ESCAPE FROM TARKOV UNOFFICIAL HANDBOOK
written by AngryCentrifuge Jan 2020 - last updated: 11.01.2020
Hey folks. I’m aware there are multiple excellent guides out there. My goal is to provide a comprehensive guide covering both general advice as well as details. This won’t be as easy to digest as a short 15min video from one of the well known content creators, but this way I can go deeper into details. My goal is to help beginners as well as veterans.
The guide itself is segmented in three chapters covering gameplay mechanics, modding guides and ingame economics. The last Chapter IV is a reference book.
Credits and useful links:
Since first starting EfT in Summer 2018, I have been playing over 1750 hours. I have competitive experience in other FPS games like BF3, BF4 and Rainbow 6.
Important Disclaimer: There are multiple ways to have fun and be profitable in Tarkov!
My way isn’t necessarily for everybody and I will try to write as neutral as possible. Some personal preferences, so experienced players are better able to interpret my thoughts:
Gameplay, gear and map advice is my own, with the great and invaluable help of my long standing gaming buddies. Special thanks to:
Another Disclaimer: Many aspects of the game are subject to change. Especially flea market values tend to change often, please take my ruble values as rough estimates. As soon as any large patch hits, I will update this guide.
Table of contents:
Chapter I: Introduction
Chapter II: Beginner guide
Chapter III: Tips for intermediate and veteran players
Chapter IV: Reference book
Chapter I: INTRODUCTION
1. Why is Tarkov unique in many ways?
You wrecked whole servers in Battlefield? You’re a demigod in Battle Royal games? You’re carrying your bronze mates against Diamond players in R6 Siege? Welcome to Escape from Tarkov. The learning curve in EfT is incredibly steep. You are going to suffer. A lot.
No ingame maps, no spotting aid even for team mates, huge gun customization options, very distinct gunplay with pretty in-depth armor and ammo system. You will need to keep a cool head, even if we all fail at that sometimes.
Gear fear is very popular amongst many players, which leads them to play objectively worse. It describes the fear of trying out more expensive gear or playing super intimidated when having it equipped. The moment you take a piece of gear out of your stash and put it on your character, it’s basically lost. The only question is when! :)
What keeps many of us playing Tarkov are the extreme emotions this game creates. Laughter, fear, arrogance, stress and relief - they’re all on another level compared to any FPS game I’ve played before.
2. First steps: Before the first raid
a) Starting the game and learning the characters
The first time starting EfT, you’ll need to choose a Nickname and decide to be either a BEAR or USEC. Besides customization options, the only difference is the language your character’s going to speak. BEAR = Russian, USEC = American English. Depending on your Edition (Standard, EOD etc) you have received some starting gear and money. Before you take anything into the raid, visit the traders. Examine every single item available!
Prapor: Soviet / CIS-Country weapons and ammo.
Therapist: Medicine and later in the game, cases as well.
Fence: Pretty much useless most of the time, buys everything but at the worst rate.
Skier: Attachments and some western import gear. Also trades Euros.
Peacekeeper: Provides western weapons, their ammo and some of their attachments.
Mechanic: Attachments, weapon mods and rare magazines etc.
Ragman: Everything you can dress yourself in. Armor, Rigs, Backpacks, Helmets.
Jaeger: Hunting equipment, Shotgun stuff, some optics. He also sells fuel for your hideout.
When visiting each of the traders (Jaeger and Peacekeeper will be locked for a while), make sure you accept the first missions from Prapor and Therapist.
Before jumping into the action, some general clarifications: You can either play as your PMC main character or a scavenger = Scav. Scavs have random gear, spawn at a mostly random time into the raid and when you extract or die, there is a cooldown. If you extract with your scav, you can keep everything and transfer to your stash. If you die, it’s all lost, but you have no risk at all. The only downside is: You could have played a PMC raid and done some quest and XP progress.
Therefore I advice you to use scavs primarily for…
b) Gameplay basics
I want to mention some key bindings you might not be used to in other FPS games. There are several useful key bindings (standard) to remember:
Quick overview on the Medkits by Rainlyte. The AI-2 only heals, but can’t stop bleeds.
c) Accessing higher trader loyalty levels (LL)
When first starting the game, you have lvl1 access to all traders except Jaeger, who’s unlocked through a seperate questline from Mechanic. Access to higher loyalty levels is dependant on three factors:
Each trader has different LL requirements, but LL4 is the maximum. You can check this by hovering your mouse over the small question mark next to their faces.
Please forgive me, but I’m unable to show you a non-maxed trader below LL4...
Reputation is gained by completing quests from each trader individually. Some quests make you lose reputation with another trader, especially if you can complete a certain quest with multiple traders. It is possible to have all traders maxed out at player level 40.
If you bought the Edge of Darkness edition, your starting trader reputation will be 0.2 instead of 0. This makes leveling up traders a bit easier, since you can delay some annoying quests and level up to lvl40 more freely.
d) Loot items worth noting
At its core, this section should go to looting. But considering how often I have found valuable loot in the pockets of low-level players, I want to include this part at the beginning of my guide. There are many items which aren’t worth that much in real life, but are pretty valuable in Tarkov. If possible in any way, you should put them into your safe container.
Some of these seemingly unremarkable items are:
CHAPTER II: THE BEGINNER GUIDE
1. First quests on Customs and how exits work
The first two quests are:
I. “Debut” from Prapor kill 5 scavs on customs, hand over 2x MP133
II.“Shortage” from Therapist hand over 5 Salewa Medkits
The first map is Customs. Customs can be pretty hard for many reasons. In the early wipe everybody rushes the same hot spots while later into the wipe cycle many players enjoy the balanced layout, the scav boss and the PvP focus. The EfT-Gamepedia is your best friend if you want more information about each map: Customs
I’d suggest this map made by marvelin (Link):
You will either spawn on the west side (left) or the east side (right). The small blue arrows indicate where possible PMC spawn points are. There usually are 12 players on customs, roughly 6 on each side of the map. You need to extract on the opposite end.
These exits are always available = open: Crossroads+Trailerpark for the east spawn, ZB-1011 for the west spawn.
These exits are just sometimes open, you’ll need to check them: Smuggler’s Boat and RUAF Roadblock for east spawn, Old Gas Station and ZB-1012 for west spawn. Most optional exits on all maps have a distinct sign, telling you whether the exit is open. In case of Smuggler’s boat it’s a campfire, in case of Old Gas it’s green smoke or simply a large floodlight that’s switched on in case of ZB012 and RUAF Roadblock.
V-Exit at the dorms: If you have 7k Roubles on your inraid character, you can take the V-Exit. You’ll need to wait 60 seconds. Useful for some quest items in the dorms.
If you die, all gear and loot items will be lost except your safe container and its contents. You also lose all the quest items you might have found this raid.
If you have a second monitor, you should have a picture of the map you’re playing open while playing. This is possible with a tablet or smartphone of course, too.
Let’s get started: Don't equip your finest gear or something that just looks cool. Take a MP443 Grach / P226 (depending on your character choice), a magazine or two and some ammo to fill up the mags if needed (9x19 PSO or PST). You’ll also need 2x bandages, 2x AI2 medkit, 1x Painkillers. Our Mission is to kill 5 Scavs and get some budget gear. That’s all you need for now, no body armor, no helmets etc.
When you spawn, try to orientate yourself. Good positions to kill scavs are: Customs and Storage (Garages) on the west side; Silos, Checkpoint and gas station on the east side. There usually are some scavs at the dorms nowadays, too, but it’s a high traffic area you might want to visit later on. Stay below the radar and take the scavs seriously. You might not be able to distinguish AI from players, which is totally normal in the beginning. Scavs yell in Russian and have certain preset paths. After they’ve spotted you, you usually have 0,5-0,8sec before they open fire. If you have cover nearby, hunker down and let them reset their “aggro”, which usually takes about 3 seconds. Re-peek them, now knowing where the scav is, and kill them with headshots if possible.
When looting scavs, laying on the ground while searching a body usually is preferable. Don’t be picky, a semi-auto shotgun = MP153 can be a deadly weapon. Put on their gear and fight your way to the exit. Take the largest backpack and rig you find. A somewhat safe route through this map is one that avoids dorms and the approaching pathways to and from the dorms area. Go through the Construction site, head over to the train bridge. If there were many gunshots near the (new) gas station, don't cross the rails and follow them to the north. It’s a detour, for sure, but most of times it’s much safer.
Possible “safe route”:
If you extracted successfully, take a deep breath. Time to play tetris = filling up your stash. In the first levels, basically everything is valuable. The only weapons / gear which isn’t worth extracting with or using at all, are: Vepr 209 TKM, Saiga 9, MP133 (unless needed for quest) and the TOZ. I know some people like to meme with these guns, but you rookies need something more reliable.
If you died, evaluate your experience. What went well? Which aspects could I have improved on? Only pick one or two things on which you’ll be focusing the next raid, don’t overburden yourself. Keep a level head, dying is a core experience when playing Escape from Tarkov.
2. Managing your stash early on
After every raid, your character’s stats are carried over. You might need to heal, drink water or eat some delicious beef stew… Most efficient for out-of-raid healing are Grizzly or Car-medkits. Almost empty medkits are useful, too.
Proceed on using the gamepedia-wiki for your quests. After reaching lvl5, you can use the flea market for quest items that are not required to be found in raid. Each time you extract = survive a raid, you receive bonus XP. This is very valuable and you should focus on completing your quests instead of running to every gunfire you hear.
You will not have access to cases in the early game. Tactical rigs like the AVS and Blackrock actually generate space and are excellent to store many smaller items. You’ll be storing many cheap weapons (like ADARs and AKSUs or Mosins). Always remember to remove the pistol grip and the magazine. They are very cheap to replace at LL1 Prapor and the money loss is so little you don’t need to care about it at all.
If you extracted with the gear of another player, always check their magazines. If you looted a few 60rounders with expensive high-tier ammo like M995, 5.45BS or Igolnik, you really should sell them at the flea market. Buy more cost effective ammo instead like M856A1 or 5.45BT.
Remember to keep important quest items. In theory, you could just get every item needed for quests on the flea market… but some key quests have the “found in raid” condition.
You have to find these items yourself, either as a PMC, as a scav or by crafting them in your hideout. Items with the little white checkmark are found in raid. Most important in-raid items required at the 0.12 patch are:
Full list of quest items (thanks to the gamepedia editors!) Link
3. Things to keep in mind
a) Hodge-podge of early game tips and tricks
Keep your loadout balanced. It’s not logical to carry a PM pistol with your only tier4 armor and a PACA might not be enough to keep you alive while carrying your freshly looted and highly modded AK. Check the picture above for an example of a cheap and balanced, low-gear loadout.
Tarkov isn’t a Battle Royal game! Although some gameplay mechanics are similar, you can disengage many fights with a bit of map knowledge and still “win”. Avoiding a gunfight with a quest item in your pockets, already good loot or against superior enemies means no shame at all.
Offline raids provide the ability to test out the gunplay and have a look at a certain map without the fear of losing gear. Feel free to check out certain spots in offline mode.
Audio and locating distinct sounds are one of the most important things in Tarkov! The most distinct sounds are:
With the help of these sound signals, you can be better prepared for any incoming enemies, win more gunfights and avoid many engagements.
Good budget guns early on are: AKM series + 7.62 Vepr, SKS, Vepr Hunter and Mosin. This is because…
Do not use one of the AKs looted from scavs without a stock! The stock is very cheap from Prapor LL1 and the recoil without stock is absolutely crazy.
b) Insurance and its benefits
Speaking of insurance: If you can spend the few roubles, insure everything! Even if just a MBSS backpack, or a few Mosins come back by dubious means (Prapor, I’m looking at you…), it already has payed off. Remember though, that medicine, ammo and grenades can’t be insured and will never come back.
To make sure you’ll never forget to insure something, click on the insure all button right before heading into a raid. Don’t forget to click insure at the bottom to confirm it, too!
You can either insure with Prapor or Therapist. Prapor is cheaper and the better option, if you’re playing regularly (every 2nd day or more often). Otherwise, If you have the funds consider insuring via Therapist, because she keeps the items for three days after recovering them. This means you have 72 hours time to collect your insured items with Therapist, but only 24 hours with Prapor. Remember she costs 2.5x more than Prapor.
Insurance fraud is an excellent way to make money / prevent gear loss. If a body has a better body armor, just throw your insured one into the bushes and equip the looted one. Same goes for Helmets, Rigs, backpacks. Sometimes when playing low / budget weapons, you can even throw away your Mosin to finish the raid with the wonderful HK416 you just acquired. Only make sure you have enough ammo to fight your way to the extract.
c) A short evaluation of the “hatchling topic”
Many people play as hatchlings, which is Tarkov slang for PMC players playing only with their (unlootable) melee weapon equipped. To each his own... from rags to riches can surely be fun. But forgoing the realistic ability to compete even against AI scavs is idiotic in my opinion. You need to get a feel for the gunplay and every cheap pistol can kill with a headshot. Additionally, BSG just added a penalty for players entering the raid without a weapon: If they die, they need to heal up all HP instead of only 60%. Short conclusion is: Bring a gun and do yourself as well as every other player in the same instance a favor.
4. A general perspective on infantry tactics in EfT
This section was heavily inspired by 1AmTh3Brut3Squad’s reddit post, 08.01.2020. “Direct Quotations” are indicated as such.
5. How to modify a gun for dummies - early game gun modding
I’m generalizing, but the most common low level player weapons are AK74s, AKMs, SKS, ADARs and Mosins. If you’re unsure, which attachment can fit where, double click it before buying. You’ll see a drop down menu looking like this:
The essential modding slots, which most weapons share, are:
Especially early on, recoil reduction is the most important. An optic is a very useful attachment as well. Your problem is, you don’t have the necessary trader levels and want it cheap and easily accessible. You want to loot every optic from scavs/players and might even put them into your safe container.
a) modding an AK
There are several difficulties when trying to attach an optic to an AK. You have essentially three options:
After that, you’re good to go. If you can get one cheap from Prapor LL2 or the flea market, buy a GP-25 Recoil Pad and slap it onto the standard stock.
But how do I know whether my AKMSN or my AKS-74 can fit a dovetail mount or not?
Following variants can equip a dovetail optic: Everything with a “N” in its designation as well as the AK-100 series and the AK74M.
Here’s a short overview of the many different AK variants in the game.
in 7.62x39 calibre
in 5.45x39 calibre
letter S like in AKMS or AKS-74
equipped with a non-replaceable folding stock. Higher recoil and no options to attach high-tier stocks. GP-25 Recoil pad fits, though.
letter N like in AKMN or AK-74N
can fit dovetail optics and scopes
letter U like in AKS-74U
shortened version with significantly more recoil. Same pattern applies to the other shortened versions like AK-105, AK-102 and AK-104.
includes folding buttstock (AKS) without any penalties and dovetail mount (AK-74N), “m” stands for modernized
5.45x39, short version of AK-74M
5.56x45NATO, needs special magazines (6l29 or Arsenal CWP).
5.56x45NATO, shortened version, needs special magazines (6l29 or Arsenal CWP).
7.62x39, modernized in AK-74M style
7.62x39, shortened version, modernized in AK-74M style
A problem with AKM series is, that Prapor LL1 only sells you pretty useless 10round mags. Loot the 30rounders from scavs or buy them on the flea market (like the cheap AK55 7.62x39 mag).
Have a closer look at the screenshots below, showing you the several options when trying to equip a non-dovetail optic on an AK pattern assault rifle.
TT01 rear sight weaver base sold by Prapor LL2
Akademia Bastion dust cover, often found on scavs. Remember to remove the rearsight!
B10m handguard, sold by Skier LL3, sometimes found on scavs or scav guards. Probably the worst option considering price, availability and the weird position of the optic.
Very effective budget AK74M/N build. I love my lasers, you can even just go with the default handguard and skip the laser+frontgrip.
b) modding an SKS
The brighter colored SKS are called OP-SKS and have a dovetail mount. Either use an optic with integrated dovetail (EKP-8-02 from Prapor LL1) or a dovetail rail mount (Axion Cobra from Jaeger LL1). The standard brown SKS dont have the option to mount dovetail rails/optics. It is way harder (not practical and not cheap) to mount an optic on these.
SKS usually have an integrated 10round magazine. It is loaded from loose ammo in your rig/pockets and can not be removed in raid. If you can loot / buy some cheap ProMag 20round mags, absolutely use them. If you only have one 20round mag, you can still load single cartridges from the top! Remember to remove the internal 10round mag in this case.
Otherwise, no modding is reasonable without spending a small fortune on it.
c) modding an ADAR
In theory, all M4A1 attachments can fit on an ADAR. But honestly, leave everything as is except the scope and maybe the gas block. The upper receiver has a rail for optics from the get go, and scavs often already use a cheap optic on it.
If you have trouble using a sight because of the annoying front sights, you’ll need to use the flea market. The front sights are part of the gas block in this case. Buy either a “Windham weaponry gas block” or a “MK12 low profile gas block”. Another option is the “La Rue Tactical picatinny riser QD LT-101 mount” sold by Mechanic LL2 without the need to remove the cheap standard gas block. Your optic will be slightly higher though, which can be annoying for some players.
d) modding a Mosin
Until you want to snipe above 100-120m, you don’t attach anything. Just make sure your Mosin has front- and rearsights. Mosins from scavs often lack one of them.
If you want to add a scope, you need three items, all sold by Prapor LL2, but regularly found on players and scavs. It only fits on a Mosin bolt action sniper (!) rifle, not the infantry/carbine variants.
If you can get your hands on a Bramit Silencer, use it. It’s especially good for killing scavs and not alerting the whole map to your position. The Silencer always fits without any other attachments needed.
6. Using and abusing the flea market
a) basics about the FM
The flea market is a great addition to the Tarkov experience. I personally use it a lot to get the most money out of my looted barter items. It can also be a great source of money if you’re one of the first people to unlock a certain trader level: You buy the items from the trader and resell them on the flea market for raw profit. Almost all ammo and most important items and attachments have individual limits per trader restock though. This is a very good thing since monopoly only is a fun game, if you’re the one that makes the money.
Always sort by price ascending, so you get to see the lowest offers first. I’m going to risk some hostile reactions, but always exclude bartering offers since 99,9% of them are only there to scam other players. These scam offers often appear to be the cheapest, but the flea market uses the trader value of the required items instead of the flea market value. Check the rough value of the required items first, before accepting any barter trade!
You add requirements for the potential buyer by clicking on the small plus icon. You then have to choose a currency or one / several items you’ve already examined. For every offer you place, you will need to pay a tax / commission in rubles. It is automatically withdrawn from your stashed money and basically disappears. The money you get from the flea market is received by Ragman, accessible via the messenger menu ingame.
If you want to buy a documents case for instance, and a poor soul forgot a zero (15k instead of 150k) and you see the countdown ticking down… relax. You absolutely can try to snag the extremely cheap offer, but I guarantee you, you’re one of thousands. The chance you receive it is just pure luck, because everyone will be spam-clicking on it. I personally do not try to camp extreme undercut offers, because statistically it’s simply a waste of time. The only case I buy and resell items on the flea market is with low-medium demand items or rarely used attachments and I wanted to sell one initially myself.
b) flea market and hideout / quest items
It’s also a great way to get hold of some quest items that don't have to be found “in-raid”. Example: Since I’m not a fan of the labs gameplay, I played normally to generate some money and bought the LedX needed for a quest on the flea market. Not a single labs raid needed. Suddenly need 12x wires and 10x light bulbs for your hideout? Just buy them on the flea market.
The thing is, looting items - especially rare ones, is RNG based. Making money in Tarkov isn’t. Unless I need something special to be found in-raid, I won’t adjust my proven playstyle, just to rush to certain loot spots like a maniac. If you enjoy the roleplaying aspect and want to feel a sense of accomplishment by finding all wires yourself, absolutely do so! But from a pure pragmatic point of view, playing economically efficient on a map your confident on and just buying what you need on the flea market is the way to go. Same goes for the gunsmith tasks, where you basically have to use the flea market unless you get LL4 with all the traders.
Especially in the early wipe cycle, keep an eye out for the items you’ll be needing next. Maybe the demand and therefore the prices are yet pretty low. Buy them in advance. Example: Realising I would need 50 graphic cards for the bitcoin farm lvl3, I bought them in advance as soon I had the financial backing to do so. I paid 100-120k per GPU, while I would have been paying the double price at a later point in time.
c) leveling up the flea market
At first you only have two offers available at the same time. This is because your trader reputation is 0. You gain reputation by actually selling stuff on the flea market. 0.1 increase on your reputation equals to 100k rubles gained from deals. You lose reputation if your offer runs out without being sold or you remove it after the countdown. Withdrawing an offer before the countdown ends, does not result in reputation loss.
Number of offers
Without regular re-selling trader items (mostly ammo, usually) on the flea market you can easily get to the fourth or maybe fifth offer. Everything else requires highly speculative economical transactions, where a large financial reserve, stash space and a high knowledge of the game mechanics and wipe cycle behavior is needed.
Just to clarify, I’m usually a more standard flea market user. But since many players received 6x fierce hatchling moonshine at the same time through the twitch drop event new year 2020, the flea market price plummeted drastically to 60k-100k. Usually it’s around 200-250k. So I bought myself 220 bottles of schnapps, waited a few days for the prices to normalise and made myself about 20.000.000 rubles of raw profit.
Chapter III: TIPS FOR INTERMEDIATE AND VETERAN PLAYERS
1. Entering the midgame: How to compete
a) defining your goal - composing your gear
As mentioned before, loadouts need to be balanced. They also need to be reasonable for your goal. Adjust your gear to your goal. I will divide the level of gear into four categories. Please note that general purpose assault rifles like the AK or the DT MDR basically can fit any level of gear, depending on how modded they are and the ammo loaded.
very low gear - you probably can defend yourself...
Suits these goals:
learning the map,
fast loot runs / quest item runs.
Body-Armor & Helmet:
none, maybe a PACA
pistol, SKS, Mosin
none, Slingbag / T-Bag, duffle bag.
budget gear - you can defend yourself, but be wary.
Suits these goals:
safer quest item runs,
opportunistic PvP engagements.
Body-Armor & Helmet:
Class 3 armor + army helmet,
cheap class 3/4 armored rig.
slightly modded AK, any 9x19MP, SKS, ADAR, Vepr.
MBSS, Scav BP or Berkut
effective high gear - you can fight anyone, but may have problems with juggernauts
Suits these goals:
everything above, playing for fun
Body-Armor & Helmet:
large class 4 armored rig, 6b47 helmet or class 4 helmet without faceshield
modded AK and mid-tier ammo, P90, SVD or slightly modded M1A.
Trizip, Beta or Mechanism.
full juggernaut gear - you can challenge anyone, but may not be profitable!
Suits these goals:
everything above, playing labs, actively looking for PvP engagements
Body-Armor & Helmet:
class 5-6 body armor in good condition
M4/HK416, modded AK with high tier ammo, AS Val / VSS, MP7, any 7.63x51Nato DMR.
Pilgrim, Attack2, Paratus, Blackjack50
b) Learning the other maps
Depending on your progress at the different quest lines, you have to visit some other maps. This means you will need to leave your comfort zone, which customs may have already provided. I will give a short overview regarding the map layout, hot spots, looting and general strategy. Reserve still is new and the map optimization is pretty poor, which is why I haven’t played it more than 80-100 raids. It will be added later on at an unknown date. Labs is covered in the late game section.
LINK to the map (credits to Lorathor / Gamepedia)
In general, most shoreline raids have two key player engagements:
c) Lone wolf gameplay: Playing solo
Playing solo can be difficult until you realise you have distinct advantages, too. There is no need to coordinate with anybody, you’re faster both while moving and when making split second decisions. When playing lone wolf, you’ll need to be both faster and slower compared to playing with squad mates, depending on the situation. Silenced weapons, if available, are important. If you have a good and pretty secured position and scored a juicy kill, wait until you loot. Either scan the surroundings and keep the body in sight or circle carefully around the body, clearing out any possible squad mates he might have had.
Summarizing, you need to use the following tactics when playing solo:
d) Playing with a squad
Playing with often changing squad mates can be problematic. Try to find a common ground between the different play styles. If one has more experience or is a better player on a certain map, appoint him the leader. He decides whether to engage distant gunfights etc. When playing as a duo, this is not necessary.
If you decide to split up to make pincer movements, always communicate clearly and never take fair fights in 1v1 situations, unless impossible to avoid. Always try to enforce 2v1 engagements on your enemy. When playing with 3+ persons, it can be beneficial to assign a pre-determined order. The second player being the Squad leader, while the last is the designated flank runner in possible need of one.
Within my group it has established itself that the player who kills another PMC has the right to loot him first, unless communicated otherwise. This makes looting easier, clears the communication channel and prevents bad blood because of unfair loot share. Golden rule is also that only one person loots one body at the same time while the other person covers. The covering person mustn’t expose themselves, because there is no benefit wasting his virtual life and gear.
Summarizing, you need to use the following techniques and tactics to be a well coordinated squad in Escape from Tarkov:
e) Investing in the hideout… or not?
The hideout can be a large money sink. But the sooner you upgrade it, the sooner you’ll get your money back via scav case runs, the bitcoin farm or clever crafting. Basically, it depends greatly where in the wipe cycle the game currently is. At the start of the wipe, either try to be the first before the main bulk of players all want the same items (with skyrocketing prices) or the last one forgoing the benefits for raw cash.
You may ask if it’s worth to upgrade the hideout, or which upgrades are very useful. It is worth to upgrade, but you’ll need some spare cash for necessary items. Most upgrades are interdependent, which means you’ll need to upgrade everything anyway. Take a closer look at the benefits and costs of the hidout here.
Noteworthy upgrades with a rather high impact:
2. A general perspective at efficient looting
a) Value per slot approach
Easy rule of thumb: Ideally each of your loot-assigned slots has a value of at least 10k rubles. When looting in a rather empty raid, I’ll be content with 6-7k per slot. Everything above is premium.
This means that looting weapons isn’t that effective most of the time. Let’s say you love playing SKS, and you have 2 of them in your Backpack since they’re easy to store. But let's be honest, you assigned those two weapons 10 slots in your backpack. With each (OP-) SKS having a rough value of 30k, you’re just making 6k per slot. Most of the time it’s better to loot barter items, ammo, meds and helmets. If you filled these slots with a circuit board, 2 HDDs, 3x Screw nuts, 1x Iskra Lunch box you’d make roughly 90k selling them on the flea market. That’s way more efficient, since you can buy yourself 2 OP SKS after the raid and still keep 30k.
This results in good and reliable profit per extract, you can make 150k+ with the contents of your scav Backpack alone (20slots) by following these simple rules.
There are gear items that generate space (most notably the AVS and most other large armored rigs, Blackrock tactical rigs and the Beta2 Backpack). If possible, use them to enlarge your storage capacity in raid. Some more commonly found tactical rigs also “create” slots, but are less efficient at it (like the Commando or Triton rig).
b) Showcase of excessive min-maxing
This is how my loot looked after killing the scav boss and some PMCs on customs solo late Dec 2019. I don’t take any weapons except the 2nd main weapon slot with me. I remove the high value attachments like optics and lasers. Additionally, if I have the time I remove the 5.45BT ammo which sells for 300-350+ rubles each round, making a full 60x stack about 20k.
Sometimes, I even bring a 1x1 handguard like the B10-M or Aggressor handguard in my safe to attach 1x frontgrip, one small optic and 2x laser devices effectively adding up to 40k+ on one slot.
A good indicator is the comparison between total turnover with Skier VS Mechanic, since Skier pays the most but only takes some attachments (optics, lasers, silencers).
As you can see, my money spent with skier is over 3x compared to mechanic… looting laser devices and red-dot-sights may sound stupid, but is pretty simple and effective. This is the reason why I always put all the possible rails necessary for laser attachments onto my weapons, although I’ll only use one from the start. When I find a X400 or Klesch, I can simply attach it without taking up any inventory space.
3. Managing your stash efficiently
a) Weapon storage
Remove the Pistol grip and the magazine on most weapons to make them easier to get into storage containers.
b) Attachment storage
If you have the funds / trader levels, you can use some handguards (B-10M etc) to store front grips, 2x lasers and 1x small optic all in one slot. Sprut shotgun mounts come in handy for laser/flashlight storage, too.
Although a little bit excessive, this picture illustrates how much space you can generate by clever attachment storage:
c) Backpack storage
Put all your Backpacks in a sweet little Matryoshka, since this way they won't need any space at all. Inside of this terrifying frankenstein you can put quest items you’ll need later, so you don’t waste any space.
Some Backpacks like the Beta, the Blackjack50 or the 6SH118 Raid BP actually create space, because they take less space than they create inside. This can be used for smaller items or weapons you won’t need very often.
d) Cases Overview
If you have the funds, invest in cases. Here’s a quick overview which items fit in which of the cases and how many you usually “need”. Early on, the most important are a Scav Junkbox, an Ammo case, a Medcase and a Keytool/Documents case or even a SICC case.
Items cases: Anything, even most other smaller cases fits inside.
How many? = As many as possible
Dogtag case: Saves time, you can just sell them / trade them when it’s full.
1x is sufficient, either in your stash or in your secure container when you don’t have a SICC case
Document case: Keys&Keycards, Currency, Flash drives.
it’s like a wallet and a keytool combined. If you’re looting many safes, use this instead of a keytool. Otherwise, a keytool usually is better.
SICC case: Keys&Keycards, Currency, Dogtags, Flash drives, GP Coin / Bitcoin / Skull Ring
1x should be enough, they usually cost around 2,8-3,3Mio Rubles. An excellent lategame item though…
Keytool: Keys. Only Keys.
either 1x or straight up a SICC case. I like to use them as storage for my different map keysets
Medcase: Meds. Only meds.
1-3 Meds cases depending on your level of hoarding
Ammo case: Ammo. Only ammo.
2-4x to hoard ammo if people decide to buy all the traders stock out of a sudden and demand the double price, just because some content creator played with a previously rare weapon (AS Val example).
Holodilnick Thermobag: Stores Provisions = Drinks and food.
1-2x to store barter-provision items or just to conveniently store water/food.
Magazine case: Magazines. Only Mags. As many as you want to organize your stash and get geared faster for the next raid, especially when playing with friends.
Money case: Currency, GP coins, Bitcoins.
1x or 2x are usually sufficient.
Scav Junkboxes: All loot. This means all things you can’t shoot with, can’t use, wear, eat or drink.
How many? 1x or 2x to store barter items needed for the hideout/quests or for some good trades for armor or armored rigs. I usually have 2x at the beginning of the wipe to keep quest items and sell one after a while.
4. Weapon modding - designing your rifle
a) Effects of Recoil and Ergonomics
First of all, recoil reduction via stocks, muzzle brakes or front grips is percentage based. Ergo isn’t, it just adds up all the provided ergo points. This means when the base weapon (without any attachments) already has a comparably low recoil (MP9 for instance), an RK-2’s 5% recoil reduction are barely noticeable. The other extreme applies to high recoil base weapons like the SA-58 (FAL).
Ergo affects three things: (good example clips are displayed on the Gamepedia here)
Recoil affects the vertical and horizontal visible kickback when firing. Lower recoil makes it easier to hit follow up shots and to hit targets at longer ranges when using full auto
b) Regarding front grips
Most front grips balance between Ergo and Recoil improvement. The more a grip favors recoil, the worse it gets ergo-wise. The most balanced grips are the RVG and the RK-1 (on b25U mount). Ergo King is the Fortis shift and its cheaper cousin, the SE-5. Recoil King is the RK-2. Overall the most points are provided by the Hera Arms CQR grip, but it only fits on long rails (6inch+) and is incompatible with AKs.
Front grips often times are your main customization option to tailor a weapon to your desires. Keep the provided informations in mind when looking for a front grip.
The following spreadsheet gives you an overview of every viable front grip in the lategame, stats-wise. In the early game, use what’s cheap and available.
Recoil reduction %
Zenit RK-2 Foregrip
Hera Arms CQR tactical grip
Zenit RK-1 Foregrip on B-25U mount
Zenit RK-1 Foregrip
Magpul RVG grip
Fortis Shift tactical grip
c) Guidelines to different builds
When speaking of Recoil values, I’m only looking at vertical recoil. Since I don’t want to cluster everything with pictures, take a minute and have a look at the preset modding preview. Even at player level 1, you can test out various builds and get a feel for the different Ergo/Recoil balances. You can also check out Virion’s modding guide.
Generally speaking, you can mod almost any weapon to be an Ergo-build, a balanced / allround build or a recoil build. And honestly, everything in between. But there are some limitations of efficiency, created by the modding mechanics themselves. I want to give you a veteran’s perspective on reasonable weapon modding, especially the highly subjective Ergo VS Recoil discussion.
Example 1: AS Val
The AS Val unmodified version only has 44 Recoil. The version without any attachments (even the silencer) has 110 recoil. Usually when you’re going for an extreme Recoil / extreme Ergo build, your total points gained by attachments is reduced, as it gets more and more specialised. The two extremes and a general build for comparison are:
So my conclusion is: Either use an allround grip like the RVG or go with the Fortis shift. RK-2 doesn’t make any sense. Either use the standard stock for balanced builds or the PRS Gen3 Stock for extreme ergo builds. The recoil reduction isn’t even needed with the AS Val because of the low muzzle velocity limiting its effective range to 80-100m maximum.
The tendency for full recoil builds to not be worth it points wise also applies to the following:
Example 2: AK-74N and AKM
The unmodified version has 91 recoil, the base without any attachments 157. This means, going for a full recoil build is way more efficient than before. The lowest recoil build offers 47 recoil and 67 ergo. 47 Recoil for an assault rifle while still maintaining solid ergo values is excellent! I used the following attachments: PWS CQB muzzle brake, CMRD handguard with a laser device and RK-2, Fab Defence PDC dust cover with PK-06, RK-3 pistol grip and Zhukov-S Stock.
The same attachments fit on a AKM offering 65 recoil and 63 ergo. Which is a deadly combination, considering the extra punch the 7.62x39mm ammo packs compared to 5.45x39mm.
My conclusion: It’s very worthwhile to fully max recoil reduction almost or fully to the extreme with these weapons. This is because each percent of recoil reduction actually changes the absolute recoil numbers way more than on an AS Val or MP7.
These weapons have comparably high base recoil that can be reduced drastically by full recoil builds and attachments:
Example 3: SR-25 (almost same attachments with the more expensive RSASS)
The unmodified vanilla weapon has 154 Recoil and 53 Ergo, while the naked body has 290 recoil. Firstly I want to talk about barrel length. For many weapons with different barrel lengths, the short barrel is a better balanced option than the long barrel. This also applies to the SR-25, which is why I personally only use the short 16 inch barrel instead of the 20 inch one.
Nonetheless, a fully recoil modded SR-25 has 81 recoil and 55 ergo. I used the Lantac Dragon Triple muzzle combo, a 20 inch barrel, RK-2, MBUS front and rearsights, PSG-1 Style pistol grip and an SI advanced buffer tube with an HK E1 Stock.
Sure thing, 81 Recoil on a 7.62Nato Rifle is very nice. But please take into consideration what the SR-25 is: A (designated) marksman rifle. You might want to engage on longer ranges or provide spotting / cover for your team mates. Do the few recoil points really matter, when you can’t stay in your 4x or 8x scope all day because of low ergo?
This is why I use this build with 96 Recoil and 71 Ergo: Short barrel with Lantac triple combo, RVG grip, Eotech Vudu with Deltapoint Reflex on JP 30mm mount and a MOE Stock with Rubberpad instead of the HKE1 Stock. I want to improve, what my weapon already is good in: Medium to long distance engagements. Let me tell you, the few recoil points more on a single shot weapon don’t really matter if an engagement is close and it gets messy.
The tendency for allround builds with a medium but not extreme recoil focus to be very viable applies to basically all single shot high calibre rifles like the RSASS, SVDs, SKS etc.
5. Mastering the lategame: Being fully geared and still making profit
You just hit level 40, got most of the quests done and wonder what to do. Well, the fun has just begun. You can play however you want, as long as you have the funds. I highly encourage you to only use high end gear when playing in a group (insurance!) or nighttime raids on a map you’re pretty experienced on. Soloing high end gear in other circumstances is completely viable too, but harder to still make profit reliably.
a) How I set up my loadout
A full set of high end equipment can get pretty costly (example setups which I ran a lot lately):
Additionally there will be maintenance costs. Even if you extract you might have to buy new meds, grenades, ammo and repair your armor.
If you manage to survive / die in a 2:1 ratio, you need to extract with gear/loot worth 450-500k just to break even. If you don’t feel confident in doing so, but have the financial backup, go and try these loadouts! It’s not the easy mode you may expect, but it has its own challenges and benefits.
Body armor: Since one month into the wipe, I’ve been using class 4 to 5 armored rigs and class 5-6 body armor exclusively. Depending on the repair ratio, I only repair my armor once with Mechanic. If it takes a significant amount of damage afterwards, I sell it on the flea market and buy a new one. This way I ensure maximum protection even against high tier ammo. Always remember to do the good ol’ insurance fraud when looting a good condition Redut-M, Gen4 or Zhuk6. A single Scav player with a mosin can turn a perfect raid into a financial disaster by damaging your armor badly. Roughly speaking, an armor with half of its max durability is as good as an armor of the lower class. A 30/32 Redut-M is about the same level of initial protection as a 55/55 level 4 armor. If an armor is a financial write-off, sell it on the flea market and get a new one. Do not use any armor with a durability like 7/10 or similar, you’re using garbage!
Weapon: Most high tier weapons either have a high base price or need expensive modding to use them to their full capabilities. All my weapons either have a XPS3-0 holo / PK06 or HAMR/ Vudu+Deltapoint and a laser device.
Helmet: 90% of the non-factory / non-labs raids I use the ULACH lvl4 helmet. Alternatives are the TC2002 with SLAAP lvl5 plate, Airframe w/ chops+faceshield or Wendy w/ ear covers+faceshield. Usually, I don’t bring faceshields because the loss of clear vision and lvl3 not being a good enough protection to leave my trusty and way more cost efficient ULACH in the stash. I never repair faceshields, if they are damaged, they go straight to the flea market. Most helmets get repaired once or twice, depending on the repair ratio, with Mechanic only.
Magazines: Since I’m not an avid user of 5.45x39 AKs, I only use extra large magazines with M4/HK416 due to its high fire rate and the low flesh damage of M995. 30round mags with the VSS/Val are a must in my eyes. Drum magazines for the M1A and the FAL are completely optional in my opinion, maybe except for labs or factory.
Ammo: Depending on the map / level of gear in my group, I either run M856A1 or M995. M62 is my only .308 choice, while SPP is my ammo of choice in 9x39mm. I usually have 1½ to 2 Stacks of spare Ammo in my safe container to fill up magazines.
b) How to still make profit
That’s all very well, but breaking down all the matter of expenses doesn’t make it profitable. Here’s some general advice which will aid you in making more profit, reducing maintenance costs and increasing survival chances:
c) Find your most efficient map and playstyle
You can play basically every map for late game PvP and honestly, for your own pleasure. Especially when playing in a group, it’s a very cool feature to be that one guy that’s just a badass with the 6th sense on a certain map, knowing every nook and cranny. I have buddies who are total beasts on Interchange, Labs or Shoreline for instance… while I’d consider myself a Customs geek.
Get a feel for how other PMCs move through the map, keep an eye on the raid timer and take educated guesses when and where most people are going to be. You have to adjust your path through the map accordingly to either avoid engagements or be in favorable positions. Play in a preemptive way, you want to be the one acting in advance instead of reacting only to the occuring circumstances.
d) The high risk map: Terragroup Labs
Insurance will not work on Labs. There are no scav players, and all AI scavs are raiders with mid- to high-tier gear and scav boss aim. You will need to activate most of the exits before using them, usually causing scav raiders to spawn.
You need an access card, costing about 190k+. This is your entry fee. You can pretty easily make it back on labs, given you survive the slaughter.
Labs is a great source of grenades, medkits and high-tier weapons and magazines.
Some general ideas:
Chapter IV: REFERENCE BOOK
1. Calibre list with preferable ammo choices
Ammo not listed is so bad / niche, there’s no point in mentioning it. Don’t use high flesh damage+low penetration ammo if you’re a beginner, unless you consider yourself a memelord using legmeta. Generally speaking, the more penetration a round has, the smaller the flesh damage. Legmeta means shooting for the legs first in any encounter, since these are the only body parts that are always unarmored. It can be pretty effective when used correctly, but it’s more of a last resort thing and needs very good map knowledge and large amount of experience. You basically have to legmeta with buckshot loaded shotguns VS geared players, for instance.
Look at the clear data here: https://escapefromtarkov.gamepedia.com/Ballistics
top tier ammo with high penetration. Expensive, rare, kills juggernauts.
mid-tier ammo with solid penetration unless noted otherwise, usually budget effective
low-tier ammo with certain drawbacks. Only use them if no other option is available or you know what you’re doing.
Bad ammo. Don’t use it except very early in the wipe or when running desperate budget kits. Absolutely trust your aim in nailing those headshots and pray that the enemy hasn’t got a faceshield.
a) Pistol Cartridges:
b) PDW Cartridges:
c) Rifle Cartridges:
d) Shotgun Cartridges:
2. Weapon list and a few modding guidelines
Why are some weapons missing? Because you can’t mod them or I consider them basically useless for PMC raids.
b) Machine Pistols
d) Assault rifles:
f) Sniper rifles
3. Body armor
Body armors have different armor classes = protection levels, ranging from 2-6. All of them cover the thorax and some of them cover the stomach or the arms as well. They are made out of different materials, which is reflected in their repair efficiency.
Content creator “J dog th3 wise” made an excellent up-to-date guide on body armors, click here.
The first number indicates how the condition of the armor is in the moment. The right number tells you the max durability. Each time you repair an armor, it loses max durability. This way, you can’t just play the same unique piece of armor all the time. Repairing body armor is the least efficient with Prapor, balanced with Skier and the most efficient with Mechanic. It’s the other way round regarding repair costs.
a) Class 2 body armor
Protection against: Most pistol and shotgun ammo.
Useful in the early game / wipe cycle and against shotgun / pistol scavs.
Verdict: Don’t waste your money unless early in the wipe.
b) Class 3 body armor
Protection against: Cheap 5.45 Ammo, M855, all pistol ammo except 5.7x28 and 9x21mm.
The first armor really worth considering. Even if some cheap large calibre ammo still easily penetrates, it might absorb enough damage to keep you alive in a dangerous situation. MF-UN has a very bad repair rate. The 6b23-1 is 3x4 slots and doesn’t get looted very often.
Verdict: Useful for cheap looting / quest runs.
c) Class 4 body armor
Protection against: Most mid-tier grade ammo. Can protect you from an otherwise fatal one hit kill on the chest by large calibre like 7.62NATO or 7.62x54r (Mosin).
Useful as the “standard”, mid-gear armor. Even if it gets damaged pretty quickly, it often saves your life in the process even against ammo with good pen.
GZHEL, 6b23-2 and 6b13 repair pretty badly. The trooper repairs excellently, but only covers your thorax, requiring you to either bring some provisions or a CMS kit.
Verdict: Best armor from a cost-efficiency point of view. It is important to repair them only once and then buy a new one, since the repair efficiency is so poor.
d) Class 5 Body armor
Protection against: Everything except high grade penetrating ammo like 5.45BS / Igolnik, .223 M995, .308 M62/M61, 7.62x54R SNB.
Useful as the go to protection for high gear runs. Only the best ammo can penetrate, which is often pretty costly, making other juggernauts your only real enemy. They don’t repair that efficient, the only exception being the Killa armor. The Gen4Full + Redut-T5 have very significant ergo+movement penalties, making them unusable in my opinion anywhere but labs and factory.
Verdict: When focussing on late game gameplay, the Redut-M probably is the most common choice being the only one that can be bought directly with rubles. These are my go-to armors when I’m done questing and start playing for fun.
e) Class 6 body armor
Protection against: Multiple hits by every ammo except 5.45 Igolnik, 7.62NATO M61, 7.62x54R SNB. Can tank an incredible amount of mid-tier ammo.
Very hard to play cost efficiently, since acquisition and repair is very expensive.
The 6b43 Zabralo or commonly known as “Fort” is the ultimate juggernaut armor. You basically are a tank, but move like one as well… The Zhuk6 is an expensive alternative with pretty small ergo+speed penalties. Both of them repair very poorly, making it even harder to make a profit at the end.
Final verdict: Very specialised and pricey armor. The Zhuk6 is the only one that can be integrated in a “normal” and mobile playstyle.
4. Tactical rigs
Tactical rigs can be either unarmored or armored (unable to wear with body armor at the same time). Remember that with a Micro Rig with 4 Magazine slots means you can carry 3 mags inside and one in your weapon. The free 1x2 slot is used when switching, otherwise you’ll drop a magazine to the ground.
Many tactical rigs actually generate space when put in a backpack. This is especially useful when looting many small barter items with 1 or 2 slots, because the value of the rig itself further increases your profit.
a) Small Rigs
Cheap and better than nothing. Often returns via insurance. Useful for non-automatic weapons. Scavs provide a steady supply, so you usually don’t need to buy them.
b) Medium Rigs
These rigs are a good compromise between space and cost. They are nowadays commonly found on scavs (Triton). You can either use the space to fill up more 30round magazines instead of two 60rounders or use them for high rate of fire, mag hungry weapons like machine pistols. If you use them while carrying only a standard amount of magazines, the space can be used for hot-keyed medkits, grenades or even standard loot.
c) Large rigs
This rigs can function both as loot containers and tactical rigs. They provide at least eight slots for 1x2 magazines. Well, except the Belt Rig, which is useless in my opinion. The Alpha Rig is the only unarmored rig able to carry 1x3 extra large magazines. My go to choice is the blackrock due to its balanced layout and the 2x2 slot which can be very handy for looting.
d) small armored rigs
You can not wear a body armor and an armored tactical rig / plate carrier at the same time!
The left one (6B5-16) is armor class 3, the other two are class 4. These rigs aren’t looted very often and are a cheap option for budget raids and loot runs. They have problems to keep up against heavy PvP engagements and it’s very impractical to do insurance fraud with them. The right one (6B3TM-01M) can be bought from Ragman LL2 and is an excellent budget choice.
e) large armored rigs
Covering thorax and stomach, all armor class 4: M1, M2 and AVS. The M2 rig is okay with a lot of magazine slots, but is has the lowest durability and lacks a 2x2 space. The M1 and AVS are a bit better and good choices for higher mid-tier runs. All of them repair poorly and you better sell them before the 2nd repair is needed.
Verdict: The flea market price of brand new M1 and M2 rigs is about 95k at the moment (05.Jan), which is excellent. These two rigs are a very underrated and cost-efficient gear options.
Covering only thorax: TV110, A18, Tactec. The TV-110 has slots for two drum mags and three 3x1 mags (bananas) and the highest durability. It’s the only one of the large armored rigs that can be bought directly with rubles on Ragman LL4.
The A18 is slot wise the largest rig ingame and has space for 10 standard mags. It has only slightly less durability than the TV110.
The Tactec is the only class 5 armored rig. It offers space for (only) 6 mags, but repairs incredibly effective. The Tactec costs significantly more than the other rigs.
These items will be rated from good to situationally good to bad/meme level of effectiveness. This includes cost efficiency, too.
All of these Class 2 helmets: Useless. Don’t use them and simply discard them when having them equipped on your scav. They don't provide any protection and have a very noticeable sound reduction.
Class 3: SSh-68 (also called penis helmet) and 6b47 are very good choices for almost every loadout. The Untar on the other hand is obviously bad because of its color.
Class 3: The LZSh and Kiver-M provide an acceptable level of protection. You have to use them with a faceshield, otherwise you can just pick the SSh68 or 6b47. They can save your life from pistol, shotgun or cheap 5.45 ammo on CQB encounters like factory. The SFERA is a meme and please sell it instead of using it.
Class 4: The armor class of these helmets is fairly high paired with a high ricochet chance. All of them are good choices throughout the game progression. Keep in mind that the unprotected ears hitbox can be a problem, especially in CQB.
Class 4: These are very expensive helmets, allowing you to attach a faceshield or/and a side armor. The helmets themselves are class 4 while their additional protection attachments are class3. They cost a small fortune and I’d advise you only to use them on very high gear loadout when playing with squadmates. Remember that these faceshields can be easily penetrated by mid-tier ammo (like 5.45BP+BT or 7.62PS), making these helmets only situationally good.
Class 4: The ULACH is my go-to choice whenever I don’t need a faceshield. It repairs well and the FDE version is usually below 70k, which is a very good price. The ZSH-1-2M pairs a lvl 4 helmet with an armor class 3 faceshield, is significantly cheaper than FAST MT / Airframe / EXFIL but you can’t fit a headset under it. It’s good for factory and when being the pointman in a squad, so your squadmates can provide the “hearing power”.
All of them are very expensive. The best ones are LSHZ-2DTM with its class 4 helmet+faceshield (!) and the Altyn being class 5 everywhere. I tend to only wear these helmets on Factory or Labs, but I use Altyn and LSHZ from time to time elsewhere, too.
The Maska has an insane class 6 faceshield with only a very small eye slit, but the helmet itself is only class 4. In the end, it ain’t worth it most of the time. The Vulkan-5 has a class 4 faceshield while the helmet itself is class 6. This is a way better combination than the Maska, but it’s insanely expensive and has huge ergo and movement penalties.
6. A specific look at the loot containers
Bad. Hands off, you better be watching the perimeter instead.
Mediocre. Loot them when nearby, but don’t make a detour just because of it.
If you need certain quest items or there are many clustered in one place, loot them.
Good. Plan your routes along these spots. You may have to fight to get to them.
Cash Registers: Don’t bother unless you badly need to take the V-Exit.
Dead Scav: Permanent loot container, loot is pretty random, but usually worth checking. Spawns Barter items, Provisions and medical loot.
Jackets: Since they can spawn most of the keys in the game, they nowadays are very valuable. Always loot them, because the quantity of searched jackets will provide you with valuable keys. They are very common on pretty much all maps.
Drawers / Filing cabinets: Solid loot but with a very distinct audio signal while looting. Relevant items are some electronic items, which you need for some Mechanic quests.
Medbags: Medicine is always good. Check them if you’re in dire need, need Salewas for Therapist or your pathway is close to one. I wouldn’t leave my planned route just to loot one or two of these alone.
Toolboxes: Spawn barter items of very varied value. Since screw nuts, bolts and tapes are somewhat valuable for the hideout / flea market, check them when you’re nearby.
Wooden / green crate: You can get lucky with a silencer, some army provisions or a medkit. Usually not worth checking out, if you’re not standing right next to it.
To all lesser experienced players playing factory: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP LOOTING THESE CRATES! Focus on the CQB gunfights instead.
Grenade box (green): Good. Grenades are useful and can be sold for about 10k each.
Ammo Box (lighter tone): Bad. Almost never spawns anything other than 5.45x39 or 9x18, which is most of the time of bad quality. If you’re very lucky, you can find 30pcs of 5.45BS or Igolnik…
Weapon boxes: Acceptable, but varying quality loot. Optics, silencers and rare weapons (RSASS for instance) can be nice, but an unmodded vanilla AKS-74 is a rather dissatisfying occurrence. My recommendation would be: Target them when doing low budget (pistol) runs explicitly. Otherwise, only loot them when nearby and only take valuable attachments.
Duffle/sport bags: Don’t laugh at me, but these things are a real money maker. They can spawn all barter items, even very valuable things like Fuel Conditioner. One duffle bag won’t make you a millionaire, but 25 of ‘em surely are adding up. They are somewhat common on almost all maps.
PC blocks: Pretty useful. The only lesser useful items are DVD drives and capacitors, everything else has a pretty neat value per slot. Plan your loot routes accordingly. Good places to farm them are Shoreline and Interchange. Always look for a secure flash drive which possibly sticks in the PC block and is looted “outside” the actual loot container.
Safe: Always spawns currency (rubles, dollars, euros) which makes a wallet / docs case / SICC case in your secure container useful. They also spawn valuable barter items like antique vases / teapots, golden chainlets, cat / lion statues and even bitcoins and GP coins. Always loot them, if you have the chance to do so.
Ground cache / barrel cache: Very random, can pretty much spawn any item in the game. This means, that checking a few caches near your pathway is an excellent way to make some money. I loot them pretty often.