Each of the 6 types of 9x19mm ammo change the MP9's performance
© Escape from Tarkov by Battlestate Games
The Escape from Tarkov Ammo Guide
It's not as simple as just counting your bullets in EfT. If you want to get the edge on your opponents, you'll need to know which types of ammo to use, and when best to use them.
Written by Jack Grimshaw
Published on
In Escape From Tarkov you want to deal as much damage as efficiently as possible. Sure, you have a powerful sniper rifle, or an M4 with a high rate of fire that can empty mags with barely any recoil, but if your bullets aren’t up to scratch it'll be like you're not shooting anything at all. Knowing which type of ammo you’re using, what you’re using it for, and what its best function is, can be a difficult learning curve that many Tarkov players will have to overcome. This guide will introduce you to the different ammunition and make sure that you are making the most of your hard-earned weapons.

Types of ammunition

The AS VAL in Escape from Tarkov, by Battlestate Games.
With the AS VAL's bullet drop, make sure the shots you hit count
There are many different bullets in Escape From Tarkov. From the ubiquitous 5.56x45mm used by M4’s and 7.62x39mm NATO loaded into AKM’s, to the more esoteric cartridges like the 9x39mm for the VSS. If you manage to get through the early hours of Tarkov without buying the wrong sized bullet for your weapon, then you are doing well. It’s all too easy to confuse 5.56 with 5.45.
Getting the right ammo for the right gun is only the start though, as each calibre comes in a variety of types, with some being basic surplus ammo designed to move slowly and avoid ricochet, while others are hollow point rounds for dealing high damage to flesh. If you’re choosing to hunt down highly armoured players then you’re going to need something with high penetration, but if you’re able to choose your targets carefully then you can use lower penetration ammo that deals very high damage.

The best 9x19mm in Escape From Tarkov

The MP9 in Escape from Tarkov by Battlestate Games.
Each of the 6 types of 9x19mm ammo change the MP9's performance
The small pistol calibre is used in handguns and many submachine guns such as the MP5, and MP9-N. The rounds themselves tend to do less damage, and travel slower. This means they are affected more by range and lose a lot of their impact. However, the weapons that fire this round tend to be able to put a lot of bullets out very quickly and with little recoil. This makes it excel in small spaces or if you can close the distance and overwhelm your opponents with a hailstorm of bullets.
If you’re using this cartridge to take out armoured opponents, you’re going to want the 9x19mm AP 6.3, which you can find on the Flea Market or from Peacekeeper at loyalty level 3. It has the lowest overall damage of the 9x19 family, but it had the best penetration and armour damage. If flat damage is what you’re after, and aren’t worried about armour, you can use the 9x19mm RIP rounds which do huge damage to exposed body parts, while being completely defeated by armour. It’s worth mentioning the 9x19 Luger CCI, which is a good intermediate between the two listed above.

The best 5.45x39mm in Escape From Tarkov

Trading with Prapor in Escape from Tarkov by Battlestate Games.
Make sure to get the right bang for your buck
This rifle round is used by the AK-74 varieties, as well as the AK-105 and RPK-16. It has comparable speed and effect to the US 5.56x45 rounds. There are many varieties of this round so sorting through the list can be quite difficult. If you’re looking for high penetration, you’re going to want the 7N39 “Igolnik” rounds which can only be looted, crafted, or acquired from the flea market. If this is unavailable then try out the 5.45x39mm BS rounds, sold by Prapor at loyalty level 4. If high overall damage is more your style, then the hollow point rounds sold by Jaeger at loyalty level 2, the 5.45x39mm HP, will do lots of damage with little armour penetration.

The best 5.56x45mm in Escape From Tarkov

The AK-101 in Escape from Tarkov, by Battlestate Games.
There are 9 varieties of 5.56x45mm NATO rounds to get familiar with
The NATO cartridge that is used in the Colt M4A1, Heckler and Koch’s 416A5, and the budget ADAR 2-15. It can be fired very rapidly from weapons with the function to do so. If you’re looking to cut through high tier armour like butter, you will want to use the 5.56x45mm M995 rounds as these have the best anti-armour capabilities. They are only sold by Peacekeeper at Loyalty Level 4 which can take some work to get to. If you don’t feel like trawling the flea market for them, you can try the M855A1 which Peacekeeper sells at level 3. If it’s straight damage you’re after, then you should use Warmage ammo which can be traded for once you get Peacekeeper to Level 3.

The best 7.62x39mm in Escape From Tarkov

The AKM, and SKS variants fire this chunky round and can devastate opponents when it hits. The rounds you’ll want to use are the 7.62x39mm BP, which are unlocked after you complete part 5 of the Punisher questline and get Prapor to Loyalty Level 3. All the other available rounds are worse in every way, apart from the 7.62x39mm HP, which has the highest damage, but the lowest penetration. It is also worth bearing in mind that the 7.62x39mm US rounds are subsonic, and will fire without a loud sonic boom, but are a shade weaker than the BP rounds and travel much slower so expect bullet drop to be harsher.

The best 7.62x51mm in Escape From Tarkov

The M700 with 7.62x51mm M80 ammo in Escape from Tarkov.
An M700 with 7.62x51mm M80 ammo
This round is used in a variety of weapons, from Assault rifles like the SA-58 and DT MDR .308, Designated Marksman Rifles including the M1A, RSASS and SR-25, to sniper rifles like the M700 and Orsis T-5000. This is the round you want if you're looking at targets through a scope and want to put them down in as few shots as possible.
For high penetration, you’ll want to use the 7.62x51mm M61 which can be bought from Peacekeeper at loyalty level 4, but you’ll need to complete the quest Wet Job – Part 6. There is no hollow-point sniper round, but there is the 7.62x51mm Ultra Nosler which functions basically the same and boasts some very high damage numbers, despite not getting through armour.
Now that you know which rounds to use when you’re out player hunting, taking down Scavs for tasks, or simply trying to escape with some decent loot in your bag, you should find your shots being more effective, and engagements far more satisfying. Just be prepared for the hit to your rouble count when picking up these high performing bullets.