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M829 A1/2/3 'Sabot' Round

Cutting-edge and combat proven, the world’s most powerful tank round executes armored targets with devastating precision

The M829 is an armor-piercing, fin-stabilized, discarding sabot with tracer (APFSDS-T) round that gives the M1 Abrams main battle tank the lethal firepower it needs to eliminate armored threats. This power-packing round has a depleted uranium penetrator whose sole purpose is to kill tanks and other heavy armor. Commonly known as a “sabot,” this term actually refers to the device that houses the penetrator. Once the round is fired, the sabot falls away—an action that allows the penetrator to travel faster than a mile per second. When the penetrator reaches its target, it acts as a large bullet, damaging or destroying the interior or engine, igniting stored fuel, detonating stored ammunition and incapacitating the crew. The M829A1 saw distinguished service in Desert Storm, where it earned the nickname “The Silver Bullet.” In 1993, the A2 variant was fielded and provided increased penetration capacity. 

Both the A1 and A2 variants proved deadly to conventional armored targets but less lethal when used against explosive reactive armor. As a result, this led to the A3 variant, which became the standard in 2003. The M829A3 is the current round used by the National Guard and can defeat advanced armor at extended ranges–making it the most effective tank round in the world. General Dynamics is also currently developing a new variant, the KE-W A1 APFSDS-T, which has a tungsten penetrator and a dispersion level that can defeat any armored target.

Key Features

Projectile length: 30.7 in. 

Projectile weight: 22.04 lbs.

Cartridge height: 38.66 in.

Cartridge weight: 46.07 lbs. 

Penetrator length: 30.7 in.

Penetrator diameter: 22 mm 

Penetrator weight: 10.14 lbs.

Material: depleted uranium 

Muzzle velocity: 1,555 meters per second

Range: 3,000 meters 

Platform: M1 Abrams 120 mm smooth bore gun