As in other battle royale games, speed is crucial in Apex Legends. When you’re sprinting to catch up with a ring that has already closed on you, you’re literally running for your life.
Respawn has confirmed that every character in the game — yes, even Gibraltar — walks and runs at the same speeds (aside from certain Legends’ movement-altering abilities, of course). Generally, the key is to be moving as fast as possible, but how do you get an edge?
First things first: If you’re armed, you’re not moving as fast as possible.
According to a video of Apex Legends movement tests from YouTuber T_status, every Legend sprints at approximately 7.4 meters per second when unarmed. But when holding a weapon — any weapon — the sprint speed drops to about 6.5 m/s, which is more than 12 percent slower. To be clear, it doesn’t matter which gun you’re using: Packing a pistol reduces your sprint speed just as much as carrying a sniper rifle, as long as you aren’t aiming down the sights. There’s a similar speed penalty when you’re walking without aiming. (When you are aiming, each type of weapon has a different impact on your speed, according to this follow-up video from T_status.)
If you’re exploring Kings Canyon in search of loot, then sure, you probably want to stay armed. But if you’re in a hurry — trying to, say, reach squadmates in need, escape a sticky situation, or outrun the ring — you’ll want to holster your weapons. The default command to do this is to hold the swap weapons button (triangle on PS4, Y on Xbox One) or press 3 on PC.
It’s worth noting, however, that sprinting isn’t the absolute fastest way to move in Apex Legends — sliding is the name of the game there. To slide, start running and then press the crouch button (O on PS4, B on Xbox One, Ctrl on PC).
Sprinting into a slide along level ground provides a modest bump to speed, especially if you jump out of the slide at the end. But if you’re heading to a lower elevation, there’s no reason not to slide. In the aforementioned follow-up video, an unarmed player slid downhill at a blistering 11.9 m/s — nearly 61 percent faster than the top running speed. Even with a weapon drawn or being aimed, the sliding speed was 11.3 m/s, which translates to a speed boost of approximately 53 percent over sprinting.
Here’s a protip to put it all together. In Apex Legends, your character’s health and shields don’t recharge on their own; you have to restore them with consumable items such as Syringes and Shield Cells, respectively. Each healing item takes a few seconds to use, and you’re vulnerable during that span — attempting to sprint while you’re healing will cancel the process. However, you can totally heal while you’re sliding, with no movement speed penalty. So why not kill two birds (and perhaps a Bloodhound) with one stone?