Through the first quarter of the movie, Max threatens The Gyro Captain and others with his sawed-off shotgun, but later reveals that it's very unloaded and probably hasn’t seen a shell in a long time. That’s a frightening situation, because for these people, being armed means being able to try to defend themselves. The raiders had powerful vehicles plus the will and the numbers to take what they wanted. And most of the time, that’s all they needed to win. The old-Western ideal of the good guy sauntering into town with his sidearm, horse, and dog aren’t enough in Mad Max’s reality. In this world, the horse is a car that gets destroyed, the dog gets killed, and the gun has no shells.