Master the Reload Technique: A Guide to Reloading in Valorant

Curious about how to reload in Valorant? This essential mechanic can make or break your gameplay in this popular first-person shooter.

From understanding the different types of reloads to mastering the best times to reload, this article covers everything you need to know to improve your reload speed and avoid common mistakes.

If you want to elevate your Valorant skills, keep reading to unlock the secrets of reloading in Valorant.

What is Valorant?

Valorant is a 5 versus 5 tactical shooter game available on Windows developed and produced by Riot Games. The gameplay is similar to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS GO) as both games are round-based and have the same player count. However, in Valorant, players receive character-specific abilities provided on a cooldown basis as opposed to CS GO where additional equipment such as armor, grenades, etc. is bought at the start of each match. Adding a new layer of strategy and variability.

In Valorant, two teams with five players each are randomly assigned a role of Attackers or Defenders. The attackers must plant a spike (bomb) at assigned sites within 100 seconds and successfully detonate it, whilst defenders must prevent this within the 40-second defuse time. Once one team wins 13 rounds of 24 rounds in total played, they claim victory.

Players choose one of 15 different agents, each with their unique ability, for defensive and offensive play styles. Agents are divided into four classes; duelists, controllers, initiators, and sentinels. Valorant is played in Act and Episode format, with Episodes lasting for approximately 6 months, seasonal missions, and challenges to unlock exclusive in-game rewards. Riot Games has also initiated Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) as an esports league making Valorant a widely played and watched game.

What is Reloading in Valorant?

Reloading in Valorant is the action of refilling a weapon with a new magazine. In real life, reloading a weapon often involves the use of a spring-loaded mechanism to strip a spent magazine from the gun but more often is the act of simply exchanging an empty magazine with another full one.

Weapon reloading in Valorant does not match the real-world process as it is more of an auto-reloading action. In real life, a person must press a button to release the gun’s empty magazine and then physically remove it to replace. Both the removal and insertion of magazines are distinctly slow actions requiring fair of amount of time and fine motor skills typically with the reloading process topping out at around 2-3 seconds under perfect conditions.

Reloading in Valorant has some similar characteristics. Essentially, once a player uses an entire magazine in a weapon and there is no ammunition left in that weapon, reloading is begun automatically by pressing the R-button by pressing the reload icon on overlay controls or by the game itself. Reloading in Valorant differs from real life as the action is over in well under a second in Valorant compared to around 2 seconds in most real-world cases.

Why is Reloading Important in Valorant?

Reloading is important in Valorant an any other first-person shooter game because one of the primary reasons players die is because they run out of bullets during gunfights. Valorant has a high time to kill and if a player runs out of bullets while enemies are still alive, they can lose the fight and the other player or team will have an advantage for that round.

Reloading is also part of weapon management not keeping track of bullet count and only reloading when automatic reloads kick in because of lack of ammo may result in performing unwanted reloads. If a player is constantly reloading in the open or while assuming activity, it can get them killed more than if they had conserved their ammo.

Proper reloading is an essential part of controlling a fight, as well as managing time and improving accuracy. Tactics and strategies in Valorant can often turn the tide of a close game. Allowing an unnecessary death while reloading when it can be avoided may grant the opposing team a chance to make an incoming round plural.

How to Reload in Valorant?

Reloading in Valorant is done automatically by pressing R once the magazine is empty. It is important to get used to regular reloading in safe moments rather than waiting until you run out of ammunition during gunfights. If switching or playing your secondary weapon, reloading will be normal if you have your automatic-reload setting switched on. To switch the automatic reload setting on, navigate to Game Settings > General > Equipment > Automatic Reload. Toggle it ‘on’

Step 1: Press the Reload Key

In Valorant, the Default reload key is set to the letter R and simply pressing this key on the keyboard will trigger a reload. The reload key can be customized by going to the settings menu and overwriting the reload function with a new key or combination that is convenient for the player.

It is a recommended best practice to hit the reload key any time you are around cover and ready to reload your weapon. Do not reload carelessly, only reload when you have a moment and are sure no enemies are close enough that you will have to take a shot during the weapon reloading period. Shots can be fired instantly when reloading, but the accuracy of shots will be reduced.

Avoid using the mouse scroll wheel to reload if there is even the slightest possibility that you will be firing while reloading as the mouse wheel makes it very easy to misinterpret the number of clicks to get to the give new weapon. This could lead to making too many reloads or switching weapons at the wrong time.

Step 2: Wait for the Reload Animation to Finish

Watching the reload animation finish. The developer Riot Games has indicated that the quicker you reload while the previous magazine (mag) is running out of ammunition, the quicker the overall reload process will be as the magazine will be changed once the bullets are completely gone and another will already be forthcoming. Any other actions while reloading can disrupt the animation and therefore the whole process.

Step 3: Canceling the Reload

To cancel a reload press any movement key or fire. This will cause a reload cancel and you can immediately fire the weapon if extra ammunition in your clip is not needed.

According to worstbenchna of Dot Esports, Reloading will reset the number of bullets in your gun from where it left off to full. If you tap the Reload button and don’t finish the animation, you’ll go back to wherever you were, while if you finish the reload you’ll go up to full. You see this in their example below, where the player just finished combat and instinctively started a reload. If they had changed their mind about reloading they could have kept their gun more accurately by not pressing the Reload button until they decided they needed to on the same battleground.

A reload is cancelled by performing any of the following actions during the reload animation. This is how to cancel a reload and why canceling is a good idea in some cases. Reload-time is a time of vulnerability as the player character is stuck in a relatively long animation where they are unable to fire or do other actions. The biggest disadvantage of canceling a reload is that the partially completed portion of reloading progress is lost when players finish a reload after having canceled it.

What are the Different Types of Reloads in Valorant?

The different types of reloads in Valorant are tactical reloads, emergency reloads, and bad habit reloads. Tactical reloads should occur when you know the next engagement is far off or you know your clip is empty and wish to ensure you have a full clip going into the next engagement. Emergency reloads are the quick reload when you notice you are unexpectedly under enemy fire and your clip is about to run empty – almost always perform an emergency reload.

Normal Reload

A normal reload is a simple process of selecting the reload button, in Valorant, R by default after you have emptied the magazine or clip of your primary or secondary weapon(s).

How to do a normal reload in Valorant basic steps?

  1. Check the magazine size in the HUD at the bottom of the screen to see if you have any bullets left in the magazine.
  2. Press the number on the keyboard to switch to the weapon you wish to reload
  3. While holding down the R key, you wait for the reload animation to complete or press the fire button to cancel the reload, depending on whether you prefer a more defensive stance during the reload process

The best time to perform a normal reload is in a safe area where you can hide so you can proceed with the reload. Whether it is around a corner (right click to disable crosshair), behind an obstacle, or in the spawn point, it is recommended to hide when reloading. In case an enemy player appears, you may be able to reset the reload process and fire rather than being vulnerable.

When rushing, there’s no time to reload. There are weapons in-game that allow for one-shot kills to the head at close range, such as Judge, so even if you have only one ammo in the magazine, that’s all you’ll need.

Quick Reload

This type of reload allows players to run around while continuing to reload their weapons. Valorant has two tiers of reload passes. Weapons such as the Marshall, Tactical Knife, Shorty, and Bucky already come with quick reloads as standard.

Sniper and pistol weapons in Valorant also share the common trait of quicker ADS (Aim Down Sights) than the vast majority of automatic weapons such as rifles and SMGs.

When to perform this type of reload is constantly up for debate but it is highly suggested to quick reload in instances of enemy 3v1 (2v1) or 4v1 (3v1) situations. Quick reloading is an ideal strategic choice in these scenarios because players are likely to have enough time to carry out a reload without having to expose themselves and risk being injured or killed.

This is an example of a Quick Reload situation from the Aim Lab Valorant Map. The user dispatches an enemy with a shorty and does a quick running reload (CTRL + R Default) to reload before turning the corner to check opponents ready to come after him.

Tactical Reload

Tactical reloads are ill-suited for Valorant gameplay. They represent the process of loading a fresh magazine into your weapon even though the old one isn’t completely empty. In reality, tactical reloads are a key component of the firearm handling process, allowing soldiers to maximize their ability to respond to enemies while minimizing the danger of running out of ammunition.

Instead in Valorant, it is often used to display confidence, teamwork, and sometimes just to flex. Whether or not this is done in pillbox depending on how their opponents are playing and their own confidence in obtaining kills.

The 1911 Colt.45 (because of the inaccuracy of using this weapon), Ghost (restriction of backup ammunition resulting in slower show firing speed), and Bucky (you have a tight crevice where opponents will hear what you’re doing and can eliminate you in close quarters) are popular tactical reloads.

The number of Valorant players committing tactical reloads has not been definitively assessed. A brief overview of popular Valorant content is enough to dismiss the idea of tactical reloading as inconsistent with realism. In fact, a video uploaded by the YouTuber Bigfoltz entitled “Valorant – ALL 11 AGENT BEEPS AND IDLE QUOTES! (WALLER UPDATE!)” showcased Valorant Agent Phoenix’s voice line when performing a reload.

A famous video by the YouTuber IOL Tdhkoskrmiot with over 187k views had title-ed “Valorant Tiktoks (Funny Moments, Tiktok Compilation) Zuishu”. He was seen performing a reload with a nsa agent and valorant audio overlay. A famous video uploaded by the Valorant YouTuber Ulys Gaming entitled called “Personalities Of Valorant (Funny Moments/Meme Compilation #2)” showcased Killjoy Agent’s voice line for a reload.

What are the Best Times to Reload in Valorant?

The best times to reload in Valorant are during abilities and when peeking and repositioning. Players should reload frequently, even during quiet moments, as they never know exactly when they will have to participate in a round of shooting. It is difficult to be accurate with normal shooting while low on ammunition. Use your abilities to perform valuable team-oriented actions while you reload or reposition yourself and then reload, which will ensure you can return to battle with a newly loaded weapon.

After Eliminating Enemies

The fact that Ghost, Shorty, Frenzy, and Classic can be picked up and given to teammates makes it easiest to reload after eliminating enemies according to three experts. Tactical insights posted on the website of and by Stream.scheme show players commonly pick up shorty and ghost as part of their secondaries, meaning they often have a fully reloaded gun in their inventory.

This is especially useful when you need to push somewhere and be the first person of contact – use /drop and keep your role with the fully equipped Ghost. According to Yoru in two different Reddit channels, it happens more often than not. When you are not fighting, starting a magazine with four shots is safer and takes less time than reloading a depleted one.

During Downtime

This presents the best opportunity to reload in Valorant, as it provides the elite agent with guns a precious few seconds to fall back and reload in safety.

This can be taken advantage of with either an Operator on defense, if a fight did not come, or they missed their chances at shots, or the Jett + Operator combo, where a quick dash backwards can buy enough time to fill up your magazine. Another good candidate in this situation is a Phantom/Vandal.

Before Entering a New Area

Reloading before you enter a new area should be something you pepper in with the other above-mentioned times. You want to ensure you enter a new area with a full magazine, as multiple opponents may be waiting and you might have to reload during a firefight if it turns out there are more adversaries than expected.

A methodical player will use these relaoding moments at times when there is little or no chance of getting caught off-guard. With the speed at which actions happen in the game, you need to be smart about managing your magazine and ensure it is full before key situations happen, such as choosing to relocate.

How to Improve Reload Speed in Valorant?

You cannot improve reload speed in Valorant. Reload speed is a statistic that is locked depending on the type of gun you are using.

Here are the reload speeds for the guns available in Valorant:

  • Classic, Sheriff, Stinger: 0.75s
  • Spectre, Ghost, Marshal, Guardian: 1.5s
  • Shorty: 2s
  • Bucky: 2.5s
  • Bulldog, Ares: 2.5s
  • Operator: 2.5s
  • Frenzy, Judge, Odin: 2.5s
  • Phantom, Vandal, Spectre, Guardian: 2.4s

These time are pretty consistent across the board. You will not be faster with a knife or different gun. The game is designed this way to have balance between Valorant Agents’ abilities and gun characteristics.

Use the Quick Reload Technique

The quick reload technique is accomplished by tapping your Reload key twice within a split second. In Valorant, tapping the Reload key once queues up a two-stage reload with more visual effects to show at the cost of time. Users report that quick-reloading the Operator, combined with optimal jump-peek times, allows players to have an extra round chambered and keep their gun up when ready to peek back into cover. Lori is a Valorant coach who explains this Operator and sniper jump-handling tip to passively improve your performance.

A good time to use the quick-reload technique is when you are certain no opponents are around and wish to keep the already challenging to handle Gauss Sage up for a quick peek. Since control sensitivity is always an issue, one trick to consistently move the crosshair to the same spot, such as a person’s head, is to reset by double tapping your movement keys. Rifles and sidearms can still be fired accurately while triangle jumping. The term can describe whichever movement is made in the shape of a curve (strafe to either side), as well as a rapid, repetitive “tap crouch” (standing to crouching). The function is not technical and slows down the crosshair to make opponents easier to track while evading their bullets. These techniques change a player’s position a lot, so they should be used sparingly. Jump-handling saves the ability to run and move while disabling the aim. To avoid losing control of the aim, players should aim from low ground up and not jump too high.

Upgrade Your Weapon

When you are playing heroes that have smaller clips and often require multiple rounds to take out an enemy, you may find it beneficial to constantly have one upgrade on your weapon. Paladin round with no enemies on the horizon? Upgrade your weapon. Keeper’s dust to kill off a couple of basilisk alphas? Upgrade your weapon. Any zone filled with gems? Upgrade your weapon. Meowgraphic early game while aiming for a successful run either immediately or sometime in the future? Upgrade your weapon. Every finished room during zone 1, or when readying up a boss stance immediately after an assassination? Go for the Boss Room Weapon Upgrade which provides a ton of resources up front and an additional weapon upgrade for free, as well as extra upgrades if used during early zones when the owner has no boss counters. Corrupted Armasarum? Not possible always given the random elements of the game, but Upgrade your weapon.

Use Abilities to Cover Your Reloading

Retreating to a corner is not always available as an option, so using an ability can help switch the equation in your favor. This could be a utility character’s Cypher’s Cyber Cage to create a new angle or Viper’s Toxic Screen to gain distance for a safe reload. However, weapons like the Vandal and Phantom lose some of their utility this way.

What are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid When Reloading in Valorant?

  • Reloading too frequently
  • Doing a tactical reload too frequently
  • Not doing a tactical reload frequently enough
  • Not using safe code words to tell teammates when you reload
    1. Not checking spaces or corners when reloading
    2. Reloading near enemies
    3. Reloading while still engaging in an enemy firefight
    4. Excessive knife-switching during reloading
    5. Inaccurate decision-making regarding movement during a gunfight and reloading
    6. Not pre-aiming while reloading
    7. Reloading with no trigger discipline
    8. Not having a planned escape route or reposition while reloading
    9. Placing oneself at a disadvantage due to over-reliance on reload times, hence eliminating the shooting advantage gained from a low magazine count

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Reload in Valorant?

How do I reload my weapon in Valorant?
To reload in Valorant, press the reload key or button, which is usually R on a keyboard or X on a controller.

How to Reload in Valorant?

What happens if I try to reload when my clip is still full?
If you attempt to reload when your weapon’s clip is full, nothing will happen. You can only reload when there are bullets missing from your clip.

How to Reload in Valorant?

Can I cancel a reload if I change my mind?
Yes, you can cancel a reload in Valorant by switching to a different weapon or using an ability. This will cancel the reload animation and keep your current clip.

How to Reload in Valorant?

What is the fastest way to reload in Valorant?
The fastest way to reload in Valorant is by using the reload cancel technique. This involves switching to your knife and then quickly switching back to your weapon to instantly reload.

How to Reload in Valorant?

Is there a difference between reloading while standing still and while moving?
Yes, there is a slight difference in the reload speed depending on whether you are standing still or moving. Standing still will result in a slightly faster reload.

How to Reload in Valorant?

Can I reload while using an agent’s ability?
It depends on the ability. Some abilities, like Jett’s Updraft, will cancel a reload. However, others, like Reyna’s Leer, can be used while reloading. It’s important to know which abilities will interrupt your reload.

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