We've all experienced it. You saw a streamer use blind fire and thought it was cool, so you want to rebind it to something you'll actually use. But there's no more space. Your keyboard is literally full of binds, and changing any will have a cascading effect on the controls you spent so long getting comfortable with.
Or maybe you're a new player, just getting used to Tarkov's controls. The way they overlap is awkward and confuses you, what do all the LALT+* binds have in common? and LCTRL? Why T for check mag and chamber?
This is the guide for you.
Intuitive Tarkov Keybinds
A couple of notes. Depending on your preference you can bind most keys to be Press (meaning Toggle), Continuous (meaning Hold), Release, or Double Click. I don't recommend Double Click since it simply adds a delay to when your input is processed. Release is similar but can be good for when you have combination binds, such as Duck + scrollwheel. Continuous vs Press is personal preference in many cases except those I have outlined. Finally, Tarkov doesn't give you a way to directly unbind a control. To do so, just bind something else to the same key. For example, if you want to unbind Jump, bind Forward to Space and then back to W.
- WASD, Q/E leaning, and spacebar for jump are pretty standard. Change at your own peril. Mousewheel for stance and movespeed is also pretty much set in stone.
- Sprint: Shift is good. If it is not the default, I recommend using Continuous for this because a) you don't want to be sprinting very much in Tarkov and b) it makes it slightly easier to stop quietly, by releasing shift slightly before W. Using Continuous also allows some interesting movement tech when overweight, but don't tell anyone I said that.
- Prone: I find X awkward to reach with the way my hand is positioned. I bind prone to Z but this is personal preference.
- Crouch: I recommend the default bind (C). If you are a CS player CTRL may come more naturally, but doing so will overlap awkwardly with many other binds that use CTRL as a modifier. I suppose you could always make C the modifier for these binds.
- Smooth Leaning: I do not use it. Until it is brought in line with stance height and movespeed – controlled by the mousewheel – it is far too slow to be a safe or effective option in any firefight. The only use case is when you are in an extremely weird spot and need to peek a very tight angle with precise positioning; but even then it is only useful if you have plenty of time to get it right. I would unbind it, but otherwise bind it to something far away that you won't accidentally hit.
- Sidestep: Sidestep is an indispensable tool because its effect on aim is small and predictable compared to strafing. I use ALT + AD for sidestep. This interferes somewhat with changing magnification while strafing, so if you prefer you can use QE or CTRL – but keep in mind this will then interfere with leaning / changing scopes. Avoid the default bind if you do not change your Hold Breath key (as I do further down), as it interferes with steadying aim while leaning.
- Side note: I experimented for a time with Sidestep being Continuous, Hold Breath + AD. This would be quite intuitive because you would simply strafe while steadying aim; unfortunately, sidestepping interrupts holding your breath in this case. In fact, after doing so, your character will hold breath only when not holding the hold breath hotkey, and pressing it will cause them to breathe normally again. I am nearly certain this is not intended behavior but until it is fixed this combination is not recommended.
- Freelook can stay on MMB. If you have a tendency to fatfinger and accidentally scroll while pushing the wheel
, as I do,consider rebinding it to an extra mouse button (if you have one).
- Inventory, mumble, check time, and extracts menu are not to be used in combat, so it is OK if they are somewhat awkward (default binds). Inventory is by far the most important of these, and should be reasonably comfortable. I find that if you have extra mouse buttons, these can be good binds for them.
- Always use ALT and CTRL click to speed up looting. Unfortunately these modifiers cannot be rebound. BSG pls.
- MMB will examine items in inventory, and will also fold weapons when possible. Again, this cannot be rebound (nikita), but it is crucial for looting quickly.
- Discard is an extremely important hotkey. Having to right click to discard is a huge handicap. You absolutely should rebind discard. Ideally it should be on a mouse button, but otherwise I recommend Z or X, whichever isn't Prone.
- F for Interact/search is fine.
- I use Shift for Hold Breath. Not only is it common in other games, but it also interferes much less with other binds. It prevents, for example, accidentally changing your scope magnification when exiting ADS and releasing breath at the same time. However, I like having quick reload on Shift+R – using both introduces some risk of dropping mags.
- If you don't think that's worth it, the default hotkey ALT is fine. You can also put Hold Breath on CTRL if that is more comfortable for you. Keep in mind that some of my recommendations here are based on Shift or ALT being hold breath, so if you do this you may have to swap ALT and CTRL in several places.
- ADS and Fire are straightforward. I recommend toggle ADS because it interferes less with switching reticles, scopes, and magnification.
- Side note: We should be able to do all of these with Continuous ADS as well, by simply pressing the modifier key. For example, if you have Continuous ADS and Switch Scope bound to CTRL + RMB "Press", you should be able to simply press CTRL while holding RMB to switch. After all, you can do this now when ADS is on Press. But alas no dice. Nikita, pls.
- Default binds for switching scopes and magnification are fine. You can switch them if you find it more intuitive to do so.
- Reload is fine on R. Scrollwheel+R for selecting mag is also good.
- Check magazine should be on ALT+R. There is not really a good reason for it to be on T, unless you reload while holding your breath a lot.
- Check chamber should be on CTRL+R. Shift is not a common modifier and T is for your tactical.
- Do not bind "Quick Reload" to R "Double Click". This causes the game to wait for your double click timeout every time you reload. I recommend SHIFT+R as an intuitive bind.
- You might think this interferes with reloading while sprinting; but in fact you already cannot reload while sprinting. With the default binds, you can start a reload and then start sprinting, but if you attempt to reload while sprinting it will wait until you stop. However this bind does in fact allow you to start a reload while sprinting (at the cost of dropping your mag). If you changed your Hold Breath to Shift there is a slight risk of doing this accidentally. If you don't usually use quick reload and don't want to drop your mags, you can always unbind it. And if you'd like to be able to start reloads while sprinting without dropping mags, you can bind Shift+R as a secondary bind for normal reload.
- Tactical on/off stays on T. You can use either CTRL or ALT to switch modes; I recommend using the one that is not bound to hold breath. (If you are following along obediently then that is CTRL+T, the default bind.)
- Blind fire. Without a doubt the worst default binds in Tarkov. By default these prevent you from switching scopes / magnification while walking forwards. If you do nothing else after reading this guide, please rebind these.
- For forward blind fire, I use TAB (my inventory hotkey is a mouse button). No matter what you choose, as long as you avoid common modifier keys plus WASD, you are doing better than the default.
- For right side blind fire I use a mouse button (on the right side of my mouse). Again, anything is better than the default. I strongly recommend a mouse button here because the action of right side blind fire involves extending your right hand, which intuitively maps to pressing a button with your right hand.
- G for grenade is fine. If you commonly fatfinger G when trying to press F for interact, then maybe you can think about rebinding one or both.
- N for NVGs is agreeably alliterative, and consistent with COD so there's that.
- It is actually possible to rebind hotkeys for melee weapon, pistol, sling, and back; however it will not display that it has changed on the toolbar (nikita!). If you are a CS player for example and the default binds clash with your muscle memory, I recommend changing these.