Heavy Cannon

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Heavy Cannon

The Heavy Cannon is a devastating, but cumbersome, weapon. Its versatility comes from the fact that it can take three types of ammunition - armour piercing, incendiary and high explosive.

Source: Enemy Unknown Ufopaedia

Heavy Cannon
(h x w)
3 x 2
Weight 18
D. Threshold TBA
Grip Two-Handed
TU Cost Accuracy
Auto -% -%
Snapshot 33% 60%
Aimed 80% 90%
Sale Price $4,800
Research None
Purchase Price $6,400
Armour Piercing
(h x w)
1 × 2
Weight 6
D. Threshold TBA
Damage 56 Armour Piercing
Capacity 6
Sale Price $225
Purchase Price $300
High Explosive
(h x w)
1 × 2
Weight 6
D. Threshold TBA
Damage 52 High Explosive
Capacity 6
Sale Price $275
Purchase Price $500
(h x w)
1 × 2
Weight 6
D. Threshold TBA
Damage 60 Incendiary
Capacity 6
Sale Price $300
Purchase Price $400

While the standard pistols and rifles can technically attack soft targets, veteran commanders quickly learn that survival requires maximum firepower. Enter the cannons - the Heavy Cannon and the Auto-Cannon - two highly versatile man-portable cannons with a selection of shells tipped with armour piercing, high explosive or incendiary warheads. Commanders can adapt to different situations in the field by feeding a different ammunition clips into the cannon.

The Heavy Cannon is heavy as its namesake and lacks the speed of the smaller firearms. It makes up for this by being very powerful. The biggest detriment is its 6 round magazine, which is quickly emptied in battle. While it lacks an automatic firing mode, it remains more powerful and much more accurate than its weaker yet louder cousin the Auto-Cannon.

Do not be fooled by the reduced damage of HE ammo- most alien types have softer underside armor and large terror units suffer QUADRUPLE hits from explosives. This makes the Heavy Cannon a great weapon for pulping Reapers, but Cyberdiscs remain a huge problem for both HE and AP rounds. The narrower damage range for explosives (50-150%) means that even the weakest rolls will maim early game aliens, crippling their ability to reaction fire. These perks make the Heavy Cannon a valuable weapon to survive the early months on Superhuman Difficulty.

HC-AP rounds are much more powerful than Pistol and Rifle rounds. However they are quickly made obsolete by the vastly improved quality of Laser Weapons.

HC-HE rounds allow the cannons to function as a glorified Grenade launcher, for when you need the power of a grenadier but don't have time to prime grenades. Consider using it when an agent is too weak to carry a Rocket Launcher. Take care when firing these near objects you want to recover as they will destroy any object on the ground.

An unconventional but possibly effective tactic, is to prefer HC-HE ammunition for use against lower armoured races, (Sectoids, Floaters, Snakemen) rather than armour piercing rounds or beam weapons. This is because high explosive rounds create a blast radius, which means that aliens can still be killed even when the soldier firing it does not score a direct hit. They thus require less real firing accuracy to be effective. You still only get six shots per clip, however, so for long missions, keep a laser rifle in your backpack for when you run out.

HC-I rounds are generally useless for direct confrontations due to the unusual way the game handles Incendiary damage. They do however make for compact portable light sources and are useful for starting small fires. If given sufficient time and fuel for burning, aliens can be slowly roasted to death. Unconscious units and objects will not get damaged in fire.

Heavy and Auto-Cannons become extremely safe to use on Personal Armor troops. As long as you don't get an underside hit from a point blank explosion, you will never suffer more than scratches when using these weapons in short range combat. This is an excellent combination in any indoor setting such as UFOs or even enemy installations.

This weapon appears in UFO: Enemy Unknown. For the Terror from the Deep equivalent, refer to the Gas Cannon.

Usage notes

The following lists how many times a soldier can fire the gun by shot type continuously in any given round and the remaining percentage of any left over TUs that cannot be spent as a shot.

  • Aimed: 1 Shot, 20% Remaining TUs
  • Snap: 3 Shots, 1% Remaining TUs

Limitations of incendiary damage

The listed damage using incendiary rounds is misleading. Incendiary rounds do ~6.4 damage on a direct hit. The damage values listed in the UFOpaedia do not determine how powerful an incendiary round deals damage; it only determines how wide an area will be blanketed with flames.

Furthermore, soldiers cannot gain any form of experience shooting any weapon loaded with incendiary rounds.


  • Carry a reload or two; you don't have many shots per clip.
  • Try to kneel when firing.
  • Aimed mode takes extremely long, but is probably the most effective use of ammunition.
  • Try to keep your second hand free while using the Heavy Cannon. The accuracy already sucks, so avoid the 20% penalty.
  • Until you have Laser Rifles available, there is no better weapon for selectively destroying hard cover than a Heavy Cannon with AP rounds.
  • On superhuman HE shells can OHKO Sectoids ~90% of the time, floaters 60%, and can typically 2-hit Snakemen. The Auto Cannon-HE sits at 75%, ~40%, and 3 hits respectively.

See also

UFO Badge X-COM: Enemy Unknown/UFO Defense: Equipment
Armour: CoverallsPersonal ArmourPower SuitFlying Suit
Weapons: PistolRifleHeavy CannonAuto-CannonRocket LauncherStun Rod
GrenadeProximity GrenadeHigh ExplosiveLaser PistolLaser RifleHeavy Laser
Plasma PistolPlasma RifleHeavy PlasmaAlien GrenadeSmall LauncherBlaster Launcher
Equipment: Smoke GrenadeMotion ScannerMedi-KitElectro-flarePsi-AmpMind ProbeElerium-115
HWPs: Tank/CannonTank/Rocket LauncherTank/Laser CannonHovertank/PlasmaHovertank/Launcher
Data Item WeightsAlien Weapon Loadouts • Armour Damage Modifiers