Bruised and bloody Alliance marines on Torfan attributed their survival against waves of batarian mercenaries to the precision and stopping power of the Crusader. With a design patterned on riot shotguns, this weapon has a moderate rate of fire that rewards careful aiming. Since this accuracy provides little room for error, the Crusader is primarily used by highly trained soldiers.
Instead of a spray of pellets, the Crusader fires a single high-precision slug.
The slug it shoots is capable of shooting through thin materials, similar to the Javelin and M-98 Widow. It has a base penetration depth of 0.5 meters.
One major drawback is the fact that the projectile will only hit the center of the cross-hairs, which reduces close range effectiveness.
Firing the Crusader from the hip sacrifices very little, if any, accuracy.
Due to the nature of the Crusader, it is often better to use the Crusader as more of a sniper rifle (without the scope). Headshots are very lethal and, unlike other shotguns, are not down to luck of pellet spread at range; if the crosshairs are placed on the enemy head, it will do the same damage regardless of range. Thus it can pair well with submachine guns or shorter-ranged assault rifles, without the inconvenience of a full sniper scope when trying to make shorter-range shots.
The Crusader has a high rate of fire for a shotgun, however a large amount of vertical recoil is produced after each shot, which will cause rapidly-fired shots to miss outside of close range if not compensated for.
Because the Crusader has very sharp recoil, it will benefit considerably from equipment that reduces recoil. It can also perform well in the hands of a turian or the Geth Juggernaut due to their natural stability bonuses.
Because all of the damage is placed into a single projectile, and not multiple lower-damage projectiles, the Crusader is more effective against armored targets when compared to other shotguns. However, this also means that some of the Crusader's damage will not bleed through a target's shields on higher difficulties, due to shield gate. This means the Crusader is extremely effective against Reapers due to their endurance being based on health, or armor, and only two enemies have shields or barriers. It will suffer against Geth and Collectors, and Cerberus is iffy at best due to the majority of each factions enemies having at least a layer of shielding or barriers.
The Crusader is viciously powerful at longer ranges, on par with most sniper rifles and semi-automatic assault rifles, allowing it to act as an effective substitute for rifles like the M-99 Saber or M-92 Mantis.
As the Crusader's baseline accuracy is almost perfect, a Smart Choke mod is unnecessary.
Equipping a Shredder mod and High Velocity Barrel together would allow you to penetrate much thicker cover (up to 1.8 meters without AP or Drill Rounds), as well as inflict grievous injury to armored opponents and even kill Dragoons in just a single headshot on Gold. Alternatively, you could go for a Blade attachment and this would help a melee character nicely, with the blade helping with melee, while the shotgun itself can be used to snipe targets beyond your melee range. The spare Thermal clip mod shouldn't be necessary unless you are planning on using said weapon extensively, and on some maps one can easily walk up to an ammo crate and get more ammunition anyway. Spare ammo would however increase the time you can exchange fire with foes before you need to visit an ammo crate or use a thermal clip pack.