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How (in)accuracy works in CS:GO

24 Feb. 2021

Although Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a competitive eSports shooter, there is a significant amount of randomness in it. And where there’s randomness, there’s always luck. CS.MONEY here to tell you about the most frequent instance of randomness in the game — the accuracy of shooting.

By accuracy, we mean the extent to which the result of the shot matches the expectations: whether the bullet lands exactly at the center of the crosshairs, for example.

Shooting plates

Every weapon has a specific accurate range in the buy menu. This value is measured in meters and shows at what distance the gun can hit a “plate with a diameter of 30 centimeters.” The size of this plate roughly equals that of a head. That is, the parameter indicates the maximum distance at which the bullet will hit the head if you aim exactly in the center. 

Plate with a diameter of 30 centimeters

When shooting at a greater distance than indicated in the buy menu, there’s a chance to miss even with perfect aim. For example, an AK-47 headshot at the window on Mirage from top mid will result in a miss in two cases out of five. Trying to make a headshot with a P250 across the entire B Site on Train is genuine Russian roulette. This gun can miss at 14 meters! 

The only way to make the weapon more accurate is to crouch. That greatly increases the accurate range — the aforementioned P250 can hit the enemy’s head at over 17 meters. Not a bad boost, right?

Shooting on the run

In addition to the built-in inaccuracy, there are also movement-related penalties. Walking, running, jumping — all of these reduce firing accuracy. There are three important things to keep in mind here. First, the characters in the game show inertia when moving. That is, they don’t instantly stop after you take your finger off the key.

To counteract the inertia, you need to press the movement key in the opposite direction. 

For example, if you move out from behind a corner strafing to the right, quickly press left before firing. This will instantly stop the character and allow you to shoot with maximum accuracy. 

Second, the rules don’t change on the jump. It’s a bit counter-intuitive: right after you’ve jumped or right before you land, the accuracy penalty is large, but it’s minimal at the peak of the jump. If you jump with an SSG 08, the rifle will be accurate at 5 meters without scope; with it, the distance will amount to more than 20 meters! 

Ladders are a separate topic here. Being on a ladder causes a huge penalty to accuracy. The SSG 08 from the example above can miss from a distance of 2 meters when shooting from a ladder. Remember, only the MAC-10 and UMP-45 are more or less good at shooting from a ladder. If you get caught with any other gun, you’d better count on your luck. 


Another way to shoot worse is to press and hold your fire button. The longer the burst of fire, the less accurate the shots will be. The first shot always has the highest accuracy; each next bullet in the sequence will fly farther and farther away from the crosshairs. 

In a line of ten shots made with the AK-47, the accuracy range of the last bullet will be three times less! Simply put: with the first bullet, you can confidently make a headshot from 20 meters; with the tenth, there’s a chance to miss at a distance of 10 meters even if you have ideal aim and compensation of recoil. 

To remove this accuracy penalty, just stop shooting. Each weapon has its own “spread cooldown period.” You can see the exact values in the table by SlothSquadron. This is an awesome tool that contains all info about every gun. 

What can inaccuracy be handled?

Unfortunately, there are no “legal” ways to remove this randomness from shooting in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. There are console commands, but they cannot be used in matchmaking. The only option is to get accustomed to them — and use them for your own purposes. 

If you’re playing with a rifle and your opponent has a pistol, try to keep your distance. And if it’s you who’s using a pistol, don’t forget to buy a flashbang or a smoke to cut the distance and fight on equal terms. 

When shooting at a distance, “tapping” (making repeated single shots) is better than straying. Shooting single shots gives a much better chance of hitting the target — when shooting in bursts, the inaccuracy only grows. Don’t forget to decrease the inertia when strafing, and naturally, forget about jumping around the corner. You can indeed surprise your opponent that way, but would hardly be enough to send them to the respawn location.  

24 Feb. 2021

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