The GTA V Heist Guide: Take it All (Story Mode)

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The GTA V Heist Guide: Take it All (Story Mode)

The Story Mode heists in Grand Theft Auto V are some of the most exciting missions in any game. They gave us the chance to pick our own strategies and feel like we were truly in charge of stealing millions of dollars. It was like getting to be in Reservoir Dogs but without all the death and betrayal (yes, I know there’s a Reservoir Dogs game, but let’s not talk about that right now).

The most important aspects of the Grand Theft Auto V Story Mode heists are the approaches and crew members you pick — once you get past those, you likely won’t need much more help with the heist. We’ve focused in on those elements for our GTA V heist guide, so let’s get started!

I. The Jewel Store Job

The Jewel Store heist is the first among all GTA V heists and only involves two of the game’s protagonists (Michael and Franklin). Choose the latter for the best experience.

Image: Rockstar Games

The Optimal Crew

  • Driver: Karim Denz
  • Gunman: Packie McReary
  • Hacker: Rickie Lukens

For your driver, you’re gonna want Karim Denz. He makes the heist a bit more difficult because his motorcycle isn’t as good as the dirt bikes you can get with other choices, but he’s cheap. It’s also good to get him the experience early on so he’s better for later heists. Your choice of driver doesn’t matter too much in the long run, so there’s really no reason not to choose Karim.

You’ll need a good gunman for this mission — if you pick a bad one, they’ll crash their bike and cost you a death fee and a potential portion of the loot. Packie is the best choice for gunman because he’s cheaper than others, but just as good. You will have to unlock him before the heist, however, so complete his optional mission as Franklin and you’ll be good to go.

Hiring Rickie as hacker is a risky choice, but it’s one that pays off long term. You’ll want Rickie for the same reason that you want Karim. Having him gain experience when the stakes aren’t very high is a great trade-off for having him be experienced for the last heist. The other hacker choices are technically better, but you don’t really need them.

II. The Merryweather Heist

The Merryweather Heist is more straightforward than the others in our GTA V heist guide, as your team is set for you. In this heist, you play as the three protagonists with no additional backup.

Image: Rockstar Games

The Optimal Crew

  • Driver 1: Michael De Santa
  • Driver 2: Trevor Philips
  • Gunman: Franklin Clinton

Despite the lack of choice in crew members, you do have two options for how to approach the heist. The first is the freighter option. In this approach, Michael boards a freighter to search while Franklin protects him with a sniper rifle and Trevor readies the submersible. This option can be a little boring, so I recommend going with the other one. 

The second approach is the offshore option. This approach requires using a cargobob to fly the submersible to the ocean, after which Trevor will operate it and search for the device. After picking the submersible back up out of the ocean, Franklin protects them with a Combat MG. 

III. The Paleto Score

The Paleto Score
Image: Rockstar Games

This heist only has one crew option and no additional approaches to choose from.

The Optimal Crew

  • Gunman: Chef or Packie McReary

It doesn’t really matter whether you pick Chef or Packie here, as you’ll get pretty much the same results either way. There isn’t a lot to say about this heist — most of it is pretty linear. The main gimmick is that you have armor during the chase sequence at the end, so the “damage” you take only affects the amount of money you’re carrying (you lose some each time you get shot).

It’s also worth noting that any unskilled gunmen you bring in will be killed during this heist, making them unavailable for future ones. You’re going to want plenty of options for The Big Score, so make sure and don’t bring anyone other than Chef or Packie into this heist.

IV. The Bureau Raid

For the Bureau Raid, I recommend the roof approach, as it’s a little more fun and a little more lucrative.

Image: Rockstar Games

The Optimal Crew

  • Driver: Taliana Martinez or Karim Denz
  • Gunman: The cheapest one you have
  • Hacker: Rickie Lukens

You’re really going to want to unlock Taliana Martinez for your driver. You can unlock her by saving her from a burning vehicle during her random encounter near Mount Chiliad. Karim will do fine otherwise, especially if you used him in the first heist we covered.

Rickie Lukens also makes a triumphant return as the best hacker for this mission. Even if you didn’t use him in the first heist, this is a good place to build up his experience for the last heist. Rickie can handle the short hacking phase of this heist without too many issues, and his cheap cost makes him the easy pick.

You can really pick any gunman you want in the roof approach. If you decide to go with the fire crew (covert) approach, just be aware that less-skilled gunmen will die.

V. The Big Score

Image: Rockstar Games

If you’re curious how to make the most money in GTA V heists, here’s your answer. This final heist is easily the most important to do well, as the total amount of money earned is over forty million dollars! There are two approach methods here, and I recommend the obvious approach.

The Optimal Crew

  • Driver 1 (Helicopter): Taliana Martinez
  • Driver 2 (Train): Karim Denz
  • Gunman 1: Packie McReary (or another good one)
  • Gunman 2: The cheapest one you have

Picking Taliana as your helicopter pilot is extremely important, as she is skilled enough to have no issues flying. Karim could mess up helicopter duty, especially if you haven’t used him in the previous heists. He can handle the train just fine, though, so keep him on deck for that.

The gunmen don’t matter too much for this heist, but you will want to have one of your better ones on the team. I recommend Packie as long as you’ve leveled him up in other heists. I personally chose Norm for the second, but it doesn’t matter too much and any of the options will be fine.

Picking the right crew members for this heist is more important than the others since there’s so much money on the line. If you pick a bad helicopter pilot, they’ll crash the plane and cause you to lose a significant amount of money, not to mention the high spirits of the rest of your heist members.

You don’t want anyone on this team to be terrible (other than the second gunman), so make sure to pick people that either have high base stats or who you’ve used enough to level up.


Become a High Grounder

Playing through the Grand Theft Auto V Story Mode heists is an absolute blast, especially the first time you do them. They offer a style of gameplay that few (if any) other games can offer. We hope this GTA V heist guide has given you a good understanding of how to approach each heist.

Happy gaming!

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