Escape from Tarkov Ammo: A Guide to Picking the Best Rounds

Without any exaggeration, there’s a plethora of Escape from Tarkov ammo available. Like its weapon system, EFT‘s ammunition options can be just as complicated for the uninitiated and as nuanced for the min-max players. This is on top of having to deal with pretty complex armor and healing mechanics. Put together, it can be pretty rough to grasp unless you devote enough hours into it.

Check out the best Escape from Tarkov Weapons too!

What you need to know about Escape from Tarkov ammo

The first thing every player should learn about ammo in Escape from Tarkov is that it’s not like in other titles. In other shooters, you buy ammo and you don’t even think about it. It’s purely an economic balancing option, but it’s different with EFT. In this game, the rounds you shoot determine how much damage you deal on enemies, not the gun you’re using. Guns don’t use just a single specific type of ammo either, giving you options to maximize your loadout.

With this out of the way, here are a few of our favorite ammo that you could include in your build:

9×19 mm

Pistols and submachine guns aren’t the greatest in EFT, but if you enjoy using the likes of the MP9-N and MP5, you need to know your small pistol caliber bullets. These rounds have a slower travel speed, and their damage values aren’t that impressive either. It’s great for tiny spaces or close quarters, but not much else.

If you’re going up against armored targets, the 9×19 mm AP 6.3 is something you can buy from Peacekeeper when your loyalty reaches level 3. Its overall damage is the lowest for this bullet type, but its armor penetration is great. For flesh damage, the 9×19 mm RIP bullets are decent, but these suck versus armor. Need something in the middle? Go for the 9×19 mm Luger CCI.

5.56×45 mm

Running a Colt M4A1 in your build? This NATO cartridge is your poison then. Destroy high tier armor with ease using the 5.56×45 mm M995 rounds. You can only get these from Peacekeeper at loyalty level 4, which means you’ll have to work for it a bit. If Peacekeeper’s only at level 3, you can go for the M855A1 ones. Warmage ammo is your choice if straight damage is all you’re after.

5.45×39 mm

For the AK-74 variety fans, the rifle round you have to be familiar with is the 5.45×39 mm. Its speed and damage give the US 5.56×45 mm rounds a run for their money. This particular ammo type has so many varieties, but we’ll save you the trouble of listing them all.

The 7N39 “Igolnik” rounds are an excellent choice for armor penetration, but you can only source these via looting, crafting, or the flea market. Alternatively, buy the 5.45×39 mm BS rounds from Prapor at level 4 loyalty. If you prefer dishing out high overall damage, get your loyalty with Jaeger to level 2 and get the 5.45×39 mm HP. Fair warning though, this one has little armor penetration values.

7.62×51 mm

The 7.62×51 mm is another ammo used in a long list of guns, such as the DT MDR .308, the RSASS, SA-58, and even the Orsis T-5000 and M700. If your goal is to look through a scope and take out your enemies one shot at a time, this is the bullet you’d want to run with.

Our favorite here for armor penetration is the 7.62×51 mm M61. You’ll need to complete part 6 of the quest Wet Job for this and get Peacekeeper to level 4. Hollow-point sniper rounds aren’t a thing, but you can opt for the 7.62×51 mm Ultra Nosler as an alternative. Its damage numbers are nothing to scoff at, even though it can’t penetrate through armor.

7.62×39 mm

If you’re playing the Vepr KM or AK assault rifles or the SKS carbines, this damaging bullet is your friend. Use this effectively and it could be devastating against pretty much any enemy. Definitely, the favored bullet here would be the 7.62×39 mm BP. It has a notable balance in its damage values, making it the go-to ammo here. To get it, you’ll need to finish part 5 of the Punisher questline. This would level up your loyalty with Prapor to level 3, allowing you to buy BP rounds.

Sadly, the alternatives for this bullet aren’t really that great. You could go for the 7.62×39 mm HP, but its low penetration can be quite the hassle even if its damage is high. For more niche runs, you may want to experiment with the 7.62×39 mm US rounds, which are subsonic. It’s an acceptable choice if you want to be stealthy, though it’s a little weaker than BPs. You’ll also have to master its slower travel, as bullet drop can be an issue otherwise.

So, which Escape from Tarkov ammo should you use?

Ultimately, two elements decide how effective your rounds will be: flesh damage and armor penetration. You want to understand who your targets are and what armor they are wearing to make the most of each shot. Escape from Tarkov ammo have different damage values on each element, and not everyone wears the same set of armor. Some aren’t as geared up as others, in which case you won’t have to invest so much in armor penetrating rounds and instead focus on dealing flesh damage.

For a more catchall playstyle, ammo is all about finding the right balance in these damage values. It’s far from ideal (if not outright impossible without dying) to switch between rounds once you’ve torn through the armor anyway. Consistent results in firefights depend on striking that right balance between armor and flesh damage.

Do keep in mind the cost of your ammo, too! The priciest doesn’t always mean it’s the best. Besides, you’re paying for the ammo in roubles, so your economy as a player is really important. Your level of access to merchants also defines what you can buy, so take those into consideration.

And, as with anything EFT, feel free to explore every so often! What’s listed as *the best* shouldn’t really define how you play. If you can run an ammo type effectively, even if it isn’t really meta or favored, go for it. What matters is that you can down enemies with it while having fun.

Credit: Escape from Tarkov Ammo: A Guide to Picking the Best Rounds