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Hitting big with Critical Hit Damage

Hitting big with Critical Hit Damage

In Tom Clancy’s The Division, critical hit damage is applied to your target when you strike a critical hit on your target. Critical hit damage is extra damage applied to the target over and above your normal weapon damage for the hit. In this article, I am going to evaluate what is included in critical hit damage and offer some tips on getting the most bang for your buck.


Before we go to far into discussion on critical hit damage, we have to look at plain Weapon Damage and Weapon Headshot Damage.

Weapon Damage

Weapon damage is the damage expected if you hit the target within the chest / torso at or below optimal range for the weapon. From the game files, physical weapon damage is calculated as follows:

PhysicalDamage = (BaseWeaponDamage * Max(0.5, WeaponDamageBaseModBonus + PrimaryOffensiveCalc) + WeaponTypeDamageModCalc) * Max(0, (1 + WeaponDamageModBonus + SmartCoverDamageBonus - EnemySmartCoverDamageReduction))

  • PhysicalDamage - Total damage done to enemy before armor mitigation
  • BaseWeaponDamage - Base weapon damage done by weapon used with zero firearms. You can view the base weapon damage on the individual page for each weapon item that you are interested in.
  • WeaponDamageBaseModBonus - Certain special weapons get a minor buff to base weapon damage, e.g. Survivor AK47
  • PrimaryOffensiveCalc - Bonus damaged received from firearms
  • WeaponTypeDamageModCalc - Bonus damage from armor like +Marksman rifle damage on gloves
  • WeaponDamageModBonus - Bonus weapon damage from weapon modifications and Reckless

With my Custom M44, I hit for 49K damage per bullet. Factor in my smart cover damage bonus of 36.5% and my damage per bullet becomes 64.6k.

Weapon Headshot Damage

All weapons do an increased amount of damage when hitting the target in the head. The amount of bonus damage is determined based off of the following equation.

DamageMultiplierHead = (Weapon.DamageMultiplierHead + WeaponDamageMultiplierHeadFlatBonus + WeaponDamageMultiplierHeadDefaultFlatBonus) * Max(0, (1 + WeaponDamageMultiplierHeadModBonus))

  • DamageMultiplierHead - Multiplier that is used to increase weapon damage by
  • Weapon.DamageMultiplierHead - The amount of increased weapon damage to the head based on the type of weapon.
    • Assault Rifles - 1.75
    • Light Machine Guns - 2.0
    • Marksman Rifles - 1.0
    • Pistols - 2.0
    • Shotguns - 1.8
    • Submachine Guns - 1.5
  • WeaponDamageMultiplierHeadFlatBonus - Headshot damage bonus from weapon modifiers and Brutal
  • WeaponDamageMultiplierHeadDefaultFlatBonus - Headshot damage bonus that is rolled on Marksman Rifles
  • WeaponDamageMultiplierHeadModBonus - Headshot damage bonus from Sentry’s Call 2 piece set bonus, which is 30%

So, if we did the math on my Custom M44, we would get a damage multiplier of:

(1.0 + .225 + 1.70) * 1.30 = 3.8025 * 100 = 380.25% Weapon Damage

My Custom M44 does nearly 4x the amount of damage when I hit headshots, so with 49K and 64.6k (smart cover) weapon damage, I would hit for 186K and 245k (smart cover) headshots.

Critical Hit Damage

Finally, we can review Critical Hit Damage.

WeaponCriticalHitDamageMod = Max(1, (0.25 + WeaponCriticalHitDamageFlatBonus + WeaponTypeCriticalHitDamageFinal))

  • WeaponCriticalHitDamageFlatBonus - Crit Hit Damage bonuses from armor, weapon mods, Deadly and Striker’s Battlegear 3 piece set bonus
  • WeaponTypeCriticalHitDamageFinal - Crit Hit Damage bonuses from talents like Hunter’s Faith marksman rifle bonus

It is worth noting two things in that equation, the MAX function and the base 0.25 critical hit damage. The Max is a function that returns the number that is higher between the two values, meaning that your critical hit damage can be higher than 100%, but not less and you start off with a minimum of 25% critical hit damage.

So, if we did the math on my Custom M44, we would get a Critical Hit Damage value of:

.25 + .27 from Deadly + .36 from gear + .35 from weapon mods = 1.23 * 100 = 123%

When applied to my Custom M44’s 49K per bullet damage, calculates to:

49K * 380% Headshot damage * 123% Critical Hit Damage = 229K

and with smart cover damage bonus:

64.6K * 380% Headshot damage * 123% Critical Hit Damage = 301K

What’s not in Critical Hit Damge

If you notice, critical hit damage from Pulse is not included in any of the equations above. With several bonuses to Pulse via skill attributes on my gear and a skill power of 23k, I get an additional 75%. Making my total Critical Hit Damage with Pulse nearly 200%. Taking my Custom M44s bullet damage of 49k, I can get Critical Hit Headshot damage of:

49K * 380% Headshot damage * 200% Critical Hit Damage = 372K

With smart cover and pulse bonuses it becomes:

64.6K * 380% Headshot damage * 200% Critical Hit Damage = 490k

Which is better? Weapon damage, Headshot damage, or Critical Hit Damage?

Lets first consider flat weapon damage versus critical hit damage (CHD) which is a common decision to be made with gloves. If you have the option of 2300 marksman rifle damage or 38% CHD, which do you pick?

Flat weapon damage vs Critical hit damage

Using the multipliers above with an additional 2300 bullet damage, 49k becomes 52.3k and 64.6k becomes 67.7k with smart cover. CHD becomes 397K and 514k.

Using the multipliers above with an additional 38% CHD, the resulting CHD becomes 443 and 584. The conclusion is that if given the option between flat weapon damage and CHD, looks like CHD wins by a pretty large margin.

% Weapon damage vs Critical hit damage

Comparing 14% weapon damage versus 38% CHD? Applying 14% weapon damage to the same data, we get damage of 209K and 270k and a CHD of 418K and 539k. Now, this is a bit more interesting of a decision, as CHD is higher with 38% CHD vs 14% weapon damage, however if you don’t have a high critical hit chance, you will go farther against your enemies with the weapon damage bonus as it stacks with headshot damage.

Headshot Damage (Brutal) vs Deadly (Critical Hit Damage)

This is a common decision and obviously the best case scenario is getting both, but when you have to choose, which one is better? On a Gear Score 204 rifle, Brutal provides 24.5% headshot damage bonus and Deadly provides 27% critical hit damage bonus.

My Custom M44 has Deadly on it and we have already done the calculations on that, producing damage of 186K and 245k CHD of 372k and 491k. If I swapped Deadly for Brutal, my calculations would become:

Damage - 49K * 404.5% Headshot damage = 198K Critical Hit Damage - 49K * 404.5% Headshot damage * 173% Critical Hit Damage = 343K

With smart cover and pulse bonuses it becomes:

Damage - 64.6K * 404.5% Headshot damage = 261K Critical Hit Damage - 64.6K * 404.5% Headshot damage * 173% Critical Hit Damage = 452k


First and foremost, don’t waste time on flat weapon damage unless you already have a great critical hit damage roll. Critical hit damage will always offer far better crit damage gains than headshot damage or weapon damage, however if you haven’t invested in critical hit chance, then critical hit damage may not be the best choice over percentage based headshot and weapon damage bonuses.

Since I don’t invest much in critical hit chance, I focus on headshot damage and weapon damage, which allows me to get consistent powerful headshots, especially with Sentry’s Call 4 set bonus. Stacked with Pulse and smart cover, you can continuously get 400k - 1.3M damage headshots. When you combine the right buffs across a team, you can hit over 2M. It sure feels good to one-shot LMB shotgunners for once.


  • My firearms was ~2400 and skill power of 23.6k when creating the math for this article

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