Modelled after the human silhouette and designed to provide balanced protection that does not limit mobility on the battlefield, combat armors are a diverse family of personal body armor of varying degrees of sophistication, from the earliest iterations of the armor developed by the United States Army to the cutting-edge riot gears that came into use prior to the Great War.
The armor is given to the player at the Silver Rush during the quest Birds of a Feather. Once the first part of the quest is finished, the armor is returned. However, you can still acquire the armor with the methods below and it will not be marked as a quest item.
You can get it at anytime in the trunk on the entrance of the Silver Rush (The trunk might be empty with patch 18.104.22.168x).
At the end of the Birds of a Feather quest.
If you let the Silver Rush explode in the quest Birds of a Feather, the armor you received during this part of the quest will be yours.
This armor is also obtainable by killing the Van Graffs during the Birds of a Feather quest.
While the Birds of a Feather quest is active, the armor is marked as a quest item and cannot be dropped if stolen from the crate outside of the Silver Rush. Upon completion or failure of the quest (by killing the Van Graffs during Heartache by the Number, for example) the armor will be available to drop or sell.
The armor is weightless while it is a quest item (despite being marked as weighing 25 in your Pip-Boy), and is therefore a useful item for any character, as it offers good protection and leaves ample space for carrying loot.
This armor has a script attached to it in the GECK; however, the script is blank aside from the name.
Before Dead Money is installed, the crate containing the armor is locked under a Very Easy lock, but when Dead Money is installed, a patch is uploaded that raises the difficulty of the lock from Very Easy to Hard.
If you have not completed Birds of a Feather, you can take this armor with you into Dead Money.
Should Simon be hostile to you while guarding the door, if you loot him after his death, his Van Graff combat armor will be labeled as regular combat armor, but will be painted black.