Gears 5 guide: List of Jack upgrades and where to find them

In Gears 5, light RPG elements are introduced through the ability to upgrade Jack, your robot companion. Jack's skills are divided into three categories: Assault, Support, and Passives. Each category is fairly easy to understand. You'll acquire each upgrade at specific points in the story, and several are actually required to use in order to progress at different points. While you collect Components to acquire most of the different upgrades, the Ultimate upgrade will require completion of a secondary mission. The Ultimate upgrades for each ability have been bolded, with details on how to get them.

Related: Gears 5 review: An evolved formula brings home a big win for Xbox

Assault skills


You'll earn this skill during Act 1, Chapter 2. It allows Jack to stun an enemy, temporarily blinding them and knocking them out of cover (if they were in cover). Eventually, it can be upgraded to hit multiple foes at once, which there is an achievement for (I Was Born in a Crossfire Hurricane).

  • Faster Recharge - Flash recharges 25% faster
  • Range Boost - Increases range by 50%
  • Concussive - Flash inflicts moderate damage
  • Flash Freeze - Freezes enemies, incapacitating them for longer

The Flash Freeze upgrade is acquired during Act 2. After passing through the first gate in the Skiff, as you explore you'll find an old train tunnel. Enter it, and after fighting a Carrier, you'll get a secondary mission. As you continue to explore through Act 2, Chapter 4, find two Old Assault Derrick sites. Each one will have one of the components you need. When you've completed all three locations, you'll get the Flash Freeze upgrade.

Shock Trap

The Shock Trap is acquired during Act 2, Chapter 1. As it might sound, this places an electric trap on the ground that can shock and slow down enemies that pass through it. There's an achievement (Shock and Awe) for shocking six enemies at the same time.

Upgrades for Shock Trap

  • Improved Capacitor - Shock Trap lasts 50% longer
  • Multi-Trap - Place a second Shock Trap without destroying the first
  • Ensnare - Shock Trap slows enemies more
  • Seeker - Shock-Bots chase targets and do double damage

Seeker is acquired through completing the Lost Outsiders secondary mission. You'll encounter a small Outsider camp in Act 2, Chapter 1, which will start the quest. Later in Act 2, you'll need to find two substations. At each station, simply look around outside and find the secondary entrance. Complete the quest, and you'll earn the upgrade.


You'll get this skill automatically during Act 3, Chapter 1. This ability allows you to temporarily force a member of the Swarm to fight on your behalf. Note that it doesn't work on Carriers or Snatchers however, everything else is fair game. In fact, there's even an achievement (An Enemy Among Us) tied to getting kills with four hijacked enemies - a Pouncer, Warden, Stump, and Elite Hunter.

Upgrades for Hijack

  • Duration - Hijack lasts 30% longer
  • Stim Target - Stims the enemy while controlled
  • Faster Recharge - Hijack recharges faster after use
  • Detonator Implant - Hijacked enemy explodes on death

Detonator Implant is earned by finding three different parts during the Scavengers secondary mission in Act 3. At different points through the Act, someone will task you with aiding their teams of scavengers in the desert. You'll visit three locations: the Artillery Battery, the City Ruins and the Shipwreck. Collect all three parts for the upgrade.

Support skills


Jack has Pulse from the very beginning of the game. You can use it to scan for enemies, outlining them through cover or smoke, which is useful when visibility is low.

Upgrades for Pulse

  • Range Boost - Increases range by 50%
  • Expanded Targeting Array - Doubles duration of Pulse outlines
  • Detect Pickups - Pulse also detects weapons and ammo
  • Marked for Death - Attacks against Pulsed enemies deal 20% more damage

Marked for Death is acquired by checking out one of the crashed Condor sites in Act 2, Chapter 3.


Stim is earned in Act 1, Chapter 4. It boosts your armor, allowing you to survive damage that would otherwise put you in DBNO (Down But Not Out) mode or kill you outright. It can be upgraded to the point it revives downed teammates, which you can earn an achievement for (Back on Your Feet, Soldier!).

Upgrades for Stim

  • Faster Recharge - Stim recharges 25% faster
  • Duration - Increases Stim duration by 2 seconds
  • Revive - Stim can revive downed members of your squad
  • Brawler - Melee damage is tripled while stimmed

Brawler can be found at one of the downed Condor aircraft during Act 2, Chapter 3.


Cloak is found automatically during Act 2, Chapter 4. It turns you and your squadmates invisible, able to stealthily execute enemies and unable to be seen or targeted. There's an achievement (Seraninja) for executing three foes in one go while Cloaked.

Upgrades for Cloak

  • Agility - Cloaked squadmates move 15% faster
  • Extend - Kills while Cloaked extend Cloak's duration
  • Faster Recharge - Cloak recharges 15% faster
  • Slayer - Remain Cloaked for the full duration, even while shooting

Slayer is acquired through the Waterworks secondary mission in Act 3. You'll be asked to visit three locations to turn the water back on for some allies - simply visit the Water Tower, Pump and Harbor Docks. At each location, an electrical part can be found. Grab all three to unlock Slayer.


Earned during Act 3, Chapter 3, Barrier has Jack summon an energy shield in front of you, protecting you from harm. When upgraded to reflect bullets, killing an enemy with reflected bullets will net you an achievement.

Upgrades for Barrier

  • Duration - Increases Barrier duration by 50%
  • Reflect Bullets - Bullets reflect off of Jack's Barrier
  • Bulwark - Increases the size of Jack's Barrier
  • Deadly Overload - Jack's Barrier explodes outwards when it expires

You can find Deadly Overload in Act 4, Chapter 1. When fighting a Swarmak near a ruined bar, check the back of the bar on the right.



Jack's core systems. Like the other passives, they can all be upgraded from the beginning. There's no Ultimate upgrade to earn here. After upgrading Jack to fetch heavy weapons, there's an achievement (Gimme, Gimme, Gimme) if you get Jack to bring back one of every Heavy weapon.

Upgrades for Core

  • Fetch Heavy - Jack can fetch Heavy weapons
  • Sharpshooter - Headshot kills recharge Jack's abilities faster
  • Executioner - Executions recharge Jack's abilities faster
  • Savage - Kills recharge Jack's abilities faster


Zappy zap zap. These upgrades are all about letting Jack deal more damage.

Upgrades for Zapper

  • Improved Capacitor - Jack can fire the Zapper for longer
  • Arc Booster - Increases the Zapper's effective range
  • Cascading Energy - Zapper damage increases the longer it hits an enemy
  • Beam Splitter - Zapper can hit multiple enemies at once


Jack is nimble, but the Stealth upgrades allow him to operate with silent, undetectable efficiency.

Upgrades for Stealth

  • Stealth Thrusters - Jack can remain Cloaked while boosting
  • Reactive Stealth - Jack re-Cloaks faster after performing actions
  • Stealth Shielding - Jack takes less damage while Cloaked
  • Stealth Fetch - Jack can remain Cloaked while carrying a weapon


A healthy bot is a happy bot. These upgrades improve Jack's durability, which is extremely useful on higher difficulties.

Upgrades for Health

  • Repair Boost - Jack regenerates health faster
  • Osmium Plating - Increases Jack's maximum health
  • Self-Revive - Jack can revive himself twice as fast
  • Revive Command - Jack can be sent to revive downed squadmates

Keeping an edge

Upgrading Jack is extremely important, as it allows you a whole host of new combat options and ways to deal with your different foes. Get creative, try different abilities, and don't be afraid to experiment!

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.