The firepower of your tank’s gun has a lot to do with the amount of damage you can deal in battle. It’s not the only factor, though. Let’s talk about the ammunition that your gun fires.
Not including Flame ammo (which is available only to specific World War II tanks that have flamethrower guns) and Rocket ammo (which is a special ammunition introduced with the game’s first rocket-launcher tank), tank commanders have six types of ammo available to them in World of Tanks Modern Armor:
- Armor Piercing (AP)
- Armor Piercing Composite Rigid (APCR)
- High Explosive (HE)
- Premium High Explosive (HE)
- High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT)
- High Explosive Squash Head (HESH)
All of them can be described in terms of certain basic characteristics:
- Damage: the average amount of damage a shell can do
- Penetration: the ammo’s ability to pierce a tank’s armor
- Ricochet: the minimum angle at which a shell is likely to bounce off an armor plate
So what makes each one so different?
Armor Piercing (AP)
AP ammo is the default ammo available to most tanks. This type of shell tears across the landscape to pierce a hole in the enemy’s armor. AP will ricochet at extreme angles; however, it’s less likely to ricochet compared to APCR.
Armor Piercing Composite Rigid (APCR)
Think of APCR shells as an upgraded version of AP ammo. APCR rounds have similar base damage values as AP rounds but higher penetration values, making them ideal for penetrating thick armor but more likely to ricochet against sloped armor than AP. APCR also travels more quickly than AP.
Their downside is that their penetration values decrease significantly over long ranges. If you’re going to load APCR, get ready to get up close and personal.
APCR is available for purchase with either Gold or Silver from your tank’s menu in the Garage.
High Explosive (HE)
HE shells are another type of baseline ammo. Although most tanks can use HE ammo, it’s considered the standard for Artillery vehicles, or SPGs.
Thanks to the explosive head on the tip of each shell, HE ammo explodes with a huge burst on impact. Its penetration values might be low, but its ability to hit multiple targets with the splash damage from that burst makes it some of the most damaging ammo in the game.
Premium High Explosive (HE)
As you can guess from the name, Premium HE shells are ammo that work similarly to regular HE rounds but have a little more going on. Specifically, Premium HE ammo has a more powerful explosive warhead with a larger splash radius, which means that it causes damage across a larger area.
Premium HE is available for purchase with either Gold or Silver from your tank’s menu in the Garage.
High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT)
If you’ve read about the other types of ammo and can’t decide which might be more fun to use, consider giving HEAT a try. Like APCR, HEAT ammo has high penetration values that allow it to burn a hole right through armor plating. Like standard HE ammo, HEAT also explodes and causes extra damage if it penetrates. It’s the best of both worlds!
The major disadvantages of HEAT are 1) it can ricochet at extreme angles, unlike HE rounds that explode on contact, and 2) it doesn’t deal splash damage, so if you hit spaced armor or tracks, you won’t damage the enemy.
HEAT is available for purchase with either Gold or Silver from your tank’s menu in the Garage.
High Explosive Squash Head (HESH)
HESH is another type of premium ammo that offers a twist on standard HE rounds. The soft, squishy warhead on the tip of a HESH shell spreads upon impact and explodes with a decentralized burst that causes serious damage to tank and crew. It doesn’t penetrate armor as well as HEAT ammo does, but thanks to the amount of damage it can do, especially against sloped armor, it doesn’t have to.
HESH is available for purchase with either Gold or Silver from your tank’s menu in the Garage.
SPECIAL: Rocket Ammunition
A new type of ammunition, Rockets, was added to the game in January 2024 with the debut of the T34 Calliope.
Unlike missile ammunition in Cold War, rockets can’t be guided toward a target with your reticle. Instead, they get unleashed to rain terror down on any opponent in your line of sight!
Rockets travel slowly, and due to their low penetration, they’re most successful against lightly armored vehicles. Hitting a moving target can be difficult, so it's best to wait for the right opportunity to engage using rockets, such as when your allies have immobilized an enemy tank.
How Do I Change Ammo?
Switching from one type of ammo to another can be done with a press of a button. While in battle, press A on your Xbox controller or X on your PlayStation controller.