Payday Wiki
Enemy Type Riot Control Unit
Health 80 (Normal)
80 (Hard)
160 (Very Hard)
240 (Overkill)
480 (Mayhem/Death Wish/Death Sentence)
Headshot Multiplier 2 (Normal)
2 (Hard)
4 (Very Hard)
6 (Overkill)
4 (Mayhem)
3 (Death Wish/Death Sentence)
Spawn Limit 2 (Normal)
4 (Hard)
4 (Very Hard)
4 (Overkill)
4 (Mayhem/Death Wish)
4 (Death Sentence)
Internal name shield
Achievement(s) Fool Me Once, Shame on -Shame on You. Fool Me - You Can't Get Fooled Again.jpg Maximum Penetration.jpg Police Brutality.jpg Knock, Knock.jpg Their Armor Is Thick and Their Shields Broad.jpg
Shields are a proven asset amongst the SWAT teams, and their ceramic barriers have saved the lives of many officers. Capable of blocking any small-arms round at muzzle velocity, and even withstanding small explosives. Their wielders are well trained in closing down the enemy, offering protection to the hard-hitters following up behind.

The Shield is a special enemy unit in PAYDAY 2 that appears on any difficulty level. Shield units have three variations, the first being the SWAT Shield that appears on lower difficules and are equipped with a Chimano 88 pistol. Their other counterpart, the FBI Shield, supersedes them on Very Hard difficulty and above, are equipped with CMP submachine guns. The third variant is the Russian Shield, which only appears on Boiling Point, using the Heather Submachine Gun (but strangely uses the Chimano 88 on Normal and Hard). Their shields seem to be more flexible than their American counterparts.

Captain Winters commands a band of specialized Shield officers, The GenSec Elite Shields, which bear heavier weaponry, use more protective shields, and follow different strategies. These Shields act differently and have different counters than the usual Shield units documented here, so consult the article on Captain Winters for more applicable strategic advice.


"Normally mostly used for riot scenarios, these phalanx-like police are not to be taken lightly, because on an assault scene, these guys are one-man APC's offering protection to the big guns behind them."
—FBI Files Description.

"Bigger, badder, better, the FBI shield unit isn't trained for riots; they're trained for combat. The shield is broader, the body armor is thicker and they carry a much more dangerous full-auto close-combat pistol."
—FBI Files Description.

A new Russian variant of the Shield was released as a type of map-specific enemy in the Boiling Point heist. They wield what seems to be lightweight padded panels that acts the same way as a common riot shield, and are armed with Heather Submachine Guns.

Russian Shields behave the same way as their American counterparts.

The Zeal-force Shield is the Department of Homeland Security's answer to the DCPD and FBI's own riot units, sporting slightly different armament.

These units only appear on the Death Sentence difficulty setting alongside other Zeal-force combatants.


"A great utility, but only if used correctly. These shields are a proven asset. Unfortunately, their great strength can also be their biggest weakness. It slows the wielder down and limits their vision. If one of the enemy can get behind them, they’re done."
—Commissioner Garrett's notes on the Shield unit's weakness.

The Shield wields a large, full-body riot shield that is impenetrable to all frontal assault from most firearms excluding explosives, armor-piercing rounds, and flames. Shields also carry a sidearm.

The shield's wielder is no more powerful than the non-special law enforcement officer he is based on and is extremely vulnerable from the sides and the back.

Shields almost always deploy in teams, but they tend to separate quickly. Upon deployment, they attempt to first block off critical areas, such as doorways or narrow corridors, before rejoining with other police units. Their tall shields block a player's line of sight from other police, SWAT, and FBI teams, allowing law enforcers to rescue hostages. They tend to focus on one player at a time, and that player will have the shield pointed directly at them. Shields will also consistently attempt to run near walls or corners, where they have the advantage of being able to gun players down while making it frustratingly hard to try and flank them without the help of another player to distract the Shield. The Shield poses an extreme threat to players while in enclosed spaces, although they are less threatening out in the open where quick maneuvering can be used to quickly dispatch them.

Another tactic of shields is to become mobile cover for other specials. Two or more shields will often accompany Tasers and Bulldozers to the location of the crew whilst forming a wall in front of them, effectively making the specials behind them bulletproof, which can be extremely disastrous in the case of the latter as they cover up the Dozer's main weakness, being his faceplate. Tasers will also attempt to electrocute players from behind shields, making them next-to-impossible to hit.

It is worth noting that there are two variations of Shields: a SWAT Shield and an FBI Shield. They have the same health and head shot damage multiplier regardless of their apparent base unit type.

Compared to the SWAT Shield, the FBI Shield deals more damage thanks to his machine pistol and has a wider shield. The change in shield size is the most important difference between the two, giving the enemy some protection against attacks from the side angles as well as the front. Should the Shield decide to hold up in a square corner, this can be extremely frustrating, as the wider shield is large enough to almost completely cover up the remaining 90 degrees.

The FBI variant of the Shield has a knifing attack that they employ against the heisters in close quarters combat. This attack is similar in damage and animation to the standard knife hit of regular law enforcers and will leave the FBI Shield briefly exposed to attacks as he moves his shield arm to the left for the length of the animation. Still, Shields seem to make melee attacks less often than normal units, so relying on them attempting to hit you every time you approach is not advised.

Like the Sniper, the Shield unit is vocally silent, although other standard law enforcers will warn their compatriots to make way for the shield. They will, however, bang loudly on their shields to announce their arrival on the site provided none of the player crew have seen them yet.


General Strategy[]

Shields are usually spawned into the play field via common enemy deployment zones such as armored trucks and rappel spots. There is an upper limit for how many Shields are allowed on the map at once, which scales to the chosen difficulty. Triggered spawns can exceed this limit (such as Watchdogs Day 1), and their spawns are added to the total Shield head count on the map. Also note that Shields can spawn in packs, and thus can exceed the limit, though no more will spawn until it is lowered beneath the limit again.

Shields will sometimes announce their presence by banging on their shield a few times (Though this is only a sound, with no animation), which can let you hear them through walls or alert you if they're sneaking up behind you. Shields usually focus on a single player, even if there are multiple crew members around. By working as a team, players can easily terminate Shields; one player draws the Shield's focus either with gunfire or by shouting at him, while a second player attacks from a flank or from the rear. As long as two players are at angles of greater than 90 degrees from a Shield enemy, at least one of the players will be able to hit him directly; once flanked, their actual durability is fairly low, comparable with normal SWAT enemies.

If there is no ally nearby to distract the shield, a single heister can take down a shield at close range quite quickly by simply running around it. A (perhaps intentional?) quirk in the shield's behavior causes it to suddenly turn away from a player that has run about 180 degrees around it at close range, exposing its back and making for an easy kill.

It is worth noting that Shields tend to defend a particular spot for a while before shuffling in place and running elsewhere, often neglecting to turn and face towards its enemies while it moves. If the player takes advantage of this and flanks them, they can be defeated easily. Alternatively, if the Shield is not advancing towards the player, it may be best to simply ignore it. The Shield tends to get "bored" after a while and head for another player or location, exposing its vulnerable sides and back as it turns to face its destination.

The Shields will put their shield aside while undergoing certain actions (e.g. climbing walls/fences), which serves as a great opportunity to take them out. This can also work as a disadvantage however, as some of these actions (such as climbing) will cause the law enforcer to place the shield on his back. This can make him very hard to hit if he is climbing up a large wall or fence like the ones surrounding the meth lab on Day 1 of Rats, as he effectively "turtles" between the wall and the shield.

If you're having a hard time getting into a position to shoot a Shield's back (he might be backed into a corner, for example) then jumping close to him and looking down can sometimes create enough of an angle with which to get a quick headshot. Note that this is much easier to do if they're distracted/not focusing their fire on you. If you are their current target then they'll will often turn upwards to face you in mid-air, causing their shields to become horizontal and acting as a small platform and possibly preventing you from landing immediately. Although you might be extremely vulnerable in this position and unable to return fire (the Shield will still be able to shoot you though) the Shield's body becomes much more exposed, allowing a clear shot for any nearby teammates.

Another viable tactic, though risky, involves a player running up to the Shield to trigger his knife melee attack and then quickly back-stepping. If timed correctly, the Shield will miss and be left vulnerable for the entire duration of the attack (approximately 0.9 to 1.2 seconds) during which gunfire can be used to tear at their health. This has so far only been confirmed when used against the FBI variant; the normal SWAT variant does not seem to employ the knife attack.

Shields who are reloading their pistols or CMPs will slightly lower their shield, briefly exposing a part of their head and right arm.

A relatively obscure but highly efficient anti-Shield tactic is to face away from the unit entirely, and then move backwards past the unit. As the Shield AI was specifically scripted to always try to face the front of a player within its line of sight (so as to be more effective at blocking damage). If the Shield's target were to turn around and start walking backwards towards him, the Shield will be confused as he is not in the correct position to block and won't know where to face, and the player can easily get behind him. The Shield (and other nearby cops, for that matter) does not stop trying to shoot while this happens, however, so be aware of your armor and surroundings before attempting to dispatch a Shield in this way.

Skills and Deployables[]

No matter what skills are used to affect their potency, Trip mines are very effective at taking down Shields, assuming the unit does not have his shield between himself and the mine as it detonates (usually only an issue when FBI Shields backpedal past a trip mine).

Sentry guns can prove a valiant distraction as well as means of eradicating Shields without having to engage in combat and/or fire your weapon. Although a Shield alone is the greatest counter to an unaided sentry gun - as the sentry will simply empty all its ammo into a Shield to no avail (though it will try to hit other targets before Shields) - the gun is often enough of a distraction for a player to sneak up and execute the Shield from behind as it trades bullets with the sentry. Alternatively, the player could distract the Shield first, baiting him into the range of a sentry gun placed behind him. This is easiest to pull off with a silenced sentry gun, an alternative to the default sentry gun which draws less attention from cops, unlocked by the basic version of the Engineering skill in the Technician skill tree. In fact, acing this skill can circumvent the sentry gun's weakness to Shields entirely, as this grants the ability for a player to toggle armor piercing rounds, which punch through shields (as well as body armor).

If the player Aced the Shock And Awe skill from the Enforcer tree, the player can melee the Shield (or shoot him, though this is less reliable with low-damage guns) to break the Shield's defense, causing him to play one of a handful of stumble animations. Many make the Shield vulnerable for a couple moments (e.g. his shield is knocked to the left and he spreads his arms, or he reels in a circle before facing the target again), though a few actually make him harder to hit (e.g. he is knocked on his back, with his shield on top of him). The Heavy Impact skill from the Technician skill tree and the Dire Need skill from the Ghost skill tree can produce similar effects, with the former granting a 5% chance to stagger each time the shield is hit (25% Aced) and the latter causing them to be staggered the first time they are hit after the player's armor runs out (as well as for 6 seconds afterwards when Aced) In addition, FBI Shields that attempt to melee a player who is using the Counterstrike skill from the Fugitive skill tree will be knocked down if the player is charging their own melee attack.

Although limited in its usefulness to a build that revolves around the OVE9000 saw, the Aced Saw Massacre skill from the Enforcer skill tree gives the OVE9000 the ability to penetrate shields, making quick work of them from any angle if the player is willing to risk getting in close.

Weapon Choices and Weapon Modifications[]

Armor-Piercing Weaponry[]

As of Update #27 and the release of the Gage Sniper Pack, Shield units can be killed by shooting them through their shields with any sniper rifle. Doing so with the R93 will even unlock an achievement and weapon modifications.

AP Slugs (A weapon mod applicable to most shotguns) swaps the normal shotgun blast for a single bullet which can pierce armor and shields. Modifying a shotgun with Flechette Ammo, however, while giving it the ability to pierce body armor, does not allow it to punch through shields.

The 5/7 AP pistol uses armor piercing rounds which can penetrate shields and, of course, body armor. This is the only secondary firearm available which can do so except for shotguns modded with piercing ammo types and some secondaries in the "Special" category.

Note that any shield-penetrating attack will have its damage reduced to approximately 25% of its normal value. This means headshots are essential, so slug rounds are a relatively ineffective option unless using perk/skill combinations to boost damage as high as possible, as the low accuracy of most shotguns makes it hard to ensure a headshot with slugs even at close range.

Explosive Weaponry[]

The GL40, HRL-7, China Puff 40mm, Commando 101, Piglet, and under-barrel grenade launcher attached to the Little Friend 7.62 are very efficient at dispatching Shields; either by shooting near the Shield's feet, or by striking the shield itself with the explosive. In either case, the Shield should be killed instantly. If the shot is slightly too far away, the Shield should still be stunned and/or staggered by the blast, leaving them vulnerable to followup attacks.

Shotguns and most string-drawn weapons also have explosive ammunition options that can take down Shields with relative ease. All shotguns can use HE Rounds, and the Plainsrider Bow, English Longbow, Heavy Crossbow, Light Crossbow, and Pistol Crossbow can all use Explosive Arrows/Explosive Bolts. Like with dedicated explosive weaponry, these can quickly sweep a Shield aside by targeting either his feet or the shield he carries, though the smaller explosion and lower damage that these modified weapons create may necessitate another shot or two on higher difficulties. Again, the explosions are still likely to stagger any shield they hit, so followup attacks should be easier to land after the first blast.

Well-placed Frag Grenades, HEF Grenades, Matryoshka Grenades, and Dynamite can kill Shields outright, or at the very least, cause them to stumble and take a large chunk of their health. After a shield recovers, he will sometimes turn to look in the direction of the grenade. This can give players an opportunity to finish Shields off, had they not done so during the Shield's stumble.

Fire/Incendiary Weaponry[]

For some reason or another, every single way to inflict fire damage bypasses shields and armor, and the damage over time inflicted by being on fire also ignores them. This makes fire-related weapons just as effective on Shields as they are on normal cops. Note that while Shields that are on fire still stand firm with their shield raised while they burn instead of flailing and screaming like non-special units, they will still stop moving and firing while doing so, like most other specials.

The fire left on the ground by Molotov Cocktails, Incendiary Grenades, Trip Mines improved by the Technician skill tree's Fire Trap skill, or the GL40, Piglet, or China Puff 40mm modded with Incendiary Ammo cannot be blocked by Shields, and will fry them just as quickly as non-special units.

Shotguns modded with Dragon's Breath Rounds will not only ignite enemies they hit, but pierce through armor and shields as well, capable of stopping a Shield in his tracks with little concentrated effort.

The Flamethrower similarly disregards shields and armor, melting through the shield, its bearer, and anyone further behind, penetrating both the metal shield and the meat shield behind it.

Shield Drop[]

Even after the Shield officer is killed the shield will still stop bullets; depending on where and how it falls due to physics (and those physics often not being fully synced between players) this can be a blessing or a curse, as the shield stops all bullets from passing, not just those of players. A well-positioned shield at the top of the stairs on Rats Day 1, for instance, can allow a player to fire down at enemies advancing up the stairs whilst being immune to almost all return fire. In contrast, if it were at the bottom of the stairs or only half way up them, it would offer the advancing law enforcers more protection from the player, and offer the player almost no cover in return.

Dropped shields will eventually despawn, but this could take anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes depending on client ragdoll limits and enemy counts.

Considering how the locations of dropped shields can make a difference in how a loud heist plays out and the fact that drop locations differ between the host and clients, this may be a focus in the currently-ongoing Desync Beta. However, as of yet Overkill have not publicly announced that they are working on this issue in particular and it is unknown if this behavior has been modified in the current version of the Desync Beta.


  • FBI Shield officers wear the same heavy welding mask-style ballistic helmets as Maximum Force Responders, but wear the same uniform as the Heavy Response Units.
    • Despite the description Bain provides of the FBI Shield, they do not possess higher-grade armor than the SWAT Shield and have the exact same health values.
  • The description of the knives on the Gage Weapon Pack 02 announcement page mentions that the players can "repeatedly stab a Shield in the neck" for a "satisfying" takedown. Despite this, doing just so in-game can quickly spell doom for the player, especially when faced with the FBI variant that can and will use their own knives against anyone with this bright idea.
  • A modified FBI Shield with the words "Suck It!" spray painted on is featured on the back of the Halloween-exclusive Headless Titandozer from Hell. Like an ordinary shield, it provides near-complete protection from bullets fired at the Titandozer's rear, though also like an ordinary shield it can be pierced by sniper fire.
  • The shield will continue shooting at the player even after the player is unable to use their gun when downed.
  • A shield walking into a downed player will move the player in the direction he is walking, which may severely complicate rescue from other players by taking a downed teammate across the map, or help them by pushing a downed teammate towards other players.
  • The SWAT shield officers seem to be the only special unit to actively spawn on Normal difficulty alongside the Sniper.
  • On the Death Wish poster, what seems to be a GenSec Elite SWAT team member replaces the FBI officer as the shield bearer, though the in-game model remains the same. With the release of Update 109, Shield officers will now be wearing GenSec Elite uniforms on Mayhem and Death Wish.
  • The Shield's 2014 April Fools joke variant, the "GenSec Mirror Shield", are allegedly capable of reflecting bullets and melee hits back at the players[1]. They also wore what seems to be a slightly altered version of the GenSec Elite uniform, which fits the general theme of the announcement.
    • The shield-banging noise they make is also different from the usual unit, consisting of dull bumps instead of metallic clangs.
    • In Rats, FBI shields have flashlights on their weapons on Day 1. This is unique since they have no flashlights on their weapons on any other heist that plays at night.
  • Murkywater shields appear on Hell's Island and The White House. They carry the same shield as their FBI counterpart, but with a Murkywater logo stamped on the front.


Fool Me Once, Shame on -Shame on You. Fool Me - You Can't Get Fooled Again.jpg Fool Me Once, Shame on -Shame on You. Fool Me - You Can't Get Fooled Again
While wearing the "43rd" mask, kill 95 Shields using the Swedish K submachine gun.
Maximum Penetration.jpg Maximum Penetration
Kill 10 Shields by shooting through their shields using only the R93 sniper rifle. Completing this achievement will unlock the Short Barrel for the R93 sniper rifle.
Knock, Knock.jpg Knock, Knock
Kill 50 Shields using any shotgun and slug ammo. Unlocks the Collapsed Stock for the M1014 shotgun.
Police Brutality.jpg Police Brutality
Beat a Shield to death using the Telescopic Baton.
Their Armor Is Thick and Their Shields Broad.jpg Their Armor Is Thick and Their Shields Broad
Kill 10 shields with a Gage Chivalry Pack melee weapon in a single heist. Unlocks the "Agatha Vanguard Veteran" mask, "Chain Armor" material and "Medieval" pattern.




Payday 2 - Shield Quotes

The first sound is made by both FBI and SWAT shields. The second one is made by the mirror shields from the April Fools Update.


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