Shot traps are locations on the exterior of an armored vehicle where impacting shells are deflected to a weaker or more vulnerable point in the armor, or are simply allowed to hit the vehicle squarely on. As a result, instead of bouncing or skimming off (which is a central tenet of good hull design) impact from the shell kills the tank and/or wounds its occupants. Therefore, shot traps are regarded as serious design flaws which should be avoided.
For example, initial turret design of the Tiger II had a curved mantlet in the front. This acted as a shot trap by deflecting incoming shots that hit the lower part of the mantlet downwards towards the thinner hull roof armour, or into the turret ring where the shell could potentially jam the traverse mechanism. A new design replaced the front curved mantlet with a flat armor plate sloped at 81 degrees.
- Zaloga 1993, p. 37.
- Jentz and Doyle 1993, pp. 13–16.