So I have an armor that is virtually impervious to small arms fire, and am looking for inspiration and suggestions on an unconventional way to defeat said armor.

The armor is called Anti Thermal And Kinetic [ATAK] Plating. And consists of two subsystems: the underlining is a graphene layered material combined with a Talin based TSAM concept. Effect is a soft body armor material capable of being used for low pressure and full MOPP style bodysuits. It works by 'rigidizing' under kinetic force, dissipating the kinetic energy around the entire surface area and reduces the force ethat would break ribs and rupture organs to negligible levels, although it can still knock a target back as the armor itself will still obey newtons laws. It can repeatedly withstand up to 3 simultaneous .50BMG rounds impacting the same area.

The second subsystem is a metal plate with perfectly aligned atoms that has a macroscopic (really small, but not quite microscopic small) spongelike structure and has a ceramic filling, with a kevlar exterior to catch and absorb spalling and flak. The lining is used on all sides to prevent electrical conductivity to the underlining soft armor.

This forms a multipurpose hard armor that can easily absorb and slowly dissipate heat from Directed Energy Weapons. The ceramic 'filler' helps absorbs both thermal and kinetic energy. It also compacts in on itself under kinetic duress (where current hard armor is quite useless at taking multiple rounds in the same place, this armor is designed to compress and retain shape to extend the protection from a few shots to over double what we currently have, as well as inherently being much more impervious to kinetic impacts than current plate armor is. The plates structuring also helps absorb concussive forces from explosions.

Used in both standard infantry style armor and also powered armors with faraday EMP proofing, and 'hack' proofing via single purpose chipsets, AC venting only in helmet for oxygen but rest of suit uses a handwaved synthesized liquid-gel that is endothermic.

what kind of single person weapons platform could counter an armor and armor system designed to perfectly counter kinetic and thermal projectiles?

Thank you all in advance for your (undoubtedly) superior knowledge and thought processes!

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    $\begingroup$ That's a massive wall-o-text with a whole bunch of undefined acronyms. I ain't reading all of that for free, and I suspect I'm not alone. You need to précis it pretty brutally, and either link to definitions of terms or include them in your question. And then your expensive tins of spam on legs are going to learn about compact drone-based smart weapon systems. $\endgroup$ Jan 7, 2023 at 16:20
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    $\begingroup$ This seems like yet another How-Do-I-Defeat-My-Own-Superweapon/Superarmor question. The usual answer is to attack enemy weaknesses, not enemy strengths. No weapon or armor is perfect in all situations, so look for those situations where your superarmor is irrelevant. This whole Single-Soldier-With-A-Superweapon trope comes from bad (and good) movies. There's a huge armor war going on right now in the real world; lots of real information to help you understand how combined arms, good coordination, and good leadership can solve these little puzzles. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Jan 7, 2023 at 16:30
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    $\begingroup$ Your armor wouldnt work. Imagine making a car out of that material: the fact that it hardens rather than have a crumple zone would be a big problem rather than a saving feature. Yes not having a .50BMG going through you is better than what happens currently, but if that material hardens expect broken bones and possibly being thrown back. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Jan 7, 2023 at 17:44
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    $\begingroup$ I can't help but feel that the hard-science tag doesn't belong on a question about impregnable armor. If the armor were truly impregnable, then the person wouldn't be able to get in/out of the armor. An anti-tank round, with zero penetration, would still reduce the person inside to paste. Overall, how to defeat a super weapon/armor is a plot point, not a technological question. $\endgroup$ Jan 8, 2023 at 0:52
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    $\begingroup$ FFS. Yet another "question" where the asker has made something up out of handwavium, yet wants us to figure out a plausible real-world alternative. That's not our job. $\endgroup$
    – Ian Kemp
    Jan 8, 2023 at 17:09

6 Answers 6


Smart artillery/rocket sub-munitions.

2 (or more) part charges.

The first charge is a large calibre (greater diameter and mass than a .50 bmg) slug, the sole purpose is to overwhelm the first layer of the Armour.

The next charge is activated less than a millisecond after the first which is the killing charge.

Rocket/shoulder fired munitions would be both man portable and feasible.

An artillery piece could be larger and be able to target multiple people.

  • $\begingroup$ Nice, dual stage weapons system! I like it, never thought about it either! How would a soldier fire the weapon though? Also the underarmor is nearly completely immune to concussive forces (explosions) and flak (fragments from explosives designed to kill infantry). Also, that's gotta be a lot of recoil... $\endgroup$ Jan 8, 2023 at 0:43
  • $\begingroup$ Well, you'd move to a shoulder-fired recoiless type system. Think like a Javelin (which IIRC has a smart munition rocket). The second munition, I'd suggest be a shaped charge - so a copper - neither flak nor explosion - molten metal moving at supersonic speeds. $\endgroup$ Jan 8, 2023 at 1:33
  • $\begingroup$ Oh wow, recoilless duh! Molten metal huh? Like a MAHEM? Yea that would mes up ATAKs, much higher heat than it's built to resist, and it wouldn't be able to dissipate it fast enough... The problem then would be miniaturizing it and increaisng the amount of rounds fired, to combat multiple targets such as squads... $\endgroup$ Jan 8, 2023 at 1:57

Glue-ball guns.

They should be a bit like regular paint-guns, lots of little balls as ammo, but when they hit, they foam-up and become sticky and rubbery.

One wouldn't be much of an issue, just messy to clean-up the armour after battle, but a few would stick legs together, make weapons unworkable, gather undergrowth and dirt to weigh the enemy down - generally ruin the experience for the enemy soldier.

Net guns.

Remember the WWII tank-grenades, they were thrown then their sticky-head stuck to the armour - combine this tech with the merc's net-guns from The Chronicles of Riddick but like bolases and you have yourself a wrap-around soldier-trap. Taking slightly longer to reload than the glue-balls, but a one-shot takedown if you aim right.

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    $\begingroup$ Oh you BITCH! Did you know I just had this armor waxed? Now look at it. Nothing but cat hair! Ooo, you wait till I get back Mr Glue Balls! I'm going to show you glue balls! $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Jan 7, 2023 at 21:48
  • $\begingroup$ Haha I forgot about stickies! The problem is the armor dissipates concussive and kinetic forces, it would take an anti tank missile to overcome the armor, and the idea is not to waste a plane or helicopter missile on a single target! I like.the glue though, immobilizing could be a method of disabling combatants.... $\endgroup$ Jan 8, 2023 at 0:38
  • $\begingroup$ I'm envisioning something similar to the famous scene in Empire Strikes Back - you glue one of these armored troopers' legs together and just wait for them to topple over. $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Jan 8, 2023 at 2:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Cadence - it took me a second. You are of course referring to the ATAT walkers getting legs tied together. I was youtubing for glue and empire strikes back and really scratching my head... $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Jan 8, 2023 at 3:52
  • $\begingroup$ This is a neat idea, but it might be a logistical challenge just carrying enough glue to stop someone, let alone multiple people or the chance that you might miss. $\endgroup$
    – user7868
    Jan 8, 2023 at 6:04


Your superarmored soldiers are tough! Stuff that blows up ordinary soldiers will not blow them up. Bullets that perforate normal soldiers wont perforate them! I am not sure if their imperviosity includes artillery fire which seems to be the favored method of blowing up soldiers in Ukraine right now; that seems so unsporting. As does nerve gas. Let us set those aside.

Instead your armored supersoldier will not be fired on at all. Supersoldier will cautiously creep forward, wondering where everyone went. Then supersoldier will be suddenly be charged by several nimble and scantily clad regular soldiers. Supersoldier will get knocked down and then these nimble soldiers will sit on supersoldier. Supersoldier will try to rassle back but these nimble soldiers are all oiled up so it is hard to get a grip on them.

Once supersoldier is down it will be short work removing the fancy armor. Dearmored supersoldiers could be collected in a facility, or sent back the way they came wearing only underthings and magic marker body paint (added by the nimble and scantily clad soldiers).

Did you see how I removed gender specifics up there for all the soldiers? I like this scenario to be gender agnostic, with male, female and other gender types all participating in the soldiering and rassling. 20 minutes into the future!

  • $\begingroup$ I like this idea, kind of like the fallout series where to overcome PA forces the dragoon spec ops would use their invisibility suits and literal swords to cut important wires and exposed gaps in the Power Armor! The armor system does not withstand artillery fire, only up to 50BMG, in my current scenario the faction facing the armor utilizes constant artillery bombardments before sending in 'clean up' units, the problem is the cost is deemed to high and the suits want a single soldier weapon to counter the armor. $\endgroup$ Jan 8, 2023 at 0:40
  • $\begingroup$ I am delighted you could pick out the needle of a real answer from the haystack of perverse sass. I mean for the needle to always be in there somewhere. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Jan 8, 2023 at 3:41

with equally absurd meta-materials in bullets.

your bullets aren't lead slugs they are tungsten penetration rounds or even better self sharpening depleted uranium. Or gong higher tech level hypervelocity iron.

Or they use high explosives maybe even shaped charge, The suddenly rigid armor would actually transmits shockwaves better. worse it will be prone to spalling, that is the armor itself will throw spall in to the wearer.

Also if you have powered armor you can have some absurdly powerful small arms, a 50bmg will be low power antiques. like bringing a musket to a modern gun fight. With the given technology you are no longer limited to human recoil limitation.

"That armor can stop 50bmg. Well its a good thing we are using 25mm DU rounds."

Your armor has limits, mostly the inherent strength possible in molecular bonds. There is no such thing as perfect armor and as soon as someone thinks they have it are doomed to a rather dramatic defeat.

  • $\begingroup$ Tungsten was my first thought but the armor is designed to redirect the kinetic energy as it rigidizes throughout the entire surface area. Large caliber weapons and missile/rockets are too cumbersome for use against the non PA soldiers. a 25mm steel core round would be the weakest thing able to defeat the armor but...how are you gonna fight when a few dozen bullets weigh half of what you do? My goal is a viable weapon for a single soldier to be able to fight with, in most conditions, close to mid range and have enough shots/charges to fight more than one or two enemies. All good ideas though! $\endgroup$ Jan 8, 2023 at 6:59
  • $\begingroup$ being rigid is not the same thing as being indestructible, becoming rigid just means it shatters instead of forming a ductile hole. breaking is all about how much force a set of molecular bonds can withstand vs how fast that force can be transmitted to other bonds. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jan 9, 2023 at 0:29

Kevlar stops bullets really well, but it's pretty useless at stopping a knife, because a knife doesn't twist and get fouled up by the Kevlar fibers. Likewise, your hard armor is great against energy weapons and hard impacts, but a monatomic-needle-point dart made of Really Hard Stuff (TM) is going to punch through that like a hot needle through butter. The dart doesn't hit a large surface area, so its energy doesn't get spread out across the armor; all that force goes straight onto a teeny tiny spot.

Introducing: Hammer and Nails, the gun that's too expensive for normal armor, but puts the final nail in the casket of smart armor. Literally!

The launcher fires an ultra-high-speed bundle of needles at the target, then follows up with 3-5 "thumpers", heavy inexpensive rounds designed to do nothing more than shake the armor around a bit.

When the needles puncture the hard armor, they will likely lodge in the soft armor, which hardens up, stops the needle, then relaxes again. Further impacts to the soft armor cause it to briefly harden; saw-tooth barbs on the needles lodge in the soft armor, and each time the armor hardens, it pulls that needle a little further inside.

The resulting weapon is a medium-range, high-speed, moderate rate-of-fire weapon that launches needles at a target. Every impact causes the needles that have punch through the armor to dig deeper, and the follow-up rounds flex the soft armor until the wearer is, quite literally, a pincushion. After even one successful strike, even mundane weapon fire is enough to hammer the needles into the target.

Alternately, may I suggest the Nutcracker, a combination railgun that fires needles at very high speed, then follows up with energy weapon fire. The shaft of these needles have a very high level of thermal expansion; painting a needle that has stabbed through the hard armor with high-energy fire causes it to expand, creating an incredible amount of force, enough to crack the hard exterior armor. Given a sustained burst, the crack will occur quickly enough to allow the energy weapon access to the chewy center, vaporizing the soft armor, as well as the target behind it.


I have taken some of the responses and this is what I've come up with: A two stage rifle/under barrel launcher setup. The rifle fires an adhesive slug that is a targeting beacon for the smart micro missile fired by the launcher, it is set to detonate within 16 inches of the beacon, releasing an expanding foam like substance that is under pressure and reacts with oxygen, it will adhere and spread, quickly hardening to prevent the target from being able to move. For the PA I decided on using the wonderful molten metal idea, a MAHEM launcher like device scaled down and put inside a micro missile, the detonation turning the whole thing molten just before impact, with the benefit of also exploding directly in front of the target, it would melt through what it could, getting into any gaps and overcoming the thermal resistance, essentially cooking the target inside the armor as it attempts to melt through and spread into important spaces...


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