Armor abilities

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Armor abilities are gameplay items featured in Halo: Reach, Halo 4, Halo: Spartan Assault, and Halo: Spartan Strike. Similar to Halo 3's equipment pieces, these items can be picked up and activated by players. Unlike Halo 3's equipment pieces, however, they are reusable. They are replaced in Halo 5: Guardians by the universally available Spartan abilities.


UNSC and Covenant armor both offer attachments that tweak the armor's performance in different ways. For Spartans, these attachments sync with the soldier's neural network to improve the armor's abilities. Similar technology has been seen in Sangheili and Jiralhanae armor with dummy modules or terminator plugs.[1]


Armor abilities are an alteration of Halo 3's equipment. Instead of being single-use, each ability is reusable, with a cooldown time between uses. In Halo: Reach campaign, the player begins with the sprint armor ability at the start of each level, and is able to swap it with other armor abilities they may come across. In multiplayer, armor abilities can be chosen through loadouts before a match is started or during a player's respawn time. Armor abilities can be manipulated like weapons in Forge.[2]

Most armor abilities are enabled by a small device attached to the user's lower back, with each ability displaying a different color. When not in use, these devices will project a hologram that displays the icon of the ability, allowing for quick recognition from a distance or when switching abilities. When players are killed, the armor abilities will not be dropped.

All armor abilities are rendered useless to players when transporting objects such as Flags and Oddballs. If players attempt to use an armor ability, the object simply drops out of their hands. In custom games, the cooldown time can be altered and the ability to use armor abilities while holding objectives can be added.

List of armor abilities[edit]

Halo: Reach
Armor Ability Effect
ReachAA - Camouflage.png
Active Camouflage
Go off the grid by engaging Active Camo. Your enemies can’t kill what they cannot see. Stalk, seek, and destroy.[2]

Active camouflage provides players temporary invisibility for a duration of 15 seconds, similar to the Arbiter's active camouflage feature from Halo 2.[3] Its pick-up color is cyan and fully recharges from a complete depletion in 15 seconds. When activated, the player becomes invisible, with all sound heavily muffled for the duration of the effect. The ability loses its invisibility effect when the player moves at a certain pace: if the player starts running, they become more visible.

Active camouflage also includes a Radar jammer function where it will spawn a multitude of false dots on players' motion trackers within 25 meters.

ReachAA - ArmorLock.png
Armor Lock
Become invincible, but immobile. While you're locked down, Elites can't touch you.[2]

Armor lock, sometimes referred to as Armor Lockup, is an ability that overcharges the player's energy shield, preventing the user from taking any damage. This ranges from repelling incoming explosive projectiles and removing Anskum-pattern plasma grenades to disabling, damaging or even destroying incoming vehicles. However, in doing so, the player is immobile and cannot perform any act. Once depleted, the armor ability discharges a short-range EMP blast effect and pushes players away from the user.

Armor lock can be activated for a maximum duration of 5 seconds. After a delay of 3 seconds, the armor ability will recharge for 11 seconds to a fully-charged state. The armor ability varies with how long the ability is used; the longer the player activates the ability, the farther the final EMP blast radius will be.

The technology was first developed by the Covenant for use on Elite combat harnesses, but was adapted for use by Spartan personnel.[4] In Halo: Reach, the ability is usable by the Spartans, Elites and Brutes and is enabled through a shielding attachment found behind the user's armor. Its pick-up color is orange.

ReachAA - Shield.png
Drop Shield
A temporary bubble of protection that heals those fortunate enough to be within its sphere of influence.[2]

The drop shield provides players a spherical energy shield that also regenerates their health. In a way, it functions similarly to a bubble shield,[5] a deployable cover and a regenerator. While having similar appearance as the bubble shield, the drop shield is not entirely invincible - the strength of the shield is approximately three times that of a standard energy shielding system - and will deactivate when the damage reaches a certain threshold. The damage is represented in color stages from blue to red, similar to the deployable cover. Additionally, unlike the bubble shield however, plasma grenades will stick to the surface of the shield.[6]

The Drop Shield does not regenerate players' health any faster than normal. Rather, it simply enables the player to regenerate his/her health to full at a similar rate to the base health regeneration rate. Thus, the faster the player's base health regeneration is, the faster the Drop Shield regenerates it. If the health recharge rate is set to 0%, then the armor ability will not regenerate players' health at all.

The drop shield expires and deactivates once the armor ability meter is at 3/4 full, after 15 seconds, unless it is prematurely deactivated from damage as previously stated.[7] A new drop shield can be deployed 20 seconds after the first one was deployed, giving a 5-second window where the player is exposed. Damaging a drop shield will not reduce its lifespan unless it is completely destroyed. Also, a damaged drop shield will, if no further damage is done, repair the damage and return to full strength. The drop shield is available on the Medic loadout. Its pickup color is blue.

ReachAA - Evade.png
Play with your food! As an Elite, you'll be able to bob, weave, and juke to get into the most effective combat position.[2]

The Evade ability allows the player to roll in any direction to avoid danger, breaking enemy lock-ons and tracking in the process. Players can evade two times before having to wait 4 seconds for the ability to recharge. Its pickup color is purple.

The Evade ability is provided by a "plug" attached to an Elite's armor, described as a "dummy module" or "terminator plug" whose precise function is unknown. In any case, it appears to enhance the mobility of the wearer and is compatible with both Sangheili and MJOLNIR armor systems.

The ability was exclusive only to Elites in the Halo: Reach Multiplayer Beta, but later changed in the final product to be made available to both Spartans and Elites.[8]

The Evasion speed scales with the movement speed of the player; the faster the player moves, the further they evades. In any custom game with speed set to high numbers such as 300%, the player will dash forward so quickly that they can traverse Hemorrhage in a matter of seconds. When used against a reasonably flat surface, it is possible to splatter oneself. Likewise, the base settings can be used to do various jumps that occur from impacting an object at high-speed, giving the player enough force to lift off the ground. It should be noted that Elites evade faster and farther than Spartans. Additionally, this ability is not available in the campaign to the player and will remain exclusive for Elite warriors.[4]

ReachAA - Hologram.png
Create a virtual doppelganger of yourself to draw enemy fire or lure unsuspecting opponents out into the open.[2]

Hologram, sometimes referred to as Holographic Decoy, is an armor ability that produces an identical holographic copy of the user.[9][10] Its pickup color is yellow.

The hologram ability is designed to confuse or distract the enemies' attention. To allies, the holographic copy would appear as a white dot on their radar. The ability functions by pointing the targeting reticule at a destination and deploying it like other armor abilities. When activated, the hologram will run in a straight line to the destination and stop once it reaches its designated location. The hologram will flicker away if it is either damaged enough or if it reaches its 10 seconds lifespan.[11] A new hologram can be produced after just 7 seconds, which would immediately dissipate the old one.

The hologram has a default movement trait (speed and gravity) and, as such, does not inherit the player's movement trait.

ReachAA - Jetpack.png
Jet Pack
Fly like a bird. Target your opponents. Laugh maniacally.[2]

The Jet Pack ability allows players to maneuver in mid-air, with the use of Series 8 jetpack (UNSC) or a thruster pack (Covenant).[12] Its pickup color is white.

The Jet Pack ability varies with how long the ability is used. The longer the player activates the ability, the longer the player would be able to remain in the air but at the consequence of having the ability depleting faster. Thus, it is recommended that the player use the ability in bursts, which would deplete the ability less than a sustained flight. Additionally, fall damage still applies to Jet Pack users should they fall from the air. The Jet Pack scales with the set gravity; so the less gravity is set, the higher the jet pack can lift the player.

The Jet Pack ability is a useful tool for evading vehicles, grenades, and navigating maps.[2][13]

ReachAA - Sprint.png
Feel the need? Engage this Ability for a burst of speed that's great for quickly covering ground or escaping sticky situations.[2]

The Sprint ability allows the player to move at an increased speed for approximately four seconds. In campaign, it is the default armor ability. Its pickup color is green. When activated, the player's character model will pant heavily. The sprinting scales with the player's movement speed; the faster the player moves, the faster the player sprints. Weapons cannot be used during the sprint.

Canonically, the "Sprint" function operates by bypassing the safety limiters of the MJOLNIR actuators and "muscles", allowing better performance at the expense of heat regulation, overheating the user if used for prolonged periods.[4] This "hack" was developed by Catherine-B320.[4]


  1. ^ Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 15
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Armor Abilities
  3. ^ Halo: Reach Multiplayer Trailer
  4. ^ a b c d Halo: Reach - Game Manual
  5. ^ E3 2010: Firefight in Halo: Reach – Bigger & Better
  6. ^ Bungie Weekly Update: 09/10/10
  7. ^ YouTube: Halo: Reach Firefight Introduction and trailer at the Reach Press Event June 15, 2010
  8. ^ GameInformer - Interview on Halo: Reach sandbox
  9. ^ Youtube: RvB Deja View
  10. ^ RvB Wiki: Deja View
  11. ^ Twitter: Ken Taya's Twitter
  12. ^ Gametrailers: Gametrailers TV with Geoff Keighley, 12:08
  13. ^ Bungie Weekly Update: 4/16/10 ("And if you were worried about players flying with the flag via Jet Pack, I can assuage those fears. Won’t happen. If you have hold of the flag, using an Armor Ability will cause you to drop it instantly. Pick it back up, and the effects from your Armor Ability will vanish. Same goes for any multiplayer specific object you can hold in your hot little hands.")
Halo 4
Armor Ability Effect
Active Camouflage

The Type-3 Refraction Dissonance Modifier/Camouflage system bends light around a structure, hiding it via advanced pattern realignment. It is similar to the version in Halo: Reach, however the jammer no longer makes false hostile contacts appear on the motion sensor, rather it makes neutral contacts appear and in a much tighter grouping than before, therefore not only preventing the user from using it to trick enemies, but possibly giving away their location. Despite this, it still is an effective tool for hiding outside of cover and ambushing enemies.


The Z-2500 Automated Protection Drone is a support drone used by the Prometheans to suppress enemy combatants. It fires an energy bolt at a moderate rate, and can be taken down in several shots.

Hardlight Shield

The Z-90 Photonic Coalescence Emitter/Aegis fuses particles of light into a powerful barrier. The shield is deployed in front of the player.

Holographic Decoy

Functionally similar to the version in Halo: Reach, the T-27 Responsive Holographic Form Emulator is designed to confuse or distract the enemies' attention by producing an identical holographic copy of the user. Aiming at a hologram deployed by an enemy will make the reticule turn red, making the decoy even more convincing. As an Easter egg, projecting a hologram onto a corpse will cause the hologram to hump it.

Jet Pack

The Series 12 Single Operator Lift Apparatus mitigates gravity, allowing mobility in challenging terrain. It was designed specifically for SPARTAN-IV personnel.

Promethean Vision

The Z-5080 Short-Range Spectrum Augmenter/Vision enhancement armor ability allows the user to see through solid objects, keeping them apprised of approaching enemies from any direction. It also renders cloaked enemies visible. It also has long range capability.

Regeneration Field

The M2705 Regenerative Kinetic Dispersal Field first applies a force to remove hostiles from the presence of the user and then temporarily appropriates armor system functions, targeting biological and combat vitality oriented armor functions in order to repair the user.

Thruster Pack

The M805X Forward Acceleration System/Fulcrum Mitigating allows Spartans equipped with the [GEN2] MJOLNIR armor to navigate easily across any terrain. It can also be used to speed ones decent off an edge.

Halo: Spartan Assault
Armor Ability Effect
H4-ActiveCamo-HUD-Icon.png Active Camouflage

The Type-3 Refraction Dissonance Modifier/Camouflage system bends light around a structure, hiding it via advanced pattern realignment.

The Z-2500 Automated Protection Drone is a stationary drone that attacks hostile targets in its range.
Hardlight Shield

The Z-90 Photonic Coalescence Emitter/Aegis fuses particles of light into a powerful barrier. The shield is deployed in front of the player.

Holographic Decoy

The T-27 Responsive Holographic Form Emulator is designed to confuse or distract the enemies' attention.

Overshield The overshield enhances the MJOLNIR energy shielding capacity by an additional 100 percent.
H4-RegenerationField-HUD-Icon.png Regeneration Field

The M2705 Regenerative Kinetic Dispersal Field heals the user and any surrounding allies.

Seeker drone The seeker drone is an explosive drone that homes in on enemies once deployed.
Sprint.png Sprint Greatly increases the Spartan's movement speed.
Stun blast The stun blast causes a power-draining stun effect.
Repel Repel generates an effect similar to that of a cryo bomb.
Teleport The teleport is a portable short-range slipspace translocation device.
Halo: Spartan Strike
Armor Ability Effect
H4-ActiveCamo-HUD-Icon.png Active Camouflage

The Type-3 Refraction Dissonance Modifier/Camouflage system provides near-invisibility by bending light around the Spartan.

HSS-Airstrike.png Airstrike Multiple heavy explosives are dropped in the area around the Spartan.
Bubble shield Generates a fixed, spherical energy barrier. The one who deploys the shield can fire their weapons through the shield while their enemies cannot.
H4-AutosentryDrone-HUD-Icon.png Autosentry The Z-2500 Automated Protection Drone is a stationary drone that attacks hostile targets in its range.
HSS-Overshield.png Overshield The overshield enhances the player's energy shielding capacity by an additional 100 percent.
Proximity mine Deploys three Covenant proximity mines that home in on nearby enemies.
H4-RegenerationField-HUD-Icon.png Regeneration field

The M2705 Regenerative Kinetic Dispersal Field heals the user and any surrounding allies.

HSS-Seeker Drone.png Seeker drone The seeker drone is an explosive drone that homes in on enemies once deployed.
Shock chain The shock chain generates an energy field around the Spartan that damages nearby enemies.
Sprint.png Sprint Greatly increases the Spartan's movement speed when activated.
Teleport The teleport allows the Spartan to use slipspace translocation to move around the battlefield.



  • Hologram and Active Camouflage are great armor abilities to use during Infection gametypes as hologram can confuse zombies and active camo will straight up hide from them. These work well as they, to an extent, depend on the enemy not looking hard enough, something zombies don't have time to do. However, both become useless the moment the operator becomes the Last Man Standing, as a massive skull appears over their head.
  • It is often advantageous to have a teammate using the Drop Shield ability in both Firefight and standard Multiplayer modes (mainly Invasion, as few other gametypes allow it for balancing reasons). This is due to the fact that this ability will heal wounded teammates without wasting health packs.
  • When using the Active Camouflage, try "crouch walking." This will allow the invisibility to last longer and make it harder for the opponents to see the player while they is still moving.
  • When one's Energy Shields are low or completely depleted, use Armor Lock until the energy shields recharge as much as they can before Armor Lock deactivates. This will ensure that a sudden ambush after a battle that left the shields depleted will not overwhelm one. Be wary of an enemy standing back, however.
  • Active Camo can be useful during Generator Defense matches. While enemies are focused on the generators, one can sneak up on each one and assassinate or stick them.
  • Promethean Vision is the only armor ability which can be used while carrying a detached turret. Using any other armor ability will cause the player to drop the turret.
  • Armor abilities are weakened in War Games, in relativity to Campaign or Spartan Ops. This means that armor abilities have a shorter use time (Hardlight Shield, Autosentry, etc.) or have a weaker effect (thruster pack has shorter travel distance, players cannot jump while deploying the Hardlight Shield).
  • In Halo: Reach, take advantage of the jammer on Active Camo. You can use it to move at top speed and get into position, while the enemies that don't have line of sight on you can't be sure of what you're doing because of the jammer. It can be useful while standing still as well (such as when using a sniper rifle) as the mass of dots will conceal your still form, possibly leading enemies on a wild-goose chase away from your position...or into your sights.


  • In campaign, the player almost always starts, and can complete the level, with the Sprint Armor Ability. The only exceptions to this are in Exodus Rally Point Alpha, where a player must have a Jetpack to advance the level, and during a short sequence in the Pillar of Autumn (where the player pushes through the UNSC Commonwealth), in which the player will spawn with Armor Lock. As there is no additional need for Armor Lock at this point, this was likely an oversight.
  • Before, it was previously thought that each species can only use certain armor abilities (Elites were thought to be the only ones able to use Evade, and Spartans were the only ones thought to be able to use Armor Lock and Sprint).[1] In the final product, this is not the case as both species can use all seven Armor Abilities.[2]
  • In the early stages of the game development, Elites using the Armor Lock ability were shown with a red aura instead of blue, while Spartans had a large and bulky attachment to their backs. However, these changes were erased before the game was released, so now both Elites and Spartans use the same blue armor lock.
  • Skirmishers have the ability to use the Hologram armor ability.[3]
  • Armor Abilities will change form depending on whether an Elite or Spartan is using them. That is, Elite will have Armor Abilities made from purple metal, while Spartans have Armor Abilities which appear dull silver and rectangular. If a player drops an Armor Ability, it will take the form of the way it appeared on the player's back. The only exception is Evade, even if a Spartan drops it, it will still appear like a Covenant ability. This is odd as while on the Spartan's back, it can clearly be seen to share a design to other Spartan Armor Abilities (dull silver and rectangular).
  • NOBLE Team (aside from the player) can be seen sprinting or using Armor Lock without the required attachments. Likewise, Brutes and AI Elites use their Armor Abilities (Armor Lock or Evade) without the necessary external attachment. Brutes aren't even wearing any sort of Energy Shielding that could be supercharged with Armor Lock.
  • If one were to use Hologram and walk into the projection, they would notice that no matter what helmet they are wearing, the inside of the helmet of the hologram will always be the same. One can see this at the beginning of Noble Actual when Noble Six puts on his/her helmet. This was likely done to save time and resources.
  • There are a total of seven Armor Abilities in Halo: Reach, another reference to Bungie's favorite number.
  • In the game Crysis 2, there is a Hologram ability almost exactly identical in function to that of Halo: Reach's. However, it is a weapon attachment rather than an armor ability.
  • If a player's Energy Sword is depleted, the blade can still be seen when Active Camouflage is activated.
  • In Halo 4, a player's Hologram will not show any customized weapon skins, nor any customized emblem.
  • In Halo 4, meleeing a dead player's Forerunner armor ability attachment (on the lower back) will produce a unique sound effect.


  • Any weapons that are stored on the back when not in use clip right through the jetpack.
  • Holograms cannot use the mechanical lift on Reflection or the large tubular gravity lifts on Spire, even though they are affected by all other kinds of gravity lift or human-made lift, such as man cannons or the air lifts on Reflection.
  • Armor abilities are often used to produce glitches. A few examples of armor abilities-related glitches are the Armor permutation glitch and the Infinite armor lock glitch.