyone is welcome to implement their own rule if the situation arises. New rules often need to be created following a major discrepancy. MORE…

Think we missed something? Maybe the rule you are looking for is not an official rule, like “the Pirate Rule”. Check them out here to see if your rule is just made up, or a drivers choice? MORE…

Shotgun has been called in movies, comic book, literary works and stand up comedy. Do you remember these lines from your favorite pop culture? MORE…