PAYDAY 3 – Guide to Loud (Breaching Equipment / Damage Mechanics)

Loud – The Basics


Note that when it comes to intimidation, bots do not count as other heisters.

Civilians and other hostages have two distinct behaviors in loud. If a hostage is standing, kneeling, running, holding their hands up, or crouching, this state is known as “scared”. All hostages will be scared by default when the heist goes loud.

When scared, the hostage will attempt to flee as long as there are no heisters within 15m of them. As long as there is any non-bot heister within 15m, they will stop running away and simply freeze in place. If a heister or law enforcer fires a weapon near a scared hostage, they will crouch to get out of the line of fire.

If a heister looks at any scared hostage up to 30m away and middle-mouse clicks, they will shout at the hostage to get down, which will intimidate them and any other scared hostages within 30m of the shouting heister. All hostages that were shouted down will immediately curl up on the ground and remain still, which is known as the “cowering” state. Hostages can only be tied up when cowering, and tied hostages will remain on the ground until they are traded or rescued by law enforcement.

Once a hostage has been intimidated, if they are more than 15m away from the closest masked heister, they will remain cowering for 5s before they stand up and return to their scared behavior. This isn’t much time, but if any masked heister stands within 15m of a cowering hostage, they will remain cowering indefinitely. If a cowering hostage had a masked heister nearby, the 5s cowering duration gets extended to 20s; Once they no longer sense a heister within 15m, they will wait 20s before they return to standing. This 20s timer can be reset by getting within 15m of them once again.

You can also melee attack any civilian to immediately intimidate them, even if they weren’t scared and didn’t know you were there. This is useful for quickly tying up civilians in stealth without needing to get spotted first.


On every heist (except Road Rage), first responders will arrive shortly after the alarm sounds. Once the cops arrive, the heist will enter the “negotiations phase”, during which you can trade hostages to delay the first police assault. Each delay gives you an additional 15s before the first assault starts, and you start with 1 minute worth of time to negotiate.

Certain actions will immediately end negotiations, skip the rest of the timer, and start the first police assault. Doing any of these actions on harder difficulties is very frowned upon, as skipping negotiations provides no benefit and just serves to make the heist harder. Avoid doing the following actions during negotiations:

  • Getting within ~5m of a first responder.
  • Dealing any damage to a first responder or hostage.
  • Firing an unsilenced gun.
  • Causing an explosion.
  • Igniting a thermite rig.

The amount of hostages you must trade to delay the assault depends on the heist. Heists with higher numbers of civilians will require more hostages to delay the assault. Each time you successfully delay the assault, you must wait between 5-10s before any more hostages can be traded, and the number of trades needed to delay again is increased by a fixed amount. This fixed amount is also dependent on the heist.

For example, in No Rest For The Wicked, you must trade 1 hostage to delay the assault. Then you must trade 3 hostages for the next delay, then 5 for the next, and so on, with each delay costing 2 more hostages than the last.

After negotiations have ended, civilians can be traded between assault waves for 1 first aid kit each, or to immediately free a teammate from custody.


Reloading in PAYDAY 3 is much more complex than in other video games, as it has a “staged reloading” process. Every single weapon has several stages of reloading that can be interrupted to perform some other action, after which reloading will resume from the stage where it left off.

For example, if you were to start a reload, remove the magazine, then switch to another weapon, when you switch back the magazine would still be removed; You wouldn’t need to start the reload again from the beginning. You’d then pick up where you left off in the reload process.

Most weapons also require the first bullet to be chambered before the weapon can be fired. This chambering action is done automatically as an extra stage or two as part of a reload, but makes the reload take longer to complete. This can especially be a problem on weapons like the KU-59, where just the stage of chambering the first round takes ~0.65s (A lot of time for an AR). The solution to this issue is what is known as “tactical reloading”, which is the act of reloading before your magazine is empty. Since the chambered bullet does not count as a bullet in your magazine, this lets you refill your magazine while keeping a bullet in the chamber, letting you skip the reload stages for chambering a shot.

Note that by performing a tactical reload, your weapon will have an “extra” bullet counted in the magazine (i.e. If your gun uses a 20-round mag, a tactical reload will make you have 21 bullets in the gun). Weapons capable of a tactical reload also have their reload times split in a similar way, with the first number representing the base reload time, and the second representing the added time needed to chamber the first round (i.e. a weapon with a 2s reload and a 0.5s chambering speed would have a reload speed of 2s+0.5s).


If you run out of HP you will be incapacitated, falling to the floor and being unable to move while only being able to fire your secondary weapon and throw throwables. This is known as “going down”. If you take too much damage after going down, you will lose the ability to fire your secondary weapon and throw throwables.

At any point when you are down, a teammate or bot can interact with you to “revive” you, getting you back on your feet. Reviving a teammate also gives them invincibility for 3s. If you are down for 30s without being revived, you are taken into police custody, at which point you will spectate your teammates and be unable to participate in any meaningful way. Depending on your armor lining, you can only go down a certain number of times before you are taken into police custody. These are referred to as “downs”. If you have 0 downs left and go down again, you will be immediately put into custody.

Once in custody, you must wait out a “custody timer”, after which you will automatically respawn on one of your teammates. The custody timer starts at 60/60/90/90s (depends on difficulty) but is extended by another 10/10/10/20s (depends on difficulty) for every hostage you killed before going into custody. Custody timers cannot exceed 150s, regardless of the amount of hostages you kill. If the assault wave ends while you are still in custody, a teammate can trade a hostage between assault waves to release you from custody immediately.

Upon being released from custody, your custody penalties from killing hostages are reset, you respawn with:

  • 50% HP
  • Up to 2 downs
  • Up to 2 mags worth of ammo for both guns
  • Up to 1 throwable
  • A number of armor segments depending on the armor you are wearing – Heavy/Medium restores 2, Light/Standard restores 1.

Loud – Breaching Equipment

Depending on the heist, you will find yourself using various pieces of equipment to breach areas. The mechanics of these individual pieces of equipment are explained.


Drills are small pieces of equipment that the crew uses to breach small locked doors and hatches. The PAYDAY crew are notorious for carrying drills with them everywhere, so you can simply place a drill at the needed location without needing to wait for Bile to drop any equipment.

Drills take a set amount of time to finish drilling, with the same drill always taking the same amount of time. For example, the bottom of the van in Road Rage always takes exactly 30s to drill into. Once a drill is finished, you must disassemble the drill to open the door.

Some drills will also get jammed, which requires a heister to fix them. Drills that jam will always jam at a random point in their drilling process, but the same drill will always jam the same number of times. For example, the bottom of the van in Road Rage will never cause the drill to jam.

When a drill is about to jam, it will start beeping and become outlined, and you will have 10s(?) to come over and “adjust” the drill to prevent the jam. If you fail to adjust the drill in time, the drill will fully jam and stop making progress, which requires you to restart the drill to fix it and continue where you left off. Restarting a drill takes 10s, while adjusting only takes 3.5s, so it is best to adjust drills as fast as possible. Drills will not get closer to jamming while you are in the middle of adjusting them.

Sabotage specialists (and sometimes regular SWAT) can jam the drill by kicking it, so keep them away!

Thermal Lance

The thermal lance (AKA thermal drill) is used to breach large vault doors. She’s too big for a single bag of equipment, so when Bile delivers a thermal lance he will drop the lance in 3 separate bags that must be hauled over to where she is needed. After placing the 1st bag, you will be able to bolt down each of the 3 legs. Once all legs have been bolted down and all 3 bags have been placed, you can interact with the thermal drill to start her up.

When the lance is first activated (or when she is restarted after running out of fuel), she must take 5s to heat up before she can begin drilling. It takes a thermal lance 200s of uninterrupted drilling to finish.

After 60s of drilling, you will get a warning that she is low on fuel, and you will be able to swap out the oxygen tank for a new one to completely refill her fuel gauge. If she runs for 90s without refueling, she will run out of fuel, and will require both a new oxygen tank and a restart, after which she will need to heat back up before she resumes drilling.

She can be jammed and require restarting if she is kicked by a sabotage specialist or regular SWAT, just like a regular drill.


There are two types of thermite: The first is a small pack of thermite used to breach sealed doors. Bile will deliver a bag of this thermite when needed, and you must then place it where it is needed and ignite the thermite. After waiting for the thermite to burn through, you then must peel off the thermite pack and the door will open.

Thermite Rig

The second kind of thermite is a large thermite rig used for burning through thick metal floors, like in No Rest for The Wicked. These require bile to first drop off a bag of “equipment”, which can then be placed and ignited to start burning through the floor. Be warned: igniting this type of thermite will skip negotiations.

After dropping off the initial thermite equipment, Bile will come back to drop off up to 4 extra bags of thermite. These can be added to the burning thermite to speed up the process for the next 20 seconds. It takes 6:00 for the thermite to finish burning through if uninterrupted, and each bag of extra thermite doubles the burning speed. If another bag of thermite is added while the thermite is burning at double speed, the extra heat will trigger the automatic sprinklers.

If a SWAT unit or sabotage specialist pulls a nearby fire alarm, the sprinklers will slow down the thermite, you will need to find the controls to disable the sprinklers. While the sprinklers are running, the thermite does not burn any slower, it just stops you from adding any extra thermite.

Loud – Damage Mechanics

Damage Distance

The amount of damage each shot deals is based on your distance to the enemy and the weapon’s stats. In PAYDAY 3, damage falloff does not occur linearly or exponentially, but instead the damage decreases in steps.

These listed ranges are distinct “steps”, and can be thought of like distance thresholds for that weapon, with the amount of damage the shot deals only ever decreasing when your distance from the enemy crosses a new threshold.

For example, imagine a weapon with three listed steps:


If you were to shoot an enemy that was anywhere from 0-10m away using this weapon, you would deal 40 damage. If they were anywhere from 11-35m away, you would deal 30 damage, and if they were anywhere from 36-100m away, you would deal 10 damage. Damage only changes at specific range thresholds, which are the ones listed for each step.

Unconfirmed in what way gun mods change damage distance.

Armor Penetration (AP)

AP mechanics are not yet fully understood. The information included in this part of the guide has all been fully tested to be true, but several key details have been left out due to the specifics not yet being known.

If you want to help, do your own testing, then leave your findings in the comments. Speculation is not helpful – please do your own rigorous testing on your theories BEFORE posting anything.

Each shot you fire deals its full damage to the armor of any enemy it hits; A 100 damage shot will reduce the enemy’s armor by 100. If shot breaks an enemy’s armor, all extra damage the shot would have dealt is ignored. If the enemy has no armor, the shot will just deal its full damage to the enemy’s HP instead.

If a shot hits an enemy that still has armor, even if that shot breaks said armor, the shot also has the capability of dealing some percentage of the shot’s damage directly to the enemy’s HP while still dealing full damage to the armor. The amount of damage that is dealt to the enemy’s HP is determined by the damage and AP of the shot.

A higher AP means a higher percentage of the shot’s damage will hit the enemy’s HP, while higher shot damage simply means the shot does more damage (so the same AP on a higher damage shot will still do more damage to the HP). Therefore even with a lot of AP, the most damage that a single (non-headshot) shot can do is 100% of its full damage to HP and armor simultaneously.

It is currently unknown how AP is used to calculate the percentage of the shot damage that is dealt to HP, but it seems to vary based on enemy type, since dozers are much more resistant to AP.

High enough AP seems to allow weapons to pierce multiple enemies, shields, and even thin walls, but this is not yet fully understood.

Headshot Multipliers

When you shoot an enemy in the head, the amount of damage you deal to their HP is multiplied, so landing your headshots is incredibly important.

Headshot multipliers vary based on the weapon you fired and your distance to the target. Headshot multipliers are only applied to HP damage, so they will not increase the damage of a headshot if it only dealt armor damage.

Headshot multipliers are applied after AP calculations, and only apply to the part of the shot that pierced the armor and did damage to the enemy’s HP. For example, if you fired a 100 damage headshot with a headshot multiplier of x3.0, and 20% of the shot’s damage pierced the armor, that shot would deal exactly 100 armor damage and 60 HP damage.

Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 3019 Articles
I love two things in life, games and sports. Although sports were my earliest interest, it was video games that got me completely addicted (in a good way). My first game was Crash Bandicoot (PS1) from the legendary studio Naughty Dog back in 1996. I turned my passion for gaming into a job back in 2019 when I transformed my geek blog (Re-actor) into the gaming website it is today.

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