HSTV-L vs 2S38

So I’d like to bring up a question. Comparing these two vehicles, on the specs and in the gameplay, why is there such a stark difference, with the gameplay? I’m speaking currently, 2023.

If you play both, or play one and face the other, you have to see the difference and wonder how the hell the 2S38 is so much more powerful and successful. If you compare the ammo, the gun, the outcome majority of times, there should not be such a huge difference in the results when in battle.

I myself am speaking from the side of playing the HSTV-L, so I face Russia and the 2S38 a lot. If you know these vehicles you know they both have quick fire rates, with the 2S38 a faster fire rate, but both faster than the average. I cannot tell you how many times where I’ve placed great shot after shot with the HSTV-L on key spots on the enemies, only for often nothing to happen or very little damage. This is speaking of facing any enemy nation, not just Russia. Very seldom does it take out a gun, or penetrate a broadside tank, or penetrate a turret, much less hardly ever destroy a vehicle outright. But yet I constantly face the 2S38 and get hit with 2-5 rapid shots and instantly die, in any vehicle I’m driving including the Abrams SEP. It’s almost an automatic thought that as soon as I’m seeing the sparks flying from all the rapid shots that I know I’m just destroyed in any second now. And it happens. Sometimes it’s even with one shot or two. About the best I’ve been able to do on average is to get behind the vehicles and hit the engines and just keep firing at different spots around it multiple shots, sometimes 6 shots, to actually destroy it.

I can go on and on about bias but I’m not. I’m asking for valid reasons here if anyone has valid points and answers. They both have APSFDS and yes the 2S38 has other ammo as well. But with the APSFDS they both should perform comparatively. This is not reality from my experience. It’s absolutely insane and I feel something is off.

All opinions are welcome. I’d really like to hear all the information I can, because it just doesn’t seem right.


The HSTV-L is more successful overall, resulting in its BR, because it’s the smallest light tank with a rather potent round, and among the fastest.
2S38 is multi-use, ground & air, so it’s closer compared to Sweden’s Lvkv 9040c.
No search radar, but a better AP round & turret traverse.

A smart 9040 or 2S38 player can do damage.


2c38 is considered by many to be strong, but it is not.

I thought so too until I bought it. Slow, big, vulnerable. He is good at shooting down helicopters, but no more. Projectile damage is small.

HSTL is a toxic tank. It has insane elevation angles (-16 seems to be). The projectile has a lot more damage. Its speed is more than 30 horses per ton, and its small size will allow you to shoot from over the hills while being invulnerable.

Those who say HSTL doesn’t deserve 11.3 just haven’t played against it.

  1. American and NATO tanks in general don’t have ERA. The low level APFSDS rounds (and even some of the better ones) struggle against it for no apparent reason (see e.g. M829A2 against T-80BVM side skirts/tracks at angles).

  2. The way Gaijin has implemented Soviet tanks in the game: they have much better protection and smaller weak-spots than NATO tanks, especially when compared to the Abrams which is why it feels like the 2S38 can light things up while the HST-VL requires more precision. The HSTV-L’s APFSDS has less post pen damage than long APFSDS rounds (Spookston has done a video on this).

  3. Where the 2S38 sits in BR, tanks aren’t as well as protected in general as they are where the HSTV-L sits. Thermals aren’t as common in downtiers and tanks react slower at 9.7-10.0. There are a lot more noobs around this BR as well running around in newly bought premiums.

  4. Gaijin decided to make the 2S38 a premium and the HSTV-L a tech tree vehicle. If the HSTV-L were a premium, they would probably have moved it to a BR where it was more effective.


hopefully the hstv-l gets its proper pen it would massively improve the ammo efficiency which no one takes into account when comparing these vehicles


The HSTV-L can still be very effective, but its use should be limited almost exclusively to urban maps where you can camp corners or infiltrate behind enemy lines more easily, or on maps with lots of cover and strong flanking positions. The 2S38’s dual purpose as an SPAA lends itself to more situations.

did the hstv-l have an air defense round or was it just the rdflt

its biggest strength is its engine power only issue is the turbine is very loud

I’m not an expert, and I didn’t research it that much so I can’t say whether it had AA ammo. It did have much better APFSDS rounds than what we have in game. The round it has in-game (276mm of pen) is supposed to be on par with M774 (372mm of pen), and there were other rounds developed for it with up to 430mm of pen. The HSTV-L we have in game also appears to have the shorter variant of the cannon. There was a longer version that increased the muzzle velocity by a couple hundred m/s.

*Edit: It did have Anti-Aircraft flechette rounds, and a shorter reload speed.


Do you know where Gaijin got the 276mm number, or can I add it to the ever-growing list of complete fiction?


im actually unsure gaijin refuses to release where they get there information from

If it gets its better round then it’ll be a higher BR than Abrams which would be hilarious.

well wouldn’t be surprised if 12.0 comes within the next two major updates the only time i run into trouble is when im fighting leopards

Definitely should. We’ll see decompression below Leopard 2A4s probably.

we should be getting a good batch of decompression on the road map they are working on the transition from post ww2 vehicles to cold war i would assume they would take the opportunity to decompress the higher brs as well

You’ve got to be kidding me? It has basically zero protection. It’s a one shot pillow, it has to stay behind cover or it’s just dead. And you think increasing it’s ammo effectiveness, to what it probably should be anyway, should make it better than top Mbt?

Also again from my experience, it is not at all more effective than the 2S38. If so then the examples I’ve given wouldn’t be happening, not just with me, but others as well. I see it a lot as well as experience it personally. I don’t agree with that at all.

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Light tank dies if it’s spotted, shot at, and hit.
In other news, water makes things wet.
Any light vehicle is okay to OP depending on its capabilities and how you use it.
HSTV-L is objectively better than 2S38 at tank killing currently, and if given M833 penetration would be better. It would be 0.7 - 1 BR higher than an M833 equipped M10 Booker just due to the size & speed advantage alone.

I would argue the biggest difference is that the HSTV-L reloads in 1.5s, while the 2S38 reloads in 0.5s.

If you test drive the 2S38 (which anyone can do) and just try to one shot the target tanks you will notice its 57mm APFSDS is… actually really bad. Hypothetically there is a viable OHK spot on basically every tank, but in a real match you probably won’t be hitting that. What makes the 2S38 strong is that over, let’s say, three seconds, it has six chances, while the HSTV-L has “only” two.

In my opinion the pitiful damage of all sabot shells below 100mm caliber shouldn’t be a thing, it ruins a number of other, non rapid firing, vehicles like the AUBL HVG and Rooikat Mk. 1D as well. The HSTV-L could also receive a reload speed of 0.85s, which would make it far harder for enemies to react to it. Having both might be a bit of an overcorrection though, as the HSTV-L is actually very good in most other regards (e.g. mobility).


The HSTV-L uses a 75 mm gun, while the M10 Booker uses a 105 mm gun. The HSTV-L cannot fire M833 or any other ammunition the Booker can fire.

i would even be fine with the hstv-l’s 60rpm