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Best Tarkov Ammo and Ammo Charts 2021 – Tarkov Guide
Using the best Tarkov ammo is important to your success in PvE and PvP fights, but which round do you use and when? Learn the best in slot and budget ammo types for a range of situations in this summary of Tarkov Ammo charts and ammo guide updated for 2021.
Ammo (also referred to rounds or bullets) in Escape From Tarkov receive a lot of community attention and for good reason as they are your primary means of dispatching Scav and PMC enemies in fights. As a new, intermediate or budget conscious player though determining the best ammo to use in Tarkov can be a tricky part of the learning curve that this guide aims to help you overcome. For those that prefer video based content Pestily offers a fantastic Tarkov ammo chart 12.9 update which covers some of the latest changes to the ammo system and he also has a Pestily ammo tier list.
While it would be easy to create a bullet tier list from the best Escape From Tarkov ammo by sheer stats the aim of this guide is to discuss several top to mid tier ammo choices and when each is effective factoring in time of the wipe, playstyle and importantly your budget. The EFT ammo chart below can serve as a handy reference point while further down we’ll discuss what ammo you should use for the most common gun calibres.
Tarkov Ammo Chart 2021
There are many great Tarkov Ammo charts available on the web that serve as quick reference points for players as to which ammo reigns supreme. If you’re looking for a quick reference document (and a newer player) I recommend this image from SunMachine on reddit (also known as the ez ammo chart) that covers the core ammo types which is reproduced below and will serve you well in the majority of cases. EFT Monster is also producing a high quality visual Tarkov bullet chart on their website that is regularly updated and my number one recommended Tarkov ammo chart for 2021 although you’ll need some intermediate game knowledge to use it effectively.
Alternatively for those that are more number or stat driven NoFoodAfterMidnight’s EFT Ammo and Armour Charts (backup version if main version is unavailable due to high traffic) are well referenced by the community. There is also the Tarkov wiki summary that features most of the same basic information.
While all of these are great resources in their own right the purpose of this guide below is to go more in depth into the different stages of Tarkov that different ammunition are viable, how to acquire them and the trade offs that each has in real raid situations. With this added context you’ll be able to quickly determine the best Tarkov ammo for you across the most popular weapon types (not all weapons are included but rather the ones you’ll be using the majority of the time particularly for the new to intermediate player).
Understanding the basics of how ammo works in Escape From Tarkov can provide some insight into what makes an ammo type good (or bad) but equally what makes an ammo the best in specific circumstances such as after a Tarkov wipe. With this knowledge you’ll be better positioned to complete Tarkov quests, gain levels and increase your stash wealth.
While ammo ballistics could be an article in itself and there are a number of advanced guides for those interested the two fundamentals to grasp are penetration and damage which generally in most ammo types have an inverse relationship to each other. The result is ammo rounds and bullets that specialise in dealing damage and ideal for the leg meta (where your kills will come from damaging limbs) while others have no problem piercing high armour but are unable to one hit a target in the process as their thorax health does not 0 from the subsequent damage.
Damage is thus one important stat to keep in mind particularly with reference to head (35) and thorax (85) health that will result in death if taken to 0. Ammo which overcomes either of these cutoff points is thus favoured as it can take a potential 2 hit kill to a 1 hit kill although they are rare since thorax health was buffed from 80 to 85 in the July 2020 12.7 patch. The same principle still applies to turn 3 hit kills into 2 hit kills and so on though.
Between you and causing this damage though is your opponent’s armour which is where penetration comes in. Noted as a raw number the higher the value will increase your chance of penetrating a target’s armour and dealing this damage to them. At extreme ends a high tier armour could absorb over a dozen bullets before damage is dealt while on the other end of the scale the armour will be lucky to even stop a single bullet.
Your choice of ammo can also impact on accuracy, recoil and weapon durability burn with some being tracer rounds that allow you (and your enemies) see where shots are going but these are generally not as a significant concern in comparison to damage and penetration. For these reasons the best ammo in Tarkov can vary for your needs although generally higher penetration trumps all in PvP.
Best 7.62x39mm Tarkov Ammo
A common round in the majority of early to mid game rifles due to it’s deadly power and links to some quest lines (such as AKM Scav kills on Shoreline). The more powerful variants of this calibre include MAI AP and BP which keep it viable into the later stages of the Tarkov wipe.
MAI AP: Added in patch 12.10 in March 2021 this ammo builds on the strength of the 7.62×39 calibre by providing a powerful penetrating round that only high class armour has a chance to defend against. The round is kept in check though due to it being only found in raid and not available on any traders. For those that can afford it though there is little reason to run anything else due to the effectiveness of this round.
BP: With the highest penetration in this ammo calibre the BP round is a late game power house round that will consistently penetrate level 5 armour and comes with an equally deadly damage number that will deliver a devastating head shot or two hit thorax. What makes BP particularly attractive as a top tier ammo though is its relative affordability compared to others on this list partly due to ample trader (Prapor Level 3 after Punisher Part 5), hideout crafting availability and the lack of 7.62x39mm guns in the meta.
PS: Probably the absolute best ammo Tarkov has in the early game and ideal for your SKS or AKM. While it doesn’t pack the same punch as BP you’ll still be able to overcome level 4 armour reliably that makes it ideal early to mid game. The ease of early trader (Prapor Level 1) availability and price also improves its usage alongside the fact that SKS Scavs will spawn with around 40 to 50 rounds that are powerful early to mid game finds.
T45M: The high availability of this round (from Scavs) means players are constantly wondering is T45M ammo good in Tarkov? Not that different from PS round the T45M is a reliable round that can be used if you don’t mind the tracer variant. While I wouldn’t ever recommend purchasing this (Prapor Level 2) it can be a regular in Scav AKM series of guns and worth using for yourself if looted or brought across from a Scav run and you are on an extreme budget or aren’t chasing PvP and simply something capable of defending yourself against Scavs.
Best 7.62x51mm Tarkov Ammo
Another common calibre of bullet that is used on popular rifles like the Vepr Hunter and M1A, these rifles are often recommended to pierce through armour cheaply and it’s easy to see why looking at the penetration potential of even the cheapest round.
M61: One of the deadliest rounds in Tarkov and often a price to match like many of the top tier ammo. This ammo will slice through even the toughest armour with ease while backing it up with strong damage for 2 hit kills to the thorax. Locked behind Peacekeeper Level 4 M61 does have a reasonably expensive crafting recipe which doesn’t help the price.
M62: While note quite as deadly as the M61 in penetration power that makes it not as viable for tier 6 armours the damage the raw damage is still there for a more budget friendly price it’s not available early though with Peacekeeper Level 3 required. There is also the drawback of a tracer round which will be giving away your position to your targets but can be useful for long range sniping raids.
M80: The ultimate budget round for this gun that is a capable Raider killer and being reliable up to tier 4 armour. The higher damage historically gave this round a one shot thorax potential making it an absolute staple of mid game combat. Despite the change to thorax health to 85 noted above though that removes the one hit potential the M80 still remains a budget end game pick for those venturing onto Reserve, Labs or chasing boss kills on other maps for reliable 2 or 3 hit kills. With Peacekeeper Level 2 required it’s also an accessible bullet from as early as level 10 making it the best Hunter ammo in Tarkov in particular as you are levelling your PMC.
Best 7.62x54R Tarkov Ammo
A devastating sniper rifle round that will be used for SVDS and Mosin ammo that are common sights in Escape From Tarkov due to a wealth of quests that require kills with them (both Scav and PMC).
7N1: The go to late game round for the 7.62x54R sniper rifles with consistent power to take on level 4 armour and even give level 5 a run for its money. With Prapor Level 3 offering this round in reasonable quantity for a sniper rifle round you’ll regularly be able to fill up magazines. This round is also known as 7.62x54R PS.
LPS Gzh: A strong staple round that you can find in abundance on Mosin Scavs and early level Prapor (literally Level 1). With a deadly punch up to tier 4 armours this round pairs it with deadly two shot potential and makes the Mosin an attractive gun.
Best 5.45x39mm Tarkov Ammo
Primarily an AK ammo round used for the majority of AK variants that Escape From Tarkov has to offer and accordingly a round you’ll want to be able to identify quickly if you find yourself stealing Scav weapons. A good rule of thumb is to look out for an ammo that starts with “B” for quick identification of quality.
7n39: The powerful Igolnik round that is the only bullet to not adhere to the B rule above and is kept in check by the high price as it’s supply is limited to hideout crafting and loot (Raiders and Killa). Having no problem with any armour class the lower damage does lack a two tap potential though.
BS: Often going for a similar price as 7n39 and having the benefit of solid damage that makes it capable of three tapping thorax BS is a worthy round to load your magazine with. The trade off is that it is not fully guaranteed against tier 6 armour though. As BS can be bartered for (Prapor Level 3) or bought directly at Level 4 it keeps the price in check or makes it accessible directly.
BT: One of the many tracer rounds for the 5.45×39 bullet calibre which makes this easy to identify when being shot at by Scavs or players due to its red colour. It’s a common find on Scavs, Raiders and Scav bosses alike that makes it readily available to players. In addition Prapor is once again offering this through barters and trades to keep the bullet supply flowing. Supporting it’s accessibility is it’s deadliness up to tier 4 armour and the two tap potential from its damage.
BP: While not quite as deadly as the 5.45 cousins above BP is a worth a mention and still capable of being a reliable tier 3 armour killer. It’s also available a whole Prapor level before most of the other 5.45 ammo types above boosting it’s attractiveness that make it a reliable mid game option if you want to run a budget AK build or pick it up from a Scav or your own Scav Run.
Best 5.56x45mm NATO Tarkov Ammo
A staple ammo in the later stages of Tarkov wipes thanks to usage in the HK 416A5 and M4A1 that are constantly at the top of the gun meta. The lack of an early strong ammo also contributes to keeping this ammo relegated to the late game as any tier of armour can quickly hurt the effectiveness of 5.56 NATO. With its late game skew to these weapons knowing what is the best 556 ammo Tarkov has to offer will keep you safe.
M995: Powerful all the way up to tier 6 armours M995 is a staple end game round that makes it the best 5.56 ammo in Tarkov with the price to match as you would expect given its difficult craft. While some trader availability and crafting recipes keeps a reasonable supply the 5.56x45mm assault rifle meta of Tarkov works against keeping the cost down.
M855A1: A common and cheap 5.56x45mm round worth using and one that you’ll find during your Tarkov travels either on Scavs or other PMCs that you best in combat. Not to be mistaken for the similarly named M855 round (also common on Scavs) that is not worth the space in your magazine this round is capable up to tier 4 making it a natural pick during the mid game provided you can unlock Peacekeeper Level 4 or Skier Level 4.
M856A1: The first viable ammo available in this calibre is the first that compete against tier 3 armour with some consistency. M856A1 is one of the many tracer rounds that Tarkov offers though but the fact it is sold by Peacekeeper Level 2 after The Cult Part 1 makes this a go to option throughout early to mid game.
Best 9x39mm Tarkov Ammo
With the VSS and AS VAL meta being a constant fixture of Escape From Tarkov the 9×39 ammo has plenty of interest to PMCs on the market especially given the high fire rates and natural silencers of these weapons that allow them to simply eat through ammo and kill quietly. This high fire rate also means that all rounds are viable and cost becomes an even more important factor here as you can use literally fire tens of thousands of Roubles in a few seconds.
BP: The BP name is once again at the top tier of an ammo calibre although rarely seen in practice as it regularly runs double the cost of SP-6 and SPP despite giving little real benefit. Again this comes down to the speed of fire that these weapons have but if you just want to splash your cash BP will let you literally drain your stash with every round fired. Available through barter trades and crafting only don’t expect BP to be a staple ammo.
SP-6/SPP: Performing practically identically in real life situations (although SPP offers additional damage per bullet) these are going to be your regular selection when running a VSS or AS VAL in anything but the very end of a wipe from a cost to benefit point. SP-6 does benefit from unlocking one level earlier at Prapor (Level 3) and having a crafting recipe that makes it the more common pick.
SP-5: Your entry level 9×39 round SP-5 is a capable round for the mid game as the high fire rate keeps it strong up to tier 4. Accessibility of the round and this fire rate also keeps it a cheap alternative to the options below even later game though with often not even a second difference in time to kills. Prapor Level 2 will happily sell you this round as well which makes it the first accessible 9×39 ammo.
Best 4.6x30mm Tarkov Ammo
A speciality ammo that is only used in the two MP7 variants (A1 and A2) these guns have proven to be a regular staple of the meta with their high fire rates and powerful penetrating ammunition. Of the available options there are really only two that players should be running when using these weapons due to the others lacking the penetrating power needed to get through armour otherwise.
AP SX: Offering the best penetration power in the 4.6x30mm class of ammo players will be able to quickly shred through even class 6 armour which makes this a popular late game pick. Available from Mechanic level 4 players will regularly have to purchase this quickly after restock though as it sells fast and often commands a hefty flea market premium otherwise.
FMJ SX: A solid backup ammo if you run dry of AP SX the FMJ ammo is capable in its own right and available earlier with Peacekeeper Level 3 selling this reliable ammo. While it won’t rip through class 6 armour it can reliably be used against class 4 and is decent at class 5 which covers the majority of players.
Best 9x19mm Tarkov Ammo
An ammo that was rarely used outside of pistol runs in the original days of Tarkov although is seeing more use with the likes of the popular KRISS Vector, MP5 and MPX along with the introduction of top penetration ammunition that improves their viability in the meta.
If you find yourself regularly using this SMG class weapon knowing which ammo to use is vital to their effective use against armoured players.
7N31 (PBP): The ultimate 9x19mm ammunition which is only available late game to players through a workbench level 3 craft. While this is not a cheap method are players can secure a reasonable amount of 7N31 ammo if focused on. With the highest penetration value of all 9×19 this should be your default option with the ammo capable of dealing with well armoured opponents.
AP 6.3: A close second to 7N31 that has less penetration but slightly more availability and a good replacement if your stock of 7N31 runs dry. Unfortunately AP 6.3 does start to struggle with class 4 armour and above although the high fire rate of weapons that use the 9×19 still making it viable in most situations although you’ll need to rely more on effective headshots.
Pst Gzh: The best of the remaining 9×19 ammos is Pst Gzh and while it lacks the penetrating power of those above is still an effective Scav killer or PMC slayer in the early to mid game. It does start to struggle with the meta face shield and helmet variants used by the player base though so don’t set your expectations too high.
Best 12/70 Tarkov Ammo
A rarer used ammo calibre in Escape From Tarkov is the shotgun slugs and shots. Shotguns can still be fun to use though and outright required in some quests that demand Scav and PMC kills on specific maps. Quests like the Silent Calibre, Punisher Part 4 and Spa Tour Part 1 might leave you wondering which is the best shotgun ammo to use for these quests.
AP-20 Slug: A slug round that makes it viable at range while also deadly the AP-20 is your best all around choice when trying to complete your shotgun quests or simply have some shotgun fun. While it can’t penetrate armour straight the high damage and potential for long range shots due to the slug mechanism makes it devastating regardless. Access to this ammo is available as a late game hideout craft and Jaegar Level 4 though so expect it to run more expensive than the below shotgun ammo option.
Flechette: Requiring a more close range approach to shotguns the Flechette is a deadly round capable of shooting through tougher armour (up to tier 5) but you’ll find your shots only effective at the closest of ranges. By modifying your playstyle though this is still a viable option to load up your shotgun with and is available slightly earlier at Jaegar Level 3.
Using the best ammo and pairing it with an understand of the ammo chart in Escape From Tarkov is an important piece of game knowledge that goes beyond simply the highest priced ammo. With the above facts and the best bullets to use in your magazine you’ll be well positioned to understand when ammo is cost effective, the best ways to obtain the ammo and ultimately find the right balance of cost and potential for your raid purposes.