Carbide-free bainite, a fine mixture of bainitic ferrite and austenite, is a relatively recent development in steel microstructures. Apart from being very strong and tough, the microstructure is hydrogen-tolerant. These characteristics make it well-suited for weld metals. In the current work, an armor-grade quenched and tempered steel was welded such that the fusion zone developed a carbide-free bainitic microstructure. These welds showed very high joint efficiency and ballistic performance compared to those produced, as per the current industrial practice, using austenitic stainless steel fillers. Importantly, these welds showed no vulnerability to cold cracking, as verified using oblique Y-groove tests. The concept of carbide-free bainitic weld metal thus promises many useful new developments in welding of high-strength steels. © 2014, The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society and ASM International.