Best armour in Escape from Tarkov (Patch 0.14.11) & armour hitboxes explained

Best armour in Escape from Tarkov (Patch 0.14.11) & armour hitboxes explained
Images via Battlestate Games

Written by 

Harry Boulton

Last updated 

4th Mar 2024 14:11


Having the best armour equipped in Escape from Tarkov will ensure that you survive your raids, but the recent armour hitbox changes in Patch 0.14 have made separating the wheat from the chaff even more challenging.

As the game has a bespoke penetration system that dictates which bullets are effective against the six armour classes, making sure that you've picked the right one for your situation is essential. The last thing you want is to lose an expensive kit simply because you got your armour choice all wrong.

Here I'll break down the best body armour and armoured rigs that you can use in Escape from Tarkov right now at every class level. Taking into consideration the material type, durability, weight, and armour areas, you'll only get the best of the best when it comes to protection.

Best Class 2 armour

  • PACA Soft armour

If you're going for Class 2 armour - and you only really should if you're fighting scavs - then the trusty PACA is the best and only one you should pick. It covers your thorax, stomach, back, and sides, and has minimum movement reductions with a low weight too.

Image of the PACA armour in Escape from Tarkov
Click to enlarge

The 6B2 body armour (Flora) should only be an alternative if you're picking between it and no armour at all, as it doesn't cover your sides, is heavier than the PACA, and has greater movement penalties.

Best Class 3 armour

  • BNTI Zhuk-3 body armour (Press)
  • BNTI Kirasa-N body armour
  • DRD body armour

Image of the BNTI Kirasa-N body armor in Escape from Tarkov
Click to enlarge

Class 3 armour is mostly when you're going to have to start using armour plates, as the 'soft armour' base of most options is merely Class 2, with the option to insert Class 3 plates for extra protection.

The BNTI Zhuk-3 and Kirasa-N are by far the best-in-class options here, giving you Class 2 soft protection on the sides, neck, and throat (the neck/throat area is a big bonus here), and the option for Class 3 plates on both the front and back of the armour.

This is very strong as it stops you from being blindsided or wiped out by a stray shotgun pellet, and the Aramid material is the most durable material too, letting the armour last for longer.

Alternatively, you could also go for the DRD body armour, which is essentially a Class 3 version of the PACA. This doesn't cover your neck or throat but also is Class 3 across the board for extra protection. It's a bit more difficult to get your hands on though, as it isn't sold by any Traders.

Class 3 armour has become a lot stronger due to the changes Battlestate Games has made to armour hitboxes and ammo availability, so definitely don't write it off in the early to mid-wipe stages.

Best Class 4 armour

  • NFM THOR Concealable Reinforced Vest body armour
  • 6B23-2 body armour(Mountain Flora)
  • Interceptor OTV body armour (UCP)
  • Crye Precision AVS plate carrier
  • FirstSpear Strandhogg plate carrier (Ranger Green)
  • ECLiPSE RBAV-AF plate carrier (Ranger Green)

Image of the NFM THOR Concealable Reinforced Vest body armor in Escape from Tarkov
Click to enlarge

Class 4 is where things start getting serious, and there are some excellent choices for your PMC here. The NFM THOR is fantastic both for its weight and availability, as you can pick it up at Ragman LL2 and it weighs a were 1.7kg with Aramid material. It doesn't cover anywhere on the neck unfortunately though, so you'll have to pray that a stray shot doesn't take you down.

The 6B23-2 is probably the top option here, covering pretty much all areas with Class 2 armour (including the groin and buttocks!) with Class 4 plates on the front and back. It's not too heavy despite its superior coverage either, coming in at just 3.3kg with minimal movement reductions too. Don't get this confused with the 6B13 though, as this covers less and is constructed with Ceramic instead of the 6B23-2's Aramid, making it far less effective overall.

The Interceptor OTV is similar to the THOR yet packs a much higher durability value, making it much more effective when hit with bullets on the fringe of penetration. It's a bit heavier and has greater movement penalties as a trade-off though, so you'll have to weigh up your options.

Class 4 is also where we start to see the viability of armoured rigs as actual protection, and there are a surprising number of great options to choose from. What separates them most then is the armour areas and storage space. The Crye Precision AVS stands out with five 1x2 slots, five single cells, and two 2x2 blocks - giving you an abundance of space for mags, meds, and loot.

On the other hand, the Strandhogg and RBAV-AF both offer three 1x3 slots and a 2x2 box, alongside four 1x1s for the former and six for the latter. This is great for any extended mags, as they can sometimes stretch three slots vertically.

Best Class 5 armour

  • 6B13 M modified assault armour (Tan)
  • BNTI Gzhel-K body armour
  • FORT Defender-2 body armour
  • IOTV Gen4 body armour (Assault Kit)
  • IOTV Gen4 body armour (High Mobility Kit)
  • FORT Redut-M body armour
  • Ars Arma CPC MOD.1 plate carrier
  • CQC Osprey MK4A plate carrier (Protection, MTP)

Image of the IOTV Gen4 body armour in Escape from Tarkov
Click to enlarge

Class 5 armour is what you'll likely end up using most of the time due to both the availability of Class 6 plates and the relative weakness of the Class 6 armour itself.

In a rather rare case, by far the best Class 5 armour - and arguably the best armour in the entire game is the CQC Osprey MK4A. This essentially offers the best case scenario in every situation, with Class 3 soft armour and Class 5 front, back, and side plates. It also covers your arms which can often keep you alive that bit longer as it prevents bullets from passing straight through your shoulder and into your Thorax.

Both of the FORT body armours in the Redut-M and Defender-2 are extremely strong in Escape from Tarkov, and well worth taking into your raids. Their coverage is incredibly strong despite no neck protection, and ensure that only a small area on your body is left uncovered.

The same is very much true for the IOTV Gen4 duo, as the Assault and High Mobility kits both offer excellent protection across the board. The benefit of these in particular is arm (Assault) and neck (both) coverage, although they do have stronger movement penalties.

The 6B13 M (Tan) is a bit of a tricky one to recommend, as while it offers Class 5 front and back plates with Class 3 soft across the board, it's only obtainable from Interchange's scav boss Killa. This means that it's really quite rare - but if you do manage to loot it then it's definitely worth using.

Unsurprisingly though, the BNTI Gzhel-K remains one of the meta body armours for Class 5, offering Class 3 soft protection in the sides, neck, and throat, alongside Class 5 plates for the front and back. The strength of the Gzhel lies in its low weight and mobility, letting you move without restrictions while maintaining strong protection.

Outside of the Osprey for armoured rigs, we have the Ars Arma CPC MOD.1. The CPC MOD.1 provides Class 5 plates to the front, back, and sides, while remaining light and with little movement debuffs.

Best Class 6 armour

  • BNTI Zhuk-6a body armour

While you might think that any Class 6 armour is worth shoving on, many actually leave you at a distinct disadvantage due to the way that the hitboxes and plates work post-patch 0.14.

The Slick and Hexgrid were formerly top of the pack, but now they only give a very small area of Class 6 protection, leaving the rest of your body free to be hit - leaving you susceptible to even the worst ammo in the game if you're unlucky enough.

The only Class 6 armour you'll want to use is the BNTI Zhuk-6a, as it's largely the same as the Gzhel-K but with Class 6 instead. This does, like the Gzhel, leave a small part of the Thorax uncovered due to the Eastern plate hitbox design - but it's still super strong and only a small hit against the overall armour.

Armour hitboxes & armour plates explained

Image of the 6B13 and it's armour plate, with annotations denoting the difference between soft armour and armour plates
Click to enlarge

Where previously an item would have one single armour class that would cover the entire section that it states with that class, armour now only protects what it visually covers, and each section has a potentially different class. This was changed in patch 0.14, leading to confusion for many players.

Furthermore, BSG has also introduced armour plates to the game, creating a distinction between 'soft armour' that is part of the rig itself, and separate auxiliary plates that can be inserted into specific armour.

With a few exceptions, most armour in the game now only provides a maximum of Class 3 protection, and you need to insert plates of a higher quality if you want to prevent bullet penetration. Any areas without plates will likely have a lower armour value too, leaving you vulnerable to weaker bullets and lucky shots.

The plates do have their own weight and movement penalties to consider alongside individual durability, so consider that when choosing one armour over another, or between different plate options.

Furthermore, armour plates are typically formed of two different designs - Western and Eastern - each with their own individual hitboxes. The general consensus is that the Western rectangular plates are better as they cover the entirety of the Thorax, whereas the diamond shape of the Eastern options leaves a small area of this critical body part uncovered.

Armour plates are often layered over the existing 'soft armour' that is already part of the armour that you're placing the plates onto. This means that any incoming bullet will now have to penetrate through two separate surfaces, giving you a potentially higher level of protection even if the overall class might be a little lower.

While there was formerly an issue where Armour Plates were taking zero blunt damage, this has since been fixed in patch 0.14.11 - so expect all armours to work as they did prior to patch 0.14 when it comes to blunt damage and penetration.

You'll now be ready to jump into your next raid with the best armour possible - but make sure that you've also got the best ammo and one of the meta weapons to complete the perfect kit. Your opposing PMCs really won't know what's hit them!

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Get exclusive news, content, and discounts sent directly to your inbox

You've joined our newsletter. Thank you!
Sorry, there has been an issue in subscribing to the newsletter.

We have more helpful guides like this on our dedicated Escape from Tarkov homepage, letting you find out the best settings to improve your fps and see every night vision option compared.

Harry is a Guides Writer at GGRecon, having completed a Masters of Research degree in Film Studies. Previously a freelance writer for PCGamesN, The Loadout, and Red Bull Gaming, he loves playing a wide variety of games from the Souls series to JRPGs, Counter-Strike, and EA FC. When not playing or writing about games and hardware, you're likely to find him watching football or listening to Madonna and Kate Bush.

Escape from Tarkov ammo tier list & best ammo to use for patch 0.14.11
Best Escape from Tarkov early wipe weapon builds, from AUG to VPO
Escape from Tarkov best settings to improve FPS, graphics & visibility
Best & most profitable crafts in Escape from Tarkov
Best AKS-74U build in Escape from Tarkov, from attachments to ammo