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Armor-Piercing Attack

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The cuirass worn by 19-year-old cuirassier Antoine Fraveau, struck by a cannonball during the Battle of Waterloo, 1815.

"I shoot the hippopotamus with bullets made of platinum,
Because if I use leaden ones, his hide is sure to flatten 'em."
Hilaire Belloc

So you've been managing well with your current skills, dispatching enemies with your familiar attacks and weapons. Now you've encountered a Heavily Armored Mook. Using your basic attacks and abilities you... fail to hurt the Mook at all. Not good.

So what do you need? You need an Armor-Piercing Attack! Basically, it's an attack, weapon, or munition that rips through the armor that your enemies wear (or their special shield, or whatever's protecting them), often as if they had no armor to begin with.

Obviously, this isn't quite how things work in real life.

It is true that some weapons tend to be more effective than others against a given type of material. Padded clothing for example, can protect against cuts and blows, but is easily pierced by a sharp point. Solid armour-piercing shot is certainly better at punching through armoured warships and tanks than a simple high-explosive shell. However, fiction tends to treat armour-piercing properties as being able to defeat any protective measure with ease, while weapons that cannot pierce armour are considerably less effective, to the point of doing little more than Scratch Damage at best.

Firstly, it is possible for a weapon to cause considerable damage without managing to penetrate protection. A Bulletproof Vest may be able to stop a bullet, but the force of the bullet has to go somewhere, often cracking ribs. This is elementary physics at work: all the kinetic energy that went into propelling the bullet has to end up somewhere, after all. These physics were exploited by the warhammer in medieval times, particularly when plate armor was at its heyday: while swords and arrows couldn't penetrate through plate armor, warhammers could do the next best thing and injure the wearer straight through it. This also applies to tanks as well: if struck hard enough, armour plating can deform, which leads to portions of the inner facing breaking off and turning into dangerous shrapnel (called "spall").

Secondly, there is no such thing as a weapon capable of "ignoring" armour. Anything designed to breach armour, whether it is a solid projectile or a shaped charge warhead, will encounter some level of resistance. Moreover, the actual effectiveness of a weapon against armour is dependent on factors other than its design and construction. A solid armour-piercing shot from a tank cannon for instance, is strongly affected by environmental conditions (i.e., air resistance and gravitational pull) that will reduce its power over longer distances.

Since fighters would just use an armor-piercing attack or armor-piercing ammunition on everything unless there was a reason not to, there have to be some potential downsides. One can simply be expense and availability. Tungsten-cored armor-piercing ammunition for example, make use of a relatively rare material and require more advanced manufacturing techniques that add time and expense to production. Another possibility is that the attack does less damage in exchange for its higher penetration against armour. The issue came up in medieval archery, where a needle-pointed bodkin arrowhead had a higher chance of piercing mail armor, but had less wounding potential and was far easier to treat.

See also Depleted Phlebotinum Shells and Clothing Damage (if the armor is destroyed). Compare Fixed Damage Attack, which always does the same amount of damage to everything. Tends to work well against enemies that employ Damage Reduction or that are Armored But Frail. Might cross over with Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors if the armor is made from one element and the skill or weapon uses the opposed element. Not related to Barrier-Busting Blow. May be used in combination with Armor Is Useless and/or One-Hit Polykill.

Compare Anti-Armor, when a technique does more damage against heavy defenses instead of bypassing them, and Unblockable Attack for attacks that blow through Defend Command.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Attack on Titan:
    • Thunder Spears were developed specifically against the Armored Titan by the Scout Regiment, which could penetrate its armor before exploding.
    • Anti-Titan Artillery was developed by the Mid-East Allied Forces to combat titans. It is also effective against the before-mentioned Armored Titan.
  • In Blood+, Saya's katana cannot cut through James Ironside's carapace. The Schiff use polearms that do the job nicely though.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Piccolo's Special Beam Cannon can pierce through foes whose raw strength would ordinarily block Ki Manipulation, provided he's given enough time to charge it. It's not explicitly stated, but the shape of the attack (a central beam with a second beam spiraling around it) implies that it works by drilling through the target.
  • Hunter × Hunter: Prince Halkenburg, upon finding out he's been caught in a succession battle with his brothers and sisters to become king with no way out but to survive, awakens an ability in the form of an arrow, created by a weaponized life force known as Nen, that other Nen defenses are completely powerless to stop. However, this attack does not so much "pierce" as much as Halkenburg can suppress any Nen-based defenses as soon as he's chosen a target, as could be seen when Shikaku's shields were able to manifest only in an incomplete, nonfunctional state before he was shot.
  • Mazinger Z: In episode 54 Mechanical Monster Jeiser J1's hide was too tough to be pierced by Mazinger-Z's weapons. In order to solve the problem, the Institute's scientists treated the Mazinger's fists with Photon Atomic energy radiation to harden them. Ïn the next fight Mazinger's Rocket Punch easily tore through the Jeiser's armor.
  • One Piece:
    • Sanji's Diable Jambe sets his leg on fire by spinning until the friction turns his leg red hot, allowing him to overcome Jabra's Iron Body. Resistance to blunt force means nothing when your skin is burning.
    • Most of Trafalgar Law's abilities divide people into pieces without harming them, but this can be countered by armoring your body using Haki. However, Law's Gamma Knife is a short energy sword that can selectively ignore and pass though certain tissues, and grievously wound others; in practice, this means that he can stab your internal organs while completely ignoring your Haki-hardened skin.
    • Haki itself is this in both a literal and metaphorical way. Metaphorically, it is this towards Logia-type Devil Fruit-users as it allows someone to hold and strike their bodies even when they're in an insubstantial state. It allows Armament Haki users to directly attack the substantial body underneath the insubstantial one. The literal version is an advanced form of Haki allows the user to extend their energy into an object and affect it internally going through the surface.
    • Whatever the hell Imu is able to do has the same properties as Haki against Logia users, tearing Sabo nearly to shreds even through his elemental form.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Avengers (2019) Issue 24, Cosmic Ghost Rider is the Monster of the Week. Hulk (Jennifer Walters version) threw him to the ground and punched him at full power, which did almost nothing to him. She and Thor do a Combination Attack "Gamma Thunder'' which knocked the Rider through a wall but barely hurt him. Captain America and Black Panther punched him repeatedly while being empowered by a dead Celestial, but this had almost no effect. Who was the Avenger to finally stop Frank's rampage? It was Blade with a brand new weapon, a supernatural wooden gun that tore through Frank's armoured shoulder pad and did significant damage to the ex-Herald of Galactus.
  • In the Captain America comics, this is one reason why the Scourge of the Underworld was able to kill off so many supervillains with only a tommy gun (the other was that most of the villains were C-List Fodder that were barely above normal humans). The gun was a museum piece but the bullets were advanced armor-piercing bullets with an explosive charge.
  • Judge Dredd's lawgiver has this as an option along with several others.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Cosmic Warriors: Jadeite creates a barrier to block an incoming weapon thrown by Experiment-D-U-D (Diarmuid Ua Duibhne), but his red lance flies right through it.
  • Four Deadly Secrets: Ruby's scythe style includes several strikes designed to pierce an opponent's armour and their protective aura.
  • The Next Frontier: Some of the guns are designed with the express purpose of averting this trope. It turns out the inability to penetrate anything vital in a target wearing armor is a small price to pay for a round that won't penetrate anything vital in the spacecraft.
  • My Huntsman Academia: Izuku eventually upgrades the buckshot of his shotgun gauntlet-boot set, the Emerald Gust, into armor-piercing slugs because he realized that having specialized long-range ammo is pointless when he's a Close-Range Combatant. He doesn't actually use them until his final exam in Live Exercises, during which they prove to be powerful enough to vaporize the armored skull of an Alpha Beowulf in one hit. He also eventually learns Mantle Smash, an attack that trades the shockwave of most other Smashes for a focused attack that's effective against armored opponents while at the same time not carrying the risk of maiming someone like the AP slugs.
  • Son of the Sannin: Tenten combines the basic Chakra Flow technique with the Celestial Gates to produce this effect during her fight against Gaara in the Chunin Exam finals, throwing an ordinary kunai so hard that it flies straight through both sides of his sand dome and creates a small explosion when it hits the ground.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, The High Table sends several squads of armored Elite Mooks after John. After one whole sequence of struggling with roundabout ways to get around their body armor, John and Charon eventually grab a pair of shotguns loaded with steel slugs, and proceed to make the armor bloodily redundant.
  • In Kingsman: The Secret Service, when the mooks are making no headway against Eggsy's Immune to Bullets umbrella, one of them brings out a Sniper Rifle, which proceeds to shoot right through it.
  • Return to a Better Tomorrow have the heroes using armor-piercing rounds made of chrome steel, that they have limited supply of. During a shootout in the streets the protagonist gets underneath a moving truck some mooks are driving in an attempt to run him over, and fires through the vehicle's bottom killing both mooks in the vehicle. And in the finale, the piercing bullets are used to kill the main villain who wears a Bulletproof Vest.

  • In Bofuri: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense., the developers of "New World Online" create a new "piercing" damage type that ignores the defense stat as an Obvious Rule Patch to try and counter Maple's unintentional In-Universe Game-Breaker abilities, all granted by her ludicrous defense stat.
  • In Book II of The Faerie Queene, the future King Arthur stabs through the seven layers of armor in Guyon's shield to impale and kill the villain who stole it.
  • A Hero's War: Cato and Landar's research leads to the discovery that very fast moving spells can punch through standard shields. And the specialised shields they design as a counter. And the next generation of specialised shields. Landar is horrified by what they've built, although for Cato, it's normal to live in a world where anyone could theoretically carry a deadly weapon and kill you in the street.
  • The Imperial Radch trilogy: The pistols created by the Sufficiently Advanced Alien Presger fire shots that penetrate absolutely any substance to a depth of precisely 1.11 meters. This is revealed to be a side effect of whatever Clarke-level technology lets them destroy a Radchaai warship with a single shot.
  • In Overlord, this is the special property of Razor Edge, a magical sword that is one of the Re-Estize Kingdom's Five Treasures. The sword can cut through steel as if it were paper. When Ainz analyzes it, he discovers its power goes beyond that. While the amount of mana in the sword is relatively low, it can somehow bypass Ainz's passive resistance to weaker attacks even though other weapons of a similar level cannot do so. Fluder surmises that this is because Razor Edge is empowered with Wild Magic, which doesn't follow the same rules as YGGDRASIL magic.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: Since his Legendary Shield forces him to be purely defense oriented, this means any attacks designed to either ignore or work off the target's defense stat is one of Naofumi's weaknesses. Thankfully, learning the Hengen Musou allows him to overcome this.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Shardblades are magically Invested and can effortlessly cut through anything other than another Shardblade or Shardplate Powered Armor, so regular armor is useless against it.
  • Sword of the Samurai: If you pick Kyujutsu as your starting skill, one of the arrow types you have is stated to pierce armor.
  • There are several characters in Worm who can produce this effect:
    • Immediately before the Leviathan attack, Armsmaster invented a modification of his Halberd that would allow it to cut through just about anything by severing the molecular bonds.
    • When Shadow Stalker is in her shadow form and fires her crossbows, the bolts remain in the shadow form for a little while before returning to an interacting-with-matter-normally form.
    • Flechette can imbue her weapons and ammunition with her power to make them unaffected by normal matter for however long she wishes — meaning she can time their return to coincide with the moment they intersect with her target. The end result is that her attacks penetrate virtually any defense, even Leviathan, who was too tough for Armsmaster's aforementioned Halberd to fully penetrate. The full extent of Flechette's power doesn't become clear until later in the story. The guaranteed piercing effect even nullifies reaction powers like Gray Boy's auto-resurrection via time travel as is revealed to be a sting the titular eldritch horrors use to kill each other, essentially making her power a 4-D death ray.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ancient drone weapons from Stargate SG-1 have the capability to ignore most forms of energy shields and tunnel right through a target's hull and armor, until they reach the power core or other critical systems and destroy it. Just one of these weapons was able to destroy a Goa'uld Ha'tak class mothership.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager finale "Endgame", the transphasic torpedoes brought back in time by future Janeway seem to work this way, bypassing the Borg's shields and adaptation, allowing them to destroy cubes in one or two shots each.
  • V (1983): La Résistance discover that their alien occupiers are wearing a new body armor that makes them Immune to Bullets, and only the single captured Ray Gun can penetrate them. Fortunately new series regular Ham Tyler makes his introduction at that point, announcing that there's a worldwide Resistance network who have developed Teflon rounds that will solve that problem.

  • The Book of Mormon: At the first battle where the Nephites wear full-body armour, it skews the number of casualties on each side in their favour, until the Lamanites are intimidated and start retreating. However, once cornered, the Lamanites get worked up into a frenzy where they start hitting hard enough to pierce chest-plates and split helmets in two.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Most modern-day RPGs have some kind of armor-piercing bullets.
  • Several examples from BattleTech:
    • Armor-piercing shells for standard and light autocannons may inflict critical hits — though no internal structure damage as such — even through armor. (This is in addition to the usual chance of a lucky roll on the hit location table.) Many players don't consider that effect worth putting up with their reduced accuracy and halved number of shots per ton, though.
    • Tandem-charge missiles function similar to the above, but don't suffer the same to-hit penalty and increase the chance of causing a critical hit by often scoring multiple hits with a single salvo and checking for armor penetration on each. Their main downside is that they're only available in the short-range missile version.
    • Infantry anti-'Mech attacks likewise usually have a chance to inflict critical hits through armor; that is in fact the main point of "leg attacks", which may well do less damage than a regular volley from that infantry unit normally would but stand a decent chance of taking out actuators, potentially crippling the targeted 'Mech's mobility.
  • In Big Eyes, Small Mouth, weapons can have "penetrating" or "piercing" properties to bypass some of the damage reduction from armor or force fields. Conversely, the "non-penetrating" defect increases the effective damage reduction in exchange for decreasing the point cost of the weapon.
  • Champions:
    • The Armor Piercing power advantage reduced defending armor by half versus the attack.
    • The Penetrating power advantage: even if the attack is completely stopped by enemy defenses, a little (averages to 1/6) will always get through.
    • Taken to the logical conclusion with the No Normal Defense and Attack Vs. Limited Defense advantages, which both allow an attack to simply ignore whatever defense would normally apply against it. These are still limited in two ways for balance purposes, though: first, some defense that still works against them must be specified (NND attacks are simply all or nothing while AVLD ones treat that special defense as their normal one), and second, they're normally limited to nonlethal attacks because they by default cannot inflict BODY damage even if they normally would. (A further advantage can remove the latter restriction, but generally requires GM permission to take at all and will drive up the power's cost once more even then.)
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • In 3rd Edition and "3.5", a number of attacks can ignore certain categories of defenses, and become a very major part of the strategy in advanced play. Many spells ignore armor and require their targets to make a saving throw to avoid them, while "touch" spells just require the caster to get their hands on a target, negating any equipment bonus to their Armor Class. A handful of spells also ignore spell resistance and saves or deal damage of a type that is virtually impossible to resist — spells with all four of these traits are highly valued. A rogue or ninja's backstab attacks, conversely, ignore dodging and a number of related defenses which are often the best options against magic damage. Lances do not actually negate any defenses outright, but due to the way accuracy and damage reduction function in the game possess characteristics that make them extremely effective against almost all forms of defense.
    • Certain monk builds based on grappling also negate armor.
    • In 3.0, a combination of very high critical hit rates and the buff Bless Weapon were able to negate armor on 60% or more of all attacks. Nerfed in 3.5, where critical buffs cannot stack and are exclusive with any buff that would actually make them worthwhile anyway.
    • In the 4th Edition, attacks that use a weapon but target Reflex are effectively armor-piercing attacks. Armor-Piercing Strike and Piercing Strike are attack powers that are Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Earthdawn had armor-defeating hits: basically, if you rolled well enough on your attack role, you could ignore the effect of your target's armor. In addition, some weapons and spells (razor orb being the most notable) were designed to cut through armor so a lower roll could still be an armor defeating hit.
  • In Eclipse Phase armor has separate protection values against kinetic and energy weapons. And weapons have armor penetration values that reduce the protection armor gives against them. As a general rule kinetic weapons have better penetration than energy, excepting microwave agonizers and plasma rifles, while railguns have better AP than chemical firearms. And any projectile weapon can load Armor-Piercing ammo that raises AP at the cost of a little damage, conversely hollow-points increase damage and reduce AP.
  • GURPS has various "armor divisors" from 2 through infinity. For example: in the Ultra-Tech book even handgun bullets can be loaded with the High Explosive Multi-Purpose (HEMP) warhead which reduces the effectiveness of armor to one fifth normal by using a sort of shaped charge.
  • Hc Svnt Dracones armor has HP that normally has to be depleted before the wearer is hurt, Armor piercing ammo does some damage directly to the wearer. Weapons that deal Cut damage will completely bypass armor with less than 10 HP, but won't damage armor with 35 HP or more at all unless equipped with a Vibrox enhancement.
  • The Hero Clix ability Precision Strike allows any character who wields it to still do 1 damage even if it would normally be reduced to 0. They still have to have at least a damage value of 1, though. Then there are more traditional armor — piercing attacks like Exploit Weakness for melee attacks and Penetrating / Psychic Blast for ranged. And then there is the Pulse Wave — if you're in the Area of Effect, nothing will help you because Pulse Wave shuts down EVERYTHING, including but not limited to damage reduction, evasion, and damage ignoring — effects. Once it draws a line of fire to a character, no ability (except something that explicitly says "cannot be ignored") will be active before the attack resolves.
  • Many varieties of exotic ammo in Infinity.
  • In Magic: The Gathering:
    • Spells ending in -dict (such as Diabolic Edict), and the annihilator ability, require your opponent sacrifice a card, getting around protection, absorb, indestructibility, damage prevention, high toughness, regeneration, and everything else. Unfortunately, your opponent still gets to choose which card he sacrifices.
    • In all honesty, the series set the standard when they first invented the Trample keyword in the Alpha set (circa. 1993). Creatures with this keyword (usually with no less than 3 power) will always do the difference in damage whenever they battle with a creature with lower toughness than their power even after they die in battle. It is a standard that would be carried on in future card games like Yu-Gi-Oh!'s piercing damage (example below).
  • A clip of ammunition with this in Mekton Zeta costs four times as much as a normal round and halves the target's armour value. (For a similar price, you can skip attacking the target's mech at all and shoot electric bullets, which bypass armour and directly affect the enemy pilot.)
  • The One Ring: The Dunlendings' unique "Heart-Seeker" spears have a one-in-twelve chance of dealing an automatic Wound against a human enemy, ignoring the usual armor-based chance to resist Wounds. For most enemies, this means instant death.
  • Firearms in Pathfinder target touch AC at close range, effectively bypassing armors and shields just like spells do. Early firearms have poor range increments and only target touch AC on attacks made within their first range increment, advanced firearms target touch AC within their first five range increments and rifles reach as far as crossbows, rendering armor useless in a modern setting that gives everyone access to firearms.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse has "irreducible damage", which ignores Damage Reduction entirely, as a regularly-appearing ability.
  • Shadowrun had APDS (Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot) bullets for firearms.
  • Armour Piercing attacks in WARMACHINE are staggeringly powerful attacks that halve enemy armour against that hit.
  • In Warhammer, the Strength value of an attack inflicts a modifier on the target's armor save value, so that nice suit of full plate armor is unlikely to help much if the wearer is bit by a dragon or hit by a cannonball. Some weapons like crossbows and firearms have the "Armor-Piercing Attack" ability that reduces the target's armor save further, and some such as bolt throwers outright ignore armour saves by the rules even if their strength wouldn't allow them to do so.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • In the game, weapons have an AP or Armor Piercing statistic that specifies how good they are at punching through armor, and any armor save equal to that value will be nullified if hit by that weapon, but any armor harder will be unaffected — so a Heavy Bolter round will punch right through Imperial carapace armor, but power armor wearers will get to make their full 3+ save against it. This makes life hard for the Imperial Guard, due to both the ubiquity of AP 5 weapons that can punch through their 5+ flak armor save, and because the humble lasgun has no AP value at all. 8th Edition changed this mechanic so weapons now give modifiers to armor saves (a weapon with AP -1 would reduce a 3+ save to a 4+, for example), which ended up helping the Guard some as those weapons that made mincemeat of them in previous editions generally received an AP value of 0, meaning they could get their full armor save against them (though of course, this only helps them so much considering how weedy Guardsmen are to begin with).
    • Tau rail weapons are terrifyingly good at this. One piece of fluff describes a tank that had been taken out by one, a hole in one side matching the hole in the other. The inside was still red and sticky due to the crew having been liquified by the hypervelocity round's passage. Indeed, in the game they have the highest Armor Piercing stat possible, which incidentally causes a damage bonus against vehicles if the player rolls a "penetrating hit".
    • In the Warhammer 40000 roleplaying games, weapons have a penetration value, which determines how many points of armor they ignore on a successful hit. The rules are much more favorable to the defender than the tabletop war-gaming rules, since no weapons ignore armor altogether, although some weapons like the MP Lascannon and the Exitus rifle have such high penetration scores that only the strongest armors will be of any use against them.
    • The highly advanced weapons used by the Necrons are renowned for their ability to make a mockery of the armour worn by lesser races. How this works depends on the weapon in question but can range from disassembling matter at an atomic level to weapons that shift between dimensions to pass straight through physical defences to strike the vital organs of the target. This effect is represented on the tabletop in different ways with the 8th Edition rules giving every weapon except particle weapons, tesla weapons, and simple blades some a decent Armour Penetration characteristic.
    • Be'lakor's Blade of Shadows is said to phase in and out of reality, allowing the first daemon prince to cleave apart even the most heavily armored foes. On the tabletop, his armor-piercing attack mode not only has a high AP of -4 (meaning only models with a 2+ save will get any kind of protection), it also ignores Invulnerable Saves (which can normally only be removed via psychic powers), making Be'lakor a master at killing tough targets that depend on their saves to survive such as Terminators, Primarchs, and other daemons.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, when a monster in Defense Position is attacked by a monster whose ATK is higher than its DEF, the Defense Position monster is destroyed, but the controller of the destroyed monster takes no Battle Damage. However, several Effect Monsters, such as this one, are designed to not only destroy Defense Position monsters, but also inflict the difference between their ATK and the DEF of the defending monster as Battle Damage to the controller of the defending monster. In 2007, the Duelist Pack: Zane Truesdale print of Cyberdark Horn officially dubbed this as "piercing damage", but it was not until 2011 that the term "piercing battle damage" in card text was universally and consistently applied to effects that deal this type of damage.

    Video Games 
  • The Leitis from Age of Empires II, unique to the Lithuanians, has an attack that's coded to bypass its targets armor rating altogether, making it effective against heavily armored units like Teutonic Knights and Boyars. The Dravidian civilization's unique tech, Wootz Steel, makes all their infantry and cavalry units ignore armor.
  • In Aliens vs. Predator 2, Praetorian Xenomorphs are immune to most standard gunfire, and only vulnerable to a Marine's heavy weapons or special armor-piercing bullets from the lighter ones. Predators have the much manlier option of bringing them down with their spears.
  • Ancient Domains of Mystery: There is a weapon called phase dagger that completely ignores the armour of the target. The downside is that on each hit, the game throws at you a message about you easily cutting through the armour, which requires you to press [more] much more often. And the dagger itself doesn't do much damage anyway, making it useful only against Heavily Armored Mooks.
  • Arcanum has two guns, both BFGs, that do a sort of this. Blade Launcher ignores Armor Class, allowing you to hit more often (and is the second most powerful gun), while Riffled Cannon ignores Damage Resistance, allowing you to do full damage each time you hit. They both, however, consume 6 bullets per shot.
  • While traditionally in Armored Core series, Attack Power is the only attribute to watch out for weapons (meaning, how much you need to pump it to any given target to make them go kablooey), 4/for Answer introduced the Force Field-like Primal Armor and consequently, "PA Penetration". Energy weapons, sniper rifles and railguns do this job really well, and since about a good 4/5ths of the game's armor isn't exactly energy-weapon proof, this can only go wrong, were it not for the balancer mechanics.
  • Armory & Machine has the Hunter Class skills, all of which deal penetrating damage that bypasses enemy shields altogether. While less powerful than direct-damage Soldier Class Skills, this trait makes Hunter Skills far more useful.
  • Melee weapons in Ballpoint Universe Infinite pierce through shields, which most ranged weapons (but not all) cannot get through.
  • In Batman: Arkham City, mooks start wearing protective armor and donning SWAT riot shields to combat Batman. To counter, Batman has two attacks that get through this - the Beat Down attack, which has Batman rapid fire punches before delivering a knock out blow, and an attack that has Bats climb their shield, then pounce on them.
  • In Batman: Arkham Origins, Batman eventually gains access to the Shock Gloves that, with the proper upgrades applied, allows Batman to counter otherwise uncounterable attacks, such as enemy shield attacks and even absorb a stun rod's energy to his own Shock Glove energy supply once enough kinetic energy is attained to activate said Shock Gloves, making dealing with getting through enemies donned with body armor, shields and stun batons a breeze as activating the Shock Gloves will allow any attacks by Batman to be completely unblockable.
  • Battlefield 2 had an unlockable anti-materiel sniper rifle for the sniper class, the M95. It's main claim to infamy among the player base was its ability to snipe the pilots of helicopters through their armored canopy glass, something no other gun would do.
  • BattleTech:
    • The Breaching Shot skill lets you attack all damage reduction on an enemy any time you only fire a single weapon at them. This combines with the Multi-Target skill (which is a prerequisite of Breaching Shot) to let you target multiple enemies for max damage. This can be quite useful if you've got several enemies that have 40 or 60% resistance to damage.
    • Gauss Rifles not only do damage to the target's armor, they automatically inflict structure damage even if they fail to destroy all the external armor of the target. This means that they're really good at scoring critical hits, and if you shoot an opponent in the head it's automatically a kill.
  • Pistol and machine guns in the BioShock series both have variant armor piercing rounds, as well as standard slugs and anti-personnel rounds. Everything was more vulnerable to one and less vulnerable to the other, with the armor piercing being useful against machinery and Big Daddies, while anti-personnel pistol rounds would one-shot most splicers.
  • Cyanide Studio's Blood Bowl games have various armor-piercing attacks to improve the chances of injuring an opposing player. The Claw mutation allows an attack to treat high armor rating as equal to the very low rating of 7. The Chainsaw weapon grants a +3 to armor-break rolls and the Gang Foul dirty move increases the armor-break roll depending on how many players participate.
  • At the end of the first dungeon of Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django you are rewarded with the three weakest weapons in the game (one of each type), which may nullify enemy defense as a special property. Even with this they're useless, but if you hang onto them and forge them with the strongest weapon available, you can transfer that ability...
  • Borderlands: Usually involving Mordecai:
    • Borderlands: By multiple methods:
      • One of Mordecai's skills enables him to bypass enemy shields (100% of the time if this skill is maxed out, too). Against the Guardians, their health bars being tiny, it is absolutely devastating.
      • A bugged legendary weapon, the Vladof Vengance, has this effect. In theory, it should allow the machine pistol to occasionally fire rounds that pass through armor to damage health. In practice, this effect can also get passed on to any of the other weapons in your inventory at the time. Shield bypass ability on something with enough damage or enough dakka (or both!) can veer straight into Game-Breaker territory.
    • In Borderlands 2, one of his quest rewards is a sniper rifle that bypasses shields.
  • Breath of Fire II had the spell Chop Chop which did a flat damage of 25 to any enemy. This made it a one-hit kill against enemies that had high enough defense to reduce all attack to 1 or 2 damage since even the toughest of these only had 20 health. Too bad it was easily lost forever if you didn't go after it as the first thing you did when arriving at the eastern continent.
  • Command & Conquer: Generals and Zero:Hour subvert it by giving the GLA upgrades for armor-piercing bullets and rockets, but those merely increase damage dealt by units using them by 25%.
  • Company of Heroes gives AP bullets and shells as special abilities for American and British machine guns and AT guns. The former ability turns the dedicated anti-infantry HMG into a feared light-vehicle counter, while the latter boosts the penetration of the AT guns. As the British 17pdr is already one of the best antiarmor weapons in the game, the AP-Discarding Sabot ability makes it one of the few weapons that can counter King Tigers.
  • One of the Samurai's passive abilities in Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice allows for 25% of his basic attack to ignore the enemy's defense. There's also a gun skill called Armor Piercing, but it subverts it by not ignoring the opponent's defense in any way.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution has a realistic take on this: AP mods for your weapons are most useful if the enemy has heavy armour, with the upgraded pistol ignoring armor entirely, but don't do much better than normal rounds against lightly-armoured enemies due to overpenetration.
  • Many high-level Digimon in Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth and Hacker's Memory have attacks that ignore defense or intelligence stats. The mechanic became such a problem for the PVP metagame that Hacker's Memory introduced an item that counteracted it. The item was then added to Cyber Sleuth in the Compilation Re-release.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: Characters can have both physical and magical Armor Points, which protect against different attack forms and status effects and are entirely bypassed by the opposite attacks.
  • In Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Cranky's pogo cane is able to harm Snowmads with helmets, which would otherwise protect them or even hurt Kongs who jump on them.
  • In Dragon Quest, the Metal Slime family is almost completely immune to physical attacks and totally immune to magical attacks. All critical attacks bypass physical defense, rendering them the only practical way to take down the stronger Metal Slime variants. The later games feature attacks and/or weapons that either deliver a guaranteed critical hit or a complete miss as well as attacks that are otherwise weak but guaranteed to take out said enemy type in 1-3 uses, which are often deployed in the hunt for said metal enemies.
  • Dwarf Fortress doesn't have a dedicated armour-piercing weapon class as such, but bludgeoning weapons suffer only a minimal penalty versus plate or chain mail, whereas leather armour is more effective at reducing blunt-force trauma but offers limited protection against stabbing or cutting weapons.
  • EarthBound Beginnings has the PK Freeze γ PSI power, learned only by the Badass Adorable Ana. When used it will always reduce an enemy's HP to critical status (a near One-Hit Kill), regardless of defense.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Bog standard spells ignore armor rating when they strike a target. In order to protect from them, armor needs to be enchanted to reduce, absorb, or reflect magical damage.
    • Throughout the series, this is a common trait of werewolves. Their claw attacks often outright ignore armor. In Morrowind's Bloodmoon expansion, blocking the attack of a werewolf with your shield can cause the shield to become instantly completely broken, even if it was in a fully-repaired state.
  • Elona: Different types of weapons ignore different (small) percentages of armour when calculating damage. For instance, a club would ignore 0% of armour when attacking, while a long sword would ignore 10% of armour. Lightsabers ignore 100% of armour, and there's equipment which can be worn which will occasionally make any blow you land ignore 100% of armour, regardless of what weapon you're using.
  • In Evolve, the trapper character Crow can charge his shots to damage the monster's health through its armor, while Kala's armor reducer temporarily makes every attack into this.
  • Fable: The wraithlike Screamers' Life Drain attack bypasses both armour and Mana Shields. It also works at range and overlaps with Invisible Means Undodgeable, which can prove a nasty surprise when they Zerg Rush the Hero in the Oakvale cemetary.
  • Fallout:
    • Several weapons in Fallout and Fallout 2 have the hidden ability to ignore 80% of a target's Damage Threshold, which is rather helpful when DT can (and often does) reduce an attack's damage to nothing. Both games were also meant to have armor-piercing ammunition, but neither one works: in 1 a bug causes all ammo modifiers to be ignored, making every permutation of the same cartridge functionally identical. The modifiers work in 2, but they're so poorly balanced that for most guns armor-piercing rounds are the worst in any situation.Why? The AP Needler ammo and the AP rocket (!) ammo are the only exceptions. The Fallout 2 Restoration Project includes an option to fix AP ammo modifiers, making them work as intended.
    • In Fallout 3 the Deathclaw Gauntlet ignores armor entirely. The Tri-Beam Laser Rifle in Broken Steel also has this effect when wielded by Super Mutant Overlords, one of a quartet of Demonic Spiders introduced in this DLC. No such luck for the player. The Tribals and Swampfolk in Point Lookout have a similar hax effect with their weapons, the double barreled shotguns being the most deadly, since the armor-piercing damage is applied to each individual pellet (the same reason shotguns in your hands have overpowered sneak attacks), possibly resulting in a One-Hit Kill if all of them connect with the player. Likewise for the Feral Ghoul Reavers' Deadly Lunge, and their gore grenades, which also instantly cripple body parts on a direct hit.
    • Fallout: New Vegas:
      • Due to the way armour is implemented, players may need to use special weapons, ammunition and methods of attack to penetrate an enemy's armour and cause meaningful damage. AP rounds for guns, overcharged energy cells for energy weapons, melee and unarmed weapons with the "Ignore DT/DR" feature are the most obvious, but using a weapon that deals a large amount of damage per shot/swing (such as the Anti-Material Rifle or the Super Sledge) will also do the job. And of course, if you're the sneaky type, you can also go for a sneak attack critical, which has its damage added to the original attack and thus isn't nearly as affected by DT.
      • The Piercing Palm perk causes all melee and unarmed attacks to ignore 15 points of DT, which effectively means anything not wearing heavy armor might as well not be wearing armor at all. The Shotgun Surgeon perk does the same for shotguns, taking them from struggling against all but the lightest D Ts (as each pellet takes the reduction) to getting their full, hefty damage (or close to) against all but the heaviest.
      • On the enemy side, there's also Giant Rats/Rodents of Unusual Size. If normal-sized rats can chew through so many things, imagine what giant rats will do to humans.
      • The Proton Axe from Old World Blues does 20 bonus damage points against robots and Power Armor, effectively cancelling most of the armor's DT, which includes the player when Lobotomites are wielding the weapon.
      • Lonesome Road's resident Demonic Spiders, the Tunnelers, also seem to bypass the player's damage threshold. At high levels, they deal as much damage as the main game's Deathclaws.
    • Fallout 4 does away with specialised ammo and weapons entirely, but armor penetration can still be gained in various ways. All weapon types (handguns, rifles, heavy weapons, etc.) have perks associated with them that increase their damage and, at higher perk levels, tend to apply a permanent debuff (usually -30%) to enemies' damage reduction when hit with that specific weapon. One can also find weapons with the legendary Penetrating affix, which ignores 30% of the targets DR and stacks with similar buffs like the one conferred by perks. Last but not least, the effectiveness of armor decreases the more powerful the incoming attack is, which means a sufficiently strong hit can make a mockery of whatever protection you might have all on its own.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Flare and Ultima tend to be armor-piercing attacks, as well as Bahamut's Signature Move Mega Flare.
    • In the DS version of Final Fantasy IV, defeating Bahamut earns the Piercing Magic augment, which enables all of the user's magic spells to ignore Reflect.
    • Final Fantasy VI tends to allow its strongest attacks (Bum Rush, Drill/Chainsaw, Ultima) to ignore defense, and they usually always hit too. Unfortunately, this effectively neuters the design philosophy behind some enemies, usually of the "evasive and tough, but with extremely low health" variety. The most extreme example would be the Cactuar, which follows that model exactly: it has a perfect defense rating (all physicals do 1 damage) and is extremely hard to hit with physicals and magic alike. Catch? It has 3 HP, so anything that always hits and ignores defense, no matter how weak, will kill it.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, Armor-Piercing bullets are one of the types of ammunition used for The Gunslinger Irvine's Shot Limit Break. With enough rounds of this ammo and Irvine having high Strength, this will result in him dealing massive damage.
    • Final Fantasy X does this with armored enemies, who require a specific weapon type to get past it. Fortunately, they begin to show up just as you get the biggest badass around, whose weapons all come with the armor-piercing ability, into your party. The "Armor Break" skill will remove the "armored" enhancement from its target, allowing you to damage it normally with non-piercing weapons.
    • Final Fantasy XII had guns and measures, both of which only calculated the weapon's strength for damage. So while they were good against enemies that had high defenses, it didn't matter how strong a character was when using them. However, it doesn't help that some of the tougher enemies only take 1/16 of the damage from the two weapons.
    • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, Cloud's Super Mode (called Ex-Burst) grants him the "Guard Crush" ability, making all his attacks unblockable. Given that he hits like a semi-truck, it's a good idea to stay the hell out of his reach while he's in this state.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • The recurring skill Luna either halves or negates the target's Defense. The magic spell of the same name bypasses the target's Resistance. Some games can allow units with these skills to one-shot bosses, though it tends to be dubious against standard enemies.
    • Magic in general holds this role in the series's tactical arrangement, due to the fact that it targets the Resistance stat rather than the Defense stat. In the majority of games, non-boss enemies with Resistance above about 5 are pretty rare, and some games have the majority of enemies with a flat 0 in the stat. This makes mages historically some of the best characters for fighting enemies with abnormally high Defense, like Knights or Wyvern Riders.
    • In Fire Emblem Heroes, some skills or weapons allow the user to ignore damage reduction, such as the skills Deadeye (for archers) or Lethality (for dagger-users), or Special Spiral 4 (for infantry units). However, even these abilities usually only negate damage reduced by things other than a unit's Special, which wasn't a big deal for most of the game's lifespan, but became a very big caveat when Hardy Fighter, which is capable of super-charging defensive Specials, became a meta staple. Then came Legendary Nanna, an extremely offensive unit with the ability to negate all damage reduction, including Hardy Fighter.
    • Spells, skills or mechanics that remove a percentage of the foe's max HP, in a way. No matter how high their defense or resistance is, this damage can't be mitigated. Seen with the Eclipse tome in FE7 and FE8, the skills Poison Strike, Savage Blow and Grisly Wound, and the chain attacks in Engage.
  • The First Encounter Assault Recon games have several weapons which disregard or degrade the functionality of armor, both for enemies and the player. To be more specific: all weapons, especially in the first game, deal part of the damage directly to the health. However, in most weapons the damage that isn't absorbed by the armor is a very small fraction of the total. There's a weapon in each game (the Penetrator in the first game, the Hammerhead in the second) that ignores armor almost completely, making them true examples of this trope. The VK-12 shotgun in the first game is also a standout, since while it technically has pathetic armor-penetration ability (true to real buckshot's performance), it still tears through armor almost as well as the Penetrator just through hammering it with high-damage attacks until it gives way.
  • In Freespace 2, beam weapons have the property of ignoring shields. They will visibly appear to hit the shield but pass right through it, hitting the hull of the target directly. This isn't just game mechanics, either. The GTVA was confident that the Colossus could defeat the Lucifer (the Shivan mothership from the previous game), despite the fact that said vessel had a special subspace shield that rendered it completely invulnerable to all conventional weapons at the time. Apparently beams just play by different rules.
  • In FTL: Faster Than Light, missile weapons ignore the opposing ship's shields and damage the hull directly.
  • Due to the combat mechanic of Galactic Civilizations II, armor is only really effective against mass drivers. Lasers and missiles are affected by armor, but only by the square root of the armor rating (e.g. an armor rating of 9 will only be effective as 3 against non-mass drivers). The same goes for shields (counters to lasers) and ECM/point-defense (counters to missiles).
  • In Gems of War, some units have special attacks which ignore enemy armour (dealing "true damage", in game terminology). The armour will still be there to protect against other normal attacks, but that doesn't matter if health reaches zero — that causes death, even if the unit still has a ton of armour on it.
  • In Genshin Impact, the Raiden Shogun's second Constellation upgrade, Steelbreaker, allows for her attacks to ignore 60% of an enemy's Defense stat when in her Limit Break Super Mode.
  • In the console versions of Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter and its sequel, anti-materiel rifles such as the Barrett M95 can penetrate concrete barriers. Future Soldier likewise gives most weapons the option of swapping out the regular ammunition for armor-piercing rounds that deal slightly better damage and can penetrate both the ballistic vests worn by Riflemen players and thicker surfaces enemies may be hiding behind.
  • Some weapons in Ghost Squad (2004) have a penetration property that varies from weapon to weapon. Some of these piercing weapons can only shoot through thin objects, but two weapons are capable of shooting enemies through virtually anything, from crates to solid walls to tree trunks.
  • Gotcha Force features two different ones — drills on the Drill Robot, and the energy lances of the Atlas Tank, the Proto Atlas, and the Atlas Robot (which can switch between the previous two forms). They can go through obstacles, other enemies, and even the rare barriers that some borgs can generate. As one of the borgs that can make barriers is the Final Boss, they're the go-to choice for the final assault.
  • Abilities in Guild of Dungeoneering work on a "X skill does Y damage, and may or may not block Z damage of A type" system. Certain skills, connoted by a "No Shield" symbol, cannot be blocked. As the tip screens put it "They go straight through your blocks!"
  • In Guild Wars, a few skills have an "armor penetrating ability" reducing a target's armor by a percent against the one attack. Due to how armor works (Extra armor is multiplicative in how much damage it reduces), this has a varying effect depending on the amount of armor. Guild Wars weapon skills that add damage also add a fixed amount of damage, that is unaffected by armor, making them useful against highly armored targets.
  • All hostile attacks in Half-Life and its sequel are armor-piercing to some extent since Gordon's Powered Armor is incapable of fully stopping hits; it merely reduces their effectiveness. Running around with your suit's power depleted means every hit will deal its full damage to your health instead. It's a justified example because Gordon's suit is meant for dangerous (civilian) engineering work and was never designed to protect against bullets, explosives or focused dark energy blasts.
  • Iji features this due to the fact that everything is made of Nanotechnology. To wit, small arms fire such as the machine gun or pulse rounds will chip away at your armour (which is really more of a forcefield) until it is depleted at which point a Hit Point is sacrificed to replenish it. However anything which hits you (as in, a rocket, BFG round or a punch) will deal actual damage to your body directly (and send you flying across the room to boot).
  • In Impossible Creatures, creatures that attack with quills or horns will bypass a portion of the enemy's defense.
  • Jagged Alliance 2 has armour-piercing ammunition for most weapons; in fact for some weapon classes it's actually the default type. Its effectiveness varies somewhat, as it only gives an attack bonus versus armour and — realistically — a penalty versus targets who aren't wearing any. Since almost every single enemy Mook has some kind of body armour, even a Vietnam-era flak jacket and a steel helmet, it's hollowpoint ammunition and its damage bonus versus unarmoured targets that ends up being highly situational instead.
  • Turned against the player in Killing Floor and its sequel — the Siren's scream ignores armor entirely. Otherwise, the vast majority of damage is deflected at flat rates depending on the game (77% in the first game, 75% with decreases as your armor meter is drained in the second) unless you play a perk that has Body Armor as Hit Points as a passive bonus.
  • In King Arthur The Roleplaying Wargame, certain units can get the armour piercing trait, which reduces enemy armour by 50%. Oddly enough no archer units can get it, but then again King Arthur's archer units are generally considered Game Breakers already and probably don't need any more help.
  • Kingdom Hearts II: Some enemies, such as Large Bodies and Berserkers, automatically deflect attacks from the front. Reaction Commands, Magic, Limits, Explosion, Guard Break, and Anti-Form's attacks will pierce their defenses and deal damage.
  • Damage in League of Legends is, as a rule, separated into two types; Physical Damage and Magic Damage, dictated and mitigated by Attack Damage and Armor for Physical, and Ability Power and Magic Resist for Magical. This is, of course, balanced out by stats like Armor Penetration and Magic Penetration, which serve to provide a way for squishy Marksmen and Mages to deal with opponents that stack defensive stats.
    • A stat, known as 'Lethality', was introduced as of February 2017. While normal Armor Penetration works on flat numbers, allowing X amount of damage to pierce armor — where X is the amount of Armor Penetration a champion has — Lethality is a flat percentage of damage penetration that increases based on the level of the champion dealing the damage. (Up until recently, the percentage was based on the level of the champion receiving the damage.)
    • In addition, some characters have the ability to deal 'True Damage,' which ignores all mitigation stats and items to deal, well, true damage. Notable examples are Garen's 'Demacian Justice,' which deals True Damage to the champion on the enemy team with the most recent kill, and Cho'Gath's 'Feast,' which deals a MINIMUM of 1,000 true damage to neutral monsters and minions, and a bit less to enemy champions.
  • In The Legend of Dragoon, the group knows they stand no chance against the Divine Dragon on normal terms, so they go on a quest to find the Dragon-Block Staff (made specifically for fighting dragons), thus allowing them to fight a significantly de-powered Divine Dragon with a chance of victory.
    • The Dragon-Block Staff was made to depower dragons. The better example is the Dragon Buster, which was used to kill Lavitz back in Disc 1. The Dragon Buster's wielder, Lloyd, was attacking the Divine Dragon with it by the time the party arrives, and even it proves ineffective on its own. It took Lloyd with the Dragon Buster and the party using the Block Staff to finally take the Divine Dragon down.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV, there's an art called "Albion Wolf" from the Mirage element. What it does is that it cancels out all shields and buffs before it deals any sort of damage. It doesn't come up often unless players wish to fight the True Final Boss without having to go through the other two forms. From a more in-universe example, Rean manages to bypass McBurn's shield in his true demon form by summoning Valimar and hitting him using Millium as his sword to defeat and inflict any kind of injury on him. Rean's final S-Craft in Cold Steel IV cancels all defense guards and reflects before applying damage. However, you will get his final S-Craft during the Eventide in Mishelam on 31st August after the trial with Cassius Bright.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Variant: Acid attacks in Mass Effect bypass your shields. The effects of this range from "mildly inconvenient" if you have armour with plenty of damage reduction and Immunity up, to "all right squad, we're taking a break to weep" when a thresher maw begins to spit holes in the Mako or shield-focused Tali gets mugged by a swarm of rachni workers. Melee attacks also bypassed shields, which could be useful if you were playing a Soldier Shepard and had put a lot of ranks into the skills that boosted melee damage and a heavily-shielded enemy got close to you.
    • Mass Effect 2 has three different kinds of non-health defenses. Powers and weapons receive damage multipliers against specific defenses. Powers will not perform their full effect against armoured targets (Attempting to knock down a target with a concussive shot while they are protected will just stagger them), but may still damage their protective barrier (and may even be unable to damage targets who are unprotected — Overload, for example, is a counter to shields and synthetic enemies, and does no health damage to organic enemies, only being able to damage their shields)
    • Mass Effect 3 buffs armor-piercing attacks, making them work against improper defenses at 1/3 effectiveness, or their listed damage. Overload is treated in a particularly nice way, as it now stuns humanoid targets and can be upgraded to knock unprotected targets off their feet entirely for an even longer stun time. This fits in with the game's overall greater focus on powers.
    • Certain guns and mods also give your bullets penetration, which reduces the damage reduction armored enemies possess, and lets it go through cover, which includes the other-wise invincible riot shields. A Javelin sniper rifle with maximised penetration mod, maximised high-velocity barrel, and Garrus's specialty ammo can go through thicker cover than actually exists in the game.
  • In Master of Magic for units with Armor Piercing attack a target has effectively 1/2 (rounded down) of its normal defense value.
    • Same in the Dominions series (though the defense stat is called "protection", while the stat called "defense" is really evasion). Dominions also adds armor negating, which completely ignores the target's armor. (No, it does not make the armor negative!)
  • In Master of Orion 2 some weapons can be made in armor-piercing variants (and some in shield-piercing, for that matter) so that damage that passes through armor/shields is applied to the target ship's internals immediately.
    • Heavy and Xentronium armor negate armor bypassing, but neither can protect against an attacker equipped with an Achilles Targeting Unit device. Shield piercing weapons can be stopped with the Hard Shields device.
    • The iOS port called Starbase Orion has the Gauss Turret, which completely ignores armor. The downside is that it doesn't do much damage to shields and requires the ship to close in to short range for maximum effectiveness.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man X:
      • Mega Man X: Command Mission has several weapons that your party members can equip that have armor- or shield-ignoring properties. The base damage on them is rather low, however, but they're quite helpful against enemies with high defenses, and also bypass defense-enhancing buffs. Some enemies and bosses also have at least one piercing attack in their arsenal, subject to the same properties but sometimes a lot more dangerous due to the foe's high attack power.
      • In Mega Man X8, shield-breaking properties are added to the Hunters' attacks: X has his trademark Charged Shot, Zero with the third hit of his Z-saber combo, and Axl has the uninterrupted stream of his bullets. The Special Weapons obtained from Bamboo Pandamonium and Gravity Antonion, and Zero's weapons the Titan Breaker and the Sigma Blade, can also destroy barriers instantly.
    • In Mega Man Battle Network there are four kinds of armor that can be pierced — Shielding (which yields to Break), Shadow (which yields to Sword), Barriers and Auras (which yield to Wind), and Invisible (which yields to Cursor).
    • Mega Man Star Force retains most of these except for the Cursor-Invisible relationship. You can still bypass Mercy Invincibility under certain circumstances, though.
  • In Mercenary Kings, you can equip AP Ammo which provides this effect.
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has the Brennan and Serval anti-materiel rifles, which can punch through enemy body armor and riot suits, make short work of armored vehicles, and snipe enemy helicopter pilots through the cockpit. They're also extremely useful against the Armored Skulls and their constantly regenerating protective shells.
  • Minecraft:
    • Potions completely ignore any armour worn, so a few instant damage potions will kill a player clad in enchanted netherite armour just as quickly as one that's totally naked.
    • The self-explanatory "piercing" enchantment for crossbows will cause the arrows it fires to completely bypass shields (and also piercing through multiple enemies to allow for One-Hit Polykill), which otherwise block any incoming arrow damage.
    • The Evoker enemy has the ability summon fangs that erupt from the ground which always do three hearts worth of damage regardless of armour.
    • The Warden's Chest Blaster "sonic boom" attack will do the same amount of damage (five hearts worth) to the player regardless of armour, and will also ignore shields and phase through walls, making it impossible to avoid once it's fired.
  • In Monster Hunter:
    • Lances deal "Piercing" damage, whereas other melee weapons deal either "Cutting" or "Impact" type damage. While monster weakspots have certain modifiers that make them stronger or weaker against certain damage types, Lances bypass this by choosing whatever is the weaker modifier and using that to calculate damage, thus dealing the optimal amount of damage per strike (compared to other weapon types, Lances' damage output is not so great, but this at least allows them to be consistent).
    • The Shelling and Wyvern Fire attacks from Gunlances deal Blast damage, which completely ignores monster defenses including Super Armor like the impregnable hide of Fatalis. However Apex monsters will still be able to reduce most of the damage.
  • The Void Walker demon in Nexus Clash has Precision of the Assassin, an attack that completely ignores the target's armor due to the Void Walker's maybe-real insubstantial state. This doubles as a Death or Glory Attack since it drops the attacker's own armor into negative numbers and makes the Void Walker liable to get killed in a few shots if they can't defeat their target quickly.
  • In Noblemen: 1869 because armor (especially at over 50 points) can be very effective at preventing damage that's not from a critical hit, the game has many weapons that have some degree of armor-piercing. Against the highest levels of armor on a conventional unit, such as the Landship Mk.2 and the Georgeson Tank you'll want to have Whitworth Cannon units (250 armor piercing), any kind of Anti-Armour rifle (150 armor piercing) and/or the Tesla Rod melee weapon (125 armor piercing)
  • Featured in Paper Mario with Watt, whose basic attack ignores the enemy's defense (making her one of the most useful partners in the game, especially against high-defense enemies), as well as badges which would apply this property to your Jump or Hammer attacks. (Items and the Star Storm power also ignore defense.)
    • The Thousand-Year Door also features many of the same badges (and items/damage-dealing Star Powers), and included Yoshi, whose spit attack had this property (and was needed to beat a group of mid-level enemies who pretty much had infinite defense), as well as the secret character Ms. Mowz, whose attack is literally a slap. However, there are also several enemies (mostly Elite Mooks) in this game that can pierce your defense, negating all defense badges you have equipped and leaving you with the standard choice of a regular Guard to stop 1 damage or a trickier Superguard to stop all of it.
    • Paper Mario: The Origami King has a boss that doesn't care if you have Iron Boots to ignore its sharp edges. Scissors will retaliate with not only this, but an automatic One-Hit Kill. This also happens if you fail the Action Command to avoid its regular attack.
  • Pathways into Darkness has armor-piercing ammunition for the AK-47 and M79, which is required to defeat the Greater Nightmares near the end of the game.
  • In PAYDAY 2, sniper rifles, the 5/7 pistol, and certain shotgun ammo typesnote  can penetrate the body armor of Maximum Force Responders, as well as Shields' shields. The Killer Instinct perk in the Rogue tree gives a 25% chance for any attack to pierce body armor, and the aced version of the Surefire skill gives a 100% chance for ranged weapons.
  • Perfect Dark has the Callisto NTG's Secondary Fire setting (High-Impact Shells) and the Farsight sniper rifle. Both will make short work of any shield.
  • Plants vs. Zombies:
    • Naturally any plant that is an instant-kill will have this property, such as Potato Mine and Chomper and in the sequel, Chili Bean.
    • All catapulting plants like Cabbage-pult and Winter Melon can bypass the shields of zombies to hit them directly.
    • In the first game:
      • Fume-shroom can ignore screen doors, newspapers, ladders, and trash cans that some zombies are holding in his range. He also makes a return in the sequel where his fumes can bypass the barrel being pushed by Barrel Roller Zombie and the shield generated by Shield Zombie. Just don't use him against Newspaper Zombie in the seauel, as both the zombie and his newspaper are considered as one zombie.
    • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time : Apart from the aforementioned Fume-shroom and other plants, the game also introduces a few more plants that can bypass armor.
      • Snapdragon. His fire breath hits all zombies in an area in front of him, regardless if they are hiding behind an armor or shield.
      • Laser Bean. His laser can pierce through the barrel of Barrel Roller Zombie and the shield of Shield Zombie.
      • Any plant with the poison status such as Shadow-shroom and Poison Pea. Their poison damages the zombie directly.
      • Imp Pear. Any zombie that eats it becomes an imp regardless if it had armor.
    • Plants vs. Zombies: Heroes: This game uses health and attack stats for every teammate card in the game. The armored trait reduces any incoming damage to the card by the amount stated on its trait, meaning any card that directly reduces the health of the card bypasses the armored trait such as Water Balloons and Cob Cannon. For zombies, any zombie with the Deadly trait also counts as this trope if they managed to damage their target as it will destroy them regardless of how much health the target had.
  • Pokémon
    • Critical hits ignore defense boosts, which makes Frost Breath and Storm Throw this by default since they will always land a critical hit. The same is true of the Secret Arts of Urshifu, Surging Strikes and Wicked Blow, respectively, which always land critical hits.
    • Brick Break, Psychic Fangs, and Raging Bull, which break any Reflect, Light Screen, and Aurora Veil shields the opponent has set up before damaging the opponent. Any attack made by any Pokemon with Screen Cleaner will also bypass said shields.
    • Chip Away, Darkest Lariat, and Sacred Sword, which do damage while disregarding opponent's stat boosts in defenses.
    • The Abilities Unaware and Infiltrator ignore stat changes and Reflect/Light Screen/Aurora Veil/Substitute respectively.
    • Sound moves such as Hyper Voice and Sparkling Aria can bypass Substitutes in Gen VI onward.
    • There are also a number of moves that bypass Protect and similar protection moves, most of all of them being Secret Arts. These are Doom Desire, Feint, Future Sight, Hyper Drill, Hyperspace Fury, Hyperspace Hole, Mighty Cleave, Phantom Force and Shadow Force.
      • In regards to the above, Urshifu lives and breathes this trope, as its ability Unseen Fist lets all of its contact moves bypass Protect including its above-mentioned always critical Secret Arts.
    • Attacking Z-Moves and Max Moves overpower invulnerability moves like Protect, Spiky Shield, King's Shield and Baneful Bunker such that the user that tried protecting will instead take 25% of the damage they would have blocked.
    • The moves Sunsteel Strike, Moongeist Beam, Photon Geyser and Snipe Shot, or any move used by a Pokemon with the Abilities Mold Breaker, Turboblaze or Teravolt, will ignore all Abilities. This trope comes into play when the opponent has an Ability that prevents or reduces damage like Levitate, Thick Fat or Wonder Guard, or is using something like Snow Cloak or Sand Veil to increase their evasion, or even if their teammate has a damage redirection Ability like Storm Drain or Lightning Rod, as well as a few other scenarios.
    • Toxic from Pokémon X and Y onwards, if used by a poison-type Pokemon, will always hit their target, even if the target is behind a substitute or in a semi-invulnerable state from moves like Fly or Dig.
  • Primal Carnage: Certain weapons, such as the Scientist's PX Assault Cannon, will ignore the armoured regions of certain dinosaurs, including the otherwise bulletproof skull of the Pachycephalosaurus.
  • Ragnarok Online not only has weapons that ignore defense, but a dagger called the Ice Pick, which isn't reduced by the target's defense and then proceeds to do more damage depending on how much defense it had. Wearing armor actually makes you take more damage. Thankfully, they are quite rare.
  • SCP: Secret Laboratory:
    • All guns ignore a percentage of what armor their target is wearing based on their Armor Penetration stat. Guns with low Armor Penetration (such as the COM-15 or FSP-9) will be of limited usefulness against an armored player, but high-penetration weapons (like the Logicer or Revolver) fully embody this trope. High penetration is primarily useful against human players, as SC Ps are unable to wear armor.
    • The MTF-E11-SR, Crossvec and .44 Revolver all have attachments which swap their FMJ ammo for AP ammo, boosting their Armor Penetration in exchange for reduced magazine capacity (with the Crossvec suffering a damage penalty on top).
  • Shadowrun Returns Dragonfall Director's Cut, in addition to making armor an explicit value that attacks have to be stronger than in order to harm the user, also introduces attacks that can either degrade or ignore that armor.
  • The Pierce skill in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, which allows those who have it to ignore the enemies' physical resistances, immunities, and drains (but not repels). You get it just in time, too, since that's the point in the game when your randomly encountered enemies may have as many as four or five out of eleven elements be useless against them. Having the skill, and jumping through a few hoops to be able to get it on your Mons, changes the last part of the game from insanely hard to merely sanely hard.
    • Devil Survivor and its sequel have it too, but only work for physical attacks. Still, being able to pummel bosses who otherwise drain or nullify physical attacks with a dose of Deathbound or Multi-Strike is quite satisfying.
    • Shin Megami Tensei IV expands this to six different Pierce skills: one for normal Physical attacks, one for Gun, and four elemental Pierces. All are exclusive to the DLC, the Elemental Pierces all learned by Aeshma, Phys Pierce by Sanat and Gun Pierce by Masakado's Shadow form. Each of the Four Archangels learns an elemental attack that will have the Pierce feature built in: Tornado of God, Hailstorm of God, Lightning of God and Inferno of God.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, piercing attacks can now bypass repel, meaning that one must either take the full brunt of a piercing attack, or be lucky enough to dodge it.
    • In a more general sense, Almighty-class attacks punch through any form of defense, at the price of having incredibly high HP/MP costs and no elemental advantages.
  • Shores of Hazeron had the deadly Glue Gun, which due to a glitch, could ignore any amount of armor. Players would storm ships armed with nothing but a glue gun, which could pierce the Powered Armor of its crew, killing them without damaging the armor — in fact, it would actually repair their armor.
  • In Soldier of Fortune, high-power weapons such as the sniper rifle can pierce both the player's and enemy's armor.
  • Starting in Space Empires IV, weapons can now skip armor, in addition to shields. A spin-off called Space Empires: Starfury had this, too.
  • Splatoon 2:
    • The Ink Armor was nerfed in Version 1.3.0. so that sufficiently powered attacks can deal direct damage through the Special while simultaneously breaking it and inflicting significant Knockback. Namely, anything that hits for more than 100 damage will apply up to 80 points of direct damage in addition to breaking Ink Armor.
    • In Salmon Run mode, the Grizzco Slosher has the unique ability to damage to any enemy it hits. Including bosses like Flyfish and Steelheads that are otherwise invincible unless they reveal their weakpoints. The sheer kill power is balanced by being a Painfully Slow Projectile and a massive ink cost for each shot. This concept was later implemented with the Explosher, which has a more limited version of this trait but, unlike the Grizzco Slosher, is not Purposely Overpowered and can be used in the other online modes.
  • StarCraft:
    • Both StarCraft and StarCraft II have two different armor/damage systems in play. In both games, the amount of armor on a unit subtracts from the damage dealt by an attacking unit: if an attacker deals 3 damage and the target has 2 armor, 2 damage will be subtracted from the attack and only 1 damage will actually be dealt. In gameplay terms, this means that weaker attacks will be disproportionately less effective than higher damage attacks against armor, although this could be easily overcome by Spam Attack from faster attacks or through sheer numbers.
    • As for the secondary armor/damage systems, StarCraft has one in which different attack types may do half, three-quarters, or full damage depending on unit type, with "concussion" type attacks dealing full damage to "light" units, three-quarters damage to "medium" units and half damage to "heavy" units. StarCraft II does away with the system, opting instead for one in which some units receive a bonus to attack against certain unit types. A Terran Marauder for example, deals 10 damage to most targets, but receives an extra 10 damage against any "Armored" type ground unit for a total of 20 damage. Like Warcraft III, abilities in both games ignore physical armor but may be affected by unit type, with Irradiate capable of dealing up to 200 damage on biological units but remaining completely ineffective against mechanical ones.
    • The Terran EMP Shockwave destroys the shields of anything it hits. Not very useful against the Terran or Zerg who don't have shields at all, but a Protoss Archon has 350 shields and 10 health...
  • Star Ruler has weapons that partially and completely ignore armour, but usually don't do that much actual damage. The Galactic Armory mod adds weapons that are good at killing shields but don't do anything to armor or health.
  • Star Trek Online:
    • The Engineering boff power "Directed Energy Modulation" allows your energy weapons to do a percentage of their damage directly to the target's hull instead of having to batter down the shields first.
    • Plasma procs cause a damage-over-time effect that eats hull.
    • Transphasic torpedoes do half-damage direct to the hull when they hit a shielded target. The Voth love to fire transphasic chroniton torpedoes in salvoes, and they hurt bad if you're in a typical Glass Cannon-built tacscort.
  • Most weapons in Stellaris have an armor penetration stat. Energy weapons in particular specialize in melting through ship armor, with their superheavy Tachyon Lances reigning supreme due to their 90% AP modifier. Similar mechanics apply to Deflector Shields (it's actually a damage bonus instead of penetration in this case, but the outcome is largely the same). Special mention goes to the Cloud Lightning and Arc Emitter weapons due to them having 100% penetration of shields and armor, which is balanced by their massive damage randomization.
  • Super Smash Bros.. feature several attacks that can completely break through the defenses of a shielding opponent, if not outright break but do absurd shield damage.
    • Donkey Kong's Headbutt can break a full shield.
    • While not a full break, Yoshi's Yoshi Bomb has great shield damage.
    • Marth and Lucina's Shield Breaker attack, when fully charged, can break a full shield.
    • Bowser's Bowser Bomb, in addition to being a Meteor Move, can break an enemy's shield, and comes out a lot faster in the air.
    • Ganondorf's up-tilt attack can shatter a full shield.
    • Little Mac's Forward Smash, when angled downwards, does great shield damage.
    • Ryu's held forward tilt, and Ken's Nata Otoshi Keri special input do great shield damage.
    • Hero's Hatchet Man, befitting its status as one in its home game, instantly break shields. However, damn near any of Hero's moves become one if he is able to get both of his Oomph and Psyche Up buffs up.
    • Byleth using Aymr as a Special move breaks shields, while a fully charged shot from Failnaught does enough to break slightly bruised shields.
    • Sephiroth's down smash does great shield damage, but when paired with a 5-ball Shadow Flare setup, it’s bound to end with a broken shield.
    • While not a full break, Kazuya Mishima's Lion Slayer (down smash) does great shield damage, in addition to being a Meteor Move that is great at 2 framing recovering opponents.
    • A thrown Mr. Saturn can also break shields instantly. Peach and Daisy can bring him out with their neutral specials.
  • Several attacks in Summoners War: Sky Arena ignores the target's defense. This made them highly lethal against low hp, high defense monsters, and are staple in the game's PvP scene.
  • The Shield Piercer perk in Sundered allows the player's attacks to bypass an enemy's shields, if it has any. In exchange, the perk makes the player's own shields regenerate at a much slower rate.
  • The armor piercing tech in Sword of the Stars. It makes kinetic weapons more accurate and less likely to bounce off the hull, though you get less actual damage in return. The Polarized Plasmatics sub-family will deal extra damage depending on the extra health granted by armour upgrades. Gluonic Torpedoes go through Deflectors and Disruptors, while Mesonic Torpedoes go through all shields other than Meson Shields. Shield Breaker Rounds can bring down all shields, though they don't do any actual damage to the ship.
  • Sword of the Stars II goes for Sequel Escalation on the original. Instead of Critical Existence Failure, ships now have "armor matrices" that need to be brought down until you have a clear "path" through to the internal structures, with any shot that penetrates the armor dealing critical damage, such as damaging key systems and killing crew. Also, "armor layers" enable a ship to No-Sell any attack that doesn't have a high enough AP level. Every weapon has its own "damage pattern" against the armor matrix; for example, some like lasers have better armor penetration than mass drivers. However, that means that each subsequent laser shot has to hit the same exact column to make a difference, while mass drivers can wear down a larger area of armor with each shot. Rapier vs mace in other words. More advanced weapons create dispersed, deeper effects making such painstaking accuracy no longer necessary. As in Prime, Mesonic Torpedoes are the best at penetration, going through 10 permanent armor layers. This breaks the rules of the setting, since the normal maximum of permanent layers a ship can have is 5.
  • Syndicate (2012) has the Secondary Fire of the Kusanagi assault rifle that can penetrate shields and light cover. The Kusanagi sniper rifle can do the same in both fire modes. The Gatling Good is powerful enough that it cuts right through the Deflector Shields of liquid armour trooper without needing to Breach first.
  • Certain guns in the Syphon Filter series ignore or destroy armor, for example, the snipers in The Omega Strain completely nullify your Armor gauge on the first shot, with the next likely being a One-Hit Kill. Starting with the second game, some enemies fire headshots that instantly kill regardless of armor condition.
  • Most guns in System Shock have two ammo variants - one for softer targets (mutants) and one for heavily armored ones (like cyborgs and robots). The Flechette is a notable example, having lower damage than the basic needle gun but exceptionally high armor piercing and rapid fire, leading to you killing enemies with Death of a Thousand Cuts.
  • Team Fortress 2: Sort of; in Mann vs Machine, Giant Robots are immune to the Spy's Back Stab due to their stronger armor, thus requiring the Spy to upgrade his knife to inflict a certain fixed damage upon the Giant Robot on back stabs (each of the four upgrades increases damage by 25% of the maximum 750).
  • In the Total War series, certain units (such as longbowmen or those armed with axes in Medieval I and II) actually put heavily armored units, including those with the extremely expensive armory upgrades, at a disadvantage with this ability.
    • Post-Marian Reforms legionaries in Rome: Total War can shrug off almost any kind of missile attack due to their heavy armour, but a volley of armour-piercing javelins from the right angle can devastate them. Especially fun with Bull Warriors, who have very poor defence for their price but sport the most pimped-out AP missile attack stats of any unit in the game.
  • In Touken Ranbu, yari have the ability to bypass equipped troops and always directly strike the opponent's HP. However, they can't bypass a Kiwame wakizashi's blocking.
  • In the first two Tribes games, the Blaster goes straight through shield packs, unlike every other weapon but the melee Shocklance. The shield-penetration and the comical ability to peg unwitting players from across the map with glowing red ricocheting Painfully Slow Projectile spam prevents it from being a complete Joke Weapon.
  • Munch in Tribal Hunter can take less damage when he's really fat and certain perks can boost it further. However, being huge makes piercing attacks bypass Munch's defense and inflict more damage towards him. In certain cases, he can be popped.
  • UFO Aftermath has no less that seven damage types: soft, universal, hard, laser, plasma, burn (fire and acid), paralyze and warp (the more armor you have, the more it hurts). Transgenants and armors have separate resistances for each. There is an eighth type referred to as "exception" for a few weapons like the psionic crusher.
  • Realistically, ships in Ultimate Admiral: Dreadnoughts carry both Armor Piercing (AP) and High Explosive (HE) shells. AP is necessary for penetrating the heavy armor found on Battleships, Battlecruisers, and Heavy Cruisers in order to do any meaningful damage.
  • The "Penetration" order in Valkyria Chronicles allows a single unit to bypass enemy defense for the remainder of the turn, meaning that even tanks start taking damage from small arms fire into the hull. Flamethrowers and explosives also do full damage to a unit regardless of whether they're crouching behind cover or lying prone in tall grass (which normally renders them immune to crits and gives them an overall defense boost.) Explosives even cause the unit to stand back up after they're hit, leaving them open to be finished off with a follow-up attack.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: The V-Slash skill:
    A technique that ignores the foe's defense.
  • The "Kagamine Cannon" and "Freeze Burst" skill in VOCALOID no Natsuyasumi -Final 4 Days- have the properties to bypass enemy's defense, making them useful against bosses. However, both fall under Awesome, but Impractical as the former has highest MP cost in the game (except if you has a certain key item), while the later is only usable in the final battle in certain routes, since it requires the Kagamines and Kaito in the party.
  • Warcraft III has various damage and armor types. Certain damage types may deal more or less damage depending on armor type, while armour amount also influences how much damage is received through percentage reduction. One type of armor (Divine) is practically immune to any damage except one type of damage (Chaos). Spells tend to ignore physical armor when inflicting damage, but may instead be affected by some abilities or fail to work altogether on some unit classifications.
    • In World of Warcraft, this trope used to exist as Armor Penetration, a very desirable stat for classes that mainly inflict physical damage, such as rogues and warriors, but it was removed due to balance issues, though those two retain abilities to reduce the opponent's armor with a debuff for the benefit of their allies.
  • Warframe
    • The "Punch-through" attribute on certain weapons and weapon mods allows shots to penetrate a given distance. This mostly enables One Hit Polykills, but can also go straight through the riot shields of Grineer Shield Lancers.
    • Certain damage types, most notably Puncture and Corrosive, are effective against armor; this not only deals extra damage like other weaknesses but outright ignores a portion of the armor's damage reduction.
    • Toxin damage bypasses Deflector Shields entirely to damage a target's Health directly.
    • The Void damage dealt by Operators is not resisted by any enemy in the game, and it has special properties against Sentient enemies (dealing Void damage to Conculysts and Battalysts negates their Adaptive Ability, and it's the only thing that can destroy Vomvalysts' spectral forms or remove the shields of Eidolons.)
    • True damage cannot be resisted and completely ignores armor. No weapon deals it directly, and it can't be modded onto them; stealth finishers and the Damage Over Time from Slash procs are the most common sources. That said, a handful of Warframes can dish it out on their own: Trinity's Energy Vampire deals a small fixed percentage of damage, bypassing shields, with each pulse; Hydroid's Tentacle Swarm as well as his passive ability can summon a kraken's tendril to grab enemies and thrash them about; and Ash's Blade Storm acts as series of three finishers with a guaranteed Slash proc.
  • In White Knight Chronicles, Adolmea the Sun King is considered the most powerful Knight in part because of it's nigh impenetrable magical shield. The tables are turned once Leonard finds Falcyon, a sword that can break through the shield.
  • The Wing Commander series, starting with Wing Commander 2, features capital ships with shields or armor that is too heavy to be threatened by the weapons normally carried by fighters and smaller warships. To overcome this, heavy fighters and bombers can carry large, bulky torpedoes which are designed to "phase" through the enemy's shields and strike with a nuclear or antimatter warhead. The process of finding the right frequency for the shields justifies you needing to make long approaches towards an enemy ship which is actively trying to kill you before you can finally release the torpedo (and hope it doesn't get shot down itself). Later in the series, it goes back and forth between whether non-torpedo fighter weapons can or can't harm capital warships.
  • This type of attack is nearly mandatory in World of Tanks — not every gun has good HE damage, meaning that often times your ability to deal damage relies entirely on penetrating the enemy's armor from any direction possible.
    • Justified since the game is based as closely as possible on Real Life tank warfare, where armor penetration is king.
  • World of Warships
    • The usage of HE rounds is more prominent than World of Tanks since you could set the ships on fire. With the existence of overpenetrate mechanism, shooting AP against lightly armored ships such as Light Cruisers and Destroyers are discouraged since it will only deals 10% of the damage. HE shells penetration also doesn't affected by impact angle or shells velocity, instead it is dictated by fixed coefficient depending on the caliber and the nations. The penetrating ability can also increased by researching Inertia Fuse for High Explosive shells at the cost of chance of setting fire being lowered
    • AP shells penetrating ability are based on the armor thickness, caliber, range, angle, and the velocity of the shells. At certain angle, AP shells could fail to penetrate the armor and bounce harmlessly, this is apparent at long range engagement, since even though you target the broadside plunging fire chance of penetrating decrease significantly since the shells come at angle greater than 60° in which ricochet will always happen. Similarly, at shorter engagement targeting the deck will decrease the penetrating chance because the shells come at angle lower than 60°
    • There is also third shells type, Semi Armor Piercing (SAP) that only available to Italian ships. It combines the characteristic of HE and AP shells. The penetration are based on the shell caliber and armor thickness, but deals damage when the penetrating value is equal or higher than armor thickness. It doesn't overpenetrate and have better ricochet angles. At the same time it doesn't deal blast that starts fire or damaging modules and not affected by IFHE skills
  • X-COM
    • X-COM: UFO Defense and XCOM Terror From The Deep start you with "armor piercing" weapons. Subverted in that's only the damage type rather than the ability, and the non-armor piercing attacks are better at breaking through armor. To be more specific, the armor piercing weapons won't overcome the high armor and damage reduction of Lobstermen and Triscenesnote .
    • Game mod The XCOM Files greatly expands on the types of damage, and researching enemies to determine their vulnerabilities is correspondingly vital. Bullet weapons use "kinetic" damage, and by the end of the first in-game year, most enemies have some degree of kinetic damage reduction, but a corresponding vulnerability to another damage typenote . Juggling all the damage types to make sure you're able to counter your currently-most-dangerous-foe is a key tactic, as is identifying what you're likely to face (and therefore what armor you need to wear).note 
    • XCOM: Enemy Unknown: Electro Pulse, a tier 3 MEC suit subsystem, ignores all kinds of Damage Reduction. This hurts Sectopods especially badly, as their reinforced armor normally cuts damage by half.
    • XCOM 2
      • The game broke from its predecessor by having armor reduce incoming damage instead of just adding hit points to a unit, and there are a few ways that armor can be bypassed: the Proving Grounds can make Armor-Piercing Rounds, which can be equipped by any soldier to allow their attacks to completely ignore armor. The War of the Chosen expansion added the titular bosses' Darkclaw pistol and and Katana sword, which ignore up to a few points of a target's armor by default. A Psi Operative's Psychic Powers ignore armor but can only directly target organic units; only Area of Effect onesnote  can affect robotic hostiles.
      • Similarly, there are Deflector Shields (commonly deployed by ADVENT Shieldbearers) that serve as extra hit points for the unit. Bluescreen Rounds bypass these shield points entirely and hit the target's armor and health directly.
  • The Mass Driver in the X-Universe games is a high-velocity gatling railgun that will ignore ship shields (which is 90% of a ship's overall health, generally) and damage the ship's hull directly. Mounted en masse, this small, fighter-based weapon is hilariously effective at killing 4 kilometer long destroyers.

  • Sleepless Domain: Piercing the barrier covering Anemone is actually the entire point of Tessa's attack on her in Chapter 19. This is because Anemone is a literal Barrier Maiden, who creates the Inner Barrier every night to protect the City from monsters. When her Barrier is broken, it goes down across the entire City, leaving them vulnerable to monster attacks.

    Web Original 
  • Codex Inversus: One of the techniques used by Hesizainak, orcish duelists who scribe spells mid-combat with their sword flourishes, is the "selective slash", which ignores armor to cut the flesh or beneath (or, alternatively, can also ignore the flesh to only cleave armor or cloth).

    Real Life 
  • The invention of firearms is one of the main factors that made mail armor obsolete. While it was already in the process of being rendered obsolete by plate armor, the penetrative power of early firearms made it more trouble than it was worth compared to plate armor, which, although it had a higher resource cost, was both more protective and less restrictive on movement. Over the next few centuries, firearms would become more powerful so that plate armor strong enough to protect against it would become too restrictive, so it became limited to just helmets and breastplates, even then, only for heavy cavalry.
  • Interestingly, knives are this to a bulletproof vest. There are effectively two kinds of body armor, the ballistic (bulletproof) vest and the stab resistant vest, and both are quite different in design. It might take a bit more effort, but a ballistic vest will do little if anything to protect against an attacker armed with a knife since the blade will slice the Kevlar fibres with little difficulty.
  • There are also good old fashioned armor piercing rounds, such as the 5.56mm M995, which is absurdly expensive compared to conventional rounds but do Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Of course, Armor-Piercing rounds aren't strictly necessary to penetrate armor or cover. Most firearm rounds still travel at high enough velocities to wound or kill even after penetrating an obstacle. This is why, as our Gun Safety page will tell you, you should always be sure of your target and what lies beyond it. For example, steel armor plates are very vulnerable to high-velocity lead-core bullets like old M193 Ball in 5.56mm, and Aramid weave, including Kevlar, would fail to stop steel-cored (but not AP-rated!) rifle ammo. The lightweight, kevlar-weave vests most often seen in civilian and law-enforcement roles, meanwhile, are good against most pistol bullets but the vast majority of ordinary rifle and assault rifle rounds will go clean through them.
  • The ISU-152 and SU-152 armoured vehicles of World War II was known for their effectiveness against even the heaviest German tanks such that they were nicknamed "zveroboy" (translated as "beast killer"). Instead of usinge armour-piercing shells to penetrate heavy German tanks' armour, they simply used high-explosive shells that exploded with enough force on impact to knockout the crew in spite of a still-intact tank hull, or cause the crew to abandon the vehicle because the tracks and suspension were ruined.note 
  • Despite the common belief, that the bulletproof vest is designed to stop the round itself from penetrating you, but does little if anything to stop the force itself, there are no accounts of deaths, and there are very few reported serious injuries, on account of body armor backface deformation.
  • Going along with the discussion of body armor above, it is worth noting that different types of armor will provide different degrees of protection, and there is no such thing as impenetrable armor protection. Ballistic vests are designed with varying degrees of protection, from lightweight "second chance" vests, designed to provide some protection against smaller handgun rounds, to heavier and bulkier Class III armor, hard armor plates to stop rifle rounds. Even with the heavier armor, the common wisdom is that it's only promised to protect you from the first shot that hits you, and not even with the heavies. 30-06 is on the V50 standard; 50% of the time it succeeded in stopping. After that, it's advised that you seek cover, as the ceramic plates will likely be shattered beyond use by a couple of rifle rounds, likely 3-5. Meanwhile, that same rifle round will go through the lighter kevlar and other such aramid vests as if they weren't there, and may get shrugged off by heavier vehicle armor as a minor nuisance. The page image above provides an excellent example of this concept in action: The soldier's breastplate was probably enough to protect against most melee weapons and perhaps a pistol, but proved inadequate against field artillery, but then again... Field artillery is field artillery.
  • Gamma rays are highly energetic electromagnetic waves that penetrate anything. Their intensity and effects can only be weakened depending on the material in their pathnote , but a sufficiently powerful directed gamma ray source would render most contemporary vehicle armor technology useless, not to mention body armor. If the radiation dosage that makes it past the shielding is high enough, anyone affected by it would suffer symptoms ranging from acute radiation sickness, followed by an agonizing death over weeks, to extreme cases of almost instant loss of consciousness and then death within minutes. Thankfully, although militaries across the globe are probably experimenting with the tech, no weapon of this kind has made it into field deployment yet. Let's hope it stays that way.
    • The fact that neutron radiation is similarly penetrative and difficult to shield against in the field has spawned the concept of the Neutron Bomb, and these weapons do exist.
  • The large-caliber naval guns carried by ships in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were necessary because those same ships carried armor that in some cases was feet thick. The larger the gun, the bigger armor-piercing shell they could fire and the more armor they could penetrate. The large shells they could throw in other roles such as shore bombardment was simply a bonus.
    • Conversely, most modern naval ships are very thinly armored, due to changes in tactics: there's not much point in armoring your ship against huge naval guns when the danger is from armor-defeating missiles or attacks from above from aerial bombardment. As a result, it's not at all difficult to pierce the hull of a modern warship, if you hit it (Point Defenseless does not apply here).
  • Shaped charge munitions were invented during WW2. They consist of a metal cone surrounded by TNT. Upon detonation, the metal cone is instantly turned into a semi-molten jet that burrows through tank armor and disperses into the vehicle's cabin, magazine, or engine compartment. They were field-tested when German tanks were noted to bounce cannon shells off their hulls, thanks to the clever tactic of angling their armor (which adds about a half-inch to the thickness of Homogenous Rolled-Steel Armor.) Shaped-charge munitions simply ignore that extra half-inch. They're so effective that they have yet to truly be replaced, since the counter to shaped charge warheads, explosive reactive armor (literally just a bomb made to shove the penetrating metal jet away before it can burn through the hull), is defeated by using two shaped charges; one to set off the reactive armor and another to burn through the hull.
  • Vehicle-scale armor-piercing weapons tend to come in two types these days — gun-fired sabot rounds that tear through armor through sheer kinetic force, and shaped charges mounted on a wide variety of munitions. Somewhere in-between are bunker-busting bombs, which have old-school hard cases to penetrate deep into the earth or through concrete bunkers, with an explosive filler to then destroy whatever they penetrate.
  • Swords were mostly ineffective against armor and were usually a symbol of authority. Warhammers and polearms were what knights actually used in combat. A warhammer was usually paired with a pick-end because it was effective against both plate and chain. The pick would split the rings of chainmail wide open and deliver a lethal stab, but stick fast in plate. The hammer would crush plate, muscle, brain, and bone. Failing that, it could fatally jar vital organs like an egg in a pot, killing the enemy with little regard to armor.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Ignores Defense, Armour Piercing, Ignores Defence, Armor Piercing, Piercing Attack, Armor Ignoring Damage, Armour Piercing Attack


Rutherford Sacrificing Himself

Not wanting everyone in the Cerritos to die because of Badgey's desire to get revenge on him, Rutherford offers to give himself up to Badgey, hoping the Cerritos will be spared. Mariner tags along not realizing that this was his plan and instantly regrets joining him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / TakeMeInstead

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