What ammo to use in World of Warships — explained

Learn the differences in shell types an how to use them.


One of the things that separates a newer player from a veteran is their knowledge of the different shell types. A veteran player knows when to swap their HE shells for AP, or when not to fire at all. In this section, we’ll catch you up on the basics.

There are three types of ammunition that you can load into your guns in World of Warships. Knowing which to use in a situation is key to becoming a true master of the seas. Down below, we’ll go over what ammo to use in World of Warships — the differences between the different ammo types and what situations to use them in.

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The different ammo types

There are three primary shell types that you can load into your main batteries: Armor-Piercing (or AP), High-explosive (or HE), and Semi-armor-piercing (or SAP). A shell is made up of a casing, an explosive charge, and a fuse; the three ammo types are differentiated by the makeup of those three components.

Armor-piercing Shells (AP)

An AP shell has a sharp-pointed, high-density casing. The penetrator at its tip is ultra-thick, which leaves less room for explosives. The fuse is designed to explode shortly after penetration; this gives the shell time to break through armor before dealing bursting. AP shells are the least explosive of the three ammo types, but they have the most penetrating power.

AP shells are best used in situations where you’re sure of a direct hit to a vital module. They can be absolutely devastating in the hands of someone who knows the inner layouts of their target ship.

High-explosive Shells

HE shells sacrifice penetration power for sheer explosive damage. They’re fused to blast on impact in an explosion of flame and fragments. HE shells also have a chance to set modules ablaze.

It’s important to know a ship’s weak points to get the most out of your shots, as HE shells can do massive damage when fired at the right part of a ship. You want to shoot at thinly armored section of a ship, possibly nearby vital ship modules.

Semi-armor-piercing Shells (SAP)

HE shells have poor penetration but incredible explosive power. AP shells punch through armor but lack in explosion damage. Semi-armor-piercing shells offer a bit of both, sitting right in the middle in explosive power and penetration. Just like AP shells, SAP ammo explodes after a slight delay.

SAP shells are situational and require a deep knowledge of armor thicknesses on different parts of a ship. It’s the ammo type for min-maxers who want to get the most damage. crucially, SAP shells do not lose penetration over distance. This makes them a great “fire and forget” option.

Best ammo for each ship type

Certain ammo types work better for some ship types than others.


With the largest caliber guns in the game, these seaworthy leviathans pack a major punch. High-caliber guns have excellent penetration ability, so you have to be careful when loading AP shells, as you run the risk of overpenetration (i.e., penetration is so high that it cuts right through a ship and into the water, instead of exploding inside of the ship).

  • Load up HE rounds when you’re facing a Destroyer. Destroyers generally have thinner armor, so AP rounds in your high-caliber guns will overpenetrate.
  • Use AP rounds against thick-armored Cruisers. Cruisers have thick armor plating, which HE and SAP rounds can have trouble cutting through. With AP rounds, you have a good shot at piercing the hull without overpenetration.


Cruisers offer a good balance of armor and speed, with thicker hulls than Destroyers and more agility than your typical Battleship. Most Cruisers come with both HE and AP rounds.

  • Cruiser guns can overpenetrate Destroyers and other Cruisers at close ranges. For this reason, you should primarily keep HE shells in your guns.
  • Swap to AP guns when you have a clear shot at the broadside of an enemy Cruiser.


Destroyers have tiny guns compared to Cruisers and Battleships, so torpedoes are your main means of dealing damage. They do, however, deal incredible damage over time with their HE shells.

Use your Destroyer’s speed to get flank an enemy Cruiser or Destroyer, then use your HE shells to wreak havoc on their internals. If you hit the right spot, your round will explode right where the key modules are, setting everything ablaze.

As you’ve learned, it’s not that hard to understand which type of ammo to use in World of Warships. The difficulty lies in applying that theory in battle. Keep the tips in this guide in mind and enable training room in World of Warships to get lots of practice, and you’ll find yourself subconsciously swapping between ammo in no time!

What are the different types of ammo in World of Warships?

There are three types of ammo in World of Warships:

Armor Piercing (AP) ammo is designed to cut through armor but doesn’t do much internal damage.

High Explosive (HE) ammo is used to do maximum damage to internal components but has reduced armor piercing capabilities.

Semi-Armor Piercing (SAP) ammo offers a middle ground between AP and HE ammo, with decent explosive power and armor penetration.

When should I use Armor Piercing (AP) ammo in World of Warships?

You should use Armor Piercing (AP) ammo when need to cut through thick armor. AP ammo is perfect when you have a clear shot of a key module.

When should I use High Explosive (HE) ammo in World of Warships?

You should use High Explosive (HE) rounds when you want to deal the maximum amount of damage to a ship’s internals. Armors with thinner armor (like most Destroyers) are the perfect target for HE rounds.

When should I use Semi-Armor Piercing (SAP) ammo in World of Warships?

You should use Semi-Armor Piercing (SAP) ammo when firing from long distances. SAP does not lose penetration with distance, so can often be more effective at piercing armor than AP rounds at longer ranges.

When should I use Tracer (TR) ammo in World of Warships?

There is no such thing as Tracer (TR) ammo in World of Warships. All ammo types have tracers. However, there is a special Commander skill that lets you change the color of your tracers.

When should I use Incendiary (IN) ammo in World of Warships?

There is no such thing as Incendiary (IN) ammo in World of Warships. High Explosive (HE) and Semi-Armor Piercing (SAP) ammo have a chance to cause explosions and start fires when they explode.

Can I use different types of ammo in the same battle in World of Warships?

Yes. You can switch between ammo types by pressing 1 and 2 on your keyboard.