You might not have seen the Sabot before, and you don’t want to see one, especially if it’s headed directly towards your vehicle. Given that it’s an anti-tank weapon, it is deadly, and its effects were nasty but in a way that perhaps you couldn’t have imagined.

What is a Sabot?

Sabot round of the Leclerc tank. On display at Saumur Général Estienne museum. RamaCC BY-SA 2.0 FR / Wikimedia Commons

Sabot is a non-explosive tank round. It works like an arrow that uses shear momentum to penetrate armored vehicles. On its heart is a narrow metal rod of depleted uranium that acts as its penetrator. On its other end were stabilizing fins attached to a propeller case. This propeller case falls away as soon as the round leaves the cannon, leaving the heavy penetrator to fly straight to its target with full force at a very high speed, at around 3,500 MPH. Imagine a giant dart that could pierce tanks. And that is not even the nasty part about it. Once it hits the target, it would explode and spray molten metal fragments, hitting anything and anybody inside and setting them on fire. Hellava way to die huh?

The M829 Series

U.S. Army M829A2 anti-tank artillery round.

Sabot fires the M829. It is carried in the gun tube by a three-piece aluminum sabot. After that came out the M829A1, which was also called the “Silver Bullet.” It is an armor-piercing, fin-stabilized tank round. The M829A1 “is widely regarded as the most effective tank-fired (M1 Abrams 120mm main gun) anti-armor weapon in the world. It overwhelmed Iraqi armor during Operation Desert Storm. The M829A1 is a depleted-uranium long-rod kinetic energy penetrator round capable of defeating heavily armored vehicles.” Its next generations were: 1. the M829A2 with the improved structural quality of the depleted uranium penetrator, 2. the M829A3 that uses a more efficient propellant that boosts its muzzle velocity, and 3. the M829A4 consisting of depleted-uranium penetrator with a three-petal composite sabot.

Sabot in Action

According to a soldier in the American Heroes Channel, “when it hits the (target), it creates such force that it bores a hole through it… it liquefies everything inside. You can technically come in with a hose and hose out the enemy tank crew; it annihilates human matter.”

The video showed how the U.S. troops had to use the Sabot against suicide cars in Baghdad in 2014. They only had a few seconds to identify and decide whether a particular vehicle was a suicide car or a plain civilian.

Whether the troops were right or wrong in identifying them, the targets hit by Sabot have zero chance of survival. Here’s the full video:

What do you think of this liquefying deadly dart?