In Escape from Tarkov, the defense is almost as important (if not more) as the offense. Even a single bullet can end your Raid, so you have to protect yourself as well as you can. The best protection possible comes from, of course, not being seen; people can't shoot you if they have no idea where you are, but if staying out of sight is no longer an option, there is one more thing that can save you - EfT Armors. Bulletproof vests and helmets are your last line of defense against enemy fire and they will save your life (if your equipment's armor class is good enough to stop enemy's bullets). There are 6 armor classes in EfT (from 1 to 6), and the higher the class, the better. While class 1 struggles to stop regular pistol ammunition, class 6 can be penetrated only by special armor-piercing ammunition. However, you should remember than even the best Tarkov Armors available will eventually break under continuous fire, which means that standing in the open is never a good idea.
Effectiveness of EfT Armors
People will often say that wearing anything with armor class lower than 4 is completely pointless because everybody is using ammunition that goes through low-class protection anyway. This, like many other things found on the internet, is not true, and for a very simple reason - Scavs. Both Player and NPC Scavengers will, most likely, use low-pen-value ammunition (12 gauge shots, weak 9x18 rounds, or even 5.45x39 HP ammunition that has only 11 Penetration Power). This means that even class 2 or 3 armors can save you from unplanned death at the hands of a random Scav; use protection, even on budget runs. Class 3 armor set can be assembled for as few as ~62 thousand roubles, for example, you can Buy Tarkov Armors of the following types: 6B23-1 body armor (54 thousand roubles) + SSh-68 helmet (18 thousand roubles) - they will protect you against scavengers and low-level players. The sSh-68 helmet is especially good because of its accessibility (loyalty level 1 Ragman sells it) and high ricochet chance (it can randomly bounce a high-penetration bullet that would have otherwise ended your Raid, which is huge).
Of course, for the end-game, you should upgrade your equipment and use the best EfT Armor you can comfortably afford; here are some Tarkov Armors loadout examples that are worth your consideration:
- Previously mentioned 6B23-1 Body Armor + SSh-68 Helmet - a great choice for budget runs and for new players. It is good enough to stop shotgun and handgun fire, and the helmet will ricochet even some of the deadliest shots on occasion. Moreover, the 6B23-1 Body Armor is very durable, so it can take some punishment before breaking, and its made out of steel which has better repair ratios than ceramics. An added benefit of running these is their low cost; people will often not pick them up, so these two pieces will return to you if you insure them, which is great for newer players who don't have a high budget.
- IOTV Gen4 Armor (Assault Kit) + Crye Precision Airframe Tan (Airframe Tan) + Wartech TV-110 Plate Carrier (Chest Rig) - the best readily available EfT Armor loadout currently. It provides unparalleled protection combined with high freedom of movement (Gen4 has -20% movement speed, while something like FORT Redut-T5 has -37%!) and great helmet modularity (Airframe can be upgraded with Chops, Ears, FAST Visor with armor class 2, or with the Multi-hit ballistic face shield-visor that has armor class 3; both of the visors do not reduce visibility). Moreover, Wartech TV-110 stacks with the armor and will stop a few initial, lower penetration-power, hits before they start damaging your Gen4 (double armor layer also has a higher chance of stopping an armor-piercing bullet completely), which means that you will be able to take more punishment before your armor protection starts failing (and it has a lot of handy compartments that greatly increase your overall capacity - 20 slots in total). If you are looking for the highest possible protection levels, but you also want to stay mobile, this is a very solid loadout choice.
- 6B13 M Assault Armor (Tan) + Crye Precision Airframe Tan (Airframe Tan) + Wartech TV-110 Plate Carrier (Chest Rig) - This loadout has almost all the benefits of the previous one with increased mobility. The 6B13 M Assault Armor (Tan) offers the best movement parameters out of all Class 5 armors, but it has one, quite substantial, drawback - it can only be dropped from Killa, and Killa rarely goes down without a fight. This means that 6B13 M often has lowered durability (because it had to be repaired after defeating its previous owner), which makes it less economical to use than the IOTV Gen4. Also, unlike Gen4, 6B13 M does not protect arms, which can be a deal-breaker for many as losing arms is very annoying.
- 6B43 Zebralo-Sh 6A Armor + Altyn Helmet + 5.11 Tactec Plate Carrier - when it comes to pure ballistic protection, this loadout leaves the competition far behind. When it comes to mobility and price... well, how deep into your pocket are you willing to reach to maximize your protection? Wearing these turns you into a moving bunker, metaphorically and literally; you move ~50% slower and your visibility is reduced, but it will take a hailstorm of armor-piercing bullets to take you down. However, low movement speed and highly reduced visibility make this loadout very situational (we do not recommend running this when solo, as you might need some support during combat, or someone who will secure your gear after you get shot - it will get very expensive otherwise).
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