A Guide to the Armor Classes of Escape From Tarkov
Armor can be a lifesaver in the brutal land of Tarkov, and this guide will introduce you to the various classes of protection and which of them are worth using.
Escape From Tarkov features some of the most unforgiving combat in a mainstream video game. If you’re tired of getting killed with one shot in every engagement, you may consider investing in some armor. Navigating the various armor types and protection levels can be tricky, but don't worry, socially gaming put together this guide to help you out.
Types of Armor
This is the most basic form of armor, and it includes bulletproof vests and other standalone protective elements that cover your torso, stomach, and sometimes arms. Body armor doesn’t have any pouches for your gear, so you’ll need to wear it alongside a separate tactical rig.
An armored rig combines elements of body armor with a tactical rig, providing you with magazine and grenade pouches as well as protection. Armored rigs tend to give you better value for money than separate armor and rigs, but they will sometimes feature fewer pouches or inferior protection compared to their standalone counterparts.
As you would expect, helmets protect your head, though there are very few reasonably-priced helmets that will protect you from rifle-caliber armor-piercing bullets. Most of the time, helmets can protect you from SCAV ammo, grenade fragments, and inexperienced players, but don’t expect them to do much against an accurate opponent.
Face Shield/Other Helmet Accessories
Some helmets can be paired with face shields for full frontal protection from head-shots. Keep in mind that the majority of face shields will only protect you from pistol-caliber rounds with low penetration. Some helmets are also compatible with add-on ear protection or plates that increase the armor level of certain hit zones.
Armor in Escape From Tarkov is defined through the Russian GOST standard, instead of the more well-known western NIJ standard, so the protection levels may seem misleading at first. Let’s take a look at the level of protection offered by each of these classes.
Class 1 armor is relatively rare, being restricted to headgear like the Shattered face mask and the tank crew helmet. This class will only protect you from low-penetration ammunition from pistols and buckshot, and it often features low durability, so it won’t save you from many hits.
Don’t expect to rely on this kind of armor, and it is typically not worth the amount that it muffles sounds, so many players avoid class 1 gear outright.
Class 2 is where armor starts providing some protection, but it is still relatively insignificant if you’re being shot at with anything larger than a pistol-caliber bullet. Class 2 isn’t even entirely immune to pistol ammo, with some rounds like AP 6.3 and PMM cutting right through it.
This type of armor is suitable for players who need SCAV protection on a budget, as most class 2 gear is extremely affordable. You just need to accept that this kind of protection isn’t going to stop everything. One last thing to keep in mind is that some face shields offer class 2 protection, which is better than no facial protection.
Class 3 armor is where things start to get interesting. This kind of equipment will protect you from most SCAV ammo, and you’ll only have to fear SCAV's that spawn in with Mosins or SA-58s. Against players, class 3 armor is a little less reliable, with most non-pistol rounds being able to penetrate it with ease.
Some of the most popular helmets in the game offer class 3 protection for most areas of your head, aside from the face and possibly your ears. On budget runs, class 3 coverage is typically the best that you can expect for your head. Some of the most popular face shields also offer class 3 protection.
This next class of armor will leave you almost completely immune to everything except for a lucky shot from a SCAV. Class 4 also marks the point where you can start expecting your armor to protect you from PMCs, but only inexperienced ones who haven’t yet figured out the best ammo to use.
High-tier helmets will also offer class 4 protection, though they will come at a premium cost.
Class 5 protection is a reasonable choice if you want player protection at a more affordable cost than class 6. This kind of armor will protect you from most budget armor-piercing rounds, but you can’t expect it to provide coverage against experienced players with good gear.
Finally, class 6 is the best level of protection that you can get, and it will cover you from all but the most specialized armor-piercing ammunition. Cartridges that penetrate this ammo will often cost over 1000 roubles per round, so PMCs who can get through your defenses will be relatively rare.
Knowing your armor classes is a key part of ensuring that you’re protected from all the threats you can expect to run into when playing Escape From Tarkov. We haven’t covered some of the more detailed mechanics of Tarkov’s penetration system, but these basics should help you choose your gear more easily.