Escape from Tarkov, the shooter meets RPG from Battlestate Games, is becoming increasingly popular among players and streamers alike. The game offers a hardcore shooter experience with a wealth of tactical depth and addictive looting.
When you first jump in, though, it can be tough to get a handle on the game’s weaponry. That’s down to the painstaking detail the game offers, and the ramifications that accuracy has on weapon usage. We’ve put together a brief primer on the weapon types you’ll find in Escape from Tarkov to give you a better knowledge base – but after that, you’re on your own. Keep in mind that these weapons can always be upgraded with items you loot on the battlefield.
In this guide, we explain a dozen weapons and which ones might be best for you in Escape From Tarkov.
The smallest weapons available in Escape from Tarkov, pistols, are predominantly semi-automatic.
Because of the smaller ammo, the weapon doesn’t do a great deal of damage, particularly against armoured targets – but pistols can be raised more quickly which means they can be handy for reacting to an enemy attack.
If you’re looking for an increased rate of fire but with the closest handling to a pistol, SMGs are your best bet.
With an increased rate of fire comes a larger degree of recoil, but with select-fire, you can switch from semi-auto to full-auto. It’s worth noting that SMGs use low-powered ammo, so aren’t ideal for penetrating armour.
Ideal for up to 400m, the semi-auto rifles in Escape from Tarkov use sizeable ammo which is fire with each trigger pull.
They self-load, meaning you can fire with every pull until the magazine runs out. This makes them ideal for mid-range battles where accuracy and fire-rate are equally important.
The ideal all-rounder, assault rifles are ideal for a surprising range of tactical scenarios. At distance, they can be devastatingly effective, while they’re also great for indoor firefights.
Rifles that use 5.56mm bullets and larger are accurate enough to hit a target hundreds of metres away, and with medium to high penetration, it’ll likely puncture any armour, too. Paired with a decent optic and select-fire, an Assault Rifle could be all you need in the game – although they are somewhat weighty.
Essentially assault rifles that hit harder, Battle Rifles use larger bullets to increase bullet penetration and therefore damage.
Because of their size and slower handling, they’re a little less handy in reactive gunfights, but if you get the first shot away, you’ll be off to a great start. With an accurate player, being able to kill instantly up to 600m with a scope.
Feeling a little more old-school than assault and battle rifles, the bolt-action rifles in Escape From Tarkov are a little cumbersome but offer a big payoff for players willing to learn their unique rhythm.
Requiring a bolt mechanism to chamber the next shot, these rifles can use “heavy penetrator” ammo types to deal huge damage – but every missed shot leaves you open to counterattack.
An ideal weapon for indoor skirmishes, shotguns fire shells that cover a larger area, which makes accuracy less important. The spread of these are determined by the length of a shotgun’s barrel.
The downside of these high-damage weapons is that the guns do nothing at mid-to-long range because the damage falls off over such a short distance. Against armoured targets, you’ll deal huge damage to the torso, with the head and limbs taking a pounding with the right spread pattern and user accuracy.
There you have it. Hopefully, with the best weapon for your style equipped in Escape From Tarkov, you'll find the raids a little less ruthless. For more of an advantage, check out our comprehensive guides to Tarkov's maps, including Customs, Interchange, Factory, and Reserve.
This article was updated on 15th of December by Kelsey Raynor.