A Canister Shell is a shell consisting of a closed metal canister typically filled with tungsten shot, achieving a similar effect as a shotgun, but with much higher damage and range potential. They are used against enemy infantry in the open or behind light cover; historically, they served as a back-up round of field artillery, cutting down entire waves of advancing infantry. They also prove useful when enemy infantry is targeted near a friendly armored vehicle, because the pellets cannot penetrate armor.
The main weapon on the A3-Goliath IFV is a scatter gun that fires canister shot. It is often fatal to infantry, and can also inflict damage on fast attack vehicles.
— Battlelog Description
The Canister Shell is a specialization for tanks and tank destroyers in Battlefield 3. It inflicts much higher damage than the coaxial machine guns but has the same reload time as regular HEAT tank shells. The damage tapers with distance as the individual pellets disperse. The operator can instantly switch between either type. After firing either type of shell, the cannon must be reloaded before either ammunition can be used.
While the Canister shell doesn't achieve quite the same effectiveness as the coaxial LMG in close quarters due to its much longer reload time and single shot, the Canister shell, unlike most scatterguns, excels in medium and long range, as it fires a high number of high damage pellets within a fairly tight firing cone. It is still useful in certain situations in close quarters, as it allows for a faster kill where time is of the essence. This not only makes the tank driver extremely devastating against infantry at ranges where the coaxial guns would be too inaccurate or low damaging, but is also able to damage light armored vehicles, which most notably includes aircraft.
The canister shot provides the tank with a reasonable amount of AA firepower, dealing serious damage to low-flying jets and helicopters with much less effort than that required using standard shells. A single well-placed shot can disable or even destroy low-flying aircraft at close range. Its anti-aircraft ability is limited, however, by the traversal of the tank turret, and by its turning speed on consoles.
•Prior to the 1.06 patch (September 2012), the canister shell could be fired immediately after firing a regular HEAT shell, and vice versa, as reload time with the single breech was not properly assessed. Now there is a realistic delay in switching between either ammunition.
Two separate specializations known as the Canister Shell appear in Battlefield 4, one for Main Battle Tanks and one for Infantry Fighting Vehicles.
While deadly against infantry and devastating to light armor, the Canister shell is almost useless against heavily-armored vehicles.
Canister Shell (MBT)
— In-game description
The Canister Shell is a vehicle Specialization featured in Battlefield 4 for MBTs. It functions similar to its Battlefield 3 counterpart, allowing MBTs to fire 120mm canister of tungsten pellets.
The canister fires sixteen pellets at a moderate velocity, making it effective at close-medium ranges. However, as it is fired from the main cannon, only one shot (either primary or secondary) can be loaded at a time.
Canister Shell (IFV)
— In-game description
The Canister Shell is a vehicle Specialization featured in Battlefield 4 for IFVs. It allows IFVs to fire canisters of 25mm tungsten balls.
Unlike its MBT counterpart, the Canister Shell for IFVs has a magazine size of twelve shells as opposed to one, but its projectiles travel at a slightly lower velocity and it only has twelve pellets per shot compared to the MBT's sixteen. This effectively makes the IFV's variant much more efficient at eliminating large groups of infantry up close than its counterpart, however its lower pellet amount and velocity make it less effective at range.
- Landship – Squad Support, Tank Hunter (cannon gunners)
- Heavy Tank – Assault
- Light Tank – Close Support, Flanker
Although described as "case ammunition" in-game, it is functionally equal to canister ammunition as there is no visible "airburst" effect.
Case Round is a vehicle specialization featured in Battlefield V and is available for the Valentine Mk VIII, Valentine AA Mk I, and the Panzer IV. It equips the respective vehicle with a canister shell and is effective against infantry and light armor.