Body armor is a pickup in the Grand Theft Auto series that serves primarily to protect the player's health from specific forms of damage, most notably gunfire. In most cases, body armor in the games is illustrated as a protective blue vest.
First introduced in the original Grand Theft Auto, the body armor's primary function is to serve as padding for the player health, in effect extending the player's resilience to damage from gunfire, explosions and fire.
GTA 1 — GTA 2
In early top-down GTA games, armors in both GTA 1 (as well as Grand Theft Auto London mission packs) and GTA 2 serve their intended purpose, adding 10 more hit points to the player's existing health, but provides no protection to the player when they fall from great heights, are run over by vehicles, or are beaten up by the police and arrested. Armors are most commonly found spawned in specific locations or crates, and, in the case of GTA 2, can also be acquired by crushing specific cars.
GTA III — GTA Vice City Stories
Body armor continued to be featured between GTA III and GTA Vice City Stories, undergoing several more changes. In all its of its appearances, armor now offers nearly the same amount of hit points as the player's full health, doubling the player's resistance to damage. The armor hit points stayed the same until GTA San Andreas where the armor is now a bar instead of hit points. In addition, armor can now pad injuries from falls, collisions with vehicles on foot, and even melee attacks; the armor in GTA San Andreas and GTA Vice City Stories is an exception, providing no protection to the player from falls, while the armor in Grand Theft Auto Advance provides no protection to melee attacks.
In addition to spawning in specific locales, body armor can also be purchased at stores that sell weapons, such as Ammu-Nation, as well as entering the police/SWAT Enforcer trucks. Like the player's health, armor hit points between GTA Vice City and GTA Vice City Stories (sans GTA Advance) can typically be increased easily via side-missions (such as "Vigilante"), as well as 100% completion of the game.
The appearance of armor pickups has also changed significantly after GTA III. When included in GTA III, the pickup assumed the appearance of a shield icon; in games after, however, the pickup is redesigned as a spinning vest, possibly to avoid confusion with the police bribe pickup.
GTA IV — GTA Chinatown Wars
Armor in GTA IV has been refashioned slightly out of realism. It no longer offers protection to falls, collisions with vehicles on foot, or melee attacks (including hand-to-hand combat and melee weapons), increasing the player's chances of death from these hazards. Armor in GTA Chinatown Wars appears to revert to pre-GTA IV settings.
As expected, armor can be found lying about in specific points of the city (distinguishable by its red glow) as well as underground weapon dealers in GTA IV or AmmuNation.net in GTA Chinatown Wars. NOOSE Enforcers still provide the player some armor, but only gives the player roughly one third of the maximum amount (With the exception of GTA Chinatown Wars, which gives you full armor).
Grand Theft Auto V introduced a more complex body armor system, including five tiered armor vests ranging from small arms protection to large caliber weapon and explosive protection. Body armor once again provides protection from falls and impacts. Each next level tier provides an added 20% armor, and you cannot buy the same armor twice(stacking), or weaker armor after you buy the next tier(Buy light, cannot buy super light).
- Super Light Armor: $500 (20% armor)
- Light Armor: $1000 (40%)
- Standard Armor: $1500 (60%)
- Heavy Armor: $2000 (80%)
- Super Heavy Armor: $2500 (100%)
These five armor suits can be bought from Ammu-Nation.
Armor has been reported to be massively weaker in GTA Online, even at 100%.
- Red Light District - near the safehouse after collecting 50 hidden packages.
- Saint Mark's - in a area behind Momma's Restaurante, where a Mafia Sentinel is parked, follow the edge around the building and down a side ramp. There's also an AK-47 near the armor.
- Far northeast Portland Harbor - near Emergency Vehicles Import/Export crane.
- On roof of Liberty Pharmaceuticals, across Bitch'n' Dog Food, along with a Hidden Package, an AK-47, an adrenaline and a health pickup. From train tracks, make a running jump onto a black roof beside Mean Street Taxis and follow it to the end to get there.
- Beside a fenced area across from Joey's Garage.
- Atlantic Quays:
- Belleville Park:
- Liberty Campus - on porch of the north building.
- Fort Staunton - on second floor of the building in Panlantic Constrution site, near a health pickup (take the ramp in the west side, follow it to the end then turn right on the stairs).
- Bedford Point:
- In the southeast corner of a large building beside Liberty Cathedral, next an AK-47 pickup icon.
- At the Liberty Tree parking lot (where the mission Kingdom Come takes place), in the walled area behind a parked Moonbeam. Use the van to get there, park it by the lowest part of the wall, climb the car, then jump over the wall. It is also a Carbine Rifle location.
- Francis International Airport - atop the road tunnel entrance next the Airport.
- Pike Creek:
- Wichita Gardens - near the safehouse after collecting 50 Hidden Packages.
- Cedar Grove - inside the storage garage in the front yard of the Cartel Mansion (use the Cartel Cruiser to enter).
GTA Vice City
- Inside Ocean View Hotel (after collecting 10 Hidden Packages).
- In the building beside Pay 'n' Spray where a Banshee and a PCJ-600 spawn (go upstairs).
- Can be bought for $200 in the Ammu-Nation after Jury Fury.
- Behind a pink building at east of Hotel Harrison (near a pool and a Micro SMG pickup).
- At the north corner of the building destroyed in the mission Demolition Man.
- In a small room at bottom of the stairs (after collecting 10 hidden packages).
- At the living room beside the large central stairs of the main hall.
- In front of Standing Vice Point building.
- Near the basketball courts behind some apartments facing east The Well Stacked Pizza.
- At the Vice Point Police Station, part central of the district (get in the Enforcer).
- In a shrine just south of the El Swanko Casa.
- Can be bought for $200 at the Ammu-Nation inside North Point Mall after Jury Fury.
- At the building just south of the bridge that leads to Prawn Island (climb the ramp).
- In the corner of a building just south of 3321 Vice Point.
- In a sand bunker at the northwest part of the course.
- On roof of a building near the test track at the north of the district (use the stairs behind).
- On roof of Hyman Condo after collecting 10 Hidden Packages.
- In a alley at south of The Well Stacked Pizza.
- Can be bought for $200 in the Ammu-Nation after Jury Fury.
- Behind a building besides The Greasy Chopper.
- On roof of Print Works (use stairs).
- In the corner of a blue house just west of the basketball court complex (behind some bushes).
- In the entrance of a building across the street from the big ship.
- Between some crates in the parking lot beside Vice City Transport Police (east of Escobar International Airport).
- At top of the east entrance guard tower.
- Sandy Shores - behind the Medical Center, in a corner beside the generator gate.
- Paleto Bay - behind the Paleto Bay Police Station.
- Tongva Hills - on the deck of the Marlowe Vineyards restaurant.
- Vespucci Police Department, Vespucci Canals - on the garage rooftop patio.
- South Vespucci Beach - at the end of the pier walkway.
- Redwood Lights Track - on the tank in the construction site (near the letter scrap).
- North Vinewood Hills - at top of the storage tank (climb the ladder).
- Palmer-Taylor Power Station - inside the train station beside the power station.
- Land Act Dam - inside the Dam building.
- Mount Josiah - next to the tracks heading into the tunnel.
- North Fort Zancudo - at the sewage works near the army base.
- Great Chaparral - under some rocks at the south.
- Little Seoul - under the covered walkway at the museum.
- Del Perro - on the sidewalk in front of the Maze Bank.
- El Burro Heights - near St. Fiacre Hospital.
- Dutch London St - behind the dumpster in the residential block.
- Police Station - in the back corner behind the wall of the Sheriff's office, next to the towing lot.
- Elysian Island - in a tower near Elysian Fields Freeway.
- Southeast Downtown Los Santos - inside Police Department lobby.
- Chiliad Mountain State Wilderness - Inside Altruist Cult Camp, on the ground in the church porch, located at the north of the camp.
- In the Grand Theft Auto IV beta, Body Armor would be physically represented on one's character model if equipped. As with the fingerless gloves that were also 'cut', this wearable armor still exists in the retail version and can be equipped via a trainer, though without any effect unless the ingame armor is equipped as well. However, body armour is now able to be physically shown on characters in Grand Theft Auto Online.