Although similar in its main performance parameters, the Leclerc tank also has its own French characteristics.
Instead of manual reloading, Leclerc uses an automatic reload system, for a very high rate of fire, up to 12 rounds/min. This reduced the crew to just three people (commander, driver and gunner). The Leclerc has a 12.7 mm coaxial machine gun, and a 7.62 mm machine gun on the turret.
The main gun of the Leclerc tank has a slightly longer barrel than that of the Abrams tank. In theory, it has a stronger armor penetration. Leclerc also pioneered the use of programmable shells. However, the main advantage of the Leclerc is its defense and mobility.
It is difficult to compare the effectiveness of modern tank armor, but the Leclerc and M1 seem to have similar frontal armor. Instead of just using Chobham composite armor like M1, Leclerc also combines composite armor and explosive reactive armor (ERA). It is theoretically more effective against armor-piercing shells.
Reality in the Middle East has proven, the side armor of Leclerc is clearly superior to M1. Leclerc tanks are also equipped with titanium armor plates and side panels of explosive reactive armor, which can detonate missiles and artillery shells early on.
Another difference is, Leclerc is equipped with a GALIX self-defence system are mounted onto the rear part of the turret, to destroy targets too close to the vehicle. The launcher can launch a variety of ammunition, including smoke grenades, fragmentation grenades, infrared decoy with a burning time of 10 seconds, to deceive infrared and laser guided anti-tank missiles.
The Leclerc has a turret that is smaller than the Abrams tank, making it harder to hit than other Western tanks. However, the smaller turret has less space for the upgrades and the equipment inside.