Improve Your Aim on CSGO
CSGO is a FPS game (first person shooter). This means that the main objective is to kill as many people as possible, but in contrast to the other Counter-Strike titles CSGO is much more team-based and more tactical. However, having skilled players in a team is a very big important part of winning a match. So you really should develop your raw skill, and especially improve your aim.
If you are a new player to the game there are some basic aspects regarding your aim that you should work on: where to hit your opponents, recoil time of the weapons, how to spray and when to tap and when to spray.
Where to hit your opponents
The first thing you need to know is where to hit your opponents. In some FPS games one shot deals the same amount of damage in any part of the body of an enemy. However in CSGO this is much more complex. First you need to know that there are 3 main weapons used in the current CSGO meta. You have the AK-47 on the Terrorist side, the M4A1-S/M4A4 on the Counter-Terrorist side and the AWP (sniper riffle) on both sides.
If you watch the image above you can see that CSGO models are built using different hitboxes. This means that if you shoot different hitboxes you will deal different amounts of damage. As you can see the red hitbox is in the head. So if you shoot someone in the head you will deal the most amount of damage possible, while the arms and legs are the worst spots where you can shoot.
With an AWP you can kill every player with just one shot, at pretty much every distance, unless you shoot them in the legs or arms, in which case you will deal 80-90 damage approximately. However the AWP is very vulnerable. If you miss a shot it takes some time before you can take another shot, and in the meantime you can be spotted and killed by an enemy. So, if you are a primary AWPer you have to focus more on your reflexes, and less on your aim, than if you are a riffler.
Despite being the most used weapons in CT and T-sides, the AK-47 and the M4A1-S/M4A4 are very different. The AK-47 is more letal than the M4’s, killing someone with just one shot on the head, even if they have helmet, while the M4’s can only deal about 90 damage in a headshot. If you can’t hit the head easily you should aim at the chest area. The AK-47 takes 4 shots on the chest to kill someone with Kevlar, while the M4’s take 5 shots to kill.
Recoil time of the weapons
Every weapon has a different recoil time. The recoil time is the time that takes after a shot for the weapon to recover in order for you to do a second shot and hit the same target. Try to go to a server without any other players and aim towards a wall. You will see that if your shots are very close in time, the second shot will not hit the same area of the first shot, while if you take longer to shoot your shots will hit the same target.
The weapons with the most recoil time in the game are the AWP and the Desert Eagle, primarily because they are very powerful. When playing with these weapons you have to make sure you get clean shots, preferably a headshot with the Desert Eagle. My advice in order for you to get familiar with all the weapons and their recoil time would be to play a lot of Arms Race matches. It’s a fun and competitive way of getting to know all the weapons, their recoil times, their weaknesses and when to use them.
Spraying and Tapping
You probably have noticed by now that if you shot and continue to press the mouse button your bullets won’t go to where you have your crosshair. In fact they will always hit above your crosshair. This act of shooting continuously is called spraying. The counterpart to spraying is called tapping, and basically means that you take one shot at the time. Tapping is also very connected to the recoil time of the gun, because if you tap too fast your shots won’t hit the target.
So in what situations should you use spraying or tapping?
Spraying versus Tapping
None of these two techniques are perfect, so the perfect balance to a player is trying to play with a mix of spraying and tapping. There are a lot of different situations that can occur in CSGO, so I will try to show you the most commons in which you should spray or tap.
Like I said before if you spray your shots will gradually deviate from your crosshair, so you might be thinking that spraying is a worse technique than tapping. Well, this is not always true. If you know the “spray pattern” of the weapon that you are using you can move your crosshair while you shoot in order for your shots to hit the target. Spray patterns are though to master at the beginning, especially in weapons like the AK-47, but spraying has the great advantage of shooting a lot of bullets in a short amount of time. Basically with an AK-47 you can shoot your entire magazine in the same amount of time that would take you to tap 5-6 bullets.
If you are a beginner you should probably try to spray at close/medium distances and tap at long distances. In close distances you don’t really have to control your spray a lot, because the target will be very big. The smaller the target is the more accurate your aim will have to be, so controlling your sprays in this case will be a lot harder. Tapping is the way to go, in those cases.
Tapping is also great for situations where you catch your enemies from behind, or if they are not moving. Spraying while you are behind your enemy is not a great idea, because you will make a lot of noise and you can mess up your spray and miss a lot of bullets, giving time to your enemies to turn around and kill you. Spraying in these situations is only a good idea if your opponents are moving. If they are not moving, just aim for the head and tap to get an easy kill and save bullets to kill the enemies that can hear your shots and run to your position.
However the most common situations that will occur are the ones in which you are in-front of your enemies at close/medium distances. In these situations it’s harder to make a call in which you should tap or spray. In my personal experience you should spray if you start to shoot before your enemy. If you train your spray patterns well you should get kills in these situations the majority of the time.
However if your enemy starts to hit you before you even shoot one bullet you only have a solution in my opinion. See where your enemy is, duck fast in order for him to miss some bullets that are aiming towards your chest and head, and then try to quickly tap his head. If the distance is too far and you don’t feel confident that you can tap his head just try to spray aiming at his chest, and you can get a lucky headshot if you control your spray well.
The more high-up in the ranks you are the more you will encounter situations in which your enemy is moving a lot while shooting. This is called strafing and it’s designed to move away from the enemy’s bullets. If you face up these situations the better way to deal with it is trying to tap towards the body until you get the opponent under your crosshair and then you duck and spray. Remember that you if you are standing still while you are trying to tap you will be an easy target to your enemy.
Before practicing your aim
One very important thing that you really must have to do before practicing your aim is just to set your mouse sensitivity well. CSGO has a predefined sensitivity of 2.5, which for some players is a lot and for others is not enough. Most pro players use sensitivities of 1.1-2, but there are some exceptions and players like Hiko and Shox use sensitivities of 4 and 3 respectively. In order for you to find the sensitivity that fits you better just join a deathmatch server and lower and raise your sensitivity until you get a good balance between the time you spend to aim a target and the fluidity of your movement.
Every person has a different way of moving a mouse, so just try different sensitivities until you find one that fits you well, and then make small adjustments from there. If you don’t change your sensitivity it will take you a lot longer to get good results regarding your aim, because you will have to do movements that are not natural to you all the time.
Mastering your spray-patterns
The best way to master your sprays is joining an empty server and try to see what is the spray pattern of the weapon that you are using. For this just aim to a certain spot and then don’t move your crosshair while you empty your magazine. The pattern that is formed on the wall is the spray pattern of your gun.
This image shows two different spray patterns: the one on the left belongs to the AK-47 and the one on the right belongs to the M4A4. These are the patterns that you primarily have to master, because they belong to two key weapons of the game, and because they are similar to some of the other weapons too.
You can see that the two patterns are very similar in the first 5 bullets. Well, 5 bullets are enough to kill an enemy with these two weapons so how can you control those 5 bullets? It’s easy. The trajectory of the bullets is moving up, so all you have to do is to move your mouse down in the same rate that the bullets are moving up. This way all the bullets will hit the center of the target approximately. The rest of the pattern is also similar. The bullets move up and to the left, and then they stop moving up and move to the right and to the left again. You can counter the movement of the bullets moving your mouse in the opposite direction.
Please note that full-sprays are hard to master and you probably won’t end up using them a lot in game situations. A good principle to follow is trying to kill an enemy using the first 10 bullets. Those are the bullets that are easier to control, while the others are easy to miss. So if you don’t kill an enemy with your first 10 bullets stop shooting, then quickly re-aim at your opponent and start to spray again. My advice to you is to practice for some time on empty servers using the sv_showimpacts 1 command. This will highlight the impact of your bullets, showing you if your spray control is getting better. Just try to aim a certain point on a wall and control your shots. After this just go to deathmatch servers and test your sprays in real usable situations.
Don’t rush your improvement. With this I’m trying to say that you shouldn’t go to a competitive game after practicing your sprays for only a few moments. Your hand needs time in order for the spray movement to be memorized. This way it will be a mechanical thing, and you can focus in other aspects when you are playing competitive games.
Mastering your tapping
Tapping is a really good technique to have on your back pocket, because like I said before spraying is not optimal for all situations. This technique relies a lot on raw aim, reflexes and predicting the movement of your opponent. The main objective of this technique is trying to shot your enemy in the head with just one shot, before they can spray and kill you. Players like Scream are known for perfecting this technique.
In order to practice this technique in the right way you should get into a community map server called aim_botz. In aim_botz you can choose every weapon that you want and bots will randomly appear around you. First try to shoot them all in the head as quickly as you can, without the movement option turned on. Then turn on the option, and try to shoot them in the head while they move. Try to practice on this map as many days as you can, before playing competitive matches, and you will see your skill level rise a lot. The last thing to do is just practice your taps in deathmatch environment, which is very close to the situations you will encounter in a competitive game.
If you think about it, when you play as a CT you will be defending sites, and most of the time you will be standing still in a spot. In these situations try to predict where will be the head of a player that is going to your spot, and put your crosshair in there. In deathmatch you can also do that. Just place yourself in a corner, instead of running around all the time, and try to defend that corner, predicting from where your enemy will appear and try to shot them in the head for faster results.
Remember, if you want to improve your aim and become a better individually skilled player you need to practice a lot by yourself and not on competitive games. Go to empty servers, deathmatch maps, or arms race maps, because on competitive matches there is too much time in which you will be either dead or just waiting for your enemies. In non-competitive games you will test your reflexes to the most, and then you can apply them in the competitive games. Always remember to warm up on these servers before going competitive, it will do you good.