Armor-piercing ammunition is by US federal definition, a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium. This ammunition excludes a shotgun.


Armor-piercing ammunition refers to specialized projectiles designed to penetrate armor and other protective barriers. These rounds are typically made from hard materials such as steel, tungsten, or depleted uranium, which allow them to maintain their shape and momentum when striking hard targets. The construction of armor-piercing ammunition includes a hard penetrator core surrounded by a softer material to aid in stabilization and flight control. These rounds are often used in military applications where the target may be armored vehicles, fortifications, or other hardened structures.

Armor-piercing ammunition is carefully engineered to maximize penetration power while maintaining accuracy and reliability. It is commonly used by military forces around the world to neutralize heavily armored threats effectively. The development of armor-piercing rounds continues to advance as technology improves, resulting in increasingly effective and versatile ammunition options.

Application Areas

Treatment and Risks

  • Special handling required due to the potential for injury or damage
  • Risks include accidental discharge, misfire, or ricochet
  • Proper training and safety protocols are essential for handling armor-piercing ammunition


  • 7.62mm APFSDS-T (Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot-Tracer)
  • .50 BMG API (Armor-Piercing Incendiary)
  • 12.7x108mm B-32 API (Armor-Piercing Incendiary)

Similar Concepts and Synonyms

  • Armor-piercing rounds
  • Hard target ammunition
  • Penetrator projectiles


Ammunition, armor-piercing is specialized projectiles designed to penetrate armor and other protective barriers, commonly used in military and defense applications. These rounds are constructed from hard materials such as steel or tungsten to maintain momentum and penetrate hard targets effectively. Proper handling and safety protocols are crucial due to the risks associated with armor-piercing ammunition.


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