How to Get and Use the Ballistic Shield in Helldivers 2

Helldivers 2 screenshot of the Ballistic Shield in the Stratagems meny

What good is a sci-fi game without some form of a shield to carry around? Let’s see how to get and use the Ballistic Shield in Helldivers 2.

In Helldivers 2, there are a lot of options to choose from. When it comes to weapons, you’ll be spoiled for choice. But, when it comes to protection, apart from the Armor you are wearing, the options are limited. One of those options is a “riot shield” that you can hide behind. So, read on to find out how to get and use the Ballistic Shield in Helldivers 2.

Helldivers 2: How to Get the Ballistic Shield

Ballistic Shield is a support Stratagem and has to be unlocked, like all the others. To unlock the Ballistic Shield, head over to your Ship Management terminal, and open the Stratagems tab. Scroll down to the Engineering Bay subsection, and there you will find the Ballistic Shield Backpack Stratagem. You have to be at least Level 12 to be able to unlock it, and it costs 6000 Requisition to do so.

Remember to select the Ballistic Shield Backpack as one of your Stratagems before the mission begins.

How to Use the Ballistic Shield in Helldivers 2

To use the Ballistic Shield, you first have to call it down. Type its unique Stratagem code (Down, Left, Up, Up, Right) and choose where you want it to drop. In a couple of seconds, a Ballistic Shield will appear.

As soon as you equip the Shield, you’ll notice that it automatically switches your Primary Weapon with your Secondary. Naturally, you have to carry the shield in your off-hand, so you cannot use it with your two-handed weapons (almost every weapon in the game is two-handed). The only weapons that you can use the Ballistic Shield with are Secondaries, MP-98 Knight, and SMG-37 Defender.


With your Shield now equipped, you are protected from small-arms fire, ie, anything short of a rocket hit, coming from the front. Note that it does not protect you from melee attacks, so its use against Terminids is quite limited. If you press the Aim button, you will assume a defensive stance, covering your whole front with the Shield, with only your weapon arm exposed. It is great when you are leading the attack on a static position (like an Outpost). 

Helldivers 2 image of a Helldiver using a Ballistic Shield
image via N4G Unlocked


Where the Ballistic Shield is found wanting is when you are attacked, well, from anywhere that is not from the front. And that is the case most of the time, unfortunately. Enemies tend to surround you and attack you from multiple sides. So, regrettably, being able to Shield yourself from frontal small-arms fire for the price of one Stratagem slot and not being able to wield two-handed weapons is a steep price to pay for most Helldivers. Especially when the Shield Generator Pack exists.

But that is not to say you cannot find use for it. Some veterans recommend using the heaviest Armor you can find paired with a Shield, to serve as the protector for the rest of the team. You go in first and draw the enemy fire, while the rest of the team deals damage. So be sure to try something like that. Or just have your whole squad carry Shields around, so you can make a “shieldwall”, just for the fun of it.

For more HD2 articles, check out How to Find and Kill Factory Strider, How to Find and Kill Hulks, and How to Get and Use the AC-8 Autocannon.


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