Armor and Speed is a feature in Rainbow Six Siege that determines the Operator's stat classification. There are three different types: Light Armored, Medium Armored, and Heavy Armored.
Armor and Speed is a determining factor for an Operator's likely play style, although they do not need to abide by it. If they are Light Armored, they are geared towards quick plays, such as hit-and-run or rush tactics. On the other end of the spectrum, Heavy Armored Operators are more obligated in hunkering down, as they perform better at defending a position than moving with their slower speed.
As a note, some sources of damage are not affected by Armor Rating, such as damage from gadgets (eg. the shock attack from Twitch's Shock Drone), along with fall damage. Bleedout time does not change either between Operators of different Armor Ratings.
Before moving onto Armor specific damage resistances, "strike zones" should be discussed. Strike Zones define how much damage an Operator (or any enemy) will take based on where they were hit. Each Operator has three Zones: the Head, the Body, and the Legs.
- Head: Shots to the head are most explicitly one-shot kills for any Operator. Only in the rare case that other factors lessen the damage (obstacles, distance, etc.), or for Caveira's Luison pistol, will a headshot not kill its target.
- Body: Shots to the body will deal their advertised damage at 100% effectiveness. Originally, the arms were part of the Legs' strike zone (thus were called the Limbs' strike zone), but have become a part of the upper body to become a part of the Body strike zone.
- Legs: Shots to the legs will deal reduced damage, at 75% effectiveness. The damage hitbox is from the waist down.
Based on their Armor Rating, an Operator will have a given damage multiplier upon their body.
- Light Armored Operators will have a 100% damage multiplier, meaning that they have 0% damage resistance.
- Medium Armored Operators have a 90% damage multiplier, meaning that they have 10% damage resistance.
- Heavy Armored Operators have a 80% damage multiplier, meaning that they have 20% damage resistance.
These damage multipliers will stack on top of the Strike Zone multipliers.
Rook's Rhino Armor
Rook's Armor Plates on an Operator has a similar effect to raising their armor rating by one, and a bit more.
They offer around 20% more protection on top of the Operator's Armor multipliers, along with preventing the Op from being outright killed (guaranteeing DBNO), even at low health. The Operator's Speed Rating however is not affected by the Armor Plates.
Read more on Rook's Page.
As evident, Operators with heavier Armor Ratings are slower than Light Armored Operators. Light Armored Operators move at about 5 meters per second. In a comparison, Medium Armored Operators move at 90% of that speed, which is around 4.5 meters per second. Heavy Armored Operators only move at 75% of a Light Armored Operator's speed, at around 3.5 meters per seconds.
- For Shields, due to only Heavy Armored Operators using them, the speed reduction is minimal, reducing their speed to 67.5% (~3.375mps), even if the shield is not out.
- For Blackbeard, his speed is reduced to about 62.5% (~3.125mps), only when he has his Rifle Shield out; taking out his pistol or equipping the Shield will restore his Medium Armored Speed of 90%.
- Certain Marksman Rifles, like Glaz's OTs-03 and Blackbeard's SR-25, will reduce the speed rating of those Operators regardless of other factors.
Armor for Operators
Light Armored Operators take the full damage of a weapon but can traverse the map the fastest. Specializing in movement over defense, these Operators are better used in hit-and-run and roaming tactics.
Medium Armored Operators are the Jack-of-all-Trades of the three, as they take 90% of a weapon's full damage and traverse the map at a decent rate. Specializing in versatility above all else, these Operators are suited for the changing, dynamic tides of Siege.
Heavy Armored Operators are slow, but are the most heavily equipped, taking 80% of a weapon's full damage or 64% if using Rooks plates. More suited to holding down areas with their better durability, these Operators are best used for straight, one-on-one engagements and defending locations.