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I'm playing on a pretty low difficulty thus far, and I reload whenever a unit has a calm moment. I'm used to games like Call of Duty, where your ammo is just in a big pile until you put a new magazine into your gun, and unused ammo in an old magazine is returned to the pile. Therefore, it behooves you to reload early and reload often.

However, in XCOM I'm not sure how ammo works exactly. Of course, there are clear shot-limited weapons (like grenades and rockets), but I don't even think I've seen any indication of how much primary/secondary ammo I have left, besides the current amount left in a magazine. (This is indicated by the "blue" hue of the gun turning gray every time you take a shot).

Is ammo in primary (ie, assault rifles/shotguns/sniper rifles) and secondary (ie, pistols) weapons limited? If so:

  • is it "magazine" based (ie, my soldiers carry N magazines, and reloading loses any unfired rounds in the old magazine) or
  • just a general non-specific count that can be used in however many magazines you choose to use?

Does this vary with difficulty or weapon types in these slots?

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I've gone up to the base assault and reloaded at least 10+ times in a single mission and have never run out of ammo. I don't remember any ammo counters for how much ammo you have so I think you have unlimited ammo. –  Shykin Oct 10 '12 at 16:02
    
Unlock the original XCOM, there is no ammo limit. Unfortunately, that negates a large part of the draw of laser weaponry. –  SaintWacko Oct 10 '12 at 16:43
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up vote 14 down vote accepted

There is no limit to ammo, although there is a limit to magazine size. The weapon indicator at the bottom right will show how much of the magazine you have used up so far. Note that there is not necessarily a whole number of shots per magazine. Laser Rifles, for example, will have a little bit of indicator left but still won't be able to fire.

Reloading ends your turn to reset the magazine to full. This is free other than that, and you can do this as many times in a battle as you like. You do not have to buy ammo, and a soldier will never "run out" of ammo during battle.

Rockets, on the other hand, are limited per battle. This only applies to normal weapons.

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It is worth noting that there is an upgrade you can develop that will significantly increase the the amount of bullets/energy per clip. Quite useful for when the game starts throwing multiple high-HP targets at you. –  Trent Hawkins Oct 11 '12 at 4:02
    
@TrentHawkins: Quite. It also makes Suppression an effective tool for the Heavy again, once it stops eating > 50% of their laser/plasma ammmo. –  Jeff Nov 13 '13 at 14:54
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