One solution against a Heavily Armored Mook is to use an Anti-Armor attack or ability to easily defeat them. Unlike Armor-Piercing Attack, this does not just bypass defenses, but it does more damage to units than if they weren't armored and are most likely impractical against anything else. In other words, where armor is normally an advantage, Anti-Armor makes it into a disadvantage. Alternatively, it may involve removing armor off an enemy. There is some Truth in Television to this: Real Life armour-piercing rounds have a tendency to overpenetrate and thus deal less damage to unarmoured targets.

Examples include:

Typically involves Stuff Blowing Up. Sub-Trope of Weapon of X-Slaying. See also Armor Is Useless. Compare Anti-Air, Anti-Infantry, Anti-Vehicle, and Anti-Cavalry.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • One Piece: Sanji is typically a Extremity Extremist and being the Team Chef makes him firmly believe that kitchen knives should not be bloodied in battle, as they are sacred instruments meant solely for the preparation of food. In one fight, he battles an enemy who uses food as armor and weapons, so he decides to use knives in this case to remove said armor since it would be no different from using knives to prepare a meal.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 has heavy weapons like lascannons and missile launchers that hit hard enough to damage the heaviest of targets, as well as weapon types with special properties that make them particularly powerful against armored foes:
    • The iconic boltgun is designed to penetrate armor then explode inside. Tha latter part makes it just as effective against lightly-armored infantry, just messier.
    • Melta weapons, either guns or bombs, are short-ranged but intensely hot and are doubly-effective at penetrating a vehicle's armor.
    • Eldar "lance" weapons, such as the Bright lance or Dark lance, aren't quite as powerful as a conventional lascannon, but are so efficient that they make enemy armor above a certain thickness redundant. This means that lances have an easier time piercing the heaviest of enemy tanks, but aren't quite as lethal against light vehicles.
    • Graviton weapons are ideal for taking down infantry in Powered Armor, as they increase the target area's gravitational field so that affected foes are crushed by their own equipment - the heavier the armor they're wearing, the more liable they are to suffer fatal damage.


    Video Games 
  • Company of Heroes: There are a few infantry units which by unit-type are much tougher than other infantry units. Universally, the way to get through that are tank rounds or flamethrowers.
  • Fire Emblem: Armorslayers, Heavy Spears, and Hammers are effective against armored enemies, as are Rapiers and other such Lord-exclusive weapons.
  • Dawn of War: Units noted as being efficient against vehicles will do less damage against unarmored targets (though they may be able to cause Knockback).
  • In the Halo series, plasma weapons do a lot more damage against energy shields than they do against unshielded targets. In particular, while the regular plasma pistol shot is considered largely useless in both multiplayer and the campaign, if you hold down the trigger to make a charged shot, any shielded target hit by it will have their shielding completely drained, leaving them open to headshots from ballistic weapons.
  • Warcraft III: the Fortified armor type is weakest against Siege attacks and resistant to all others. Heavy armor type (mostly having more innate armour value than other unit types) has no weakness except for Magic attacks (which are either laughably weak, coming from the Squishy Wizard casters, or horribly high, coming from the heavy flyers).
  • StarCraft II: a variety of units have attacks that have a base damage and bonus damage versus certain armor class or other qualifiers like biological. Things that have bonuses against armored targets include the Protoss Stalkers and Immortals, the Terran Siege tanks and Marauders (who are themselves armored). Zerg carapace doesn't count as armored in most cases, but one Firebat upgrade that does more damage against light targets mentions cooking everything in their exoskeleton.
  • World in Conflict has Anti-Tank soldiers than can help crack buildings and land vehicles. They are liabilities against almost everything else, lacking a machine-gun like the Rifleman squad against infantry and being unable to attack air units.
  • In Valkyria Chronicles, lancers are soldiers carrying rocket launchers, which are so heavy that slows them, making them unpractical against other soldiers. However, they're the most useful units against tanks and other armored enemies.
  • In the later Civilization games, units can be given promotions that grant them an attack bonus against enemy armored units. Late-game units like the Anti-Tank Gun and Helicopter Gunship are dedicated anti-armor units, and have a 100% bonus against tnaks.
  • In Mass Effect, Garrus has Armor Piercing Ammo. Also, there are some attacks (Incinerate, Carnage) that qualify for this.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy 3: the Tera Drill skill does more damage to the target the more buffed its defense is.
  • The Pokémon series has no straight examples, but the Dark-type strike "Punishment" inflicts greater damage in direct proportion to the number of Status Buffs the opponent has on them, including Defense and Special Defense.
  • Command & Conquer:
    • Powerful tank rounds do less damage to infantry than they do to harder targets, requiring multiple shots to take down a single rifleman. It's often better to simply run over infantrymen.
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2: the German Tank Destroyer is useful against tanks, but too speicalized for anything else.
  • In Marathon 2 and Marathon Infinity, the Zeus-Class Fusion Gun does extra damage against armored Pfhor, and they explode when killed with it. Described in-game as an upgraded model of the Mercury-Class Fusion Gun from Marathon 1, specifically made to short-circuit the Pfhor hardware.
  • League of Legends has a mechanic that fit this trope: the game's defences include armour and magic resistance for physical and magical damage respectively. The counters to it include flat and percentage reduction and penetration stats for both of the defences. As flat directly subtracts of the target's defences and commonly the most players will manage to get of flat armour and magic penetration is around 50 (possibly reducing armour by another 45 by an item and magic resistance by another 20 from an item) while armour and magic resistance on a player can easily rise above 200+ and 150+ if they build for it, flat penetration is better against targets with little to no defences, while the percentage armour and magic penetration items (which ignores 40% of your target's defence respective to the item) are Anti-Armor that is more effective against targets which have more defences and less against those which have less. True damage also ignores your target's armour and magic resistance entirely, but is countered by (aside from a few examples) being a flat value that can be overcome by having more health instead. Also, high health can be countered by effects which cause attacks to do damage based off a percentage of the target's health, found in an item... the percentage being inefficient against targets which have a smaller health pool anyway.
  • In Deus Ex, the shotgun can fire sabot rounds, which are far more effective against bots than buckshot; but buckshot is better against soft targets. That's besides the more explosive means of dealing with bots, like rockets or grenades.
  • Ragnarok Online has the Ice Pick, a dagger-type weapon which not only completely bypasses an opponent's armor, but also does more damage the more heavily armored the opponent is.
    • The Monk's Occult Impaction skill likewise deals higher damage to targets with high defense.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: The Magnet-shroom can steal metal objects that would raise the defense of certain zombies.
  • 007: From Russia with Love has the occasional Heavily Armored Mook armed with a heavy machine gun. Bond's solution is to shoot off the straps holding the mook's armor on.
  • The X-Universe series has Regenerating Shields and Static Hull Integrity. Most weapons in the series do more damage to shields than armor since that's where most of most ships' hit points are, but the Teladi-designed Gauss cannon fares better against armor than any other weapon in the game. This becomes important in X3: Albion Prelude since every ship in the game received a major buff to armor.
  • The aptly-named Armor Breaker Auto-Ability in Final Fantasy XIII-2 is this. Available only to Feral Pack Monsters in Commando role (most notably Chichu), the Ability increases the wielder's strength if the target's physical resistance is "Halved" or "Resistant". The boost is such that killing a target with such resistance can be done faster than against a target that does not have any resistance at all.
  • The 3D Legend of Zelda games require Link to remove the armor from Darknuts before he can kill them. For example, Wind Waker forces him to remove the breastplate by getting behind the Darknut and slashing the straps, which can be done either with stealth or a parry attack, and the helmet requires a parry attack or the head.
  • Gelyan's Armor Crusher in the flash turn-based strategy Genesis. The higher the opponent's defense is, the more damage it deals.
  • In the Fallout games, most weapons with "pulse" in their name (pulse grenade, pulse gun) do little or no damage to most organic target but tremendous damage to robots and/or people wearing Power Armor.
  • In Wasteland 2, most attacks have their damaged decreased if their armor penetration is lower than the enemy's armor level, but energy weapons work the other way: they do more damage when the enemy's armor is above a certain threshold. The reasoning given behind this is that more armor means more metal, so more of the weapon's energy is absorbed by the target. This ended up being problematic and counter-intuitive in a number of waysWhy? , so Director's Cut simplified this to enemies and armors either being conductive (generally higher armor value, but taking more damage from energy weapons) or non-conductive.
  • Gears of War: Berserkers are very heavily armored, so COG soldiers typically use the Hammer of Dawn to kill them. In cases where the Hammer of Dawn can't be used, the Scorcher flamerthrower and Incendiary Grenades can be used to soften their armor and thus make them more vulnerable.
  • Titanfall: Most small arms do little to no damage against Titans, so Pilots carry specialized Anti-Titan weapons. Against other Pilots, such weapons tend to be ineffective because they're slow to fire, inaccurate, and/or do unspectacular damage—the Archer rocket launcher won't even fire without a Titan to lock onto. By contrast, Titanfall 2 introduced "Grenadier" weapons that are meant for use against Pilots or Titans, but take up a Primary weapon slot.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Jujitsu was invented in Japan so that samurai could fight with other heavily armored opponents in melee combat. The idea was that since melee weapons would be ineffective against armored opponents, the martial art used techniques that turns the opponents own weight against himself, and also used techniques that involved manipulation of locking techniques and pressure points to force the opponent into submission.
  • Some anti-tank weapons don't penetrate armour but in instead rely on 'spalling', hitting the target hard enough to make pieces of the interior fly around and kill the crew. Most modern tanks are designed to prevent this though.
  • Armor-piercing shells from the big-gun warship era during the first half of the 20th century qualify. The same projectile that's designed to punch through an opposing battleship's armor and go off inside might just as easily go all the way through a comparative "tin can" like a destroyer without so much as triggering its fuse. It would also have less explosive filler than a non-AP high explosive round, making it less useful for general bombardment purposes.
  • The venerable anti-tank rifle was born out of a need for weapons which would enable lightly-equipped infantry to take out attacking tanks on their own. Prior to their proliferation such units would have had to count on indirect artillery fire, which might be unavailable if the enemy had artillery superiority, or 'direct' artillery fire from a 'small' artillery piece that the infantry would have to lug around with them (disassembled or no). Most of them were developed just after WWI and some saw service during WWII, but against the much heavier armor of mid-late war tanks most were only effective at the worryingly short range of 50m or less. Virtually all of them were out of service in their intended roles by the end of WWII, but some saw use as the first generation of anti-materiel rifles.
  • For that matter, the smaller artillery pieces have seen quite a bit of use as anti-armor guns. Set up in a prepared position in the path of an enemy advance, they could be devastating, especially if they were able to target an exposed flank. Many Tank Destroyers, vehicles designed to destroy enemy armored vehicles, consisted of a truck with one of these guns mounted on top of it, and could count on being shredded if the enemy tank got the first shot. Still, their lighter weight meant they could travel quickly from position to position without much of the wear and tear that the heavier tanks would have to deal with.
    • Another method for developing Tank Destroyers was to mount the most powerful guns available in a tank chassis. Either the vehicle would be lightly armored and equipped with a fast-traversing turret to make them Glass Cannons (popular in American TD doctrine), or they would be massively armored, with the gun mounted in the main body of the tank without the complication or extra weight of a turret, making a Mighty Glacier (popular in German TD doctrine).
  • The modern successor to the anti-tank rifle is usually some variation on a shoulder-fired missile, of which the most famous are the bazooka used by the Americans in World War II and the RPG-7 created by the Soviet Union.
  • A variety of weapons existed in the pre-gunpowder age for dealing with armor-clad soldiers and knights. Many of them were various types of hammers, which might have a head with a blunt end to bludgeon an opponent senseless with, and a spiked end to pierce through the armor once the enemy was on the ground.
  • If all else fails, planting powerful explosives in the ground (either dedicated anti-armor mines, or improvised bombs made from artillery shells) could be very effective if you could get the enemy tank to drive over it (roads are popular for this, obviously). Another method is to plant the bomb some distance away off to the side of the road, with the explosion propelling a fast-moving (and in the case of shaped-charge bombs, molten) projectile at the target, essentially a poor man's anti tank gun.

Alternative Title(s): Anti Armour