A critical hit is a gameplay mechanic in XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2.


When firing most weapons, units have a chance to inflict additional damage (about +50% in XC1) upon their opponent with a critical hit. A unit's Critical Hit Damage and Critical Hit Chance stats are partially composed of base stats added by the weapon being used, but may vary from encounter to encounter due to many factors established by both the shooter and the target. These include both parties' pertinent traits, abilities, status effects, gene mods, equipment & upgrades, as well as the positioning of the units. Catching a target out of cover (referred to as "Enemy Exposed" in XC1), or flanking from an unprotected side, increases the chance of a critical hit by 50% in XC1, or 40% in XC2.

Hit Chance[]

In Enemy Unknown, the critical percent displayed in-game indicates the chance of a successful hit being critical, not the chance of landing a critical hit against the opponent. To determine the latter, multiply the displayed chance to hit by the critical percentage. For example, if you have a 88% chance to hit the target, and a 25% critical chance, the percent outcomes are:

  • Chance of critical hit: 88% × 25% = 22%
  • Chance of regular hit: 88% - 22% = 66%
  • Chance of miss: 100% - 22% - 66% = 12%

While Aim and Defense modify the chance of a hit, they are not directly related to Critical Hit Chance or Critical Hit Damage stats.

Note that XCOM 2 functions differently, in that the critical percent displayed indicates the absolute chance that the shot will be a critical hit, except in cases where the critical chance exceeds the chance to hit. If a shot with an hit chance of 88% and a critical chance of at least 88% hits, then it is guaranteed to be a critical hit.


Most weapons, excluding rocket launchers and grenades, are capable of inflicting a critical hit. Of all the primary weapon types, sniper rifles have the highest base chance to inflict a critical hit throughout the game, increasing by +5% critical chance with each technology level. Heavy's LMGs have the lowest critical chance, remaining at zero from conventional weapon through to plasma. The Laser Pistol is the only secondary weapon that has a base chance to critically hit.

Weapon Base Damage Critical Chance Critical Damage
Light Machine Guns
LMG  LMG 3 - 5 0% 6 - 7
Heavy Laser  Heavy Laser 5 - 7 0% 9 - 10
Heavy Plasma  Heavy Plasma 8 - 10 0% 13 - 15
Minigun  Minigun 4 - 6 10% 7 - 9
Railgun  Railgun 6 - 8 10% 10 - 12
Particle Cannon  Particle Cannon 9 - 11 10% 15 - 16
Pistol  Pistol 1 - 2 0% 2 - 3
Laser Pistol  Laser Pistol 1 - 3 10% 3 - 4
Plasma Pistol  Plasma Pistol 2 - 4 0% 4 - 6
Assault Rifle  Assault Rifle 2 - 4 10% 4 - 6
Laser Rifle  Laser Rifle 4 - 6 10% 7 - 9
Light Plasma Rifle  Light Plasma Rifle 4 - 6 10% 7 - 9
Plasma Rifle  Plasma Rifle 6 - 8 10% 10 - 12
Shotgun  Shotgun 3 - 5 20% 6 - 7
Scatter Laser  Scatter Laser 5 - 7 20% 9 - 10
Alloy Cannon  Alloy Cannon 8 - 10 20% 13 - 15
Sniper Rifles
Sniper Rifle  Sniper Rifle 3 - 5 25% 6 - 7
Laser Sniper Rifle  Laser Sniper Rifle 5 - 7 30% 9 - 10
Plasma Sniper Rifle  Plasma Sniper Rifle 8 - 10 35% 13 - 15

Bonuses and Perks[]

Beyond weapons and troop positioning, there are a substantial number of ways to increase one's chance of avoiding a critical hit, inflicting a critical hit, and critical hit damage.

Basic Abilities and Traits[]

Ability / Trait Description
Hardened.jpg  Hardened -60% critical chance against this unit.
XCOM: MEC Trooper, all varieties of S.H.I.V.s
Enemies: Berserker, Chryssalid, Cyberdisc (closed), Drone, Ethereal, Mechtoid, Sectopod, Uber Ethereal
XEU Hunker Down icon.png  Hunker Down  Immune to being critically hit (unless flanked).
XCOM: Assault, Heavy, Sniper, Support
Enemies: All EXALT units, most Alien land units
Overwatch.jpg  Overwatch Reaction shots on Overwatch cannot critically hit.
XCOM: All units
Enemies: All EXALT units, Cyberdisc, Floater, Heavy Floater, Mechtoid, Muton, Muton Elite, Outsider, Sectoid, Sectoid Commander, Sectopod, Thin Man


  • Although they have a similar name and purpose, the civilian ability Head Down is not the same as Hunker Down. Head Down does not provide immunity to critical hits.

Class Abilities[]

Class Ability Description
XEU ClassAssault.png
XEU Assault Aggression.png  Aggression +10% critical chance per enemy in sight (max +30%).
XEU Assault BringEmOn.png  Bring Em On +1 critical damage per enemy the squad can see (max +5).
XEU Assault CloseAndPersonal.png  Close and Personal  +30% critical chance against adjacent targets. (Doesn't apply in XCOM: Enemy Within due to change to ability.)
XEU Assault KillerInstinct.png  Killer Instinct Run & Gun grants +50% critical damage.
XEU Assault Resilience.png  Resilience Immune to being critically hit.
XEW ClassMECTrooper.png
Body Shield Icon.png  Body Shield The nearest visible enemy cannot critically hit this unit. (Heavy-based MEC Troopers)
Collateral Damage Icon.png  Collateral Damage Collateral Damage cannot critically hit.
Platform Stability Icon.png  Platform Stability +10% critical chance. (Sniper-based MEC Troopers)
XEU ClassSniper.png
XEU Sniper DisablingShot.png  Disabling Shot Disabling Shot cannot critically hit.
XEU Sniper Headshot.png  Headshot +30% critical chance, and +critical damage based on the tech level of the rifle.
XEU Sniper Opportunist.png  Opportunist Allows reaction shots (e.g. Overwatch) to critically hit.
XEU Sniper Squadsight.png  Squadsight XCOM: Enemy Within only: Squadsight shots cannot critically hit, unless a Headshot.
XEU ClassSupport.png
XEU Support CombatDrugs.png  Combat Drugs Smoke Grenades grant +10% critical chance for all units in the cloud.


Equipment Abilities[]

Ability Description
XEU Ghost.png  Ghost Mode +100% critical chance while stealthed (+30% in XCOM: Enemy Within).
XCOM: soldier with Ghost Armor / Ghost Grenade EW
Enemies: None (ability possessed by Seekers but cannot be used to crit)
XEW Reaper Rounds icon.png  Reaper Rounds EW +20% critical chance against organic targets.
XCOM: Soldier with conventional weapon & Reaper Rounds
Enemies: None

Gene Mods[]

Gene Mod Description
Adrenal Neurosympathy Icon.png  Adrenal Neurosympathy EW  +5% critical chance.
XCOM: Gene-modded soldier & nearby allies
Enemies: None
Adrenaline Surge Gene Mod.png  Adrenaline Surge EW +10% critical chance per turn when wounded.
XCOM: None
Enemies: EXALT Elite Operative
Depth Perception Icon.png  Depth Perception EW +5% critical chance bonus for height advantage.
XCOM: Gene-modded soldier]
Enemies: EXALT Elite Sniper
Mimetic Skin Icon.png  Mimetic Skin EW +30% critical chance when stealthed.
XCOM: Gene-modded soldier
Enemies: None

Foundry Upgrades[]

Upgrade Description
Foundry - Improved Pistol I  Improved Pistol I +20% critical chance with all pistols.
Foundry - S.C.O.P.E. Upgrade  S.C.O.P.E. Upgrade  +10% critical chance added to the S.C.O.P.E.


Ability Description
XComEW Medals - Council Medal of Honor icon 2 crit.png  Council Medal of Honor EW  +10% critical chance if not within 7 tiles of an allied unit.
XCOM: Soldier
Enemies: None
XEU AlienAbility GreaterMindMerge.png  Greater Mind Merge Receiver is granted +25% critical chance.
XCOM: None
Enemies: Sectoid Commander (transmitter), Sectoid (receiver)
XEU AlienAbility MindMerge.png  Mind Merge Receiver is granted +25% critical chance.
XCOM: None
Enemies: Sectoid (transmitter/receiver)

Second Wave[]

A few Second Wave options affect the characteristics of critical hits.

  • Absolutely Critical increases the "Enemy Exposed" and "Flanking" bonuses from +50% to +100% critical chance, while modifying the Hardened trait from -60% to -100% critical chance to compensate for units that cannot take cover. While this option makes flanking or being out of cover more dangerous, it also means that there is a net 10% increase to critically hit a Hardened unit.
  • Damage Roulette alters the calculation of the damage dealt by a critical hit. The bonus damage is the weapon's base damage, added to the randomized damage of the hit (between 1 and 150% of the base damage). As such, going for critical hits is one way to deal consistent damage.


  • In XCOM: Enemy Within, critical hit damage may vary from what is listed in a weapon's Tactical Info due to a calculation bug. They may inflict one point less than the indicated minimum, and/or be limited to one point less than the indicated maximum.