M3 (20 mm)

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This page is about the aircraft cannon M3 (20 mm). For other uses, see M3 (Disambiguation).
The 20 mm M3 on the F9F-8 nose.


The 20 mm M3 is a 20 mm American aircraft-mounted autocannon.

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

Vehicles equipped with this weapon
Fighters  F4U-4B · F4U-4B VMF-214 · F4U-7 · F8F-1B · ▄F8F-1B
Twin-engine fighters  F7F-1 · F7F-3
Jet fighters  F2H-2 · F9F-2 · F9F-5 · F9F-8
Strike aircraft  A-1H · AD-2 · AD-4 · ▄AD-4 · ▄AD-4NA · AU-1
Attack helicopters  H-34 (Suspended)

General info

The Army-Navy Model 3, or AN/M3 for short, was used by both the US Army Air Forces (later the USAF) and US Navy. The cannon was based on the British Hispano Mk.V, itself a modification of the Swiss Hispano-Suiza H.S.404. Compared to its earlier cousin, the AN/M2, the AN/M3 had a faster rate of fire and used lubricated, percussion-primed ammunition that was less prone to jamming, which was a major problem on the Hispano Mk.II. Lubrication was provided by a pump that dropped semi-fluid lubricating oil (LSA) onto the rounds before firing. The gun had a gas-assisted blowback operation, with recoil being used to load the next round.

The US Navy extensively used the AN/M3 on fighters starting in late WW2 and until the 1950s, when they were replaced by more modern cannons and air-to-air missiles. The cannon was mounted, usually 2 to a wing, on planes such as the F4U-4B and later versions of the Corsair, the Grumman F8F-1B Bearcat, and the F9F Panther jet fighter.

Available ammunition

  • Default: HEF-I · AP-T
  • Universal: AP-T · AP-T · HEF-I · HEF-I
  • Ground targets: AP-T · AP-T · AP-T · HEF-I
  • Air targets: HEF-I · HEF-I · HEF-I · AP-T
  • Stealth: HEF-I · HEF-I · HEF-I

Penetration statistics
Ammunition Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
AP-T 36 33 23 15 9 6
HEF-I 5 4 3 2 2 2
Shell details
Ammunition Velocity
mass (kg)
Fuse delay
Fuse sensitivity
Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
0% 50% 100%
AP-T 832 0.13 - - - 47° 60° 65°
HEF-I 832 0.13 0.2 0.1 12.41 79° 80° 81°

Comparison with analogues

  • MG 151/20 - Powerful Minengeschoss shells are superior to AN/M3 ammunition. However, the AN/M3 has a faster rate of fire and better shell ballistics, making ranged shots and leading easier. The AN/M3 also has more hitting power as almost all American aircraft utilizing the AN/M3 have them in groups of 4. It is also more consistent than its German cousin, sparks are very rare. In addition, the AN/M3 cannons are far more accurate (when spaded).
  • Hispano Mk.V- As the AN/M3 is an American copy of the Hispano Mk V, these two weapons are almost completely identical. Historically, the AN/M3 was more prone to jamming than its British counterpart, though in-game this is not the case and the AN/M3 does more damage, while being more consistent.
  • AN/M2- Nearly identical characteristics, the only difference being the AN/M3 fires faster at 750 rounds per minute over the AN/M2, firing at 600 rounds per minute.

Usage in battles

The AN/M3 are good for engaging anything. These cannons come usually in groups of 4, allowing for a high burt-mass destruction. Powerful shells and great ballistics allow the pilot to take long range shots, cripple bombers and disintegrate all fighters in the opposing team. AN/M3s also come with generous ammunition reserves, great for taking down several enemies.

Pros and cons


  • Powerful cannon, a few shells are enough to cripple or disintegrate an enemy fighter
  • Do not jam quickly, even when stock
  • High rate of fire
  • Often 4 cannons are present on the aircraft, providing massive firepower
  • Stealth rounds have lots of HEF-I ammo, with the lack of tracers makes it hard for enemies to evade shots
  • Often very generous amount of ammunition


  • Incredibly inaccurate when stock, shell spread is very noticeable
  • Increased fire rate compared to its counterparts may deplete ammo reserves far faster


Examine the history of the creation and combat usage of the weapon in more detail than in the introduction. If the historical reference turns out to be too long, take it to a separate article, taking a link to the article about the weapon and adding a block "/History" (example: https://wiki.warthunder.com/(Weapon-name)/History) and add a link to it here using the main template. Be sure to reference text and sources by using <ref></ref>, as well as adding them at the end of the article with <references />.


Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.

See also

External links

USA aircraft cannons
20 mm  AN/M2 · Browning-Colt Mk12 Mod 0 · Browning-Colt Mk12 Mod 3 · FMC T-160
  M3 · M24A1 · M39 · M39A1 · M39A2 · M39A3 · M61A1 · M195 · M197 · Mk 11 · Mk 11 mod 5 · T31
30 mm  M230E-1 · XM140 · GAU-8/A · GAU-13/A · LR30
37 mm  M4 · M9 · M10
40 mm  M75 · M129
75 mm  M10 · T13E1
20 mm  Hispano 404 (France) · Hispano Mk.II (Britain) · MG 151 (Germany) · Type 99 Model 1 (Japan)
30 mm  ADEN Mk.4 (Britain)

France aircraft cannons
20 mm  GIAT M.621 · Hispano 404 · Hispano HS.9 · M50
30 mm  DEFA 541 · DEFA 551 · DEFA 552 · DEFA 552A · DEFA 553 · DEFA 554 · GIAT M781
20 mm  AN/M2 (USA) · Browning-Colt Mk12 Mod 3 (USA) · Hispano Mk.II (Britain) · Hispano Mk.V (Britain) · M3 (USA) · M24A1 (USA) · M39A1 (USA) · M61A1 (USA) · MG 151 (Germany) · ShVAK (USSR)
30 mm  ADEN (Britain)
37 mm  M4 (USA) · M10 (USA) · NS-37 (USSR)