Escape from Tarkov Wiki

This page covers the basics of combat and survival in Escape from Tarkov.

Beta Disclaimer[]

  • Escape from Tarkov is presently in beta state of development. Features will be added and removed, thus the current state of the game is not representative of the final product. Battlestate Games, the developer of Escape from Tarkov, periodically wipes all progress alongside major patches. Major patches tend to be 4–6 months apart, but can happen sooner. All items, weapons, gear, and skills are deleted when a wipe hits. This feature could be changed when the game is fully released.
  • Many of the systems in the game are not yet finished and are in a placeholder state. Mechanics may break or not function as intended.

Game Terms[]

Upon starting the game for the very first time, you will be greeted by the following message:

Welcome to Escape from Tarkov!

In this game, you will fight for your life and survive the perils of Tarkov, a Russian city
in the Norvinsk region on the brink of chaos and collapse. Your character is an operator of a
Private Military Company (PMC), caught in a maelstrom of events right after the Contract
Wars. The area is sealed off, and your operational command is not responding; previous mission
objectives have lost their purpose. Everybody has personal goals now - adapt and survive,
escape the blockade or try to save others.

Be prepared to die and lose everything you had with you in every raid you enter.
Keep in mind that every drop in your internet connection or network hardware malfunction
can lead to disconnection from the game with the consecutive death of your character and
loss of all the gear you had with you or found within your raid.

Yes, you will die, and most probably very often, but remember - this is still a game. Best of luck

out there!

Getting Started[]

Escape from Tarkov can be purchased on the official website as a "pre-order". Pre-orders are able to download and play immediately after purchase. The client can be downloaded from your profile page by clicking the large "Install" button.

Once the game has finished downloading and you've launched it for the first time, you'll be asked some questions, starting with what language and name you want to use. You are able to change your name once every 14 days, so don't feel too locked into it! Next comes your first major choice, what faction to use? You have the options of BEAR and USEC. Your choice of faction will decide what weapons and gear you start with, along with some other differences. The first is that BEAR only speak using Russian or Russian-accented English voice lines, while USEC speak English. This can be important for communicating with (or taunting) other players in-game. The second difference is your choice of cosmetic tactical clothing. There are a few other minor differences, such as trader dialogues and different facial options.

  • Escape from Tarkov aims to emulate the modern combat experience in the vein of ARMA. It boasts an accurate ballistic model, an in-depth health system, and an outstanding weapon modification system with few parallels in modern gaming. Escape from Tarkov's full body awareness and movement systems similarly match that of ARMA's, with features such as leaning, adjustable posture and movement speed, and a far slower pace of combat tied to the shoot and scoot mindset.
  • The weapon modification system is a primary cornerstone of Escape From Tarkov, and allows for near complete customization of every firearm you're likely to come across. This depth of weapon customization enables the user to swap out everything from the barrel of the gun to the shoulder pad, enhancing your ability to choose your weapon.
  • The in-game economy is similarly unique, and relies heavily upon looting and scavenging from the surroundings. You must successfully extract from a raid to keep the gear you found. It requires a keen eye and a quick wit to know when to get out, or when to risk gambling what you've got for that extra bit of loot.
  • Situational awareness is key to being successful in all aspects of Escape From Tarkov. Be it in spotting a wayward bit of rare loot, or realizing that far-off bush is actually a player in disguise. As there are no HUD indicators of friends or foes, keeping a constant awareness of your surroundings is mandatory. Whilst your vision is a vital factor in identifying targets, sound will be both your greatest enemy and ally. Especially given the brutal nature of combat.


Movement in Escape From Tarkov is more than simply sprinting or walking. It is handled differently than most other first-person shooters, with the movement model trying to mimic the actual performance of a soldier encumbered with gear and weapons. It allows you to move at varying speeds, from a snail's pace which generates the least amount of audible noise, to a sprint, which may compromise your position.

The way you move through a level is just as important as your ability to gun down a target in a single shot. When moving through the terrain of a map, stepping on broken glass and tile, stepping on a pile of metal debris, or walking through a bush, everything generates a different sound cue which your opponent can use to narrow down your position. Slow, steady, and thoughtful movement should be your mainstays. Be it something as simple as moving across an abandoned street, or as complex as repositioning in a firefight to flank your unsuspecting foe. How you move, how you're postured, and when you move are all vital aspects of consideration.

Be warned, Headsets amplify your footsteps in clear, crisp, HD surround sound. They are a powerful tool against even the power of slow walking, and can render even the stealthiest players flatfooted when an errant footstep is heard through them.

  • Movement Speed can be broken down into three types: Sprinting, walking, and slow walking.
    • Walking requires no change or key press, it is by default your main movement speed. It is limited only by the various pieces of body armor you're wearing.
    • Sprinting can be performed by pressing Left Shift and depletes your stamina bar. Knowing how far you can travel with one stamina bar's worth of sprinting can be the difference between an engagement being lost or won. Sprinting also generates the highest amount of noise compared to the other methods of moving.
    • Slow Walking can be performed by pressing the Caps Lock or by manually lowering your walk speed to its lowest, by simply scrolling Mousewheel Down To return to a higher movement speed if you've used the mousewheel, you must use Mousewheel Up to maximize the movement bar in the bottom left portion of the UI. Slow Walking is the bread and butter of survival in Tarkov. It generates the least amount of noise, prevents you from making noise whilst moving through foliage, and negates the effects of walking on different materials such as glass or metal. The power of moving with this method cannot be overstated, and should never be underestimated. Beyond the standard movement types, there are three additional movement techniques. Sidestepping, Sliding, and Vaulting.
    • Sidestepping can be done by pressing Left Alt + Q / E Sidestepping does exactly what it sounds like. There are two types of sidestepping, pressing the keys and releasing them immediately will move you one step left or right, and then immediately back to your previous position. Holding the keys will result in you keeping the position until released.
    • Sliding is a problematic mechanic at best, and at worst it can get you in a precarious situation. Sliding can be initiated by pressing C while sprinting. A "standing slide" occurs when you let go of the W key while sprinting, this can be avoided by pressing Left Shift again to return to walking. Sliding, intentionally or otherwise, locks you into a forward movement and generates a unique noise compared to other methods.
    • Vaulting is a mechanic to allow climbing over small to medium obstacles quickly and smoothly, without having to jump (creating additional noise and using extra stamina). This can be done by simply holding the Spacebar while walking or sprinting forward at an obstacle.


Just as important as Movement in Escape From Tarkov, how you stand can make a world of difference to your overall ability to survive. Knowing when to duck is just as vital as knowing when to move. The ability to vary your stance, combined with the movement options that the game provides, permits a huge amount of flexibility in terms of tactical agility and how you can engage an opponent.

  • You have three standard stances to choose from: Standing, Crouching, and Prone, each with a different application, and maximum movement speed.
    • Standing allows you to move the fastest, but also makes you more visible at range and causes you to generate the most noise.
    • Crouching balances a low profile and reasonable movement speed and is excellent for taking advantage of most cover, whilst generating the lowest amount of sound. It also provides greater recoil control, reduced weapon sway, and reduced arm stamina consumption.
    • Prone makes you almost immobile, but gives you excellent recoil control and weapon sway, along with a greatly reduced silhouette and massively reduced arm stamina consumption. Whilst being prone, you cannot lower the amount of noise you make by moving slowly, as more surface area is in contact with your body. Thus, in most situations, being crouched is far superior to laying prone. Moving out of the prone stance also always produces noise in the process, no matter your movement speed setting or Covert Movement skill.

However, whilst the three standard stances are available, you are able to shift between a slew of different postures. By pressing the following keys: C + Mousewheel Up/Mousewheel Down Doing such enables you to peek over cover that would otherwise be impossible to see or fire over.

  • Beyond the stances you have access to, there is also leaning to take into account. Leaning and peeking should become second nature, around every corner, every edge, every bit of cover. Exposing only a portion of yourself is far less dangerous than moving wholly out of cover. The advantages of doing so cannot be overstated.
    • The primary method of leaning is done with the Q and E keys. Doing so requires holding down either key, and puts you out at a maximum lean.
    • The secondary method is to hold Left Alt + A / D This secondary method is a variable lean, and doesn't need to be held down when you release the keys. To reset your stance, press either Q or E
    • An important side-note is that performing Left Alt + Q / E whilst prone allows you to turn your entire body and weapon sideways, significantly lowering your weapon. This is a very rarely used mechanic and allows for a wide variety of additional tactics, especially as anyone that attempts to return fire is provided with an even smaller target to fire back at.

Additionally, it is possible to swap your gun between your left and right shoulder using the Mouse 4 button. When used in combination with leaning, this allows you to peek around left-hand corners with minimal exposure.

Weaponry and Equipment[]

Weaponry in Escape From Tarkov is your bread and butter and could have a guide written about it three times the length of this one. Be it a simple sidearm or a lead-throwing M4 with extended magazines. The choice of what you go into a raid with is entirely yours, excluding when one goes in as a Scavenger. Firearm performance will vary wildly depending on what modifications you use, and how you use them. Learning an individual weapon's handling and kinks, be it modified heavily or a stock variant, is vital to your overall success against other players and AI opposition. The depth of the weapon systems cannot be overstated, or overlooked.

  • There are a slew of vital considerations when picking a weapon's modifications such as your estimated range you expect your engagement to take place in, what your intended target is going to be and if that target is armored or not, as well as how your playstyle factors into such considerations.
    • Picking your weapon's optics is very much a personal preference, but time to ADS (Aim Down Sights), and the distance you expect to have to engage from are important. Contrary to most other games, point shooting (Firing without aiming down your weapon's sights) is still moderately effective compared to ADS in most close-quarters situations, becoming much more effective while using a laser. Learning how to effectively point shoot is critical to surviving engagements and can often make the difference between winning and losing a battle.
    • What ammunition you use isn't as cut and dry as the "best" statistic that a given ammo type has. Availability, if that ammunition is sold out in the traders or not, or if you've unlocked it, all are further considerations. If you figure you're not going to be going up against fully geared squads of five, then you may settle on something that doesn't have as high of an armor piercing value, and instead does more overall damage to flesh. The type and quantity of magazines that you take into a raid is of similar concern, as reloading ammo into empty magazines is a dangerous proposition, and a virtually impossible feat to pull off whilst engaged in a firefight. It is also of note, you are not limited to using only a single ammunition type per each magazine.
    • What weapon type you decide upon, much like optics and ammo, is further personal preference. However, It is highly recommended that you never go into a raid unarmed, as doing so will render you mostly harmless, but will enable the Tagged and Cursed effect, making Scavs aware of your location and aggressively chase you.
    • When picking up a weapon in the field, it's always wise to do a quick magazine check, using Left Alt + T to ensure that the weapon has ammo. After doing so, checking the weapon's chamber, using Left Shift + T will ensure that you've got a round in the chamber.

Ammunition is arguably far more important than modifications on a weapon, as ammo choices determine the ability of a bullet to kill an opponent whereas weapon modifications can only aid in landing shots. As a general rule of thumb, if you want to shoot at a player center mass, you are best off using the ammunition with the highest penetration stats possible, given budget restrictions. You may be able to "Leg meta" other players by using high flesh damage rounds and aiming for non-armored areas of a player, typically the legs. However, this approach requires multiple successive hits to drain the entire health pool of a player, rather than eliminating just the head or thorax.

Equipment in Escape From Tarkov covers a breadth of items, from body armor to backpacks. Knowing what to bring along with you on a raid is critical to ensuring your success financially, and overall survival. Things like headsets, backpacks, vests, and body armor, are everywhere.

What grade of armor you're wearing matters significantly, as Class II protection will do you no good against a rifle round. Just as Class VI protection will stop everything but large caliber armor piercing ammo. One important consideration is head protection. The head hitbox in Escape from Tarkov is divided into 8 segments: Head top, Nape, Face, Ears, Eyes, Throat, Back Neck, and Jaws. Different helmets, visors, and additional armor will cover different segments.

To choose your equipment, you are faced with three factors : Availability, Price, and Quality. An expensive loadout like the following: SSO Attack 2 raid backpack (Khaki) + 6B43 Zabralo-Sh body armor (Digital Flora) + Velocity Systems MPPV Multi-Purpose Patrol Vest (Wolf Grey) can hold a lot of magazines, meds, loot and will protect you from a great variety of threats, but is going to be hard to come by if you don't have much money and high trader loyalty levels. On the other hand, a cheap loadout like the Bank Robber + T-Bag is not going to protect you or let you take a lot of loot on the way back, but is way cheaper and available at an early stage of the game. Also, bringing high-end weaponry alongside low-end gear is a risk, of course. You could lose the fight easily and thus lose your gun. You can find this type of gear on Scavs, so don't hesitate looting the ones you kill for easy and free loadouts: Scavs sometimes are found with a Scav backpack or possibly even, the Pilgrim Backpack, which is even bigger, alongside many other pieces of equipment. You can check the following pages to learn more about the different options Tarkov has to offer:

Grenades are quite tricky to aim in Escape from Tarkov due to the absence of a crosshair. Using the guide below will help you throw grenades accurately.

  • Insurance[]

    Main article: Insurance

    Insurance allows you to retrieve any items that have not been extracted from the raid, after a delay.

    Except for raids on The Lab, make sure to always insure the gear you go out with using the Insurance Screen, just before entering the lobby. You can click on the "Insure All" button to make sure that you select all of your belongings. To confirm, press the "Insure" button just above "Ready". You can choose to insure with Prapor or Therapist:

    • Prapor is cheaper, but returns your insured items after 24–36 hours.
    • Therapist is roughly 1.5x more expensive, returns your items after 12–24 hours. You also have 7 days to collect the insured items instead of the 4 that Prapor offers.

    Use the insurance system, even at a low level: There's always the chance that your killer won't loot you, or leave your items behind as they find better gear. And if a scav kills you, there's a high chance you'll get everything back.

    Your insurer will contact you a few hours/days later to let you know what came back. You can then claim it from the messenger tab. If you do not claim it in 96 hours (Prapor) or 144 hours (Therapist), the insured items will be lost.

    There are no penalties for insurance fraud. If you have an identical insured piece of equipment to one you find, you can swap for the uninsured item. If you extract with the new item, you will need to make sure to re-insure it. If the item you swapped out is not looted, you can get it back through insurance normally for additional profit.

    There is also an upgrade to the Hideout that reduces your item return time by 15%. It is provided by upgrading the Intelligence Center module to level 2.

    Health, Healing, and Hitpoints[]

    Main article: Health system

    The medical and health systems in Escape from Tarkov are very in-depth, but simple to understand at a glance once you know what you're looking at. One large difference between Tarkov and other games is that using meds takes time, rendering you vulnerable and exposed. Also creating noise from the jostling and necessary movements to use them. The health system as a whole is broken down into hitpoints, every body part has its own HP value and potential status effects that can be applied to it. Some are positive, whilst others are assuredly negative. Your average PMC or Scav has a total of 440 Health Points, set across 7 body parts: Head, Thorax, Stomach, Legs and Arms.

    There are three colors indicating the state of each body part: Grey, Red and Black. Grey means the body part is fine or only slightly damaged. Red means that a limb is critically low on HP and at risk for being reduced to 0 HP. Black means, in the most simple of terms, destroyed. Or, as it has been termed, "Blacked." When a body part has reached 0 HP, it cannot be healed via normal means and requires the use of a specialized surgical kit to restore it. Any further damage taken to a body part that has been blacked is distributed to the other parts at reduced, equal or higher rates depending on what part it is. In the simplest terms, damaging a part with 0 HP still does damage to the rest of the body. On top of those three states are various kinds of status effects you'll encounter.

    • A destroyed/blacked body part can be disastrous for your survival in both the short and long-term while on a raid. It can mean the difference between successfully extracting, or having to limp for 10 minutes to an extraction point, only to have the timer run out. The effects of a blacked body part depend entirely on which part it is, even the difference between arms being blacked impacts things at a different rate. Notably, the thorax and head cannot normally be blacked by weapon damage without causing the player to die instantly. Bleeding however is an exception to this, and can lower the head/torso to 0 HP and not kill the player outright.
      • A simplified list of effects of having a blacked body part are as follows:
        • Thorax/Head: Any further damage taken to either body part results in instant death. This also applies to taking damage to another blacked body part. i.e. If your thorax has 0 HP, and your left arm has 0 HP. If you are shot in your left arm, you will die instantly even if the rest of your body is at full HP.
        • Legs: One leg reduces your movement speed by roughly half, and sprinting requires painkillers. Both, reduces your total movement speed by 90%. Sprinting on a blacked leg (need to be under effects of painkiller ) will cause damage to your body, as will jumping. Your jump height is also significantly impacted. Vertical weapon sway when moving is also greatly increased.
        • Arms: Your aiming stability is severely impacted, holding your breath also does not completely stabilize your weapon. Reloading, swapping weapons, container searching and item use take longer.
        • Stomach: Your Hydration and Energy will begin to drain rapidly. Upon reaching 0, you will begin to slowly lose HP until death or you eat/drink. You will also groan loudly, alerting nearby players and scavs alike.

    Eventually, you're going to take damage. For when that happens, you're going to need Meds. There are various types and sorts of meds with a slew of purposes. All have a "charge" and cost to use, some only having a single charge. One of the most deadly status effects a player can suffer is heavy bleeding. Thankfully all medical kits, excluding the AI-2 medkit & Car first aid kit, can stop heavy bleeds, including any tourniquet, which commonly spawn on scavs. However, if a medical kit lacks sufficient charge to stop bleeding, it will only heal the body part. Other status effects can prove troublesome and debilitating, and often you may either simply lack the means to completely treat them. There are stopgap measures, however. A broken leg or arm requires an Aluminum splint to completely treat, for example. But in a pinch, Painkillers, Morphine and other similar meds can enable you to come out on top. Allowing you to keep running even if your legs are blacked, stop coughing if your stomach is dead, or even take more HP damage than normal and still survive.

    However, having a body part blacked in raid isn't the end of the world. Beyond the various means of mitigating the problems created by having a body part blacked, a player has the option of outright restoring that part back to functionality outright. This can be done with either the CMS surgical kit or the Surv12 field surgical kit. However, using either will only restore the blacked limb to 1 HP, and will limit its total overall HP for the remainder of the raid. This effect is cumulative, so using a surgical kit repeatedly will reduce the maximum HP even further. The thorax and head are however incapable of being restored whilst in a raid.

    As a PMC, post-raid, either via successful extraction or otherwise, your health and status effects will carry over. During the post-raid summary, you will be given the option of paying roubles to restore your health and remove the various effects impacting your PMC. This is cheaper than using medkits bought from traders, although manually healing yourself with medkits provides EXP. And as your body parts are restored to a minimum of 1 HP, this means that you are not required to use a surgical kit to restore a part back to full health. The free alternative however is to simply wait until the passive regeneration provided by your hideout restores you to full health. This however can take up to an hour without upgrades, and as such, is ill-advised.


    Each map has multiple extraction points where you can leave the raid after a certain amount of time. To see the available extractions, double tap O. The extractions will be different for each raid depending on your spawn point and if you're playing as a PMC (USEC/BEAR) or as a Scav.

    Some exits are always available, whilst others are only occasionally available (indicated by question marks). You can check if certain exits are available from afar by looking for active lamps, spotlights, or green smoke. Some extractions may also require a certain amount of Roubles per person. Others may even require special items to utilize, such as Paracord or keys.

    On maps like The Lab, Reserve, Interchange, and Customs, special actions are needed in order to use some extraction points.

    For example, on Reserve, the Scav lands extract requires you to team up with a scav to extract, and after extracting at this extract, you will receive a reward from Fence.

    Sometimes the name of an extract is shown in green or red. Red means that one or multiple players already left the map through that extract. Green means you are close to an extract, but not close enough to extract yourself. When you are inside an extraction zone, a timer will appear in the top right corner, and you will leave the map as soon as it hits zero. Extraction times can be between few seconds and a couple of minutes.

    How time works in Tarkov[]

    Real time vs EFT time[]

    Time, in EFT, passes 7x faster than real time. So, for every minute that passes in real life, 7 minutes will have elapsed within the game world.

    IRL time In-Game time
    1 min 7 min
    2 min 8 s 15 min
    4 min 17 s 30 min
    8 min 34 s 1 h
    17 min 8 s 2 h
    25 min 43 s 3 h
    51 min 26 s 6 h
    1h 43 min 12 h

    Day and night cycle[]

    Event EFT time Notes
    Dawn 05:00 Light on the horizon
    Sunrise 05:45 direct sunlight above the horizon
    Sunset 21:30
    Night 21:50 - 22:15 full darkness begins
    Moonrise 00:00

    Location on the map, visibility to the horizon and the weather (clouds/rain) will all factor into how dark/light these periods of time are.

    Raid time selection clocks[]

    All raid locations (except Labs), when selected on the map screen, will display two clocks to select from for the time of day the raid will occur. The two clocks always display times which are 12 hours apart from each other. The Factory location clocks are static and fixed at 15:38 and 03:38. You'll see the clocks for the other maps show time elapsing at the 7x rate mentioned above.

    Labs location is underground and lighting in a raid is always the same, regardless of the time of day, so no time selection is necessary.

    Time within a raid[]

    While the day/night cycle visibly changes at the accelerated 7x rate, passage of time on your raid countdown display is the same as IRL.


    Main article: Quests

    There are many quests in Escape from Tarkov. Some require you to pick stuff up for certain traders, while others require you to kill other operators or mark vehicles or specific places. Quests are the fastest way of gaining EXP in Escape from Tarkov. Completing one will often reward you with thousands, if not tens of thousands of EXP points. On top of the experience, quests reward you with:

    • Trader Reputation. By gaining trader reputation you unlock new trader loyalty levels. Each time you unlock a new loyalty level, you will be able to purchase a large amount of new items from that trader.
    • Quest locked items. Some items can only be purchased from a trader after you complete their relevant quest. For example, after completing The Punisher - Part 1 you are then able to purchase 7.62x39mm PS gzh at Loyalty Level 3 from Prapor.
    • A variety of money and items. Some items are only able to be received as a quest reward, such as the Secure container Epsilon from The Punisher - Part 6.

    Stash size, Organization and Containers[]

    In Escape from Tarkov, the beginning size of your Stash is entirely dependent on what edition of the game you bought. The Standard edition of the game yields a 10x30 cell Stash, while the The Unheard edition allows you to store items in a 10x72 cell Stash. Here are the different stash sizes for:

    • 10x30 on Standard Edition
    • 10x40 on Left Behind Edition
    • 10x50 on Prepare for Escape Edition
    • 10x68 on Edge of Darkness Limited Edition
    • 10x72 on The Unheard Edition

    With the 0.12 update and the addition of the Hideout, it was made possible to increase the player's stash size through upgrading the stash module within the hideout from level 1 to 4.

    It is recommended that you keep all items of a similar category (weapons, helmets, bags, healing objects) close to each other in order to minimize the time spent in the menu and maximize the action.

    • Alt+Left Click automatically equips an item on your PMC if the slot occupied by said item is free.
    • Ctrl+Left Click automatically transfers an item between your PMC and your stash.
    • Middle Mouse Button automatically examines an unknown item, checks a magazine, or folds a weapon's stock.
    • Shift+Left Click automatically transfers an item to your sorting table, as long as it is open.

    At some point in a patch, you will feel limited by the size of your stash, even in more expensive editions of the game. This is where Containers come in. These items allow you to store more than the stash space they occupy. For example, the Item case is a 16 cells item (4x4), but can offer 64 storage cells (8x8). These containers are rather high level items, and apart from the Item case, there exists category-specific containers as well. The Ammunition case only allows you to store Ammunition, while the Medicine case will only hold Meds and Medical Supplies. More containers are making their appearance in the game, all with different uses, such as the Lucky Scav Junk box and the T H I C C Weapon case.

    Map Shortcuts[]

    Many of the locations in Escape from Tarkov have short-cuts that can cut down travel time, or provide access to certain areas with jumps in certain spots, more information regarding these shortcuts are located on their respective map pages.

    The example below is a jump shortcut from "Warehouse 4" section of the map over a wall to the "New gas station" section on Customs, this shortcut can cut down travel time by almost 2 minutes and avoids the necessity of a Factory emergency exit key to get to the other side of the map.

  • Official Field Guide Videos[]