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The Assault Rifle Piercing Mod I has the following description which I find somewhat confusing:

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Allows bullets to pierce 0.50-meter thick objects, but at 60% reduced damage. Ignores 25.00% of defenses on armored targets.

So, does this reduce my damage to 60% in exchange for armor-piercing, or does 25% of my damage go straight to health, but of that only 60%? How does this work with enemies that have just an armor bar and no health bar like Brutes?

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No enemies in ME3 have health bars under armor bars; the 25% appears to ignore the extra damage reduction Armor "health bars" have. –  Prinny Brocka Apr 8 '12 at 14:57
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up vote 11 down vote accepted

Any projectiles which benefit from the piercing (in this case, penetrate a .5 meter thick object) will deal reduced damage (60%). Projectiles which don't need to penetrate cover or an obstacle to hit their target do normal damage. This includes the visual armor that Husks / Cannibals can get, and the shields of Cerberus Guardians.

Additionally, depending on the type of enemy and the difficulty, some enemies have "Armor" (not to be confused with the yellow Armor bar some enemies have on top of / instead of health). This armor reduces damage by a flat amount, and it is this Armor that the piercing mod works against. So you do get some benefit when attacking all colors of health bar.

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Ah, so the first sentence is for penetrating cover, not armor as I understood it. –  Mad Scientist Mar 8 '12 at 8:16
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Testing, this DOES actually do more damage to armored targets too. Try a high powered gun that almost but doesn't kill the Armored target in the testing range in one shot. Equip the piercing mod and it should do a bit more damage. tested with level seven carnifex –  Prinny Brocka Mar 23 '12 at 23:16
    
@BenBrocka Interesting. –  Raven Dreamer Mar 23 '12 at 23:28
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