.50's deserve a buff

Considering the OP nature of cannons, being one shot nightmares, with singular 20mm cannon rounds magically being able tear the entire fuselage of planes in half; I believe that buffing the post pen damage of .50’s to be slightly below in terms of capability of the Swedish 13.2mm rounds when they were first added to be more than fair.
Is this realistic? No. But neither are 20mm cannons that magically have the equivalent explosive filler of a 500lb bomb.

Realistically, you would need to put in a rather inordinate amount of firepower into a single aircraft to take them down structurally or with fire, ammunition explosion (As you can see multiple times in gun cam footage) or straight up pilot snipes.

If I am supposed to spend my time climbing to high altitudes, I want my weapons to be equally as broken as my competition. The ‘fires’ that people extoll about the .50 only come from late war tracer belts and even that has been nerfed compared to the near guaranteed flamethrower that they were back then. And not every U.S. vehicle gets that consistently until near the end of the U.S. prop line, unlike Germany and Russia getting their 20mms early on.


Quick question for you, do you only use the late 12.7mm tracer belt that is only the M20 API-T? I feel like you probably do, as most people think that that is the best belt, but it is not. It carries no explosive type ammunition and will only penetrate and cause fires. The Universal belt is much more effective as it contains a mix of Incendiary, AP-I and API-T, the I and AP-I being explosive shells. Using only the M20 API-T means you are merely passing rounds though the thin fuselages with no meaningful post pen damage because of the lack of spalling. If you want to deal large amounts of damage, the low pen explosive shells like the M8 AP-I and M23 Incendiary rounds will cause much more fragmentation damage because of their explosive mechanic. If you aren’t going for piercing the armored glass, then the M20 Tracer belts aren’t the best option.

I’m pretty sure the .50s have better ballistics, carry much more ammo, and have better penetration characteristics when compared to the similar BR 20mm cannons. The .50 cals are by no means a weak weapon in air battles, and I can almost guarantee that your problem with them stems from the lack of diverse rounds in the belts you choose to use.

The same version of the m2 browning btw, the Swedish 12.7, is good, I’ve never had any issues with the .50’s they are really good if you hit your shots. The 13.2 is better because it has a higher HE filler, as with almost every round, like the German 15mm’s regular HE is worse than their HEI-T (Minengeschoß) which has more HE filler, and therefore does more damage.

TLDR; No, it doesn’t.

I’ve actually experienced more luck with the Tracers we have now compared to the Universal belts. the mixture doesn’t seem to do much as API-T seems too happy to start fires. Going into protection analysis, I find that the regular incendiary rounds literally do nothing.

A single Incendiary may not seem like it does anything, but when you have 6 of them hitting the same patch with your gun convergence the fragmentation and incendiary effects are amplified.

I use strictly Universal or Stealth belts and I regularly remove wings/tails from other fighters. If you are engaging at the appropriate distance with your convergence and aiming well, the .50 cals will absoluetly take care of even heavy airframes like the Do-335.

What I’m saying is. If API-T does the same damage with penetration allowing more damage into multiple areas, why use incendiary? I’m seeing no benefit as from protection analysis I’m getting the same damage, if not more, mixed with penetration from API-T unlike with Incendiary, it hits like a dud round.

The issue is that you need between 6-12 Incen .50 cal rounds to do the damage of 2 20mm rounds

So you could be ALOT more accurate with a .50, and still be punished

Which, is historically accurate, but from a gameplay perspective, sucks butt

If we could get that down to 5-10 rounds of .50 instead, it would make it ALOT more enjoyable

Especially with Jets, having 6 M3’s feels like how a spitfire does when it runs out of 20mm’s

It’s basically useless
When passes end up leaving you pilot sniped because of 1 or 2 lucky 20mm’s

Now, tbh, I don’t think they need THAT much of a buff, just very minor

The bigger issue is compression, if we got 14.0 as top tier for Air, the m3 armed jets could spread out to BR’s where they feel a lot more fair and balanced

Decompression would fix nearly 60% of all issues we have currently

14.0 for top tier Air
13.3 for top tier Ground
8.0 for top tier Naval

Boom, the forum drops 500 bug reports lol

Singular API-T rounds don’t do that damage. The rounds that do are the explosive variety. Sending a 30mm ap round through a plane may not deal any worthwhile damage except for an approx 30mm hole in 2 places. A round with an explosive component causes fragmentation and blast hole. If you want/expect ammunition to shear off large portions of an airframe, standard penetration with a bit of fire encasing the round isn’t going to do that. That will just put a bunch of holes in the airframe. That is why you think a 20mm shearing a wing/tail piece off is magical, because it doesn’t happen with the API-T belts. You aren’t going to see the potential damage on the protection analysis because it doesn’t show modules shearing off, and you aren’t putting 6 Incendiary/AP-I rounds into the same area simultaneously like you would at range with gun convergence. You don’t need rounds to penetrate the thin structural steel of an aircraft for it to damage that section/module. Try using something other than the full tracer belts, you’ll become a better shot, and deal more meaniful airframe damage.

Look at the universal belt in the mods window and look at the damage model demonstration they provide. It shows the mechanism of how the damage is done. The Incendiary/AP-I show deontation upon impact, which shatters/tears the thin metal/wood in the demo. The API-T does punch through thicker steel and will light fires, which makes .50s the king of head on pilot kills and engine fires, but they aren’t going to shear off components in a similar way to 20mm stuff can.

You’ve already missed my point. The 20mm cannons in game are doing insane amounts of damage, literally blowing planes in half with single shots like the MG151 or the ShVAK cannons, they can’t do that. If Gaijin is willing to allow cannons to have such unrealistic damage potential, then let the .50 rounds the U.S. have the ability to do the insane damage with it’s .50s.


The .50 cals can do damage like that already. That is my point. The tracer only belt doesn’t, but the Universal and Stealth belts absolutely can already.

In terms of the planes losing chunks like they do, I believe this has not always been the case. To my understanding, airframes were much stronger long ago. Especially the bomber airframes, but were weakened because of outcries that they were too strong. Once they weakened the airframes, the cannons became able to slice and dice planes.

This is entirely incorrect. Neither I or API rounds have any explosive content in game. You can confirm this yourself in the protection analysis of any plane with .50s. Both rounds list no explosive mass, and will not create any explosion when test fired at the given plane. The damage they do to any panel will be identical to the damage done by API-T.

Additionally, the I rounds are nearly worthless at this tier, due to their lack of penetration. Almost every non-Russian plane you’re likely to see at this tier is made of non-flammable metal, a straight incendiary round hitting that will achieve literally nothing. You need API (or API-T) rounds to punch through that metal skin and hit the flammable internals, such as the fuel or engine.

API, AFAIK, has a slightly higher chance of causing a fire than the API-T (Due to the round having more incendiary capacity due to the lack of a tracer), but the difference is minimal, and since there’s no belt that’s entirely API, the 100% tracer belt is your best bet for consistent damage.


If I am entirely incorrect, explain to me the visual demonstration of the rounds in the modifications. Are they simply shattering into fragmentation on impact?

I understand they aren’t explosive, as in filled and detonated, but I suppose I chose the worst possibly way to attempt to describe them.

I think you’re underestimating the number of rounds involved in these “single shot” deaths. The MG151 has a RoF of 700 rounds per minute, and you can only see 1/6th of the rounds coming. If someone’s running gunpods, that’s 2100 rpm (or 35 round every second), of which you’re only seeing 350 rpm (or 5.8 rounds per second).

ShVAKs run slightly faster, at 720 rpm, so the same principle applies, though the number of guns varies from 1 to 4, and the belts have more tracers in them.

Bottom line is, the odds of hitting someone with exactly one shot are pretty slim, even in a deflection shot. It’s far more likely that you took a good burst of 10+ rounds, but only saw 1-2 of them.

That red circle seems to be how Gaijin models fragmentation (or where fragmentation could spawn, since it rarely does for .50s). You can see the exact same effect on .50 cal AP rounds with zero incendiary payload. At best, I would say I rounds do slightly more damage to the panels themselves (Since it doesn’t overpen), but at the expense of losing all ability to damage internal modules, which are far more important when it comes to actually downing an aircraft.


No, I’m not overestimating.

I literally 1 tapped an F6F’s wing with a Yak-1. He wasn’t damaged, he had perfect flight performance. I literally clicked once and his wing falls off.

Seeing some actually flat wrong claims/statements in this thread is similar to a witness a discussion of blind people about colors - interesting, but more from the comedian aspect. The fellow player @Aegis270 corrected some of them - thx for that.

  1. Any comparison between the AN/M2 0.50 / AN/M3 0.50 and the Swedish Akan M/39a is useless as you compare a HMG with a cannon.
  2. The AN/M2 0.50 / AN/M3 0.50 never had explosive filler of any kind in WW 2 - that’s why FN developed the Browning Aircraft Machine Gun - F.N. Caliber 13.2 mm (seen in wt as Akan M39a) with a larger round with a small HE filler - this classifies the bullet as a shell and makes the HMG technically seen a cannon.
  3. The 0.50 cal needs no buff - even with my potato aim i am able to kill enemies whilst flying P-47s. Ofc with AP-IT.
  4. Claiming that cannon armed fighters have an advantage as they produce more damage than 0.50 cals with less hits is quite amusing as that’s the reason why cannons were used by other nations.
  5. The lack of 20mm cannons in US planes (T1, AN/M2 & M3, T 33, etc) was based on technical difficulties to adopt / implement these HS 404 derivates.
  6. Any comparison of irl circumstances and wt are pointless. Alone the artificial accuracy increase of mouse aim combined with the option to set convergence >400 meters proves this. Convergence settings of batteries of 6 or 8 0.50 cals were optimized to allow average pilots to score hits at those way lower combat ranges that wt allows.
  7. Whilst chasing enemies the AN/M2 0.50 / AN/M3 0.50 can reliable score hits and crits at very long ranges (~1.8km). Whilst using in turrets and getting chased this value increases to at least 2.4 km.
  8. In totall opposition to that you can outrun most cannon shells at very high sppeds - usually a 20 mm cannon is no threat if the distance is around 1.2 to 1.4 km or higher. This is based on the fact that different bullets & shells vanish at different distances and dannon shells have usually way lower muzzle velocities. Iirc the US 0.50 cal bullets have a “appearance range” of ~ 3.500 meters, whilst most cannon shells disappear ~ 2 km.
  9. The damage analysis is very often described as unreliable source to draw conclusions of actual damage in game.
  10. If you search in the old forum you will find a lot of more or less official statements why a few cannon shells cut off tails of strategic bombers or planes in general.It boils down that gaijin admits that all damage is kind of overpowered as this is a game and no simulation. You saw this in the past when you hit bomber in a 90 degree dive with a central mounted cannon and cut the left wing off - more than often the right wing was cut off too, despite the wing was not hit.
  11. Actually the 0.50 cals received a severe buff due to the ballistic nerf for cannon shells as the severe bullet drop makes it way harder to hit anything >6-800 meters whilst the much higher muzzle velocity of the 0.50 cals creates way better chances to hit, crit and kill way beyond 1 km.

So imho this discussion is nothing new and 0.50 cals need no buff.


I will admit that my understanding of how the Incendiary rounds worked was awful. The shell demo in the mod window is quite misleading. I’m going through and checking out the protection analysis to get a better understanding of them.

Mate - relax! The the missing HE / damage analysis conclusion was not the funny part. Nobody is perfect.

I love US .50 cals! I have questions for the thread. What is your favorite belt? I normally use as much AP-I or AP as possible. Stealth belts feel awful, and I suspect non-AP incendiary is bugged/useless. Tracer also feels like almost no damage. Thoughts?

  1. Cals have the best range in game for rifle ammunition, so no they dont need a buff
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